2017 was our 20th year online!

Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 3 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments.
Over 100,000 members from around the world.
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Shop our online store for music lovers
SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
 Best of Piano Buyer
(ad)
Advanced Piano Tricks
Advanced Piano Tricks
(ad)
Pianoteq
Steinway Spiro Layering
(ad)
Wessell Nickel & Gross
PianoForAll
Who's Online Now
103 members (anotherscott, An Old Square, antozez, 13bwl, apianostudent, accordeur, 36251, AlainGeneva, 27 invisible), 875 guests, and 415 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3
#511320 12/21/08 12:51 AM
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 634
500 Post Club Member
OP Offline
500 Post Club Member
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 634
I was curious about how much wrist/forearm/hand flexibility affects technique. I've always had trouble with tension, relaxation, and technique. My arms are severly unflexible, and have been long before I started playing the piano. Would more flexible arms allow me to play in a more relaxed manner? Does upper body flexibility play a part in those whose technique comes to them so easily and naturally?

Thanks


"Beauty is unbearable, drives us to despair, offering us for a minute the glimpse of an eternity that we should like to stretch out over the whole of time."

-Albert Camus,

Jim
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 8,453
8000 Post Club Member
Offline
8000 Post Club Member
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 8,453
For me, upper body suppleness (or flexibility) has a lot to do with my very best playing, when I achieve this lofty goal, that is. laugh


Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 6,163
S
6000 Post Club Member
Offline
6000 Post Club Member
S
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 6,163
Quote
Originally posted by L'echange:
Would more flexible arms allow me to play in a more relaxed manner? Does upper body flexibility play a part in those whose technique comes to them so easily and naturally?
Hi Jim,

I don't know if flexible arms alone would allow you to play in a more relaxed manner.

But in response to your second question, I consider upper-body flexibility and suppleness not just to play a part; to me, it is nothing short of fundamental! (And I mean "upper-body" in an all-encompassing way for the organic unity that goes from the waist to the fingertips).

Steven

Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 514
B
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
B
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 514
I find that flexible fingers and wrists help me a lot when playing and makes learning a little easier.

You could try taking cod liver oil tablets which improve joint suppleness and flexibility, and you should develop enough flexibility from playing the Piano alone, cod liver oil just speeds it up quite significantly.


'Its too rare to break a hand from playing the piano ... But playing Hanon as written will break your hand'

- Self proclaimed 'piano teachers' on the internet.
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 10,856
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 10,856
Cod liver oil?? In answer to your question L'echange, I'd say flexibility is the skill of allowing your 'waist to fingertips' to go back to where they were before you disturbed them. It's important because the less nervous energy your body needs to be in a 'default' posture the more nervous energy is freed up for you to operate consciously. Also you acheive a certain flow when gravity's in charge.

Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 4,534
G
4000 Post Club Member
Offline
4000 Post Club Member
G
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 4,534
In my view, this whole thing about relaxation
in the context of piano playing is completely
invalid. This thing has infected the piano
world and is now almost a fetish. Thus,
people have become obessed about if
they are relaxed enough when playing, and
this has spawned a veritable cottage industry
of related, and similarly invalid, topics:
Do I play with too much tension?; Am I
flexible enough when I play?; How do
I reduce tension when I play?; etc.
And this can evolve into the nonsensical:
How can I make my forearm more flexible?
(you can't, the forearm bone is one
solid piece); How can I make my upper
arm more flexible? (you can't, the bone
is solid); etc.

Try reading the score accurately and
then hitting all the right notes in
the right time at speed. You can't
just slump down like a blob, totally
relaxed, and expect to do this. You've
got to do old-fashioned hard work.

Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 3,288
L
3000 Post Club Member
Offline
3000 Post Club Member
L
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 3,288
Quote
Originally posted by Gyro:
In my view, this whole thing about relaxation
in the context of piano playing is completely
invalid. This thing has infected the piano
world and is now almost a fetish. Thus,
people have become obessed about if
they are relaxed enough when playing, and
this has spawned a veritable cottage industry
of related, and similarly invalid, topics:
Do I play with too much tension?; Am I
flexible enough when I play?; How do
I reduce tension when I play?; etc.
And this can evolve into the nonsensical:
How can I make my forearm more flexible?
(you can't, the forearm bone is one
solid piece); How can I make my upper
arm more flexible? (you can't, the bone
is solid); etc.

Try reading the score accurately and
then hitting all the right notes in
the right time at speed. You can't
just slump down like a blob, totally
relaxed, and expect to do this. You've
got to do old-fashioned hard work.
Staying relaxed and tension free can really improves one's playing. At least that's what I've found in my experience with playing. Would you rather be stressed and full of tension?

Matt

Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 6,248
6000 Post Club Member
Offline
6000 Post Club Member
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 6,248
Quote
Originally posted by Gyro:
In my view, this whole thing about relaxation
in the context of piano playing is completely
invalid. This thing has infected the piano
world and is now almost a fetish. Thus,
people have become obessed about if
they are relaxed enough when playing, and
this has spawned a veritable cottage industry
of related, and similarly invalid, topics:
Do I play with too much tension?; Am I
flexible enough when I play?; How do
I reduce tension when I play?; etc.
And this can evolve into the nonsensical:
How can I make my forearm more flexible?
(you can't, the forearm bone is one
solid piece); How can I make my upper
arm more flexible? (you can't, the bone
is solid); etc.

Try reading the score accurately and
then hitting all the right notes in
the right time at speed. You can't
just slump down like a blob, totally
relaxed, and expect to do this. You've
got to do old-fashioned hard work.
Sorry, Gyro. I don't agree. When I'm tense (like when I'm playing for someone else such as my teacher), I make mistakes and don't move as fast. If I play with tension a long time, I get tired and and muscles start to hurt. When I'm relaxed, I play with proper posture, (no slumping) I play well, sometimes beautifully. It's as simple as that.


Best regards,

Deborah
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 18,602
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 18,602
Relaxation taken to the extreme *can* be a problem so there is a point. Suppleness and flexibility is what we want, perhaps. No gymnast is limp like a rag doll. If you achieve total relaxation then you're in trouble.

Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,485
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,485
Quote
Originally posted by sotto voce:
And I mean "upper-body" in an all-encompassing way for the organic unity that goes from the waist to the fingertips
I agree with Steven, while the fingers are in direct contact with the keys, therefore may seem most fundamental, I think everything waist up is important.

Have you tried practicing extending your range of motion, including that of the wrist, the elbows, and shoulders? (I understand what you mean, but like Gyro stated, the arm itself is not flexible, we have to refer to joints.)

My teacher would have me do exaggerated wrist motions when practicing octaves and passages with arpeggios, just to loosen up. His philosophy was something to the effect of: the wrist is stronger and has a larger range of motion than the fingers, so why not let the wrist do more of the work. Similarly, the "arm"/shoulder has an even larger range of motion, so again, why not let it do more of the work.

When I became conscious of this, I transferred the concept to other aspects of my playing. It wasn't overnight, but eventually it had a large impact on my playing. Now I'm no Lang Lang, and I'm not suggesting you emulate him during your playing/performances, but during practice sessions, just try exaggerating your range of motion for a little bit, and see if it helps you loosen up. If you consciously do it during practice, I think eventually it will translate into your playing.

Are there any particular pieces/passages that make you tense up as you described? People might be able to suggest something for those particular instances.

Daniel


Currently working on:
-Poulenc Trois pièces
-Liszt Harmonies du Soir
-Bach/Brahms Chaconne for Left Hand
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 6,163
S
6000 Post Club Member
Offline
6000 Post Club Member
S
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 6,163
Quote
Originally posted by Gyro:
How can I make my forearm more flexible?
(you can't, the forearm bone is one
solid piece);
Gyro, if you've got one forearm bone, then things really are very different on your planet! (Or you are even more ignorant than I could have guessed.)

Steven

Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 6,248
6000 Post Club Member
Offline
6000 Post Club Member
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 6,248
Quote
Originally posted by Ridicolosamente:
Are there any particular pieces/passages that make you tense up as you described? People might be able to suggest something for those particular instances.

Daniel
Trills for me. If I tense up, they just won't go.


Best regards,

Deborah
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 8,453
8000 Post Club Member
Offline
8000 Post Club Member
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 8,453
Quote
Originally posted by Gyro:
In my view, this whole thing about relaxation
in the context of piano playing is completely
invalid. This thing has infected the piano
world and is now almost a fetish. Thus,
people have become obessed about if
they are relaxed enough when playing, and
this has spawned a veritable cottage industry
of related, and similarly invalid, topics:
Do I play with too much tension?; Am I
flexible enough when I play?; How do
I reduce tension when I play?; etc.
And this can evolve into the nonsensical:
How can I make my forearm more flexible?
(you can't, the forearm bone is one
solid piece); How can I make my upper
arm more flexible? (you can't, the bone
is solid); etc.

Try reading the score accurately and
then hitting all the right notes in
the right time at speed. You can't
just slump down like a blob, totally
relaxed, and expect to do this. You've
got to do old-fashioned hard work.
These are the recriminations of a "terminally advanced intermediate" player who never learned to do it right.


Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 6,163
S
6000 Post Club Member
Offline
6000 Post Club Member
S
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 6,163
Quote
Originally posted by Horowitzian:
These are the recriminations of a "terminally advanced intermediate" player who never learned to do it right.
And yet ... I now see the reason behind the coins-on-the-backs-of-the-hands that he's always touting: with just one forearm bone, the range of wrist rotation we take for granted wouldn't exist.

Steven

Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 8,453
8000 Post Club Member
Offline
8000 Post Club Member
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 8,453
laugh laugh

It all makes sense now... eek


Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,749
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,749
So in the end, despite all his bragging , G is anatomically deficient.


Die Krebs gehn zurucke,
Die Stockfisch bleiben dicke,
Die Karpfen viel fressen,
Die Predigt vergessen.

Die Predigt hat g'fallen.
Sie bleiben wie alle.
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 6,163
S
6000 Post Club Member
Offline
6000 Post Club Member
S
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 6,163
But I bet he drives a big car.

Steven

Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 8,453
8000 Post Club Member
Offline
8000 Post Club Member
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 8,453
laugh

[edit]

Got it. :rolleyes:


Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,749
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,749
Quote
Originally posted by sotto voce:
But I bet he drives a big car.
Made by one of the big three (who begged for a bailout).


Die Krebs gehn zurucke,
Die Stockfisch bleiben dicke,
Die Karpfen viel fressen,
Die Predigt vergessen.

Die Predigt hat g'fallen.
Sie bleiben wie alle.
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 1,043
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 1,043
Quote
Originally posted by sotto voce:

(And I mean "upper-body" in an all-encompassing way for the organic unity that goes from the waist to the fingertips).

Steven [/QB]
It actually all starts at the floor, like any other athlete. A synergistic ballet of the entire body as the playing mechanism is what drives the most effectively relaxed technique.

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3

Moderated by  Brendan, Kreisler 

Link Copied to Clipboard
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
(ad)
PianoDisc

PianoDisc
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Mason & Hamlin Pianos
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Sound editing Yamaha Clp-785
by Mama Legba - 01/18/22 06:14 PM
Bergmann expanding action brackets?
by DanS - 01/18/22 05:28 PM
Where The Rivers Go
by KenBakerMN - 01/18/22 03:50 PM
one note very flat--bad sign or no big deal?
by YTF2020 - 01/18/22 02:38 PM
1968 Bladwin Hamilton 243, worth to take a look?
by HanchenXT - 01/18/22 02:04 PM
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
What's Hot!!

Free Piano Lovers Newsletter is out now!
Piano News 2021 - 2022!
---------------------
My first professionally recorded piece
---------------------
Visit Maine, Meet Mr. Piano World
---------------------
Sell Your Piano on our world famous Piano Forums!
---------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
Forum Statistics
Forums42
Topics211,217
Posts3,161,973
Members104,067
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

Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
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 | MapleStreetMusicShop.com - Our store in Cornish Maine


© copyright 1997 - 2022 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5