2017 was our 20th year online!

Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 3 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments.
Over 100,000 members from around the world.
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Shop our online store for music lovers
SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad) SWEETWATER Cyber Week Deals
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
 Best of Piano Buyer
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
(ad)
Wessell Nickel & Gross
PianoForAll
Who's Online Now
43 members (Deltajockey, ChrisGoesPiano, AmyBNE, Calavera, cygnusdei, CraiginNZ, apianostudent, 13 invisible), 495 guests, and 430 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 13
W
Junior Member
OP Offline
Junior Member
W
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 13
It's me again, a self taught person with a lot of problems. One thing I've always had a problem with is how hard and soft I hit the keys. I often find myself accidentally banging down on a key, especially in the left hand, and other times I completely miss hitting a key because I put my finger down so lightly. Does anybody know what could be causing this? I'm not sure if it's a mental thing, or a problem with my hands and wrists. I don't really understand why it happens because in my head I know that a certain note shouldn't be so loud or so soft but my fingers do it. Has anybody had a problem with this, or a student with this problem and know why it was happening?

I've been researching hand and finger position and how to strike the keys. I'm trying to relax my wrists, curve the ends of my fingers more and let my fingers fall to the keys like they say in the videos. I'm hoping it will somehow help. I'm also hoping it will help a problem I have with playing some combinations of black and white keys at exactly the same time.


(ad)
Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 3,055
Gold Subscriber
3000 Post Club Member
Offline
Gold Subscriber
3000 Post Club Member
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 3,055
Perhaps one of the teachers who frequent the ABF will respond, but here's my two cents: Getting control over dynamics is one aspect of the more general problem of *control,* i.e., the ability to make your music-making apparatus (shoulders, arms, hands, fingers--whole body, really) do what your brain commands it to do.

It takes time. It comes with practice and time at the keyboard. You train your body to respond by practicing certain moves. Over time, those moves become natural. Accomplished pianists have made those moves thousands upon thousands of times until it's second nature. They probably didn't have those moves down from day one.

So, have patience and keep practicing. It will come. Good luck!


[Linked Image]
Yamaha C3X
In summer, the song sings itself. --William Carlos Williams

Joined: May 2015
Posts: 13
W
Junior Member
OP Offline
Junior Member
W
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 13
Your response gives me hope. Lately I've been watching so many great pianists on youtube, especially young people, and it seems so natural to them. I've been having a lot of negative thoughts such as "maybe I'm just not good at this and never will be..." going around in my head lately.

Last edited by WalkingintheAir; 07/14/15 01:30 PM.
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 17,326
M
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
M
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 17,326
Originally Posted by WalkingintheAir
It's me again, a self taught person with a lot of problems. One thing I've always had a problem with is how hard and soft I hit the keys. I often find myself accidentally banging down on a key, especially in the left hand, and other times I completely miss hitting a key because I put my finger down so lightly. Does anybody know what could be causing this? I'm not sure if it's a mental thing, or a problem with my hands and wrists. I don't really understand why it happens because in my head I know that a certain note shouldn't be so loud or so soft but my fingers do it. Has anybody had a problem with this, or a student with this problem and know why it was happening?

I've been researching hand and finger position and how to strike the keys. I'm trying to relax my wrists, curve the ends of my fingers more and let my fingers fall to the keys like they say in the videos. I'm hoping it will somehow help. I'm also hoping it will help a problem I have with playing some combinations of black and white keys at exactly the same time.



You are making neural pathways that have never been there your whole life. Be patient.

Some things that may help:

- Try practicing all one dynamic level for a passage that is giving you trouble. Always start out with an extreme opposite of what's called for in the piece. Ignore dynamic alterations like crescendo or diminuendo for now. Go for the extreme opposite, but when playing forte especially, do not do to the point of pain or soreness or fatigue. (if you experience this, you will be specific advice on your technique, which I cannot give).

Once you can do the opposite, then try doing what is written. It should be easier.

- Do very slow practice with attention to the dynamics on each note. If you have one note that sticks out like you mention, go back to the beginning of that passage and play it that hand alone SLOWLY, focusing on evenness in the dynamic level. Gradually increase in tempo, then slow down again adding the other hand back in, then increase in tempo.

- Sometimes a note that sticks out because of the finger used. Often the thumb can be quite heavy, especially if we lay it flat on its side to play a note. Instead, try playing this only on the side tip/fingernail part of the thumb. This may help.


private piano/voice teacher FT

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 17
Junior Member
Offline
Junior Member
Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 17
My teacher said it's normal for beginners like us to make such mistake. We're new at this and there are so many things we have to worry about: correct note, rhythm, dynamic, et. Of course, we tend to make mistake. But we'll get better. All other "great pianists" that you have watched. They have been through this before and I bet they still do now. Those videos that you saw are the result of countless hour of practice after years of playing.

I feel down like you most of the time too. But looking back at my progress always makes me feel better. Open whatever book that you're using and look at the first few pages. See, you've been improved. For me, a few months ago, I didn't even know how many keys there are on a piano. Now, at least I can play a Happy Birthday song for my wife. I would have never dreamed about owning a piano before. Good luck on your journey and don't give up. There are countless of us walking the same path as you are.

Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 17,326
M
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
M
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 17,326
Originally Posted by WalkingintheAir
Your response gives me hope. Lately I've been watching so many great pianists on youtube, especially young people, and it seems so natural to them. I've been having a lot of negative thoughts such as "maybe I'm just not good at this and never will be..." going around in my head lately.


You're not really being fair to yourself. For a child to learn piano it is very different than an adult beginner. Do not compare apples to oranges. It's pointless, and they all have their pros and cons smile .

It is very possible that some of those children never experienced the issue that you are having, or some of them did but not to the degree that you have. It is a situation that is quite common in adult beginners, however, (or those that took piano as a child and come back to it as adults). You are not alone in this, and it is the nature of an adult pianist to have to go through this phase of learning. It won't last forever.


private piano/voice teacher FT

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 17
Junior Member
Offline
Junior Member
Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 17
A tip that my teacher ask me to do which help with dynamic tremendously is playing the dynamic exaggeratedly. Playing forte really loud, and plying piano really soft. When I'm doing that, I rarely make mistake with the dynamic (even though it doesn't sound good).

Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 6,650
C
6000 Post Club Member
Offline
6000 Post Club Member
C
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 6,650
Try practicing scales, slowly, listening carefully, trying to keep the dynamics even.

That isolates the problem.

When you can play evenly, slowly, gradually increase the tempo.



. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 1,365
S
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
S
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 1,365
A beginner suggestion that was helpful to me, was to use the arm weight, not the fingers. Start with exaggerated movements. So for louder, raise your arm high, like a full foot away from the keys. Obviously, a person can't be raising and lower their arm on every note, but it reinforces the idea.

A beginner is doing okay if they can do basic dynamics. There are like 12 levels of loudness or softness indicated by sheet music markings. It takes most folks, a very long time, if ever, to be able to get to that subtle level of control on piano (and for a listener to be able to tell). For a beginner, just getting some basic dynamics is a good first step.


Joined: May 2015
Posts: 9,116
Gold Subscriber
9000 Post Club Member
Offline
Gold Subscriber
9000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 9,116
To develop a light, even touch, try practicing as very stacato. It will help train your fingers to a light touch. Then go back to legato.

FYI, this is advice from my teacher to work on evenness and touch. Seems to be helping me a lot.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It's ok to be a Work In Progress
Joined: Aug 2012
Posts: 4,765
O
4000 Post Club Member
Offline
4000 Post Club Member
O
Joined: Aug 2012
Posts: 4,765
Getting a teacher would of course be advisable, but here are some things you should consider:
- These skills do require time to develope, unless you happen to be one of those who are lucky to have excellent motoric control naturally and have no tendency to develope tensions.
- Your basic playing technique may be inefficient in way that it's not possible to control dynamics well. This may be a bit difficult to change without some teaching.
- You have not learned to listen to yourself and adjust your playing accordingly.
- You need to work more on the rhythmic side of your pieces so that your accents go on the right notes. It is normal that in the beginning the accents are a bit too pronounced when you are learning the rhythm and should even out later.

IMO dynamics should always be connected to your ideas about the music (especially phrasing), not something physical your learn just by doing exercises (although they of course can also be helpful) and then read the dynamic markings from the score. Trying to control the dynamics of every INDIVIDUAL note is also not possible when there are other aspects of playing in your mind.

To develope your musical ideas, you need to do many things: Listen to good pianists play, sing your music, study the scores. Why did the composer put that forte there? Also study some music history and theory. Not sure it works the same way with everyone, but for me having a solid musical idea in my head really helps me adjust the physical side of playing. I don't have to think about playing louder, if the music naturally expands in my mind...

Last edited by outo; 07/14/15 09:53 PM.
Joined: Jun 2015
Posts: 347
D
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
D
Joined: Jun 2015
Posts: 347
knowing how to control dynamics is a big gauge that separates men from boys in professional pianist world.
Trust me OP , there is no turnkey answer, but the good thing and most important thing as you say is that you notice it, try to fix it, and hear what you are doing. Keep practicing and in due time you will see some sensible results. Then keep practicing some more.

THis is the aspect where musicianship comes in, for me. Anyone even a person who doesnt really play piano and can be taught how to push the correct keys to a certain tempo eventually.


debussychopin.
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 2,471
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 2,471
+1 The good news is that you can hear it and know when your dynamic is off. Your ears are ahead of your playing ability...a typical adult beginner. Time and mindful practice will get you the control you want eventually.

One thing to check is tension, which will kill your control every time.


Standchen-FScubert/FLiszt arr.
Tristan y Isolde -Wagner(arr.)
Sonata Pathetique-Adagio LVB
Estonia L190 #7284[Linked Image][Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 3,390
3000 Post Club Member
Offline
3000 Post Club Member
Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 3,390
I have trouble with this too and I've been playing for a long time! Dynamics and sound quality take up a lot of my practice time.

Here are some things I find helpful.
- Figure out exactly what my hand and arm have to do in order to get the sound I want. If I'm trying to play 3 notes with the same kind of movement, but I don't want the same sound on all 3 notes, I have a problem.
- Once I know exactly what my hand and arm need to do, I do a LOT of repetitions that sound the way I want, until I am satisfied that I'll be able to do it with ease next time. (If I can't do it with ease next time, then more repetitions the next day.) This is how I learned to practice note accuracy as a kid, but for some reason it never occurred to me to do it with dynamics and sound quality until adulthood.
- Take one section and practice it one voice at a time (to determine and practice sound for that voice) then layer the voices together one at a time (to determine and practice balance).

For more beginning students, a note that either plays late or accidentally doesn't play is often due to collapsing the joint closest to the fingertip. When this joint collapses it becomes very hard to control the fingertip. Try writing your name on a table with your fingertip normally, then collapse the joint and try to do the same thing. It's much harder!

I give intermediate students an exercise where they play the same note 3 times but it has to be a crescendo, each note noticeably louder than the last, then same with a 3-note diminuendo. Not as easy as it sounds. Later they do 5 notes.


Heather W. Reichgott, piano

Working on:
Beethoven - Diabelli Variations Op. 120
Beethoven/Liszt - Symphony no. 7
Tommy (whole show)

I love Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and new music
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 6,272
J
Unobtanium Subscriber
6000 Post Club Member
Offline
Unobtanium Subscriber
6000 Post Club Member
J
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 6,272
Another thing to look at: What instrument or instruments are you practicing on? It might be that the regulation of the action is part of the problem.

Pick a white key and play it several times with your RH #2 (index) finger. Try to get a consistent pp or ppp from it. Then move the same finger to the next white key and try again. Do several keys in the mid range of the piano and see if there are detectable differences. Then do some black keys.

On a lot of pianos, the difference between ppp and not quite hitting the strings is a small one.

Practicing on a variety of instruments with different responses helps with learning this.


Last edited by JohnSprung; 07/15/15 02:58 PM.

-- J.S.

[Linked Image] [Linked Image]

Knabe Grand # 10927
Yamaha CP33
Kawai FS690
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 622
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 622
Have you tried practising your dynamics over a familiar scale?
Firstly, check your posture. If your seat isn't set up correctly and your sitting awkwardly this will hinder your technique and ability to control your fingers.
Once you have checked seating arrangement, practice hands apart a scale such as C major, so nice and easy.
Keeping your fingers curled, wrist and hands relaxed play ascending medium volume and gradually build up to louder volume as you hit the final note before climbing down. Then as you climb down continuing to keep a slower pace go loudly to soft.
If you try practicing dynamics on exercises to get used to a variation in volume control over the keys when you bring it in to your pieces it won't seem as tricky.
Also practice a couple of dynamics from Moderately loud - medium to loud get used to this before bringing in any more changes.

Hope that helps have a good day.

Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 7,203
7000 Post Club Member
Offline
7000 Post Club Member
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 7,203
From your description, your problem seems to be that you approach dynamics as related to touching a key lightly which I perceive as meaning a "shallow" key press.

When you practice scales slowly, you need to always touch bottom or you will not get good control. A way to get a good sense of this is to play a chord with two hands and just feel the "let off" (if you're on a grand piano). It gives you an idea of the minimum pressure necessary to get a sound out. If you don't have a grand, you can do the same thing but the little let off click is a nice little feedback that (a) you've hit bottom and (b) you've gone to the point where the piano will make no sound (lowest possible dynamic).

It doesn't matter if you play loud or soft. You approach the keys the same way but you have to sense that it's the velocity that affects that volume.


Pianoclues.com for Beginners
My Jazz Blog
Hamburg Steinway O, Nord Electro 4 HP


Link Copied to Clipboard
What's Hot!!
Pianos - Organs - & Keyboards, Oh My!
My first professionally recorded piece
---------------------
Visit Maine, Meet Mr. Piano World
---------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
(ad)
Pianoteq
Steinway Spiro Layering
(ad)
PianoDisc

PianoDisc
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Mason & Hamlin Pianos
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Es920 production stopped??
by playplayplay - 12/07/21 12:07 AM
Mehlin & Sons Piano Identification
by LeviWhitted - 12/06/21 08:37 PM
jack position button not present in old grand
by f4tune81 - 12/06/21 08:11 PM
Thinking about recital #65
by stevedoz - 12/06/21 04:28 PM
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
Forum Statistics
Forums42
Topics210,420
Posts3,151,114
Members103,539
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers

Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | MapleStreetMusicShop.com - Our store in Cornish Maine


© copyright 1997 - 2021 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5