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Re: interesting posting on technique & how it affected the OP [Re: DFSRN] #2777361
11/01/18 08:08 PM
11/01/18 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by DFSRN
Keystrings thanks for your response, that makes sense. My first teacher I had for 2 years, he was playing for a symphony and went on to advance his career. My current teacher of 3 years recently has me going back to easier music so I am leaning to play without stopping and getting all the counts correctly. As a novice, I do think there is value in keeping the same teacher and working with them even if the student does not agree. Novice students don't know what they don't know. Now if the student is advanced and the teacher and the student have different theoretical views, that may be an issue. However, novices , as myself, that would probably not be an issue.

The inherent problem in being a novice student is that if you are being misled or mistaught, you can't tell. The Reddit article that was the start of this thread seems to have had this component. My own experience was that I started on an instrument that is known for being technically difficult: I had played other instruments self-taught and so could get at a lot of things through ear and instinct - I was being advanced way too fast, something didn't feel right but I figured that the teacher must know what he was doing. It is possible to produce the music you want to produce that you hear in your head while straining the whole time. The "foundations" you create this way will then cause everything to collapse at some point - either that or you stop progressing. The phenomenon I wrote of earlier, which astounded AZNpiano, was at the heart of this. The first teacher and the first teaching you receive is really important. I would stress to any adult to let the teacher know that you want to get the foundations, and you want to take your time - esp. adults who did music in some other way before. Some teachers don't dare to even though it's their preference, thinking that these students will be insulted or impatient.

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Re: interesting posting on technique & how it affected the OP [Re: JohnSprung] #2777364
11/01/18 08:41 PM
11/01/18 08:41 PM
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Each student only has one body, and for many of us it isn't a body ideally suited for playing piano. Good teachers help us make the most of it. Sometimes our bodies get better as we go along and sometimes they get worse; good teachers still help us make the most of it.


I've been trying to change my signature quote for weeks.

Re: interesting posting on technique & how it affected the OP [Re: JohnSprung] #2777391
11/01/18 10:50 PM
11/01/18 10:50 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnSprung
Hmmm.... It sounds like you now disagree with the very thing you did yourself when you were a student.

High school or college? Now I'm confused by your confusion.

In high school, I was told to sit low and far.

In college, I was told to sit high and not far (not close, either), and there's a scientific explanation that went with that instruction. It was presented in a rather dogmatic way, but when then dogma is correct, it makes my previous instructor sound inane and antiquated.


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Re: interesting posting on technique & how it affected the OP [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2777658
11/02/18 11:31 PM
11/02/18 11:31 PM
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So what's the scientific explanation?

I sit low and far, and it's comfortable for me perhaps out of habit but it feels most natural, but I'm all about relieving excess tension if high and not far is better.


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Re: interesting posting on technique & how it affected the OP [Re: hello my name is] #2777958
11/04/18 03:15 AM
11/04/18 03:15 AM
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Originally Posted by hello my name is
So what's the scientific explanation?

You can find out the physics of the posture really easily. Get electronic kitchen weights, place it on a table, place your hand on your fingertips on the weights (in a position like you were playing 5 notes) and measure the arm weight. Now try sitting closer/further and higher/lower measuring the weight each time.
Also note the degree of tension in your arm and armpit in every posture.

Any guesses about the results? wink

Re: interesting posting on technique & how it affected the OP [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2777985
11/04/18 07:18 AM
11/04/18 07:18 AM
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High and near will not work for some people. Their knees won't fit under the keyboard.

They sit farther back and lean. They figure a way to sit in dynamic balance. I can post a link to a performance if you'd like.

At any rate, I suspect one factor affects all the others, so that there is a range of distances that will work for any one person, given the necessary effects on the other parts of the posture.

I don't think the scale idea can work, because it depends so much on not affecting the results yourself, but it's an interesting idea.


gotta go practice
Re: interesting posting on technique & how it affected the OP [Re: TimR] #2778077
11/04/18 01:27 PM
11/04/18 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by TimR
High and near will not work for some people. Their knees won't fit under the keyboard.

And that is the player's fault? If they have to sit back farther due to the piano's height, then they are compromising their posture. Sitting back farther and leaning into the piano CAUSED the tension that I used to play with.

The correct solution for folks who are tall and have long legs--raise the piano! Insert some slab of wood under each wheel and raise the piano by the necessary height.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
Re: interesting posting on technique & how it affected the OP [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2778138
11/04/18 04:18 PM
11/04/18 04:18 PM
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Well, look at this performer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=4&v=NV3TfpY1hRo

Ignore the unusual concert attire. There is no way her legs fit under the average piano desk. There are a number of other videos of her on youtube, mostly performing in a more popular venue context.

To me it looks like she's compensating well staying in dynamic balance.


gotta go practice
Re: interesting posting on technique & how it affected the OP [Re: TimR] #2778151
11/04/18 04:31 PM
11/04/18 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by TimR
Well, look at this performer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=4&v=NV3TfpY1hRo

Ignore the unusual concert attire. There is no way her legs fit under the average piano desk. There are a number of other videos of her on youtube, mostly performing in a more popular venue context.

To me it looks like she's compensating well staying in dynamic balance.

That's a very bad example. First off, she's wearing high heels. Hello?? Her legs will fit under the piano no problem. If you are talking about a six foot eight man with super long legs, then the only solution is to raise the piano. But, then, if you are six foot eight, your arms are probably also very long, so you wouldn't be sitting close to the piano, anyway.

Her biggest problem is that she's sitting a good two inches too low. She has the body type that's "long limbs, short spine" so she needs to sit relatively high at the piano. On the reverse, if you are "short limbs, long spine" then you need to sit lower.


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Re: interesting posting on technique & how it affected the OP [Re: TimR] #2778158
11/04/18 04:39 PM
11/04/18 04:39 PM
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Moscow, Russia
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Originally Posted by TimR
I don't think the scale idea can work, because it depends so much on not affecting the results yourself, but it's an interesting idea.

Yes, it's important to stay relaxed. In my case I repeated measurements twice with both hands and I got suprisingly consistent results.

So does sitting higher or closer help to apply more arm weight? Any bets?

Re: interesting posting on technique & how it affected the OP [Re: AZNpiano] #2778169
11/04/18 05:03 PM
11/04/18 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano

The correct solution for folks who are tall and have long legs--raise the piano! Insert some slab of wood under each wheel and raise the piano by the necessary height.


^^This.

I don't think keyboard height is consistent across pianos, is it? It might be possible to find a piano with the keyboard at the right height.


I've been trying to change my signature quote for weeks.

Re: interesting posting on technique & how it affected the OP [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2778184
11/04/18 05:27 PM
11/04/18 05:27 PM
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Sometimes you have to play whatever piano the venue has available.

I'm sure teachers have adjustable benches and probably extender pedals for small students, but do any actually adjust the piano height?


gotta go practice
Re: interesting posting on technique & how it affected the OP [Re: malkin] #2778186
11/04/18 05:30 PM
11/04/18 05:30 PM
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Orange County, CA
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Originally Posted by malkin
I don't think keyboard height is consistent across pianos, is it? It might be possible to find a piano with the keyboard at the right height.

Well, it's about 28 inches, plus or minus one inch. Grand pianos tend to be even higher than that because of the things people stuff under the wheels to prevent scratching the floor. Or if the grand piano is placed on a dolly, that will make the grand even higher.

This is why traditional piano benches are too low for grand pianos. Most people are sitting so low, they don't even realize it.


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Re: interesting posting on technique & how it affected the OP [Re: AZNpiano] #2778187
11/04/18 05:34 PM
11/04/18 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano

Her biggest problem is that she's sitting a good two inches too low. She has the body type that's "long limbs, short spine" so she needs to sit relatively high at the piano. On the reverse, if you are "short limbs, long spine" then you need to sit lower.


I'm not sure she's sitting. She's in constant motion. It looks to me like that is a compensation that works well for her, as opposed to adjusting the piano to some perfect posture. It might not work for many. It requires balance and posture at many angles.

One of my children had a teacher that insisted they sing while perfectly still and upright, that it was impossible to sing correctly while moving. Well, lots of people seem to do it well (also some play piano and sing).


gotta go practice
Re: interesting posting on technique & how it affected the OP [Re: TimR] #2778193
11/04/18 05:39 PM
11/04/18 05:39 PM
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Orange County, CA
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Originally Posted by TimR
Sometimes you have to play whatever piano the venue has available.

Most of the venues have such awful pianos, piano height is the least of my concerns.

Originally Posted by TimR
I'm sure teachers have adjustable benches and probably extender pedals for small students, but do any actually adjust the piano height?

Remember, you only need to raise the piano height if the player has VERY long legs. I have very long legs, so I raised my pianos about a half inch so I can move my legs more comfortably. And my legs do fit under most pianos of standard height. There are only two or three times where I was playing at a piano that's so low, I had to compromise my posture.

You also have to realize that, with upright pianos, the pedals are a tiny bit closer to the player, so that "legs under the piano" is not such an issue.


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Re: interesting posting on technique & how it affected the OP [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2778393
11/05/18 12:01 PM
11/05/18 12:01 PM
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Texas
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I don't think there's one "correct" posture for everyone. I play best (and with the least tension) when I'm sitting somewhat far from the keyboard, with my bench at its highest setting. (I wish Jansen benches went higher!) I don't usually lean into the piano - I sit up as straight as my spine will allow. Everybody's bodies are a little different, and the teacher is responsible for helping each student find their own correct posture.


Austin Rogers, PhD
Music Teacher in Austin, TX
Baldwin SD-10 Concert Grand "Kuroneko", Baldwin Upright, Yamaha P-255
Re: interesting posting on technique & how it affected the OP [Re: AZNpiano] #2778575
11/05/18 08:43 PM
11/05/18 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano

That's a very bad example. First off, she's wearing high heels. .


Actually high heels -- but not that high -- would be a good thing. Alas, the look just isn't me, so I use a block of 2x6 under my heel to get the pedals into the comfortable part of my range of motion.


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Re: interesting posting on technique & how it affected the OP [Re: JohnSprung] #2778616
11/06/18 02:02 AM
11/06/18 02:02 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnSprung

Garner is sitting very naturally and is relaxed, so he's fine. But we need to remember that he is playing in a particular style so we don't know what would happen if he had to play this or that Chopin Etude or something else requiring a slight adjustment.

Gould's whole body is contorted, so this is very bad. You can sit in a horribly uncomfortable, tense way and still play incredibly well, as he proves. But with that kind of posture expect pain. Unfortunately it is likely that any attempt to fix his bad habits would have ruined his playing, and he was not about to make any change that would have required time to get used to those changes.

There is a range of positions for height and distance, and over time each player will (hopefully) find the best one, usually with help.

The most important thing is an adjustable bench/chair/stool. Remember also that if what you are sitting on is too high and not adjustable, you're stuck, so you will bend over to adjust the height, horrible for posture. If you are too low you can usually use pillows or something to raise where you are sitting. As a child the bench was too low, so I put something on the bench to raise the height and then put a pillow over that.

Most of my students sit too close, but some look like they need to take a cab to get to the piano - way too far back. The most important thing is to experiment with the help of a good teacher to help you locate the distances that are best for your playing and your body.


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Re: interesting posting on technique & how it affected the OP [Re: Gary D.] #2778637
11/06/18 04:47 AM
11/06/18 04:47 AM
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Gary, I hope you don't mind that I isolated two things from your longer post.
Originally Posted by Gary D.
There is a range of positions for height and distance, and over time each player will (hopefully) find the best one, usually with help.

........The most important thing is to experiment with the help of a good teacher to help you locate the distances that are best for your playing and your body.

I feel comfortable reading the idea of finding what is right for the individual player, which the teacher guiding the student to find this. This feels right to me.

If somebody got taught "method A" (say, sitting low), discovered for himself that "method B" (say, sitting high): works better for him, you can draw two conclusions:1) that "method B" is what all students should use since A didn't work for this person, or 2) that different variables work for different people and they have to be helped to find which works for them. I think I prefer "1)".

I brought up this topic originally: namely that a student starting a new instrument needs fundamental technical guidance from the beginning rather than just being given ever more challenging pieces while he risks tying himself in knots in the process. However,I did not mean this by way of rules like "round hands" or "sit at height /distance X - as straight as possible". Rather, awareness of comfort and ease, what creates or impedes these, with a teacher's watchful eye and guidance as things develop. You shouldn't end up with what happened with the student who wrote in Reddit (quoted in the OP).

Another thought with this is that there isn't a series of formulas like you have grammar rules in language, or formulas to memorize in algebra. It all varies according to your body type, and also according to the music you are playing. You don't want rigid rules, but you also don't want a free-for-all with no guidance, just trying to make the music sound right somehow.

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