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#961574 - 12/07/06 02:05 PM Re: Questions about tight wrists/arms
olenka Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/07/06
Posts: 83
Loc: Houston
Dear Va mom,
Dear Va mom, before you spend any more money on acoustic piano, please, be advised, that this instrument is not a tool and can not be a tool for learning skills to read music notation. I would recommend for you to go to any electronic store, to buy 61 keys with MIDI keyboard under $100, place stickers on it like that:
Download free version of the song here:
Connect the keyboard and computer and watch you son's hands in action. If they still would be tensed, this is a medical problem and I rest my case.
Co-creator of 'Soft Way to Mozart' system of teaching music and piano.

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#961575 - 12/07/06 02:06 PM Re: Questions about tight wrists/arms
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10776
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Look, I have no desire or interest to be confrontational, but this is what you said about the boy's attitude:

Young boy afraid to hit the wrong key and he can't see notation either.
That sounds like an assumption, and the boy's mother has given no information that would lead to this assumption ...unless, that is, you believe that this is a constant of human behavior that applies to all children. Well, if that's what you believe, what does the professional literature in psychology have to say? You see, Monica is a trained academic psychologist. She doesn't buy it.

All I know is that you have a system of teaching that you believe in deeply. That's fine, but the rest of us need more evidence than what you offer on behalf of your own method. You argue that concert pianists unconsciously behave according to your views. This in non-science, because it is not testable. It is belief instead.

#961576 - 12/07/06 02:26 PM Re: Questions about tight wrists/arms
olenka Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/07/06
Posts: 83
Loc: Houston
What is not testable? The fact, that people can't comprehend more then 5-7 same looking objects at the same time? It is already got to all the psychology books and it is well-known proven fact. Or you think that 88 same looking piano keys and many same looking circles – music notes are not falling into this category?
I had been there, taught traditional ways, had hundreds of students ( some of them already teach in universities and performing on stage). I understand perfectly well what I am talking about. May be it makes sense to try what I offer?
It is never hurt!
Here is the story:

Brilliant Piano Virtuoso Endorses Computer System To Teach Piano After Witnessing Its Outstanding Results With His Own Daughter

"Soft Way to Mozart is the 'missing link' to traditional music education," stated the Moscow philharmonic soloist and representative of legendary Neuhaus piano school Yuri Rozum.

Yuri Rozum - world-renowned artist, a full member of the Russian National Academy of Natural Science and the President of the Yuri Rozum International Charitable Foundation - recently issued a letter of endorsement to Soft Way to Mozart, an innovative piano learning computer system. Hailed as a 'modern day music genius,' Yuri Rozum's endorsement came after being an eyewitness to how the system worked with his own child. Before using the new system, Rozum's daughter was resistant to traditional music lessons. After experiencing 'Soft Way to Mozart,' she is enthusiastically learning piano - successfully and with great pleasure.

'Soft Way to Mozart' was created in tandem by musicologist Hellene Hiner and programmer Valeri Koukhtiev in Houston, Texas in 2002. "The system works in tandem with classical approaches of music education. The program filling the lack of visual support during the first steps of acquaintance with the space of piano keys and musical notation," said Yuri Rozum a classically trained Moscow conservatory graduate in his testimony.

Many professionals from the U.S., Canada, Russia, Mexico, Spain, U.K. and other countries switched to Soft Way to Mozart after learning more about the system and getting trained and certified by system creator Hiner. "After more than twenty years of teaching, I have found no better method for teaching children to play the piano," remarked Vice Dean of the Madrid Conservatory Victoria Lopez Meseguer; another pianist - performer and piano teacher after receiving her training with Soft Way to Mozart in Houston.

"The program brilliantly uses the computer for creating the interactive learning of music as a language. By using Soft Mozart, music teachers can apply their time and energy to more complicated professional and artistic tasks during the classes of piano, theory or Solfeggio. The computer takes care of the routine development of basic skills," added Rozum.

"The majority of children are deprived of successful music study as there is little support for students in elementary classes of music schools. We are not only losing future musicians, but, above all, we are losing educated music listeners. What a loss is experienced when the beautiful world of music remains unknown to them entirely. I encourage implementation of this system in daycare centers, schools and any organizations that are related to the upbringing and cultural education of children - for more than music institutions. In addition, this system provides inestimable advantages for home music practice," concluded Rozum (www.yurirozum.com) in his letter of recommendation.
Co-creator of 'Soft Way to Mozart' system of teaching music and piano.

#961577 - 12/07/06 02:51 PM Re: Questions about tight wrists/arms
Monica K. Online   blank

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012

Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 18121
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Originally posted by olenka:
This is a rule of thumb in psychology of human perception: our vision just gives up to determine more then 5-7 similar looking objects at the same time.
Olenka, your understanding of human perception is a little distorted and out of date. The "5-7" number, I presume, is a reference to the famous channel capacity in working memory first identified by Miller. Of course, we need to define what we mean by 5-7 "objects." Psychologists now speak of "chunks," which may or may not be a single "physical object." E.g., an intermediate pianist would view a C-E-G triad as a single chunk; the beginner would see it as 3. Incidentally, the 5-7 chunk limit on channel capacity is now considered to be closer to 4.

This is actually not all that relevant to the issue of visual perception (not working memory) and what the eye is capable of attending to. Essentially, the fovea allows us to focus on only one object at a time, although we can switch among objects in the visual field very very rapidly (around the order of 10 ms).

I really don't have a great deal of interest in debating this in any more detail. Your method of instruction sounds intriguing. You say it works wonders. That could be. But if it works, I don't think it works due to the psychological processes you say it does, at least as far as I can determine from your posts here. And the glowing testimonial you reprinted hasn't convinced me of the scientific basis of the method. As piano*dad noted, testimonials are not how science progresses.

What I do find disturbing is how you make strong pronouncements about this little boy's motives and abilities, without having ever even seen him play. Particularly disturbing is your blithe statement that if your experiment with the lighted keyboard turns out as predicted, it means there is a medical problem. I find a statement like that to be unnecessarily alarming and, frankly, irresponsible.
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

#961578 - 12/07/06 03:14 PM Re: Questions about tight wrists/arms
olenka Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/07/06
Posts: 83
Loc: Houston
As English my second language I could be not clear in expressing my knowledge in words.
Let's speak numbers here
We developed a device that based on very advanced mathematical formula, which calculates every move of piano players.
There are 2 main numbers – amount of right keys and amount of time. Time is presented like in chess – every delay is building up number.
We also brought music notation on very elementary level, where all what the young beginners have to do is to match.
Even though, when students have no visual challenge and ought to concentrate only on their coordination development, the time score is larger then amount of right keys at the very first stage.
Upon this calculation and after working with students with different abilities and even disabilities, the picture how skills to play piano and read music at the same time became very clear to us in pure math numbers.
For example, if student learned a piece on piano keyboard and his time close to a perfect zero and amount of points is perfect, when you move him/her to waited key digital piano, score is going to drop at the beginning. When we take all the visual support and student is completely unprepared to play, time delay is so great, that student can't comprehend any music and struggles to build coordination.
I would be happy to share all the results of this research with educators, but they have to have a clue what am I talking about. I feel like… Bill Gates sometimes, when first computers were just invented.
Wish people make a little step forward for their own good.
Co-creator of 'Soft Way to Mozart' system of teaching music and piano.

#961579 - 12/07/06 05:30 PM Re: Questions about tight wrists/arms
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2919
Loc: UK.
I don't think that any of this has much to do with tight wrists and arms. The ability to translate notation into music on any instrument is a separate matter. There are many musicians who have tension despite being fine readers. Even those who play by ear can be tense and they have never encountered difficulty in reading music.

When I mentioned the quality of the instrument I did not mean the difference between a Kawai RX2 and a Steinway. That would be unnecessary. I was thinking of the many students who play on 'old knackers' as my tech puts it.

My guess is that this boy has just picked up bad habits. If he has played in this way for 2 years it will take time and patience to solve the problems. When he realises that he cannot play the pieces he wants to play because of these technique problems he will begin to sort it out. If you work with his teacher to address the issue he will be fine.
Pianist and piano teacher.

#961580 - 12/08/06 03:16 AM Re: Questions about tight wrists/arms
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1584
Loc: Pacific Northwest
Originally posted by VA mom:
Hi All,

I am new to this forum. I am not a piano teacher, but I am a piano player myself and am a Mom who is very involved with my 7-year-old son's piano learning. My son has taken piano lesson for 2 years. He has always had this tightness in his wrists and arms, for some reasons he is unable to relax. Also, his hand position aren't great either, it tends to be flat. My son works very hard and generally plays his repoertoires very well, but his techniques are really holding him back from advancing. It's really hard and very frustrating to feel kind of stuck.

I am seeking your advices if you have recommendations/experiences on any curriculum/exercises that will be helpful in correcting his hand position, strengthening the fingers, and helping him learn how to relax?

Thanks!! [/b]
Hi there MOM,
Glad you found this great forum, welcome!
I am a Suzuki Piano Basics teacher and the one word "basics" describes it all. At the very first lesson we teach our students to play naturally. With no tension. With good tone.
Where do you live? You can PM me if you are interested on finding a Piano Basics teacher.
You can at least observe to see if it makes sense and appeals to you and your son.
It is very easy to relax at the piano. I've had students that had very poor form and tension. It does not take long to resolve.
I hope you will find a teacher that can help.
Private Piano Teacher,
member MTNA and Piano Basics Foundation

#961581 - 12/10/06 12:04 PM Re: Questions about tight wrists/arms
dillyk Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 4
Loc: New York
As an adult student, I had the same problem for a long time, so unbeknown to my teacher, I started looking for another teacher. I took one lesson with another teacher. What I learned? I learned from this teacher that I had a good teacher already and should stay with that teacher. However, the greatest lesson came from this teacher, a former Juliard graduate. She instructed me to play a major scale. She instructed me to raise each finger as high as possible and then strike each key as hard as possible in a controlled motion. I previously played soft and had no control over the instrument. What I learned, is that it is ok to pound the keys, to abuse your instrument in order to feel power and control over the instrument (to relax). It is very important to get inside your instrument to feel comfortable. It may be that your child is shy like me and needs to understand it is ok to be forceful and loud. I tell you explore every option to get comfortable on the piano. Let him just play with his pieces or the instrument. I don't advocate buying new books. I advocate using all the resources you already have, but in new exciting, liberating ways, to listen, enjoy and have fun.

#961582 - 12/13/06 11:18 PM Re: Questions about tight wrists/arms
Surendipity Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/24/05
Posts: 129

Stress.. little kids.. fear..... argggggggg

Kids who are uptight, stressed out, tired, afraid, can become like a board during play.

First thing is to not let them know it. Infact let them indulge.

I'm a Crane and big heavy iron crane... argggggg
Forte those keys to all hell and gone....
ooooooo that felt so good.

Then I'm a tiger with claws and pawing my way through the jungle........ Rarrrr......

Now I'm a crab running along the beach.. click click click........

Now I'm a spider silently crawling along.....

And so on...

Now stand and play an elephant song... Long heavy swinging trunk........

Now stretch for the sky... swing those arms around and let out a scream and a laugh and the sound of a fire engine far away, closing in, moving away down the street.

Whoa. that was exillerating. Now lets play Jingle Bells like are fingers are made out of Jello........ and laugh our heads off.

and so on and so on...

Imagination is greater than knowledge.. Einstein

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