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Wrist Pain & Online Teaching #2852301
05/26/19 07:28 AM
05/26/19 07:28 AM
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TomInCinci Offline OP
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I'm starting to get wrist pain. It's never when I'm playing for fun, only when I'm highly stressed and trying to get through a PianoMarvel exercise. This needs to stop. I'm 62, in excellent health, and determined to keep it that way. I still don't have a teacher and this isn't really the time to begin that search. Do you think that Zoom/Skype/whatever is good enough for someone to spot what I'm doing wrong? I actually had an online teacher correct my pedaling but that was from an aural observation.

I deliberately skipped the 'why' regarding getting another teacher for regular lessons. I'm hoping to focus on the one question. I do intend to get back to regular lessons.

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Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching [Re: TomInCinci] #2852303
05/26/19 07:43 AM
05/26/19 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by TomInCinci
Do you think that Zoom/Skype/whatever is good enough for someone to spot what I'm doing wrong?

Maybe! Or why don't you give it a try and post a video here? There are many helpful people here.

Originally Posted by TomInCinci
I'm starting to get wrist pain. It's never when I'm playing for fun, only when I'm highly stressed and trying to get through a PianoMarvel exercise.

Have you tried doing these exercises as relaxed and slowly as possible? And if you have, do you still get pain?


Playing the piano is learning to create, playfully and deeply seriously, our own music in the world.
Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching [Re: TomInCinci] #2852304
05/26/19 07:47 AM
05/26/19 07:47 AM
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TomInCinci Offline OP
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No, no videos for me. Piano is a very intimate thing for me and it's hard to even play for a teacher. I only play for my own desire for self improvement. I don't expect folks to understand.

If I do them slowly enough there is no pain. It's when I'm trying to go full speed to 'pass the test' that it hurts.

Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching [Re: TomInCinci] #2852307
05/26/19 07:58 AM
05/26/19 07:58 AM
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Michael P Walsh Offline
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Hmmm. Why isn't this the time to find a teacher? From your symptoms I'd suggest there will never be a better time.
Having said that if you really have to go skype just make sure the lighting is very good along with the image quality. A few different camera angles would be nice, if that's possible with skype.

Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching [Re: TomInCinci] #2852310
05/26/19 08:06 AM
05/26/19 08:06 AM
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Usually pain from playing piano comes from repetitive motion.

If you are playing the same phrase over and over and over and over ….. in a attempt to improve it …. that is what is causing it.

If you are tensed while doing it …. that makes it even worse.

You have to stop doing that.


Don

Kawai MP11SE, Edifier R1850DB Active Bookshelf Speakers, Yamaha HS8S Powered Subwoofer, SennHeiser HD 559 Headphones, Pianoteq and numerous other VSTs
Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching [Re: dmd] #2852313
05/26/19 08:20 AM
05/26/19 08:20 AM
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TomInCinci Offline OP
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Originally Posted by dmd
Usually pain from playing piano comes from repetitive motion.

If you are playing the same phrase over and over and over and over ….. in a attempt to improve it …. that is what is causing it.

If you are tensed while doing it …. that makes it even worse.

You have to stop doing that.



This is probably it. Trying to play with any accompaniment, even a metronome, feels like someone is chasing me with a knife. I'm just one false step away from disaster.

Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching [Re: TomInCinci] #2852314
05/26/19 08:31 AM
05/26/19 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by TomInCinci


This is probably it. Trying to play with any accompaniment, even a metronome, feels like someone is chasing me with a knife. I'm just one false step away from disaster.


How long are your playing sessions ? Does the pain appear relatively quickly after you start and how long has this been going on ? I think unless you are having very long or very intense sessions, having a pain in the wrist is not usual if you have normal piano activity. So it can either be due to what dmd is saying or it could also be a particular weakness that makes you sensitive to repetitive piano playing. Its difficult to isolate the reason without some background of your practice sessions. Some people can do technical exercices without having any issue when others get some injury with much less activity. Depending on your specific case, the approach to adress the issue will be different. For sure until you know what is the problem, you would need to cut back to avoid further injury.

Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching [Re: TomInCinci] #2852317
05/26/19 08:48 AM
05/26/19 08:48 AM
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Can an online teacher help your technique? Yes, if they are a teacher that in general works on technique (some just do it naturally and arent very helpful in this regard). In a few lessons? Probably not. I say this because your post implies that this is a temporary thing vs finding an in-person teacher.

Also, your problem could be rooted in your playing teechnique in general, which would mean it could take several months to fix. Or, it could simply be you need some help in how to play fast, which could take a month or two.

Playing fast doesn’t at first appear like a problem (“if you can play it slow, you can play it fast” is a highly inaccurate statement), but in fact it comes with its own problems that every pianist needs to work out and it often has little to do with the pianist’s overall health. That is to say, it’s a normal thing to experience what is happening. For now, avoid the exercises and avoid playing tempos beyond what you can do with ease.


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Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching [Re: TomInCinci] #2852318
05/26/19 08:50 AM
05/26/19 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by TomInCinci
I'm starting to get wrist pain. It's never when I'm playing for fun, only when I'm highly stressed and trying to get through a PianoMarvel exercise. This needs to stop. I'm 62, in excellent health, and determined to keep it that way. I still don't have a teacher and this isn't really the time to begin that search. Do you think that Zoom/Skype/whatever is good enough for someone to spot what I'm doing wrong? .

Why not video yourself (just your hands & forearms, if you're self-conscious about watching "yourself" play - just view the videos dispassionately, as if they're someone else's limbs) playing 'normally' and then while doing those exercises?

You might well see what the problem is yourself - that you're tensing up when stressed with trying to get things right, for example.

Whatever you do, don't let this go on until you develop full-blown RSI, or whatever.

Incidentally, watching oneself play can be quite an eye-opener. I'd never seen myself play (from a side perspective, as opposed to looking down) until I made a video recording a few years ago for a piano website, and then noticed for the first time what my pinkys look like when I play anything other than softly and with my fingers in fairly closed position. Let's just say that I'm very glad that none of my four teachers ever tried to "correct" me on that issue (just as Horowitz's teachers didn't try to correct his unusual use of his pinkys grin) - nor even mentioned it, as I've never had any pain playing the piano, and I can play (almost) anything if I set my mind to it. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, as a sage would say.......

That's why I never (OK, almost never) critique anyone's videos on PW, or anywhere else.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching [Re: TomInCinci] #2852326
05/26/19 09:12 AM
05/26/19 09:12 AM
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Michael P Walsh Offline
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I experienced quite severe wrist pain 4 months after starting to play the piano. It took months of rest to fully recover. My arm/hand position was fine, my shoulder was not (I had previous history of bad posture long before piano). I think the tension in the shoulder spread and resulted in too much tension in the whole arm/hand. Now I'm not suggesting that the OP's problem is exactly the same, just that sometimes the cause can sometimes be a bit further removed than just fingers and wrist.

Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching [Re: TomInCinci] #2852350
05/26/19 10:58 AM
05/26/19 10:58 AM
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Some good stuff there, thanks all. I'll talk to my old Skype teacher. He's one step away from being a saint and I'd be surprised if he wouldn't give it a try.

Some background: I am remodeling a house and have been doing way more manual labor than my over three decades in an office had me accustomed to. But my wrists never hurt while doing this work. I am capable of over practicing. PianoMarvel sometimes turns me into a ten year old child who can't shut off the video game until all the monsters are slain. I am trying to limit myself to 20 minute sessions but failed again this morning... Ten years or so ago I was told that I would have arthritis (knees) for the rest of my life. I was doing an elimination diet for unrelated reasons and I found that grains seem to give me quite an inflammatory response. No grains, no arthritis symptoms. But I don't kid myself about it. The arthritis could come back.

So I would like to focus on my piano playing and see if I have any visibly bad habits before I head down the various rabbit holes of aging and a medical system that I don't trust. I'm a long way from giving up on piano but the pain is going to have to stop.

Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching [Re: Morodiene] #2852484
05/26/19 06:07 PM
05/26/19 06:07 PM
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Charles Cohen Online content
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Originally Posted by Morodiene
. . . For now, avoid the exercises and avoid playing tempos beyond what you can do with ease.


TomInCinci --

Really, you don't need more than this advice. If you can play an exercise slowly without pain, but it hurts to play it fast:

. . . Don't try to play it fast!

You're trying to "force progress" -- it won't work. You will get faster, and at age 62 (I speak from experience) it will happen gradually.

The answer to "Will a teacher (Skype or otherwise) help?" is:

. . . Try one and find out.

If you regard playing piano as a private activity (and there's nothing wrong with that!), don't be tied to what PianoMarvel _thinks_ is "typical progress". The motto in the gym is:

. . . "Do your own workout, not someone else's."


. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching [Re: Charles Cohen] #2852505
05/26/19 07:22 PM
05/26/19 07:22 PM
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TomInCinci Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Charles Cohen

If you regard playing piano as a private activity (and there's nothing wrong with that!), don't be tied to what PianoMarvel _thinks_ is "typical progress". The motto in the gym is:

. . . "Do your own workout, not someone else's."



I'm struggling to not write the long version of the story of my life here, LOL. I used to enjoy playing guitar with other people a lot. But I hate performing. I only like it with other participants. I have a good analogy but I don't think it would make it past the moderators. Anyway, at this point I don't see my dislike of performing changing. And getting everyone out of the house at this point, well, it could easily be 100% solo for me from this point on.

Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching [Re: TomInCinci] #2852510
05/26/19 07:47 PM
05/26/19 07:47 PM
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Originally Posted by TomInCinci

I'm starting to get wrist pain. It's never when I'm playing for fun, only when I'm highly stressed and trying to get through a PianoMarvel exercise. This needs to stop.


Is the "This" than needs to stop the pain, the stress or the piano marvel exercise?


Originally Posted by TomInCinci
I'm 62, in excellent health, and determined to keep it that way. I still don't have a teacher and this isn't really the time to begin that search. Do you think that Zoom/Skype/whatever is good enough for someone to spot what I'm doing wrong?
No.


Originally Posted by TomInCinci
I actually had an online teacher correct my pedaling but that was from an aural observation.

ok.

Originally Posted by TomInCinci
I deliberately skipped the 'why' regarding getting another teacher for regular lessons. I'm hoping to focus on the one question. I do intend to get back to regular lessons.

ok.

If your wrist is injured, see a doctor. If your wrist hurts when you play with tension, stop playing with tension. If you want instruction in how to learn to play without tension consistently, employ a teacher.


Learner
Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching [Re: TomInCinci] #2852529
05/26/19 09:23 PM
05/26/19 09:23 PM
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TomInCinci,
I hope you tell us how this turns out when you find an answer to your problem.

Wrist pain is a relatively common affliction for piano students. It is vital not to let this fester. Left unresolved it can end your career.

Good luck.


"the lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne." -- Chaucer.
Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching [Re: TomInCinci] #2852541
05/26/19 09:52 PM
05/26/19 09:52 PM
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I would look at stopping ''racing against the machine'' if this is what your doing with Piano Marvel.


Problems with piano are 90% psychological, the other 10% is in your head.

Kawai K8 & Kawai Novus NV10


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Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching [Re: TomInCinci] #2852761
05/27/19 01:11 PM
05/27/19 01:11 PM
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Connecticut, USA
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Originally Posted by TomInCinci
Originally Posted by dmd
Usually pain from playing piano comes from repetitive motion.

If you are playing the same phrase over and over and over and over ….. in a attempt to improve it …. that is what is causing it.

If you are tensed while doing it …. that makes it even worse.

You have to stop doing that.



This is probably it. Trying to play with any accompaniment, even a metronome, feels like someone is chasing me with a knife. I'm just one false step away from disaster.


Fixing this kind of problem requires developing a great deal of awareness. The problem is, when you feel like someone is chasing you with a knife, it can be hard to pay attention to what is actually going on in your body.

It might be worth exploring what it would take to stop feeling like you are being chased. Or, even if you are being chased, what it would take to stop running. What would happen if you just let them catch up to you? There might be some freedom there...

The more you enjoy your practicing, the more you will learn. So, stop running and try to enjoy yourself (regardless of how "fast" you are playing...).

Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching [Re: earlofmar] #2852773
05/27/19 01:29 PM
05/27/19 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by earlofmar
I would look at stopping ''racing against the machine'' if this is what your doing with Piano Marvel.

This is your first step.

Forcing speed is a recipe for tension, with pain to follow. You are playing for yourself. You don' have to play fast. Fast comes with time and experience, and without pain.


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In summer, the song sings itself. --William Carlos Williams
Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching [Re: TomInCinci] #2852834
05/27/19 04:44 PM
05/27/19 04:44 PM
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Charles Cohen Online content
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Quote
. . I used to enjoy playing guitar with other people a lot. But I hate performing. I only like it with other participants.


i understand that. It's the difference between singing in church, and singing in the church choir. Or playing in a drum circle, against performing for an audience.

The metronome (or any speed-measuring device) is a vicious taskmaster. If it becomes your "audience", you'll get tense:

. . . You'll start to hurt, and

. . . your playing will slow down.

Do the exercises at a _comfortable speed_. As you practice, your "comfortable speed" will increase. Maybe not as quickly as you want. Maybe not as much as PianoMarvel expects.

. . . But it's a "Do your own workout" situation.

A question:

. . Have you tried playing to a backing track ?

Depending on the exercise, if your DP has some built-in rhythms, try starting one up _slowly_, at a speed you can handle. You might find that having a "groove" running in the background helps -- or it might feel like somebody chasing you with a knife!<g> In which case, turn it off.


. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching [Re: Charles Cohen] #2852857
05/27/19 06:00 PM
05/27/19 06:00 PM
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TomInCinci Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Charles Cohen

A question:

. . Have you tried playing to a backing track ?

Depending on the exercise, if your DP has some built-in rhythms, try starting one up _slowly_, at a speed you can handle. You might find that having a "groove" running in the background helps -- or it might feel like somebody chasing you with a knife!<g> In which case, turn it off.



Um, the PianoMarvel exercises are mostly played to a backing track. You have full control of the tempo, which I will come back to. You only get a score at full tempo. Slowed down it only shows you the notes you missed.

I'm convinced now that I have a minor injury. I took my dogs for a 3 mile walk (anything over 2 miles means you are legally required to report the distance smile ) and my left wrist hurt every time they pulled on me. Now that I can and will remedy. It's hard to teach 2 dogs to heal but nothing compared to how hard it is to teach me piano.

I've been reading & watching a lot of recommended material (some of it sent privately, mind you). I think I can learn to play with less tension. As some of you have either said or alluded to, I need to put my ego aside and take however long it takes to get through the exercises. Forcing speed to receive some daily affirmation from a computer screen is causing me to tense up, as well as killing the joy of learning. I told myself today that I don't give a rat's behind how long it takes to get through this material or how long someone else takes to do it. I need my hands. I'm making a conscious effort to let go and relax and I'm using a timer to limit myself to 20 minutes of practice at a time. I'm still going to check into having my old Skype instructor watch me play but it's a holiday in the USA and I haven't reached out to him yet.

Last edited by TomInCinci; 05/27/19 06:01 PM.
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