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Do You Use Your Arms Or Not

Posted By: Brian Sweeney

Do You Use Your Arms Or Not - 12/12/18 12:12 AM

I’ve been playing for about a year and my teacher has been teaching me to curl my fingers, keep all my fingers on the keyboard including my thumb and use my fingers independently from each other

Unfortunately, a couple of my fingers on each hand turned numb and I have to admit, I’m not very relaxed. I don’t think it was her fault though, I had nothing better to do so I practiced as much as sixteen hours a day. I guess I was a little impulsive.

So I’ve been numb for a few months now and did a lot of research which led me to the Golandsky Institute and teacher John Bloomfield. I had my lesson yesterday in NYC and he showed me a totally different way, to use my arms and not use my fingers independently and to keep my thumbs off the keyboard. I tend to agree with him because it feels much more natural to play although I’m still incorporating into my playing and I imagine that it’s going to take a long time.

So please tell me what you all think. Do you use your arms or just your fingers? I vaguely remember reading that there’s two schools on this. Does anyone know what they are or what they’re called? Thank you all so much in advance! I just want to add that John Bloomfield was so nice and sensitive toward me. He made me feel completely at ease and I believe he is a master teacher and a monster player. Thanks again! Brian
Posted By: terminaldegree

Re: Do You Use Your Arms Or Not - 12/12/18 05:07 AM

I use all of the above, and different proportions of each, depending on the situation. You should post this somewhere other than the FAQ for the acoustic piano forum, though, as this isn't really the right place to post such a question.
Posted By: Iaroslav Vasiliev

Re: Do You Use Your Arms Or Not - 12/12/18 09:22 AM

The teachers who teach beginners to play with 'independently curled' fingers drive me nuts. It's not a school of playing, it's the abscence of it.
Posted By: IosPlayer

Re: Do You Use Your Arms Or Not - 12/12/18 10:47 AM

The two schools are Hillel and Shammai.... oops, wrong forum.

I agree, it's an unrewarding technique, but sixteen hours a day! That was probably the main cause of your problem. Still, that passion harnessed can be a great ally instead of a foe. Glad you found the right teacher,
Posted By: kms

Re: Do You Use Your Arms Or Not - 12/19/18 06:17 PM

Brian, I'm really sorry to hear about your predicament. I don't know your new teacher but I know of him and I think you made a great choice.

If you were to look beneath the skin at the muscles that operate the fingers and position the hands, you would see that they extend into the shoulder girdle. So the short answer is, absolutely, your arms play!--but the trick is to assign them a meaningful as well as minimal role.

Recently I created an ebook called Pianist's Guide to the Upper Body, and I think it will answer your question in greater detail. If you click on the link you will find the book currently being offered for free. I hope you will be able to solve your problem with numbness soon!
Posted By: Stubbie

Re: Do You Use Your Arms Or Not - 02/23/19 04:23 PM

You should post this in the Adult Beginners Forum.
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