2017 was our 20th year online!

Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2.9 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
 Best of Piano Buyer
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
Find a Professional
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers

Advertise on Piano World

Who's Online Now
25 registered members (DionG, Bett, Fer15, Boboulus, Calavera, dng, 6 invisible), 386 guests, and 438 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Quick Links to Useful Piano & Music Resources
Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano & Music Accessories
*Live Piano Venues
*Music School Listings
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Directory/Site Map
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords & Scales
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Page 2 of 3 1 2 3
Re: NEED HELP. My finger's fallen, and it can't get up [Re: johnishere] #2911795 11/14/19 04:33 AM
Joined: May 2016
Posts: 1,419
I
Iaroslav Vasiliev Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
I
Joined: May 2016
Posts: 1,419
I read the opinion that the best hand surgeon in the USA is Dr. Scott Wolfe at the Hospital for Special Surgery.

Piano & Music Gifts & Accessories (570)
Piano accessories and music gift items, digital piano dolly, music theme party goods
Re: NEED HELP. My finger's fallen, and it can't get up [Re: johnishere] #2911796 11/14/19 04:35 AM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 2,420
C
chopin_r_us Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
C
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 2,420
Originally Posted by johnishere
Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
It may be a technic issue. My fingers don 't raise as I use 2,3,4 or 5.

You're saying when you press one finger/key, and the other fingers not move? How do you learn to do or enable that?

With a good teacher. I went through at least 6 before I fell into good hands.

Re: NEED HELP. My finger's fallen, and it can't get up [Re: johnishere] #2911815 11/14/19 06:45 AM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 2,420
C
chopin_r_us Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
C
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 2,420
Having read your longer reply you seem to be saying you cannot raise your 3rd finger at all. i.e. neither your extensor muscle or your intrinsic muscles work on that finger? If that is true what are your flexors doing during the attempt to raise - relaxed? or tense?

Re: NEED HELP. My finger's fallen, and it can't get up [Re: chopin_r_us] #2911888 11/14/19 11:10 AM
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 31
J
johnishere Offline OP
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
J
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 31
Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
Having read your longer reply you seem to be saying you cannot raise your 3rd finger at all. i.e. neither your extensor muscle or your intrinsic muscles work on that finger? If that is true what are your flexors doing during the attempt to raise - relaxed? or tense?

The muscle motor control circuitry in your body 'sort of' has two circuits like a furnace: a bulk motor control (conscious, manual, "just go ahead and lift your finger") actions, and fine motor control (the automatic actions which control things like when you hold out your hand and splay your fingers, you don't manually decide on how much muscle to activate to each finger to get them to lift and spread - your brain does it automatically).
(Flexors are relaxed; no apparent muscle imbalances.)

In my case, I can raise/extend the finger if I just stick out my hand and then decide to raise my middle finger. 'But', if I were to put my hand in the neutral position (fingers extended but relaxed) with my fingers hoovering a hair above the black keys, my middle finger is drooping about a 1/2 inch. So, if I then try to play a scale, my middle finger is just bumping into the blacks as I move my hand sideways along the keyboard; it's not raising up high enough to get past the black keys.

The brain, being as dynamic as it is, then automatically sends 'more' signal to the hand to get the middle finger to raise, which does raise the finger very slightly, but the muscles of the forearm/fingers are a common muscle group - so the more signal sent to the middle finger causes more signal to go to the other fingers. And in this example, my 4th finger starts to raise way up.... brain sends more signal since the middle finger still isn't quite high enough... 4th and 2nd fingers are now way up in the air.... you get the idea.

And at that point there is now so much signal/force/straining to get that middle finger up (the brain is doing all of this automatically) that 'all' of the fingers are tense, tight and at that point it's starting to look pretty nasty like a cerebral palsy pianist (not pretty) [sorry to all of our CP community for that example.]

Note, that this also applies to white keys because (and this is one of those things you'd normally never think about) every time you press a white key, your finger has to raise back up to get in position to press the next key. My finger will raise back up after pressing even the white key notes, but sluggishly. So, for certain passages that require wide hand spreads I wouldn't be able to raise 'and' laterally move the finger into place to where the next keypress will be. And the further you spread your fingers (as in playing thumb-pinky octaves or wide arpeggios), the more difficult it is to independently raise/control just one of your fingers at a time. The real example: It's kinda like trying to spread your fingers as wide as possible, and while holding them there try to relax 'just' your middle finger. You might be able to 'move' the middle finger, but you can't control/relax it.

Last edited by johnishere; 11/14/19 11:17 AM.
Re: NEED HELP. My finger's fallen, and it can't get up [Re: johnishere] #2911906 11/14/19 12:28 PM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 2,420
C
chopin_r_us Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
C
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 2,420
Thanks for taking the time and patience to be so clear! and I'm very sorry for your problem. Firstly, do you realize there are two different schools of thought re common key depression? Most schools retain the shape of the finger moving from the knuckle only. A small number (including myself) change the shape of the finger as the key descends - for learners I describe this as scratching. To begin with do you know which you do? Have you tried the other?

Secondly, the extensors are only 1/10 the power of the flexors (a hand transplant surgeon told me that) but they have to control the flexion of the fingers. Likewise the flexors have to control the motion of the extensors. Without these action on command the fingers would curl instantly or extend instantly (same source). Does that help you diagnose better?.

Last edited by chopin_r_us; 11/14/19 12:37 PM.
Re: NEED HELP. My finger's fallen, and it can't get up [Re: chopin_r_us] #2911926 11/14/19 01:02 PM
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 31
J
johnishere Offline OP
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
J
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 31
Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
To begin with do you know which you do? Have you tried the other?

Being somewhat of a science geek when I first started playing, I experimented with several manners of technique as it pertains to kinematics and physiometrics. I believe it correct to say that regardless of which type of motion - single joint or multi-joint - a player principally employs, that due to the variation of mechanics necessary to play any one composition you end up using both methods at some point or another. That philosophy also includes even having to use the occasional flat-fingered passage. I also like varying the physical method of playing because it helps to avoid fatiguing out from the constant same position of using only one method primarily. And also for the reason I believe that each method can color the notes differently.

In my case, I tend to use both single-joint and multi-joint. Although, if you are one who subscribes to the idea of full body resonance, then single-joint fingering better allows for [the sensation] that the sound can vibrate back through the hand, up through the arm and your body becomes an extended resonance chamber of the instrument. That is less achievable, one could argue, using the slightly less supported multi-joint, 'scratch', 'peck-and-pull' or whichever phraseology that one wants to use.

Lately, on the odd occasion that I do sit at the piano, I'm using a bit of exaggerated curve of the hand [say occasionally Martha Argerich] - since this puts the fingers in a somewhat stretched under position - which means that it's easier to try to raise the finger from that position. (As opposed to a flat hand, which means the fingers are already partially raised out straight - which means it takes even more effort to raise the finger further up and back to flat.) I guess this position would be consider "the ostrich method".... 'cause in order to press the notes you're kinda stabbing down at the keys with your finger, like an ostrich sticking his head in the sand. hahahaha

Last edited by johnishere; 11/14/19 01:09 PM.
Re: NEED HELP. My finger's fallen, and it can't get up [Re: johnishere] #2911931 11/14/19 01:11 PM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 2,420
C
chopin_r_us Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
C
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 2,420
Originally Posted by johnishere
I believe it correct to say that regardless... that due to the variation of mechanics necessary to play any one composition you end up using both methods at some point or another.
Not my experience. All the players I've viewed over a life time do one or the other. It can be had to tell which is being used if there's no visible difference. No research has been done to my knowledge to say how much intrinsic muscles vs flexors each coordination uses - scratch or ostrich. Which is much the pity.

So, you realize as you raise your finger the flexors are working to smooth the action? Are your flexors working too hard? Finger 4 due to it's peculiar extensor tendon arrangement is usually the problem.

Re: NEED HELP. My finger's fallen, and it can't get up [Re: johnishere] #2911952 11/14/19 01:58 PM
Joined: May 2016
Posts: 1,419
I
Iaroslav Vasiliev Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
I
Joined: May 2016
Posts: 1,419
Have you tried using kinesiology tape? It seems you can try using it both ways: to help your finger retain normal position and retrain proprioception or to deliberately flex it in order to make it strive to raise.

(I'm not a doctor.)

Re: NEED HELP. My finger's fallen, and it can't get up [Re: chopin_r_us] #2911957 11/14/19 02:03 PM
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 31
J
johnishere Offline OP
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
J
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 31
Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
No research has been done to my knowledge to say how much intrinsic muscles vs flexors each coordination uses - scratch or ostrich. Which is much the pity.

Thanks to technology, there have been a few (not many of any worth) dynamic MRI and EMG studies of hand motion keyboarding. Some have attempted to do a computational modelling of same. Notwithstanding the advancements in AI, don't expect a C3PO concerto anytime soon.
Originally Posted by chopin_r_us

So, you realize as you raise your finger the flexors are working to smooth the action? Are your flexors working too hard? Finger 4 due to it's peculiar extensor tendon arrangement is usually the problem.

Yes, the antagonistic muscle pair of the forearm should under normal circumstances have a natural balance and symbiosis. In my physical and sport endeavors I've always been mindful of avoid muscle imbalances and bilateral imbalances in general; same for my hands. This is important for anyone who often does heavy lifting, as the much larger and stronger flexor muscles (superficial 'and' deep) can easily dominate the hand. While I'm comfortably confident that my muscle pair is in adequate balance, "one" of the several concerns I have pertains to the palmar fascia in that hand. Just like bones and tendons get old with the rest of you, I believe that biochemical changes within the body as you age can affect secondary musculature structures such as the palmar fascia. Just like your skin can change from young and pliable to old and 'tight' and leathery as you age - I believe that the same can occur to the fascia. (Yes, I've assessed and ruled out Dupuytren's and a couple of other similar conditions.)

As said earlier, the only way to find out if the palmar fascia, or tendon sheaths are abnormal, and/or if adhesions of the superficial fascia are present (these are all very difficult to detect through ultrasound) would be to open that sucker up.... Maybe see if I can find a forearm rebuild kit on eBay and change out some bushings, gaskets or 10W30 wrist oil.

Last edited by johnishere; 11/14/19 02:08 PM.
Re: NEED HELP. My finger's fallen, and it can't get up [Re: johnishere] #2911963 11/14/19 02:10 PM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 2,420
C
chopin_r_us Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
C
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 2,420
Overuse injuries take many forms that's why I think you should see a pianist who knows before going for opening up. Fascia doesn't tend to be involved.

Re: NEED HELP. My finger's fallen, and it can't get up [Re: chopin_r_us] #2911970 11/14/19 02:42 PM
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 31
J
johnishere Offline OP
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
J
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 31
Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
Overuse injuries take many forms that's why I think you should see a pianist who knows before going for opening up. Fascia doesn't tend to be involved.

Yeah, there's where the problem comes in: After a GP, physiologist, 2 different hand surgeons, an EMG, an ultrasound and a couple of approaches of physical therapy couldn't identify the problem - my confidence is low that anyone could 'rough guess' it.. or that "exercises" can simply make it start working again.

Muscular adhesions - binding of parts of the muscle to the fascia or to the tendon sheath are very common, and methods such as IASTM ("Graston") and active release are specifically employed to address the issue. It's not a question of "if" an individual experiences adhesions - they are very common - it's more of a question "in what manner and to what extent" is the effect of the adhesions. In large (and strong) muscle groups such as the quadriceps, even a significant amount of adhesions would not prevent the muscle from moving. Normal people and athletes walk around every day with adhesions and don't even know it.

But, for smaller muscles and those which require fine motor control, even small disruptions of the fascia or tendon sheath can throw off the normal function - though again are very difficult to determine on an ultrasound/MRI (since they don't have significant density different than the surrounding normal tissue.)

Again, for the purpose in case someone finds this post in the future:
As it pertains to adhesions, another of the few possible suspects in my case pertains to adhesions which affect the nerves [neuromuscular]. An adhesion could be described as merely an accumulation of "sticky" on your muscle sticking your muscle to its fascia or tendon to its sheath. So, think of it as an adhesion would be when a piece of gum sticks two pages of a book together in one spot on the page. Now envision a similar 'metal' piece of gum which falls on one spot on a circuit board - it would 'short circuit' the electrical path. 'That' would be a neuromuscular adhesion. A short circuit of the signal that the brain is sending to the middle finger - so it never gets there or is shunted (short-circuited) with the other finger (forearm) muscles. It's a "little" exotic, though possible... and at this point there just aren't many other observable explanations other than the nerve just "died".

You'll find it 'theorized' in many sports medicine manuals that this is possible, though you may not find it as common that many a doctor has actually confirmed many cases of it.

At the end of the day, even "if" a doctor, or pianist, or whomever were to have an "idea" of what's going on - it would still be at best an educated hypothesis. I'm mentally just not at the point yet of opening up the arm 'just for kicks' at this point. Not until I at least see 'some sort of' reasonable idea at what's going on and good reason to do so. Ironically, "if" I get to the point where I've accepted that I am no longer a pianist, 'then' I'd be more willing to open up the arm since it won't matter at that point if we open it up and it ends up making it worse.

Last edited by johnishere; 11/14/19 02:50 PM.
Re: NEED HELP. My finger's fallen, and it can't get up [Re: Iaroslav Vasiliev] #2911986 11/14/19 03:44 PM
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 31
J
johnishere Offline OP
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
J
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 31
Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
I read the opinion that the best hand surgeon in the USA is Dr. Scott Wolfe at the Hospital for Special Surgery.

That's a very good reference, Iaroslav. I've looked into his bio, history and reviews - and I will put him very near the top of my list for now. Logically, there's not gonna a be a "drooping middle finger specialist" out there somewhere, so I'm not looking for a magician. Just looking for someone highly skilled, intelligent, with a good track record as that might give me the best chance at a good outcome.

Thanks a million.

P.S. Dude does have his own website. I'm not easily impressed by superficial things, so a website doesn't mean anything special. But, for a "hand doctor" to have his own website, with a ton of specialization, years of experience and a long pedigree of good outcomes ... that's kind of the equivalent of a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon for boob jobs.

Re: NEED HELP. My finger's fallen, and it can't get up [Re: johnishere] #2912153 11/14/19 11:11 PM
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 369
A
anamnesis Offline
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
A
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 369
Why are you convinced that you need to be able to "raise" the 3rd finger via the sagittal plane motion of the fingers?

Movement in the sagittal plane isn't the only way to exit (or enter for that matter) the keys. Once people start actually thinking about what needs to happen in all three planes of motion, it literally changes the game that's being played.

I'd need to think more carefully about what may be going on in your case because there is pathology going on, but just for communication's sake, I'm going to repost a couple of things I wrote on another forum to give you some background context about how differently I think about things.

Most of these I wrote awhile back, so there might be a few things I might quibble at and adjust for clarity, but I'm to lazy at the moment to check them in detail.

----

1) Piano playing is ballistic. This implies that there is a perfect timing and aiming that has to occur on every articulation. And yes, "direction" does indeed matter. It should be like a perfect game of pool, but with the stricter condition of already being aligned and primed to hit the ball the precise moment it "stops" every time. Not a split second before or after.

2.) It needs to respect motion in all three planes (triplanar motion). It requires you to learn how they interact and how to optimize them as related to the above point.

----

I have a strong intuition that I would need to more carefully verify (outside of extra pathology), that the issue of what we're really going after for the necessary ("specific" I believe to be a far better word for what we want than "independent") finger activity is actually more a neurological issue. By this, I mean it involves providing the body the exact, precise sensory information it uses to orient itself in space to specify the muscle activation we want. I'm going to simplify this to proprioception, though there is more going on.

Forces such as gravity and ground reaction forces are critical to providing this information because they give direction meaning. This point is so easy to gloss over because we lived and evolved in a world where these things are a given. Our human structure, evolved in such a way to make use of these forces to accomplish action; hence, the "design" of joints and the direction/type of muscle fibers are regulated by the responses to these forces. [Again, I'm greatly simplifying.]

In order to obtain the necessary, appropriate finger activity, the sensory context provided must be optimized for its particular situation. The state of the total joints (and muscular relationships) of the body must be in a position that is optimized for this. What people call "alignment", which is not merely a vague abstract thing, but a genuine sensory experience, is the instantiation and recognition of the contextual sensory information that provides the precise activity we want.

(For simplicity I'm not going to discuss the thumb at the moment, and I'm focusing on single note playing.)

Flexion in the sagittal plane aligned with keys (think tapping) is all you really need in terms of finger activity, but if you take a look at a relaxed hand, the plane of flexion for each finger are not at all parallel with each other or at the same "level" due to different lengths. Thus, the optimal position for precise finger activation requires tri-planar adjustment on every articulation. If you understand this point, then it becomes obvious that we can't correctly train the fingers without first training the coordinations to get them in the right spot, at the right time, with the appropriate muscle/joint states in the first place.

If people really understood how hard the last sentence can be to achieve (especially with most approaches), then they can finally start making the shift necessary to actually practice for real rather than relying on chance. The mere act of playing or doing anything at the piano to accomplish a physical task provides some initial sensory stimulus for motor learning, but there is always going to be a point of limiting returns until you update your model of "what has to happen and be felt".

-----
Response to the question:
How do you learn to develop lighter, more delicate fingers for fast pieces?

By actually setting them up to work.

They have the most control and speed when you limit their use to flexing in the sagittal plane. (Think just tapping.)

And yet, when you really think about it, that plane of motion is not where most of our work has to be. Distance on the keyboard is perpendicular to it in the frontal plane (horizontal)!

Now actually look at your hand. You're fingers have different lengths. They have different heights on the arch. Heck, the thumb sits in a radically different spot from the rest of them. (Count the joints starting from the end on the finger tips. The third joint for the fingers meet in a bridge at the main knuckles. The thumb's third joint is at the wrist.) They all sit in a different spot left-to-right as well.

Combine this with the contour of the keyboard, and is it not reasonable to suggest that we have to account for all these differences when going from one finger to the next if we want consistent control?

Now it seems obvious, but you actually have to be on "top" of a key to articulate it. This suggest that optimizing the above parameters has to happen before we articulate. The skeletal structure of the fingers has to be set up for success before they articulate.

Integrating these chains of thoughts it suggests the following:

1. Minimize if not outright get rid of the activity of the fingers in terms of their role of getting from key to key in the frontal plane so that they can actually work in the sagittal plane.

2. Optimize the activity of everything else that is involved in the frontal plane to get from key to key. These are the actions "in-between" tones and thus precede the next articulation. Thus an important end-point is to get the fingers in optimal position for leverage.

3.Optimize the timing and flow between these two parts. Timing and your speed of perception to it (and thus the reaction coordinated to it) are going to be the real rate-limiters. Every articulation (really the split-second before it) should have a perfect sense of balance from tip to chair-seat.

----

Find a trashcan and crumple up a paperball to play paper basketball.

Strategy 1: Get up from your seat and carry it over to place in.
Strategy 2: Actually shoot it in.

The perception of slow fingers outside of pathology usually comes from coordinations that effectively do the equivalent of Strategy 1 when you should have been training Strategy 2.

Strategy 2 involves inaccuracy that takes time, training, and focus to overcome and doing Strategy 1 is never, ever going to train what has to be done.

When people are first shown how Strategy 2 works at piano, they usually don't even believe it's possible, which is why it can take time to develop because it's full effect can't happen until you get get rid of any trace of Strategy 1. (Even people who making significant headway overcoming strategy 1 will continue to have eureka moments where they realize that they are still using Strategy 1. It usually ends up being stripped off in layers.)

Needing warms-ups just to obtain speed is usually symptomatic of Strategy 1. Their need is usually a strong indication of fingers habitually being used to manipulate distance at the keyboard rather than simply articulating and/or an upper arm that is being too controlled rather than free.

The real benefits of "warm-ups" are better experienced as "set-ups".

They should actually slow you down so that you can re-orient or calibrate yourself to the balance of the piano mechanism, spatial and dimensional relationships, dynamic postural balance (as opposed to static), and simply allowing to the body to find itself.

----

Also, the sagittal plane, which people are obsessed with, shouldn't be your primary reference for "power"; if anything, you're attention to it should be more towards "coming to a stop/equilibrium" or even "deceleration".

The frontal plane is really the source of power (because of the ease at which we can laterally destabilize), and transverse plane activity mediates the delivery of this power to the sagittal plane.

-----

A "glued" fourth finger is not a physical limitation that causes the underlying problem. The inability to get the fourth finger in an aligned position with correct timing (both in regards externally to the key action of the piano as well as internally to "yourself") is the problem. This is a tangible, learnable motor skill, not a structural issue that is overcome by structural development/alteration. Don't blame the inherent structure of the body for activating multiple fingers or any sort of muscular activity you don't want, when you put it a sensory state where it has no choice but to do so. Correct practicing first involves identifying the sensory states that produces the outcomes you want and then creating a replicable process that consistently reproduces them. (As well as identifying and avoiding those that you don't want.) This is independent of whatever you decide to practice.

"Flexibility" in terms of joint range of motion is not nearly often the actual issue that people think it is unless you've had long standing history of compensation and pathology. The real underlying issue comes from muscles that are perpetually "on" even in positional states where they should be ideally lengthening rather than contracting due to inappropriate compensatory activity. As I discussed somewhere else on this thread, it usually is a result of a failure or inability to "pick a side" to "transition to the other side".

"Enough stamina"

This is not an energetic issue or a cardiovascular one. I can near guarantee that anyone who complains of stamina issues is actively working against themselves because of what I discussed above. Humans have redundant ways (degrees of freedom involved in movement) of performing activities, but some of these are "emergency" options when your body has no other choice. The issue is that people constantly "live" in these emergency strategies because they never learned to appropriately deal with instability (roughly, learning how to "fall" correctly).

In any case, limitation is not a necessarily a bad thing.

"Faulty training only accentuates the muscular and neurological contributions to the habitual imbalance. Most often the faulty movement patterns are an exaggeration in one direction of a limitation in another direction." - Shirley Sahrmann

Proper motor learning will usually require people to actually become "more limited", first, because we need to remove layers of initial compensatory movement patterns that are getting in the way. Limitations are often built into our structure so that one side/segment of our body is more "aware" of where it is via proprioception so that you can freely move another side/segment. The issue is that people get "stuck" because they did not appropriately learn the correct strategy to transition to the other side so that different side/segments are able to reciprocate within their ranges of movement and alternate their roles from side to side.

Re: NEED HELP. My finger's fallen, and it can't get up [Re: anamnesis] #2912165 11/15/19 12:00 AM
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 31
J
johnishere Offline OP
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
J
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 31
Originally Posted by anamnesis
Why are you convinced that you need to be able to "raise" the 3rd finger via the sagittal plane motion of the fingers?

I appreciate all the info, and will read it... 'cause I like all info. But, in my case you can trust me when I say: finger ain't working. You'd be surprised at just how much disruption that this slight inability causes to the entire hand. It literally changes the dynamic of the rest of the entire hand - because the other muscles are automatically trying to compensate.

In the normal process of movement, your brain receives feedback from your muscles - and when you're trying to raise your finger.. and your brain is not receiving the feedback that the finger is raising, your brain continuously adjusts by sending more force to the finger control muscles... which by that point the extra force is causing the other fingers to tense up/lock up... (a sensorimotor gang bang) which then makes it very difficult to play freely with the other fingers... and all of this is happening in real time... during every sequence of notes that you're trying to play.

You can't play your next note, if your finger does not raise back up freely from the key you just pressed.

Last edited by johnishere; 11/15/19 12:06 AM.
Re: NEED HELP. My finger's fallen, and it can't get up [Re: johnishere] #2912172 11/15/19 12:36 AM
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 369
A
anamnesis Offline
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
A
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 369
Originally Posted by johnishere
Originally Posted by anamnesis
Why are you convinced that you need to be able to "raise" the 3rd finger via the sagittal plane motion of the fingers?

I appreciate all the info, and will read it... 'cause I like all info. But, in my case you can trust me when I say: finger ain't working. You'd be surprised at just how much disruption that this slight inability causes to the entire hand. It literally changes the dynamic of the rest of the entire hand - because the other muscles are automatically trying to compensate.

In the normal process of movement, your brain receives feedback from your muscles - and when you're trying to raise your finger.. and your brain is not receiving the feedback that the finger is raising, your brain continuously adjusts by sending more force to the finger control muscles... which by that point the extra force is causing the other fingers to tense up/lock up... (a sensorimotor gang bang) which then makes it very difficult to play freely with the other fingers... and all of this is happening in real time... during every sequence of notes that you're trying to play.

You can't play your next note, if your finger does not raise back up freely from the key you just pressed.


To clarify, I'm asking why you think that is the only way to get the finger up freely to escape the key. The transverse motion of the forearm allows you to laterally destabilize in the frontal plane to escape from the key.

Take your right hand. Pronate/roll over and past your thumb nail against a contact resistance (table/keys/whatever) as if winding up/loading a spring. This should lift all the fingers.[If you can, find the sweetspot when pronating right before your upperarm starts to "chicken wing"] In your right hand, wind up the the rotation to the left so that it ballistically sends it to the right and let it fall without interference. Don't control it mid-flight. The windup determines how and where it should land.

Similarly supinate it all the way to the point that your hand is palm up in supplication, but again use the wind-up in supination to launch it and let it fall to left exactly where you want it to land. (Think angry birds. Again, don't try to affect it mid-flight.)

[As an aside, re-read the above, and consider the implications with regards to dynamic/sound control. The timing of where you primarily control sound doesn't happen at articulation, but in the "wind-up/launch" that comes before it in the opposite direction. Trying to manipulate it at the moment of contact is already a split second too late and just leads to inconsistencies. ]

Trying to escape the key primarily in the sagittal plane causes far more issues, and it's not even really how we are built when you metaphorically compare it to what has to happen in gait. It's also doesn't easily relate with musical concerns because the timing relationships between articulation and the motions getting you from key to key (by exiting and entering) doesn't intuitively connect or coordinate easily.

Last edited by anamnesis; 11/15/19 12:45 AM.
Re: NEED HELP. My finger's fallen, and it can't get up [Re: anamnesis] #2912177 11/15/19 01:04 AM
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 31
J
johnishere Offline OP
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
J
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 31
Originally Posted by anamnesis

To clarify, I'm asking why you think that is the only way to get the finger up freely to escape the key. The transverse motion of the forearm allows you to laterally destabilize in the frontal plane to escape from the key.

I think that you're over-complicating your interpretation of my description.
Check this one out:
1) Put your right hand on the keyboard in a basic C scale position; hand and fingers relaxed with finger tips lightly touching the keys.
2) Now play: Thumb plays 'c', 2nd finger plays 'd', now play 'e-flat' with the 3rd finger..... How you gonna do that if your finger's not raising up to get to the black key in order to press it?

A finger being able to support itself and to raise is a normal, and very necessary part of playing piano. All my other 9 fingers can do it. All 10 'used to' be able to. But, not now.

Last edited by johnishere; 11/15/19 01:14 AM.
Re: NEED HELP. My finger's fallen, and it can't get up [Re: johnishere] #2912182 11/15/19 01:36 AM
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 369
A
anamnesis Offline
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
A
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 369
Originally Posted by johnishere
Originally Posted by anamnesis

To clarify, I'm asking why you think that is the only way to get the finger up freely to escape the key. The transverse motion of the forearm allows you to laterally destabilize in the frontal plane to escape from the key.

I think that you're over-complicating your interpretation of my description.
Check this one out:
1) Put your right hand on the keyboard in a basic C scale position; hand and fingers relaxed with finger tips lightly touching the keys.
2) Now play: Thumb plays 'c', 2nd finger plays 'd', now play 'e-flat' with the 3rd finger..... How you gonna do that if your finger's not raising up to get up and above the black key in order to press it?


1) This is already a problem, one that most people refuse to realize. When playing single notes, you can't actually get perfectly aligned behind each one with even trace "holding" of a position that doesn't commit to really being behind a finger. This isn't actually a relaxed position.

2) When you aren't affected by the problem of 1) and actually move behind each key in other planes of motions I've alluded to (you may need to visualize a transverse section of the forearm to really understand the motions going on here), then 2) isn't a problem at all.

-------------

The fact that I see 1) as a problem and that most people probably don't, should tell you that how I think playing occurs is quite different. You're forcing stability that you haven't earned, and you've reduced the degrees of freedom available to you that you actually need. Without those degrees of freedom, you won't be able to get over the black keys. It's like trying someone trying to get from Europe to the Americas by land and sea, and having no idea that air travel was available.

[Take two pens together in your right hand, parallel to the keys, with one being more left and another being more right. While make contact with the D with the left most pen, roll to it left, but again with a sense of wind up, while noticing that the right most pen has to concomitantly go up. Pay attention both to the left end rotating with contact and the rising of the right end so you can control where the right end falls to the right on top of the Eb.]

Many people re-training from injury end up having to obliterate any trace sense of 1) because it gets in the way. It's a common problem that is unfortunately ingrained due to many beginner pedagogic approaches.

In efficient gait, you're swing leg doesn't support itself. The collateral leg making contact with the ground does. We take advantage of alternating lateral instability and stability.


Last edited by anamnesis; 11/15/19 01:42 AM.
Re: NEED HELP. My finger's fallen, and it can't get up [Re: johnishere] #2912185 11/15/19 01:51 AM
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,511
J
Jethro Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
J
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,511
Originally Posted by johnishere
Hey family, I need some help.

Maybe someone here has in their piano travels run across a name of a world renowned hand injury specialist (or equivalent) - in this case a piano player's hand injury. (?) I'm at the point where I might be willing to travel anywhere in the country to get a hand injury resolved. (I believe I recall maybe 20 years ago there was an old German classical pianist/teacher who specialized in pianist injury & injury prevention technique. Even "if" she's still alive, I can't seem to dig up who she was.) Any references or links to another forum which might have some folk who might have some references is greatly appreciated. At this point, piano career is over... But I guess I'm still compelled to give this one last try.

Thanks in advance for any help.

BACKGROUND (in case you're curious): Issue began in 2014. This might be a repetitive stress injury, but cause is unknown. Middle finger on right hand droops about a half-inch below the neutral position [fingers extended but relaxed] of the fingers, and has difficulty raising on it's own (quasi-autonomically).
Quasi-autonomically, in this context meaning for example when you press keys on the piano keyboard with your 2nd, 4th or 5th fingers - your other finger (in this case the 3rd finger will automatically slightly raise on it's own. You could call this peripheral compensation. But in my case, the finger does not raise at all in that context - and as such when playing scales for example the finger jumps bumps along all the black keys.

I've already run the gamut of doctors: GP, physiologist, EMG, hand surgeon (consult), hand surgeon #2, ultrasound [retinaculum appears normal], physical therapy, active release... No answer, no result.

Hi Johnishere,

Sorry missed your post I thought it was one of these joke threads.

I read over your posts with some interest. These kind of problems can be result in these types of medical wild goose chases. They are looking at the level of the musculoskeletal system- the fascia, adhesions, joint mobility, etc.- possibly in all the wrong places. Your brain is working well so I wouldn't worry about any fine motor control issues. There are two places that can a paresis like this: either at the cervical spine (the C7 myotome) or a peripheral nerve. I'm assuming you don't have numbness or tingling (paresthesias) shooting down your arm or would have reported that by now. So I think it's coming from a peripheral nerve.

You most likely have posterior interosseous nerve entrapment. This is the nerve that enervates the extensor digitorum communis the muscle group that extends the fingers. You've heard of drop foot? Well I think you have drop finger. You can get posterior interosseous nerve entrapment from blunt force trauma to the proximal dorsal surface of your forearm BUT there is another common way to get this syndrome- through long term repeated supination/pronation of the forearm/wrist with the wrist extended. Supination pronation is the rolling we do with our forearms when we play music that requires rolling between fingers 1 and 4/5. If you play with your wrists higher than your fingers as some professionals do I can see this happening. The nerve gets entrapped in the supinator muscle of the forearm. Most patients I have seen have far worse symptoms that involve weakness with wrist extension as well. Perhaps a branch of the posterior interosseous nerve is involved in your case only. Normal treatment is too rest, wear a brace, perform radial nerve glides, and in some cases inject cortisone proximal to the supinator muscle. Yours may be long term and might have caused permanent nerve damage (not serious overall but affecting your piano playing). Perhaps the EMG missed this.

Anyway talk to a neurologist and work with a therapist who can teach you radial nerve glides. Good luck.


Working on:

Bach/Busoni Chaconne in D minor BWV 1004
Chopin: G Minor Ballade
Schumann/Liszt Widmung

Shigeru Kawai SK2
Kawai VPC-1
Re: NEED HELP. My finger's fallen, and it can't get up [Re: Jethro] #2912396 11/15/19 12:22 PM
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 31
J
johnishere Offline OP
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
J
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 31
Originally Posted by Jethro
Hi Johnishere,
These kind of problems can be result in these types of medical wild goose chases. They are looking at the level of the musculoskeletal system- the fascia, adhesions, joint mobility, etc.- possibly in all the wrong places. I'm assuming you don't have numbness or tingling (paresthesias) shooting down your arm or would have reported that by now. So I think it's coming from a peripheral nerve.

You most likely have posterior interosseous nerve entrapment.

Perhaps a branch of the posterior interosseous nerve is involved in your case only. Normal treatment is too rest, wear a brace, perform radial nerve glides, and in some cases inject cortisone proximal to the supinator muscle. Yours may be long term and might have caused permanent nerve damage (not serious overall but affecting your piano playing). Perhaps the EMG missed this.


Thank you a million times for your time and insights, those are excellent assessments.
I have a question for you at the end of this post. I'm posting the next few paragraphs for posterity, but you can skip to the question at the end if you like.
-----------------------------------------------------------------

1) You're correct, Jethro - no numbness/tingling or any other indication of total nerve compromise.

2) Correct again, that very often a practitioner is looking superficially. Albeit, the human body is a fantastically complex machine - so I can cut 'some' slack in 'some' cases to a practitioner who is trying to figure out what the heck is going on. (I do tend to be, however, somewhat critical of western medicine approaches which too often are premised upon 'treat the symptoms', and not enough time spent understanding the 'root cause'.)

3) As you can imagine, I've replayed in my mind the entire time period as far back as an entire year before these symptoms started - analyzing for any clues. The interosseous muscle/nerve complex 'is' on my mental list of potential suspects for the reason that near the time that the symptoms started, I was spending quite a bit of time working on certain passages that involve reasonably wide finger spreads (wide and moving arpeggios). So, yes - you're are on track with that possibility also.

Spending much time working those passages means somewhat significant amounts of time that the interosseous muscles are being worked; that the fingers are continuously spread wide. Trying from memory, I wasn't able to recall that I had any particular fatigue from that specific work (I'm pretty certain that there wasn't any fatigue) - but, 'no presence of fatigue' doesn't rule out the possibility.

4) I agree that the EMG may have missed something. I've always had a low confidence in electro studies for 'this' type of paresis (though they are otherwise generally useful). If the whole of your hand is not moving, logically it would be very easy to assess if there is zero nerve conduction. But, with a slight paresis, or a fine motor control issue, or nerve 'branch' issue - you would need an 'extremely' high-resolution, or 'extremely' narrow-band filter, or 'extremely' precise probe placement to get an accurate assessment. Otherwise, as long as any reasonable amount of conduction is present a practitioner will likely assess the readings as relatively normal nerve conduction.

5) Lastly, I am sad-nervous that after this much time has passed (4 years now) without any change, that this may be a permanent affliction; that there may have been permanent damage. I did include neural glides (r,u & m just to be complete), along with (in progressive order):

a) cold/heat
b) massage
c) physical therapy (stretching, exercises, neural glides, etc.)
d) 3rd finger splint with 10 - 20 degree positive deflection (for stretching purposes to reduce the antagonist tension of the flexors, and to traction the extensor)
e) accupressure
f) myofascial release
g) active release*
h) IASTM (Graston)*
i) Most aggresive of all: Jedi mind meditation to gain Jedi control of the finger. (or let's just call it "meditation"; mind-body connection exercises.
[Coincidentally, I also ran a course of prednisone during this time period (asthma), which would've helped at least somewhat to determine if there was any hand improvement from the reduction of systemic inflammation, 'if' any was present. There was no perceptible improvement with the finger.]
[* Note: Due to the extremely intricate layout of the forearm musclulature, it is very difficult (in some regards not possible) to fully manipulate individual muscles/tendons.]
---------------------------------------------------------------

QUESTION: Jethro, you sound like you may have some clinical experience. As rare as this may be, have you ever run across a situation of "short-circuited" nerve conduction? (I believe I recall running across that scenario in the textbooks way back when, but I personally have not ever come across an actual case of this.) As mentioned in one of my previous posts, this would be a situation of an adhesion within the muscle or fascia which short-circuits the nerve conduction. This short-circuiting could either a) cause nerve signals to go to an adjacent muscle or muscle area, b) could shunt the intended muscle target (cause it to not activate), c) or both.

Here's the back history: The way that my condition manifested firstly, I was noticing that my 4th finger was raising pretty high as I pressed down my 3rd finger on a certain passage (of arpeggios). I've always had excellent finger independence, so I figured I had just gotten into a bad habit of some sort over time without realizing it. Figured I just needed to "focus" and practice better. However, from the first time I noticed that anomaly, it was over the course of about the next 4 months that the 3rd finger slowly got to the point of full compromise where it still is today - and it was then obvious that the 3rd finger extensor paresis was the main problem, not 'bad technique'.

BUT, I wouldn't confidently make that a conclusively assessment, because as it turns out "anytime" you strain to lift one of your fingers, the adjacent fingers may engage (raise up)/overcompensate [the whole sensorimotor/biofeedback mechanism].
[I eventually realized that my 2nd finger was also raising too high (when playing passages in the other direction) because it was also overcompensating and raising too high when the 3rd finger wouldn't raise.]

Determination of short-circuiting:
Initially this seemed at least somewhat as a plausible, though exotic, possibility. But, due to the fact that the 2nd finger 'also' (just like the 4th finger) exhibits the same sensorimotor peripheral finger activation when the 3rd finger won't raise , I am ranking this possibility as "low" on the list of likely causes.

Thanks a million again for your time and input.

Last edited by johnishere; 11/15/19 12:30 PM.
Re: NEED HELP. My finger's fallen, and it can't get up [Re: johnishere] #2912412 11/15/19 12:54 PM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 2,420
C
chopin_r_us Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
C
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 2,420
Are you aware you fit the classic 'dystonic' type? Shouting it, in fact, all over this thread!

Page 2 of 3 1 2 3

Moderated by  Brendan, Kreisler 

What's Hot!!
News from the Piano World
Our January 2020 Newsletter Available Online Now...
Free Piano Newsletter
----------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
Shop our Store for Music Lovers!
(ad)
Pianoteq
PianoTeq Free Trial
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
New Topics - Multiple Forums
How do I start teaching piano?
by Classical Lover - 02/22/20 02:00 AM
Kawaik500 price
by Morgrob - 02/21/20 10:30 PM
When to practice with pedal?
by baudelairepianist - 02/21/20 09:12 PM
Pure 12th aural tuning sequence
by TimM_980 - 02/21/20 08:41 PM
YUYS5 TA2 vs GC1 TA2
by SNkeys - 02/21/20 07:33 PM
Forum Statistics
Forums41
Topics197,111
Posts2,928,476
Members96,066
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers


Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers


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

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter |


copyright 1997 - 2019 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.3