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Injured student

Posted By: Brinestone

Injured student - 01/07/13 02:52 AM

One of my students broke her arm last night. frown The same student broke it a few years ago too, and it meant a two- or three-month hiatus from piano then, and when she came back, she still had a little tenderness and weakness in her hand, arm, and fingers that it took a while to overcome. *sigh* I guess accidents happen, and there's not much to be done about it.

Have you ever had a student require time off from piano because of an injury? Any advice for me?
Posted By: Minniemay

Re: Injured student - 01/07/13 02:59 AM

I had a student with a broken thumb on one hand and a broken finger on the other. We continued lessons under the direction of his physician. The thumb was worse than the finger -- surgical pin and splint -- but we were allowed to take things easy and remove the splint for playing. It was slow going, but we made good use of the time with listening activities, repertoire focused on one hand and memory and analysis.

Each situation is different. Do what you can.
Posted By: Nannerl Mozart

Re: Injured student - 01/07/13 09:07 AM

When I set foot in the chef world I cut my hands and fingers the first day in - I couldn't even play for half a week. My teacher was pretty lenient, for any very bad cuts he let me cancel lessons, we'd normally do work on other things like harmony and history (we were prepping for an exam at that time) I normally practiced with my right hand (since it had fewer cuts on it.)
Posted By: currawong

Re: Injured student - 01/07/13 10:05 AM

One of my adult students broke her right wrist rather badly in a fall. She actually had 2 months without lessons (it was difficult for her to travel, for one thing) but she played lots with her LH, worked on her music reading and theory, and when we started again she approached everything with a different sort of focus. She was very interested in ways of moving and worked rather hard on exercises. Actually, I think she's made more progress since her injury than she did before it. Trying to regain her movement, and being more aware of what she was doing gave her more focus. It's been interesting.
Posted By: Morodiene

Re: Injured student - 01/07/13 02:16 PM

I had a student who broke his LH middle finger one year playing basketball. He was a very serious piano student, so after assessing how he felt using this other fingers, I found some music he could play that had primarily 5ths in the LH, or patterns that he could play without using the middle finger. They weren't musically challenging for him, but it was better than not playing, and I frequently asked how things felt to make sure he wasn't causing more problems for himself. The next year he broke Lh 2nd finger playing football, at which point I suggested he take up golf instead.

edited to add: Sorry, forgot the 2nd part of what I was going to say. Since your student has a broken arm, I suggest doing some practice lessons working on just the one good hand. You can also work on theory, history, sight reading for that one hand, and continue work on their current rep, which you playing the substitue hand (which is actually quite fun to do).
Posted By: Lollipop

Re: Injured student - 01/07/13 03:54 PM

I've had two students with broken arms, a several broken fingers or sprains. I continued lessons with each. We worked on ear training, one-hand work, flashcards, rhythms, etc. In some cases, the cast came off sooner than the doc had initially predicted. In one case, the student's mother explained to the doc that the student was taking piano, and he had them form the cast in such a way as to give maximum finger access, and said that moving the fingers would actually be beneficial in that particular situation.

I also take this opportunity to point out that none of these injuries happened while playing piano, and that piano really is much safer than these other activities. wink
Posted By: Beth_Frances

Re: Injured student - 01/09/13 03:06 AM

I had a student chop the end off his little finger. I had him do mainly pieces that are L.H dominant playing only one hand, and a lot of scales (only need 5th finger for top note). The problem wasn't really while it was injured, but the affect once he started playing again. Now he plays with that finger really flat because he doesn't like putting pressure through it and it has become habit. Going to be very hard to undo I think!

Also had a kid break his thumb recently. He doesn't really take lessons seriously anyway so I let him take the time off unpaid until it's healed. A more serious student I would have had continue doing theory, aural etc.

I don't know if such a book exists, but it would be great it someone would compile repertoire that is arranged to be only L.H for half the book and only R.H for the other half, that teachers could use with students who have had injuries and/or to work up the less dominant hand.
Posted By: TimR

Re: Injured student - 01/09/13 04:00 AM

Originally Posted by Beth_Frances

I don't know if such a book exists, but it would be great it someone would compile repertoire that is arranged to be only L.H for half the book and only R.H for the other half, that teachers could use with students who have had injuries and/or to work up the less dominant hand.

And we should all have one of these:
for times when both hands are broken.
Posted By: Morodiene

Re: Injured student - 01/09/13 01:33 PM

That would be a great idea, Beth, but why not just have the student work on their current repertoire with the hand they can play, and the teacher can play the other with them?
Posted By: Beth_Frances

Re: Injured student - 01/10/13 01:54 AM

Ha, what on earth is that Tim?!

Yeah that works for lesson time Morodiene, but I figure it's not very fun at home practicing only one hand if it doesn't contain the melody. Might be okay for an older student but my younger ones aren't that patient!
Posted By: TimR

Re: Injured student - 01/10/13 12:52 PM

Originally Posted by Beth_Frances
Ha, what on earth is that Tim?!

Harpsichords and clavichords with a set of pedals like an organ used to be popular practice instruments back in the good old days. Bach had one.

Nobody could afford their own pipe organ, and you couldn't practice in an unheated church with no child labor around to do the pumping. (Europe was a lot colder before central heating and global warming, which is why we drink red wine at the wrong temperature today. Room temperature averaged 55 F back then.)

Of course, back in the good old days more people played pipe organ. It seems to be a dying profession, based on my experiences recently trying to hire a replacement church organist.
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