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Is an unorthodox playing style workable? #2839517
04/15/19 01:07 PM
04/15/19 01:07 PM
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Arizona USA
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Finfan Offline OP
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I have developed a bad habit that I call "Flying Fingers". When playing/practicing I tend to raise the fingers I'm not using up off the keys. I have been attempting to correct this for a while now and it just isn't happening. If I really concentrate, move slowly, and focus on my fingering I still lift them. At this point it seems impossible to me. Part of my assignment from my teacher at this point is to work on the first Hanon exercise while keeping my fingers down and I can't seem to make it happen. I primarily want to play Blues so I don't really think I need the technical expertise that Classical requires. Is the frustration of trying to correct this really worth it?


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Re: Is an unorthodox playing style workable? [Re: Finfan] #2839527
04/15/19 01:26 PM
04/15/19 01:26 PM
Joined: Mar 2019
Posts: 374
Cheshire, UK
Cheshire Chris Offline
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Simple answer: yes. Without good fingering technique, you won’t be able to play quickly when you reach pieces that require that!


Chris

Yamaha P-515, Yamaha Reface CP.
Re: Is an unorthodox playing style workable? [Re: Finfan] #2839529
04/15/19 01:27 PM
04/15/19 01:27 PM
Joined: May 2016
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Moscow, Russia
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Iaroslav Vasiliev Online content
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Yes, it's definitely worth correcting.

The thing is that you don't need to keep your fingers down, instead you need to keep them relaxed.

Re: Is an unorthodox playing style workable? [Re: Finfan] #2839565
04/15/19 03:21 PM
04/15/19 03:21 PM
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Philadelphia, PA
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When you think you are practicing slowly, it is probably still not slow enough to correct this problem. It may help to try actually stopping on each note to allow the other fingers to relax, and not moving on until they have. The fingers will want to do their habit of raising as you play--don't worry about that, just allow them to settle before you go on. This takes a lot of patience but is well worth it.

At one point I did nothing else for a whole week. I thought this would be torturously boring, but in fact it proved to be a revelation, because losing that tension was so freeing to my hands. My teacher talked about letting the hand feel empty--no holding, pressing, or preparing for the next note, no activity, just resting on the key. I had to be ready for this exercise, though.

It helps to actually tune into the sensations of the hand and arm that we so often ignore.


1989 Baldwin R
Currently working on:​
Schubert, Op. 90 no. 2
Sinding, Frühlingsrauschen (Rustle of Spring)
Beethoven, Sonata no. 14 in C# minor (Moonlight)
Re: Is an unorthodox playing style workable? [Re: Finfan] #2839634
04/15/19 06:22 PM
04/15/19 06:22 PM
Joined: Nov 2008
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Cali
Terry Michael Online content
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Practicing in what I call ‘slow motion’ has always been of amazing benefit for me. It also gives me more time to think what I’m doing and that helps the ideas ‘gel’.

For example, today I was playing something very s l o w l y and I realized I was making two mistakes, one with timing on pedal and another in key weight in the melody line. If I were practicing this piece normal time chances are I would have caught maybe just one of the errors.


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Re: Is an unorthodox playing style workable? [Re: Finfan] #2839661
04/15/19 07:31 PM
04/15/19 07:31 PM
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Posts: 3,175
Georgia, USA
Sam S Offline

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My wife had this problem when she started about a year ago, with the flying fingers jumping up in the air. I was her teacher for awhile, until we got her a real teacher. It was totally tension related - she was concentrating so hard and trying not to make a mistake that it was reflected in her hands. During her lessons her new teacher would touch her lightly on the elbow whenever she saw her tense up. At first, they didn't get much playing done! It helped that she recognized there was a problem (it was even causing pain in her neck and back) and wanted to correct it. Gradually she learned to relax, and now she looks perfectly natural.

Sam

Re: Is an unorthodox playing style workable? [Re: Finfan] #2839681
04/15/19 08:17 PM
04/15/19 08:17 PM
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JohnSprung Offline
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Yes, definitely necessary to correct the flying finger problem. It's a symptom of tension that will do you physical harm if you don't.


-- J.S.

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Re: Is an unorthodox playing style workable? [Re: Finfan] #2839722
04/15/19 11:59 PM
04/15/19 11:59 PM
Joined: Jul 2018
Posts: 147
Detroit
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This may help...I'll describe it with finger #2 but do it for all on both hands even #5. Your pinky can do this but it'll take a while.

Step1. This is vital, work one finger at a time. Do not try this with two or more. Alternate left and right hands. Again only 1 finger at a time.

Step 2. Place your hand on the kbd. Finger #2 is touching a key but not depressing it, just touching.

Step 3. Raise your wrist till it is convex, raise it till your hand lifts off the kbd, keep going till your wrist is shoulder high, your wrist still convex, now raise it above your shoulder on up till it's above your head, still convex. Your hand is below your wrist and also above your head. This is where you should feel maximally relaxed.

Step 4. Calmly drop your arm towards the kbd your wrist relaxed and convex. As you approach the kbd realize only finger #2 will depress the key but don't flex it, twitch it, or wiggle it. Just keep going down, #2 touches the kbd keeps going, depresses the key, bottoms out while your wrist flattens out and goes from convex to concave. But not so concave that it causes stress. Then release.

Step 5. Finger #2 never actually moved, it simply went along for the ride with your wrist & arm. You put the fattest part of #2's finger pad on the key all the way to the first joint. Yes your finger is quite flat (no finger arch). Don't let your fingernails get anywhere near the key.

Repeat until you can produce a round, soft, even tone. No accents, no loudness, no harshness. Then go on to the next finger.

Do this for a week or two. You should discover the focal point for finger motion is your SHOULDER. Continue for another week or two and start doing thirds and triads. In 3 or 4 months you'll wonder how you ever had a problem. But even if it takes a half-year or a year, it's still worth it.


"the lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne." -- Chaucer.
Re: Is an unorthodox playing style workable? [Re: Finfan] #2839909
04/16/19 02:33 PM
04/16/19 02:33 PM
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Posts: 74
Left Coast of US
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Docbop Offline
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This is mainly about efficiency than technique having the finger in the read position vs having to move further to play the key. Drummers do a similar exercise called "'snap ups" to get used to bringing their stick back up to ready vs the common practice of leave the stick down after striking and having to go back up before coming down to strike again. My background as a guitarist same thing practicing like on the piano to keep fingers down not raising them and losing efficiency.

You can develop this habit and it's on that SLOW focused practice is the key, I would even suggest practicing with your eyes closed to avoid distraction.

Here's a book that Herbie Hancock recommends to people with lots of those holding finger while playing others like your teacher suggested.

Essential Finger Exercises: Piano by Ernst von Dohnanyi


https://smile.amazon.com/Essential-Finger-Exercises-Ernst-Dohnanyi/dp/1480304883/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?keywords=Essemtoa%3B+Finger+Exercises+Dohnanyi&qid=1555439407&s=books&sr=1-1-fkmr0

Last edited by Docbop; 04/16/19 02:33 PM.
Re: Is an unorthodox playing style workable? [Re: Docbop] #2839914
04/16/19 02:48 PM
04/16/19 02:48 PM
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 4,286
Florida
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Originally Posted by Docbop
This is mainly about efficiency than technique having the finger in the read position vs having to move further to play the key. Drummers do a similar exercise called "'snap ups" to get used to bringing their stick back up to ready vs the common practice of leave the stick down after striking and having to go back up before coming down to strike again. My background as a guitarist same thing practicing like on the piano to keep fingers down not raising them and losing efficiency.

You can develop this habit and it's on that SLOW focused practice is the key, I would even suggest practicing with your eyes closed to avoid distraction.

Here's a book that Herbie Hancock recommends to people with lots of those holding finger while playing others like your teacher suggested.

Essential Finger Exercises: Piano by Ernst von Dohnanyi


https://smile.amazon.com/Essential-Finger-Exercises-Ernst-Dohnanyi/dp/1480304883/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?keywords=Essemtoa%3B+Finger+Exercises+Dohnanyi&qid=1555439407&s=books&sr=1-1-fkmr0


This book is also available for free download on imslp.org


"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
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Re: Is an unorthodox playing style workable? [Re: dogperson] #2839925
04/16/19 03:38 PM
04/16/19 03:38 PM
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 2,632
In the Ozarks of Missouri
NobleHouse Offline
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In the Ozarks of Missouri
Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by Docbop
This is mainly about efficiency than technique having the finger in the read position vs having to move further to play the key. Drummers do a similar exercise called "'snap ups" to get used to bringing their stick back up to ready vs the common practice of leave the stick down after striking and having to go back up before coming down to strike again. My background as a guitarist same thing practicing like on the piano to keep fingers down not raising them and losing efficiency.

You can develop this habit and it's on that SLOW focused practice is the key, I would even suggest practicing with your eyes closed to avoid distraction.

Here's a book that Herbie Hancock recommends to people with lots of those holding finger while playing others like your teacher suggested.

Essential Finger Exercises: Piano by Ernst von Dohnanyi


https://smile.amazon.com/Essential-Finger-Exercises-Ernst-Dohnanyi/dp/1480304883/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?keywords=Essemtoa%3B+Finger+Exercises+Dohnanyi&qid=1555439407&s=books&sr=1-1-fkmr0


This book is also available for free download on imslp.org


Thanks for sharing that!


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Re: Is an unorthodox playing style workable? [Re: Finfan] #2839932
04/16/19 03:52 PM
04/16/19 03:52 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 22,807
Victoria, BC
BruceD Offline
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Just be aware that the Dohnanyi exercises, though often presented for their efficacy are not considered "inspirational" by dint of their musical content!

Example:
[Linked Image]

It takes fortitude and determination to work through the likes of these!

Regards,


BruceD
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Estonia 190
Re: Is an unorthodox playing style workable? [Re: Finfan] #2839939
04/16/19 04:13 PM
04/16/19 04:13 PM
Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 235
48-49 High Street (WI, USA)
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TheophilusCarter Offline
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Originally Posted by Finfan
I primarily want to play Blues so I don't really think I need the technical expertise that Classical requires.


So, I tend to agree with a lot of the above. Bad technique is bad technique, regardless of the style or genre of music you play, especially when you consider it may lead to injury. Moreover, I feel that technique has less variation on piano than it does on, say, guitar or bass, where classical technique can differ from rock or blues, but piano is just piano. Finally, I worry that there's a fallacy here that assumes that blues piano is simpler than classical piano. There are simple and hard tunes for both; it's all in what you want to play. Listen to Otis Spann sometime, and then tell me that you don't need serious technique! laugh

Good luck, and stay healthy ...


Decent upright bassist, aspiring decent pianist
Casio PX-160, Casio CDP-130
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Pianoteq 6 Stage (used with Pearl MalletStation)
Re: Is an unorthodox playing style workable? [Re: TheophilusCarter] #2839948
04/16/19 04:32 PM
04/16/19 04:32 PM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 5,562
Tyrone Slothrop Online content
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Originally Posted by TheophilusCarter
Bad technique is bad technique, regardless of the style or genre of music you play, especially when you consider it may lead to injury. Moreover, I feel that technique has less variation on piano than it does on, say, guitar or bass, where classical technique can differ from rock or blues, but piano is just piano.

So I've wondered about this for some months. Is piano technique, indeed, the same for all pianists? If so, why is it that it seems jazz pianists tend to use their fingers, yet classical pianists tend to use arm weight, as just an example?


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Re: Is an unorthodox playing style workable? [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2839950
04/16/19 04:36 PM
04/16/19 04:36 PM
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48-49 High Street (WI, USA)
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by TheophilusCarter
Bad technique is bad technique, regardless of the style or genre of music you play, especially when you consider it may lead to injury. Moreover, I feel that technique has less variation on piano than it does on, say, guitar or bass, where classical technique can differ from rock or blues, but piano is just piano.

So I've wondered about this for some months. Is piano technique, indeed, the same for all pianists? If so, why is it that it seems jazz pianists tend to use their fingers, yet classical pianists tend to use arm weight, as just an example?

That's the first I've heard this. I mean that literally, not rhetorically: I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm just saying I've never heard that before. smile Most of the jazz pianists I know have a strong background in classical technique as well. But then again, my personal experience isn't statistically significant ... I'd be interested to hear others chime in on this!


Decent upright bassist, aspiring decent pianist
Casio PX-160, Casio CDP-130
Roland KC-80
Pianoteq 6 Stage (used with Pearl MalletStation)
Re: Is an unorthodox playing style workable? [Re: Finfan] #2839952
04/16/19 04:39 PM
04/16/19 04:39 PM
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WeakLeftHand Offline
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I can empathize. I too have flying finger syndrome in fingers # 4 and 5. Not just that, I have flat finger disease and bendy finger jointitis too. cry cry

Re: Is an unorthodox playing style workable? [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2839986
04/16/19 07:22 PM
04/16/19 07:22 PM
Joined: Aug 2012
Posts: 4,453
Finland
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outo Offline
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Finland
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by TheophilusCarter
Bad technique is bad technique, regardless of the style or genre of music you play, especially when you consider it may lead to injury. Moreover, I feel that technique has less variation on piano than it does on, say, guitar or bass, where classical technique can differ from rock or blues, but piano is just piano.

So I've wondered about this for some months. Is piano technique, indeed, the same for all pianists?


No, it isn't. There are wonderful classical pianists who use their hands and fingers differently. What is common is efficiency and full control, but the details of their physical technique can vary significantly.

Re: Is an unorthodox playing style workable? [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2840002
04/16/19 08:53 PM
04/16/19 08:53 PM
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Reseda, California
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JohnSprung Offline
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by TheophilusCarter
Bad technique is bad technique, regardless of the style or genre of music you play, especially when you consider it may lead to injury. Moreover, I feel that technique has less variation on piano than it does on, say, guitar or bass, where classical technique can differ from rock or blues, but piano is just piano.

So I've wondered about this for some months. Is piano technique, indeed, the same for all pianists? If so, why is it that it seems jazz pianists tend to use their fingers, yet classical pianists tend to use arm weight, as just an example?


Definitely not the same for all -- look at Horowitz with the straight fingers, Gould sitting very low, Garner sitting very high -- all over the place and none like what teachers say to do.

I'm also doubtful that jazz = fingers, classical = arm weight....


-- J.S.

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Re: Is an unorthodox playing style workable? [Re: Finfan] #2840006
04/16/19 09:12 PM
04/16/19 09:12 PM
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Auckland, New Zealand
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Ted Offline
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It would be nice if orthodox, recommended technique and fingering invariably produced the finest sounds. I wish this were true, it would make playing so much easier, but unfortunately I rather think it is false, in that seemingly ungainly movements can often produce wonderful sounds obtainable in no other way, at least for any given individual.


"We shall always love the music of the masters, but they are all dead and now it's our turn." - Llewelyn Jones, my piano teacher
Re: Is an unorthodox playing style workable? [Re: Finfan] #2840064
04/17/19 05:55 AM
04/17/19 05:55 AM
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Posts: 19
Finland
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Juke Offline
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Finland
Josh Wright explains some exercises in his video that you could try:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vs2WYYOfR0

At least they have helped me with my "flying fingers" smile


Music randomizer:
http://cmajor.fi
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