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#2087915 - 05/24/13 11:19 AM Mousing and Computer use affecting piano play?  
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 391
Brad Hoehne Offline
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Brad Hoehne  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 391
Ohio
Hello,

I've recently come to suspect that my constant use of a computer mouse- necessary for my job (no other option)- is affecting my piano playing. My index finger (click finger) and the top of my hand and wrist fee tired and somewhat stressed after a busy day of mousing.

Has anyone out there developed strategies to mitigate the stress of constant mousing and typing? I periodically flip my mouse from my right to left hand, which helps somewhat, but does not completely solve the problem. I feel like my practice is being affected.

Last edited by Brad Hoehne; 05/24/13 11:38 AM.

1999 Petrof 125-111 (upright)
Casio Privia PX-330

Currently working on:
Chopin Etude op 25 #2 and op 10 #5
Schubert Op 90 #2, #3
Playing by ear and "filling out" pop tunes
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#2087932 - 05/24/13 11:48 AM Re: Mousing and Computer use affecting piano play? [Re: Brad Hoehne]  
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 189
Piano Doug Offline
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Piano Doug  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 189
New York City
I had some issues several years ago from using a computer trackball on a laptop. Physical therapy helped as did attention to workplace ergonomics. Here are some suggestions:

- Stretching before and after work sessions (hand, arm, shoulders, back).

- Having proper height of computer monitor, keyboard, and mouse.

- Correct posture and a comfortable yet supportive chair.

- Learning to use movements from the shoulder rather than just the lower arm, hand, and fingers.

- Frequent breaks to walk around, stretch, and restore circulation.

This is a good book:

http://www.amazon.com/Pascarellis-C...&sr=1-1&keywords=emil+pascarelli

See a doctor specializing in these complaints if necessary. Good luck!

#2087969 - 05/24/13 12:23 PM Re: Mousing and Computer use affecting piano play? [Re: Brad Hoehne]  
Joined: Sep 2011
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Thrill Science Offline
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Thrill Science  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 589
California
Even though I'm right-handed, I mouse with my left hand. I found that my right hand fatigued easily from mousing all day.


Robert Swirsky
Thrill Science, Inc.
#2088002 - 05/24/13 01:06 PM Re: Mousing and Computer use affecting piano play? [Re: Thrill Science]  
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 244
wower Offline
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wower  Offline
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Calgary
Originally Posted by Thrill Science
Even though I'm right-handed, I mouse with my left hand. I found that my right hand fatigued easily from mousing all day.


+1! Glad to hear others are having success with this simple approach. I make my money in front of a computer as well and switched to using my left-hand in late 2008 and haven't looked back. My brother is also right hand dominant and in mid 2011 when I suggested switching it also fixed the soreness issue for him and he has not switched back to date. If anything, I think switching might have improved the sensitivity in my left-hand coordination.


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#2088025 - 05/24/13 01:45 PM Re: Mousing and Computer use affecting piano play? [Re: Brad Hoehne]  
Joined: Mar 2011
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jdw Offline
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jdw  Offline
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Philadelphia, PA
I still mouse with my left hand also, after recovering from computer-related RSI that kept me from playing for two years. My path back was through Taubman piano study.

Edna Golandsky has also adapted this ergonomic approach to computer use, including mousing. She has a video called Healthy Typing, which I bought--though I have to say it was piano lessons that really enabled me to type again. I don't think I could have gotten enough help out of the video alone.

The basic principles she talks about are to avoid isolating fingers, stretching, twisting the wrist, curling or flattening fingers. She teaches that you should move the whole hand and arm around the keyboard instead of doing what touch typists usually do (staying in one place and reaching with individual fingers, bad for you). For mousing, she similarly talks about avoiding isolated finger movement--you want to get help from the larger muscles in the arm.

And of course, correct height and alignment--pretty similar to what Piano Doug has advised above.


1989 Baldwin R
Currently working on:
Haydn, Sonata Hob. XVI: 19
Chopin, Waltz in E minor (op. posth.)
Schubert, Op. 90 no. 2
#2088210 - 05/24/13 06:03 PM Re: Mousing and Computer use affecting piano play? [Re: Brad Hoehne]  
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 150
SideShow Offline
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SideShow  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 150
Belgium
Same here. Started having RSI. You would not believe what a nasty thing it is. It's there, always lurking to pop up again if I don't pay attention. So I switched, years ago.
My left hand does a great job at mousing now.

Any signs of stress and offcourse RSI itself has to be taken very carefully!
It's like a depression, you can't understand it untill you once had it, then you need to care for it, and afterwards you need to be very carefull

Last edited by SideShow; 05/24/13 06:04 PM.

Notes are easy, music is hard
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff
#2088419 - 05/25/13 05:28 AM Re: Mousing and Computer use affecting piano play? [Re: Brad Hoehne]  
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 4,264
btb Offline
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btb  Offline
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Pretoria South Africa
No Sir, my piano playing is unaffected by my computer madness ... although it can be said that, when occasionally I view myself in the mirror ... there is a
resemblance to the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

#2088436 - 05/25/13 06:52 AM Re: Mousing and Computer use affecting piano play? [Re: Brad Hoehne]  
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 2,607
debrucey Offline
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debrucey  Offline
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Manchester, UK
This is DEFINITELY true for me. Whenever I have essay deadlines (last one ever this week hooray!) my hands become so sore it really impacts on my practice. My typing technique is not particularly great which doesn't help.

#2088437 - 05/25/13 06:52 AM Re: Mousing and Computer use affecting piano play? [Re: Brad Hoehne]  
Joined: Jan 2006
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debrucey Offline
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debrucey  Offline
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Manchester, UK
What Piano Doug recommends is great advice, for both computer use AND piano practice.

#2088444 - 05/25/13 07:04 AM Re: Mousing and Computer use affecting piano play? [Re: Brad Hoehne]  
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 8,915
wr Offline
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wr  Offline
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Maybe some smart person will develop a "mouse" that is actually a small piece of a weighted keyboard, for us piano players. I bet it would sell.

#2089145 - 05/26/13 11:33 AM Re: Mousing and Computer use affecting piano play? [Re: Brad Hoehne]  
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 5,446
Derulux Offline
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Derulux  Offline
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Philadelphia
First question: do you rest your wrist on the ground when you mouse? And does your palm rest on the mouse (back half usually)?


Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.
#2090123 - 05/27/13 07:23 PM Re: Mousing and Computer use affecting piano play? [Re: Brad Hoehne]  
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 39
Nonna Offline
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Nonna  Offline
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I was having a lot of soreness in my RH index finger joint due to lots of mouse work. I bought the smallest, lightest mouse I could find especially for a small woman's hand. I also realized I was using my index finger in a flat position so I started thinking more "piano" and keep it curved so I am clicking with the pad of the finger. Between the two I find I no longer have a problem


"If you are going through heck, keep going." Winston Churchill
#2090310 - 05/27/13 10:17 PM Re: Mousing and Computer use affecting piano play? [Re: Brad Hoehne]  
Joined: Mar 2012
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Sand Tiger Offline
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Sand Tiger  Offline
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Southern California
Yes. For me, years of computer use, along with whistle and flute playing, mean chronic repetitive stress problems. Some things I do are to wear fingerless gloves when using the computer, or making music. A cold computer mouse can cause a near instant flare up. Ice packs and soaking in warm or cold water also help.

Rest is the best thing, but not always possible. I limit my piano time to an hour a day, because of my issues.

I find a small mouse to be better for me. Another possibility is a trackball or trackpad. As always, another person may find other ways to cope. As always, if discomfort crosses over to pain, professional medical attention is a good idea, as is a break from any hand or wrist intensive activities.

/edit to add: good ergonomics, stretching, breaks were all in place when I started having problems.

Last edited by Sand Tiger; 05/27/13 10:22 PM.
#2090362 - 05/27/13 11:37 PM Re: Mousing and Computer use affecting piano play? [Re: Brad Hoehne]  
Joined: May 2003
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RealPlayer Offline
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RealPlayer  Offline
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NYC
I don't have an RSI issue, but am conscious of mouse use, so like others, i alternate hands. Another good thing to do might be to check the desk height and your arm/wrist position relative to it, to find the placement that stresses your extremities the least.


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