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Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf] #2619347
03/01/17 03:28 PM
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Today, I watched a couple of excellent videos. The first one discussed and demonstrated a holistic, relaxed technique for playing the piano. It was very well explained with lots of comments about how to create a complete gesture while still keeping wrists very relaxed so as to create the correct tone, maximize efficiency, and avoid injury.

The second video was a monthly Q&A which discussed a variety of techniques that students, who asked the questions, could approach specific pieces that included classical, rag time, and beginners out of the book we are using. Chuck full of information for beginners to advanced.

I continued the beginners course with new instruction on dynamics and relaxed playing technique. I noticed, unlike typical method books, there is as of yet no discussion of chords or keys. The exercises, studies, and melodies are designed primarily to develop equal dexterity in both hands and musical expression.

After just a few days, I already feel I have my money's worth for the the months tuition. It is a magnificent course for what I am looking for.

Last edited by Richrf; 03/01/17 03:30 PM.
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Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf] #2619684
03/02/17 03:26 PM
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Hi everyone,

Today I am following the videos that are primarily addressing stacatto and legato play. There was quite a bit of discussion concerning legato. Besides the videos themselves, there was also quite a bit of discussion and connects in the forum that dates back to 2012 when the forum was more active. Lots of valuable insights are discussed in these original forum posts.

One thing I have noticed is even though lots of discussion revolves around the wrist, in order to maintain a very relaxed wrist, most of the impulse for action comes from the shoulder (including the back), and arms. The joints are always very relaxed until the moment some dynamics are required.

The instructor also had an opportunity to read my diary and has some additional information that she wished to share to me, which I've included in this post.

Cheers!

The instructor's comments:

1. You didn't subscribe just for the 'Beginner to Intermediate Course'. You subscribed to our entire database of tutorials - which comprises many hundreds of video and articles for ALL levels (including the Course for Beginners, the Scale & Arpeggio Course, and many other projects and features structured according to categories).

2. Our Questions & Answers project is not a Livestream. I record it like any other tutorial (first the members post their questions - and at the end of the month I review them). Each answer is thoroughly designed in advance - in order to offer maximum information and benefits to our members (without wasting their time, as it usually happens with Livestreams). So far we had 22 editions of the Q&A - and I have answered each and every question that was asked (so if you post a short recording of your playing, you WILL get a guaranteed video feedback).

3. If you take a look at our Complete List, you will discover many video feedbacks from the past editions of our MasterClass project. This project is currently inactive (so that I can dedicate more of my time to the new website that we are currently designing). Once the website is ready, the MasterClass project will resume - so there will be more feedbacks smile. You can learn more about our new website by reading these posts.

4. Chords and keys are fully covered in our Scale & Arpeggio Course (which you can start following after reaching Lesson No. 48 for Beginners). Moreover, you will find lots of 'theoretical' tutorials as part of the Piano Theory category (on the Complete List).

Last edited by Richrf; 03/02/17 06:01 PM.
Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf] #2620064
03/03/17 07:49 PM
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The last few lessons consisted of pieces and exercises that are slowly increasing in difficult. The video instruction analyzed each piece for proper phrasing, dynamics, playing techniques and dynamics. Overall, extremely well-rounded and well thought out instruction, much of it new. As for now, I just keep repeating and repeating while observing the instruction in order to refine my technique. I even just play both hands on single notes in a up and down wave manner in order to achieve a very relaxed but dynamic technique. Over and over and over again.

A couple of technical notes. Since I do not want my subscription to automatically renew, I sent a request to cancel my subscription when it ends in May. This request was honored within a day with an email confirmation.

Also, for security reasons, when I signed up I used Paypal and a temporary credit card number that is issued online by my bank.

Cheers!

Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf] #2620654
03/05/17 08:14 PM
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The last few lessons have delved deeper into arm/wrist technique for differing dynamics including staccato, legato, portamento with emphasis on synchopated rhythms. I enjoy b syncopation and may try some ragtime at some future date.

Something to note. Both staves up until now are treble clef so that the entire attention can be turned toward technique and not to bass clef reading. I have noticed that I am now able to play much more advanced pieces in my other books now because of the ease in which my technique had become. Very relaxed which increases my nimbleness and dexterity over the keyboard and in sight reading. This is a skill I was never able to attain with past one-on-one teaching.

Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf] #2622048
03/09/17 09:58 PM
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The videos in the course have become progressively longer as the pieces that are being practiced become musically richer in dynamics, rhythms, and voices. Lesson 9, which also includes a supplemental piece which the instructor calls a dessert, is 50 minutes long. Earlier videos averaged about 7 minutes per short piece or exercise. In each video the instructor describes in great depth the different aspects of the piece as well as demonstrates the piece and phrases in the piece in final form as well as practice form.

During this process, my whole viewpoint of piano practice and playing has changed. It has moved from "playing keys to creating music" to manifesting physical gestures with mind, body, and spirit that express shades, tones, and dynamics for creating music through the instrument. It is like singing.

The transformation in my viewpoint not only had affected the music I can and do create, but also my overall enjoyment of the learning process. It is precisely the way I practice and describe the act of doing Tai Chi and drawing. All of this is due entirely too the manner this particular instructor teaches piano.

Last edited by Richrf; 03/09/17 10:37 PM.
Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf] #2622595
03/11/17 12:07 PM
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Rich, I freelance and got caught up in a very heavy workload. I intended to respond before this. Where we left off, I had asked whether you can get direct feedback on videos of your own playing, where you try the instructions - and your answer was no.

What I have found (not always) is that I follow an instruction which I think I understand, and often actually do understand, and think I'm doing what was said. Even watching a video of myself doing it. But then when the teacher sees me, I may have missed the mark in part of it, or he sees some refinement to do on it, or (worse case) I misunderstood, or exaggerated - or he seems some other aspect in my playing that needs to be addressed. What I think I am doing, and what I think I understand, may not be the total reality. That is why I asked about this part.

I've worked in a number of ways. I've only had lessons as an adult. The first was several years of regular hour long violin lessons in person the traditional way. I have worked/am working with more than one teacher on-line, some of it more ad hoc (but organized) and several are within organized programs that are designed for on-line instructions. Among them there is Jaak Sikk's series for piano. This has been written about before.

The other has been the ArtistWorks which is an organized platform for lessons by various (selected? vetted) teachers. In returning to violin, I registered with Darol Anger, a superb fiddler who is much more than that, whose approach to technique is also perfect for classical. I'm coming out of a mess with violin and restarting at the beginning. Nathan Cole is the classical counterpart there, also excellent. This platform offers the following:
- access to every single video lesson that the teacher has put in there, at all levels, shot in a professional studio often from multiple angles
- sheet music to go with it
- for non-classical, backing tracks
- discussion forum
- FEEDBACK. You upload a video of yourself playing, and within the registered group that feedback will be visible to you as well as other members. So for example, if there is a lesson "how to play staccato - using Piece X", all the videos submitted by all students having worked on that lesson are in there in a row, along with the teacher's video feedback and observations. Your playing will be commented on. You get insights in what others have done, and the feedback they got. Specifically.
- access to related material by other teachers in the same category (classical or non-classical, maybe banjo and violin)
- interviews with other musicians by your teacher and other related things
- write-ups and advice of various kinds in written form

Without the feedback, what I've learned to watch for is:
- is what I'm doing becoming more comfortable, and easier
- does it sound better; am I getting at the sound I want

I've also learned to watch out for some things. Years ago I worked briefly with a teacher who told me insistently what results I would be feeling and hearing. I did not experience those things, but since I was "supposed" to have those results, I doubted my senses and instincts. I went through some "choreography" at that time - move this in this way etc. - with some harm (this was not piano), which was undone when I started listening to my body. Paired with good instruction, listening to your own body is powerful.

I was also advised to listen to sample playing while not watching. Some people can have beautiful, flowing, choreographed playing which looks like swan-like ballerinas, and your eyes will you to hear flowing sound - but it's not coming out - Others seem to barely move (It's happening underneath all that), and yet the sound flows.

If you're getting the results you want, and especially if it differs from what you used to get in how you worked before, then it must all be in order. smile

Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf] #2622600
03/11/17 12:22 PM
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Thanks for your comments.

Just wanted to mention that there is limited access to instructor feedback via the monthly Q&A video feedback session. For those who are looking for more feedback, the venues you mentioned may be more applicable. The type of feedback I am looking for is very specific: it from someone who plays with this naturally created "wave-like" expressive gestures that begin with the creative mind and flows through the body like waves as exemplified in this tutorial:

Expressive flowing water-like piano gestures

While many teachers play like this, I have found it very difficult to find a teacher who teaches like this.

Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf] #2622603
03/11/17 12:29 PM
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More generally: What bothered me in the past was when I saw various Russian teachers present what they teach by outlining "Western" in a stereotypical miserable manner, and then presenting an alternative as "Russian". What they present exists everywhere. However, there is a real problem that there is a lot of the type of teaching that they outline, so if you can get the alternative, that's what counts.

Everything you have written about here and in your new thread are familiar to me. A lot of it often doesn't get taught, or mistaught.

At the moment I'm on an Arrau binge. Claudio Arrau studied with a German teacher named Krause who in turn studied with Liszt. I'm watching a run-down by a former student on the main playing principles taught by Arrau, along that line. Many things are similar to what you have described. Liszt was fighting to change how playing was done: Chopin did so .... why on earth is what they fought 100 years ago still being taught? But it is NOT taught everywhere, and these things are not exclusive to Russia. Liszt was not Russian. Krause was German.

You wrote of abandoning Alfred because of what that repertoire does. My first learning was as a self-taught child using my grandmother's books. I later learned that my grandmother had been taught to keep her arms motionless, be able to balance a pencil on the back of her hand, etc. - all the things from the clavichord era. I was never taught. My playing resembled what my grandmother was taught, because I used the books that she used. In my recovery I have stayed away from that kind of music - Chopin opens the movements for me, and require different movements - going to this other music immediately pulls me backward.

In regards to large sweeping movements: In the older Russian school it was minimal motion i.e. no wasted motion. But if you try not to over-move and clamp down on yourself, that is a huge expenditure of energy. All movements must be there at least in miniature. Also, a choreographed movement can be ineffective if it's not doing what it is supposed to be doing. But again also, if you've always been restricted, then feeling the joints in your wrists etc. through the large movements at least makes them come alive to you. Little kids do everything in exaggerated style and then settle down. The whole body ends up working together.

Last edited by keystring; 03/11/17 12:30 PM.
Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf] #2622610
03/11/17 12:40 PM
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Yes, I agree, at the end there should be a fluid, whole body movement (it may be very subtle) that expresses the music that one wishes to create. I have found that the Nikoleav approach much more conducive to the development of this feeling than the Alfred's approach.

Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf] #2623000
03/12/17 01:46 PM
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I'm still catching up. This caught my attention for a reason.
Originally Posted by Richrf
Currently, I am practicing the second lesson which is focusing on pieces 8-11 in the book. The instructor demonstrated full arm wave-like movement (which energetically begins at the back) for each finger in each hand.

What I have seen in general out there seems to emphasize the "other end" - wrist motion, rotation at the forearm, and some finger in conjunction with these (the old outdated hammer fingers not being included). What I know already is that since everything works together, and if you lock any part completely, you mess up the system, there is a co-relationship. That includes the upper arm which starts at the shoulder. In these, the upper arm is generally not included, and at most is sort of a loose passive thing that moves as a result of actions that originate somewhere around forearm, wrist, fingers, hand. Later on in some more advanced music, there was a kind of swinging or moving of the elbows, in response/conjunction with circular movement of the hands at the wrist - when the elbows move anywhere, the upper arm is in fact involved. Anyway, this has been a general theme.

Very recently I came upon a summary of what Arrau taught; somewhat crudely in this first video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mB1tWSNlt_8 and much more subtly in a 90 minute video (3 parts) in an interview of a student of a student of Arrau. Here the emphasis is on he upper arm, the impetus coming from there. This goes with what you have written. At 5:41 she says something important - namely that it "appears as a wrist movement" but it isn't the wrist that is moving things. For me this was important, because for a while I had put my energy into the wrong place, and it had started through a video while I was self-teaching, of a teacher who actually lifted the wrist with a string to make her point. (I'm a sucker for imagery, which tends to stick.)

I'm inclined to thing that there is not any one correct way, because things seesaw and change, as they interrelate. What you do from the shoulder down will impact things down at the hand and fingers, and vice versa. But if your upper arms are sort of "dead" because the emphasis is always at the other end, it may be significant to look at that side of things.

Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf] #2623008
03/12/17 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Richrf
I have found that the Nikoleav approach much more conducive to the development of this feeling than the Alfred's approach.

Is Nikolaev the name of the teacher? I've never worked with Alfred or any method book, but from what I know, I wouldn't see it as an "approach". A good teacher can take any "textbook" (in this case method book) and teach how to move, and other approaches, using the material. That said, material itself affects how we move. If the music stays in a 5-finger hand span, in the middle of the keyboard, mostly on white keys, this affects how you move. If the LH is constantly playing chords, while the RH plays melodies, this also determines how you develop. So in that way you are probably on the right track.

Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf] #2623069
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Nikoleav is the author of the fundamental book Russian School of Piano playing, the book used by the instructor Illinca who created the online teaching course at pianocareeracademy.com. when she created the course 5 years ago, she was clearly putting her heart and soul into a complete course that teaches most of all creative imaginative expression via relaxed piano technique.

Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: keystring] #2623114
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Originally Posted by keystring
I'm still catching up. This caught my attention for a reason.
Originally Posted by Richrf
Currently, I am practicing the second lesson which is focusing on pieces 8-11 in the book. The instructor demonstrated full arm wave-like movement (which energetically begins at the back) for each finger in each hand.

What I have seen in general out there seems to emphasize the "other end" - wrist motion, rotation at the forearm, and some finger in conjunction with these (the old outdated hammer fingers not being included). What I know already is that since everything works together, and if you lock any part completely, you mess up the system, there is a co-relationship. That includes the upper arm which starts at the shoulder. In these, the upper arm is generally not included, and at most is sort of a loose passive thing that moves as a result of actions that originate somewhere around forearm, wrist, fingers, hand. Later on in some more advanced music, there was a kind of swinging or moving of the elbows, in response/conjunction with circular movement of the hands at the wrist - when the elbows move anywhere, the upper arm is in fact involved. Anyway, this has been a general theme.

Very recently I came upon a summary of what Arrau taught; somewhat crudely in this first video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mB1tWSNlt_8 and much more subtly in a 90 minute video (3 parts) in an interview of a student of a student of Arrau. Here the emphasis is on he upper arm, the impetus coming from there. This goes with what you have written. At 5:41 she says something important - namely that it "appears as a wrist movement" but it isn't the wrist that is moving things. For me this was important, because for a while I had put my energy into the wrong place, and it had started through a video while I was self-teaching, of a teacher who actually lifted the wrist with a string to make her point. (I'm a sucker for imagery, which tends to stick.).....

....I'm inclined to thing that there is not any one correct way, because things seesaw and change, as they interrelate. What you do from the shoulder down will impact things down at the hand and fingers, and vice versa. But if your upper arms are sort of "dead" because the emphasis is always at the other end, it may be significant to look at that side of things.


I am self taught, two years in, good at self study, and good at sifting the wheat from the chaff. During the course of my self study, I encountered the concept of wrist rotation, and gave it some serious study. At first, it seemed like an answer that the world needed to know about. I watched a lot of videos by well intentioned, widely respected teachers, describing the technique. However, I soon noticed that I was not seeing this technique put into practice by the highly acclaimed and noteworthy pianists that I had the opportunity to watch. This puzzled me.

I eventually stumbled onto a seemingly benign comment by one teacher to the effect that the rotational technique, in the very visible form utilized in teaching sessions, was not in fact what gets put into practice during effective piano play. The teaching version was a purposeful exaggeration of the rotational motion, and the grandiosity of the teaching version served the purpose of providing the student with effective visual and tactile recognition of the concept of rotation. The exaggeration is just a tool to get the student to recognize the movement, so he/she can begin to blend it into the array of other techniques and skills possessed.

The actual piano playing version of rotation is, by contrast, very subtle and nearly undetectable. The highly proficient pianist merely uses what small amount of it that is called for in the moment, and that usually looks very little like the versions we see in those teaching videos. This solved, for me, that mystery of why teachers were teaching big rotational movements, but, the best pianists did not appear to be using it.

So, I think you are correct in saying that all the parts work together, and that the impairment or neglect of one impairs the others, as well.

This also causes me to take the "full arm wave-like movement" of the Russian teacher, referenced by the OP above, with a grain of salt. I have watched her. She is impressive. But, I wonder if she is exaggerating the movements as an effort to teach the greater, yet more subtle, version that would be employed by a highly proficient pianist trained in those techniques. I have not, but would like, to see her performing in concert, where her sole and complete purpose would be to provide a perfect performance. It would be informative to compare her movements in actual performance to her movements in her training videos. If the teaching movements are purposeful exaggerations, it would be good for her students to know that.

I hope this does not come across as trashing her or her teaching effort. She is impressive, and clearly knows about piano. I just hope the exaggeration, if any, is made clear to the students, so they don't hinder their own development by trying to play with a lot of excess and inefficient movements.

Richrf, have you learned anything about whether the movements she demonstrates are exaggerated for teaching effect?

Last edited by Ralphiano; 03/12/17 10:00 PM.

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Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf] #2623131
03/12/17 10:42 PM
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They appear to be "exaggerated" in accordance to the music which is being demonstrated, e.g. very slow portamento, legato, or staccato, for instructional purposes. As the tempo and rhythm become more in concordance with final tempo, the movements become more minimal. Gestures and movements are always as one unit (there are in reality no such things as parts of a body) and necessarily in concordance with the music that is being expressed. There is always a gently rolling for motion in legato, for example, because that is precisely the the gesture that reflects the musical expression.

One can observe the totally natural gestures of this artist and how it adjusts to create different rhythms and tonalities an accordance to what the artist wishes to express. She studied under a student of Horowitz.

Nicole Wang in concert

In my opinion "rolling the wrist" is an inadequate description to explain the motion since the whole arm (and of course more since the whole body is involved) is acting as a unit. The instructor in her videos explains it as shifting the whole arm weight to different fingers. I would describe it as a soft, rolling, wave.

At about 1:35 of this video to can see that soft rolling gesture in Horowitz's play:

Horowitz technique in slow motion

I would, of course, practice very slowly with larger gestures since I am still a beginner developing body memory. More practice yields greater subtlety, as appropriate.

Last edited by Richrf; 03/12/17 11:20 PM.
Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Ralphiano] #2623141
03/12/17 11:11 PM
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Ralphiano, I think we are on the same page about a lot of things. It is indeed true that often techniques that are taught as principles are taught in isolation, in an exaggerated and unnatural way. I have been advised (by teachers I trust) to always watch what that same teacher does when they are "just playing normally". Recently there was one (I forget which) who was brought up in the ABF and I watched other lessons by him. Among others, he spoke against any motion of the wrist for something or other and demonstrated his idea - later when he played, esp. putting him in slow-mo, one saw a soft feathering in the wrist. I had expected it.

I have also seen lessons of choreographed motions, showing children being taught, and those motions should have a given effect. But when those children played in recitals, that effect could not be heard, because you also have to have a feel for it, to interact with the keys and hear the sound. Otherwise it is programmed puppetry.

I have also seen (always on-line) teachers preaching about relaxation, holding the child's hand or wrist, making it go up and down in a "relaxed" manner - and at the end you'd see the poor tyke's fingers splayed like a trapped wild mouse.

We will hear very expressive playing while seeing what seems like almost no motion - unless you put it on 50% speed or slower and really watch for the subtle things - And we will also see very large motions with less expression: but our eyes may make us hear what isn't there. It's a thing to be careful about.

One thing for myself: In the beginning I can't do "subtle" because my reflexes are not refined enough. When you watch little children, their motions are exaggerated - heck, even their speech is exaggerated - using big muscles, the whole arm - and then it refines. I can't feel the joints I'm using, at first, unless I do rather large silly looking things, and then as those parts wake up, I can get subtle. Exaggeration might be a stage.

Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: keystring] #2623227
03/13/17 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by keystring


I have also seen (always on-line) teachers preaching about relaxation, holding the child's hand or wrist, making it go up and down in a "relaxed" manner - and at the end you'd see the poor tyke's fingers splayed like a trapped wild mouse.


Relaxation is absolutely the most fundamental skill after imagining the sound itself. Every single art that I have ever studied is based upon these to skills: first imagining and then expressing through a relaxed but still energetic body.

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Alexander Borro Offline
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Originally Posted by Ralphiano
Originally Posted by keystring
I'm still catching up. This caught my attention for a reason.
Originally Posted by Richrf
Currently, I am practicing the second lesson which is focusing on pieces 8-11 in the book. The instructor demonstrated full arm wave-like movement (which energetically begins at the back) for each finger in each hand.

What I have seen in general out there seems to emphasize the "other end" - wrist motion, rotation at the forearm, and some finger in conjunction with these (the old outdated hammer fingers not being included). What I know already is that since everything works together, and if you lock any part completely, you mess up the system, there is a co-relationship. That includes the upper arm which starts at the shoulder. In these, the upper arm is generally not included, and at most is sort of a loose passive thing that moves as a result of actions that originate somewhere around forearm, wrist, fingers, hand. Later on in some more advanced music, there was a kind of swinging or moving of the elbows, in response/conjunction with circular movement of the hands at the wrist - when the elbows move anywhere, the upper arm is in fact involved. Anyway, this has been a general theme.

Very recently I came upon a summary of what Arrau taught; somewhat crudely in this first video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mB1tWSNlt_8 and much more subtly in a 90 minute video (3 parts) in an interview of a student of a student of Arrau. Here the emphasis is on he upper arm, the impetus coming from there. This goes with what you have written. At 5:41 she says something important - namely that it "appears as a wrist movement" but it isn't the wrist that is moving things. For me this was important, because for a while I had put my energy into the wrong place, and it had started through a video while I was self-teaching, of a teacher who actually lifted the wrist with a string to make her point. (I'm a sucker for imagery, which tends to stick.).....

....I'm inclined to thing that there is not any one correct way, because things seesaw and change, as they interrelate. What you do from the shoulder down will impact things down at the hand and fingers, and vice versa. But if your upper arms are sort of "dead" because the emphasis is always at the other end, it may be significant to look at that side of things.


I am self taught, two years in, good at self study, and good at sifting the wheat from the chaff. During the course of my self study, I encountered the concept of wrist rotation, and gave it some serious study. At first, it seemed like an answer that the world needed to know about. I watched a lot of videos by well intentioned, widely respected teachers, describing the technique. However, I soon noticed that I was not seeing this technique put into practice by the highly acclaimed and noteworthy pianists that I had the opportunity to watch. This puzzled me.

I eventually stumbled onto a seemingly benign comment by one teacher to the effect that the rotational technique, in the very visible form utilized in teaching sessions, was not in fact what gets put into practice during effective piano play. The teaching version was a purposeful exaggeration of the rotational motion, and the grandiosity of the teaching version served the purpose of providing the student with effective visual and tactile recognition of the concept of rotation. The exaggeration is just a tool to get the student to recognize the movement, so he/she can begin to blend it into the array of other techniques and skills possessed.

The actual piano playing version of rotation is, by contrast, very subtle and nearly undetectable. The highly proficient pianist merely uses what small amount of it that is called for in the moment, and that usually looks very little like the versions we see in those teaching videos. This solved, for me, that mystery of why teachers were teaching big rotational movements, but, the best pianists did not appear to be using it.

So, I think you are correct in saying that all the parts work together, and that the impairment or neglect of one impairs the others, as well.

This also causes me to take the "full arm wave-like movement" of the Russian teacher, referenced by the OP above, with a grain of salt. I have watched her. She is impressive. But, I wonder if she is exaggerating the movements as an effort to teach the greater, yet more subtle, version that would be employed by a highly proficient pianist trained in those techniques. I have not, but would like, to see her performing in concert, where her sole and complete purpose would be to provide a perfect performance. It would be informative to compare her movements in actual performance to her movements in her training videos. If the teaching movements are purposeful exaggerations, it would be good for her students to know that.

I hope this does not come across as trashing her or her teaching effort. She is impressive, and clearly knows about piano. I just hope the exaggeration, if any, is made clear to the students, so they don't hinder their own development by trying to play with a lot of excess and inefficient movements.

Richrf, have you learned anything about whether the movements she demonstrates are exaggerated for teaching effect?


Ralphpiano, Thanks for your post. Your feeling/instincts very much echo mine.

In that light, I would add, what you say is a very good example why in my opinion I value Graham Fitch as an instructor so much, and a lot of the pianist magazine videos. I mentioned Graham the other day a couple of times. I can't say about piano career obviously in that regard, since I have not used it, but to make my point.

Graham will demonstrate X, then say,

"See what I did there, watch carefully, but of course not that much, I am exaggerating to make the point"

To me Graham comes across as an example what would make an excellent instructor, ( at least for me I feel with the type of thing I look for ). Graham is very precise in saying everything that needs to be said, nothing more, nothing less. Sometimes, with other videos it's left to the imagination, the student has to read between the lines. Most of the time I am okay with it, because I ( try to anyway) read between the lines to get the right idea, but, you never know, this is where errors/misunderstandings can develop too. When it comes to the more subtle aspects, it could just be that one all important sentence, one word even, that could make a big difference in the end.

To me, statements such as playing with wrists means nothing isolation. Playing with flat or more curled fingers has to be put in context when and where it is appropriate etc. etc., but often I do hear statements of that sort, that really do not give any meaningful perspective to put those things in context, just as with your example of suspecting slightly OTT motions above.

I suspect it's often the case that such things can happen, at least with many videos I have seen, so I am ready for it, it's always in the back of my mind while watching them, but I try to take out of it what I can, as best as I can.

Best regards,

Alex.



Selftaught since June 2014.
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Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf] #2623297
03/13/17 01:18 PM
03/13/17 01:18 PM
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keystring Offline
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Alex, I'm curious about the Graham Fitch. I read a lot of praise from various people including one teacher I respected, and one person who went through "the whole series". So I purchased the "set" on-line. What I got was a lot of text and a lot of words. There were a few videos embedded which featured somebody else's hand - not Fitch's - and even though that hand was doing what had been described, it looked oddly tight or "shaped" in an old fashioned sense, and the demos were ultra brief. I'm wondering if there is a different set out there.
I have seen a few Fitch videos on Youtube which go into things a lot more.

Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Richrf] #2623323
03/13/17 02:03 PM
03/13/17 02:03 PM
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Tiger22 Offline
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Graham Fitch does regular articles for Pianist Magazine and there are dozens of associated videos he does on YouTube associated with those articles (check out the Pianist Magazone channel). He also is part of an online teaching Academy called "Practising the Piano" which is still in its infancy. I would hire Graham for weekly lessons in a heartbeat but there's no way he is going to have the time for beginners like me.

I have done a 3 month subscription to Piano Career Academy and very much like what I see. It certainly complements my regular lessons with my teacher.

Re: Piano Career Academy -diary for Russian Method online course [Re: Tiger22] #2623586
03/14/17 12:20 PM
03/14/17 12:20 PM
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Richrf Offline OP
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Richrf  Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Tiger22

I have done a 3 month subscription to Piano Career Academy and very much like what I see. It certainly complements my regular lessons with my teacher.


If be very interested in hearing your comments in this thread. Let me know how things are going for you. I might be missing things that you are picking up.

Right now, I'm studying gestures more costly. I just finished a video that delves into the subject more deeply. Gestures (movements) mad are always congruent with the music sound, rhythm, and dynamics desired. The larger or more subtle movements are dictated by the creative expression. Expression is always relaxed, but not relaxed like a wet noodle. It is full of energy - but not muscular.

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