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#1622442 02/17/11 09:43 PM
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I went into my lesson yesterday very prepared, and the lesson was mostly about my being not relaxed at the piano. My teacher is amazing. She wants me to put in the work, but also feel the spirit of the music, and especially to relax my wrists and shoulders. Any suggestions?

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Yes , actually. Take every measure of music in your pieces and time your breathing to it. Innnnnnnnn , Ouuuuuuuuuuuuttttt , Innnnnnnnn , Ouuuuuuttttttt , etc.

Don't hold your breath. Do that religiously ... eventually you will control your breathing for shorter or longer phrases.

Wrists need to relax by studying verrrrrrrrrryyyyyyyyyyyyy slowwwwwwwwwlllllllly. Every 4 measures I would recommend taking your hands off the piano and shaking them out then drop them again on the piano as if it's dead weight. Practice dropping your wrists away from the piano as well. It should be dead ... limp , spaghetti, but your fingers should be very strong. If your wrist is locked and tight the rest of your body will be as well. Also, make sure you drop your shoulders - You don't want them hunched.

Hope that helps. Follow the advice.

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You can program in a relaxation response with how you practice. Consciously breathe and relax shoulders/arm wrist at every bar line as you play slowly.

Because what we play is all memory based, how relaxed you play a piece is literally also practiced in and becomes part of the memory response of that piece..

Do this long enough and it will filter into all your playing.


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Get You must Relax by Edmund Jacobson.

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You need to relax in general. Chill out in real life and it will reflect in your playing.


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First check you posture so you are balanced and there is minimal tension just sitting there.

Then play a couple of measures of something you know pretty well, preferably a lyrical piece.

Then repeat it a number of times, each time focus on where in your body you sense tension and try to eliminate it. In other words play it with less and less effort. It is ok to play it softer and/or more slowly, the speed and volume can be added back later. Eventually you will find what little effort is actually needed to play.




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Originally Posted by kellypiano
I went into my lesson yesterday very prepared, and the lesson was mostly about my being not relaxed at the piano. My teacher is amazing. She wants me to put in the work, but also feel the spirit of the music, and especially to relax my wrists and shoulders. Any suggestions?


weed.

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For your arms,wrists and shoulders: Become conscious of a relaxed wrist and arm by exaggerating their motion during practice.

For your ears: Occasionally practice for just a few minutes with wrist weights. This will simulate arm weight, improve your tone and make you aware of what relaxed arm weight sounds like.


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Originally Posted by gooddog


For your ears: Occasionally practice for just a few minutes with wrist weights. This will simulate arm weight, improve your tone and make you aware of what relaxed arm weight sounds like.


Do you mean actual weights.. how many oz??

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My teacher makes me play Dohnanyi exercises to learn relaxation. There is nothing relaxing about these exercises, because they require a lot of concentration. I guess the main point is that if you don't relax as much as you can while playing these, it will hurt and you will injure yourself. I'm not entirely sure yet if it is working for relaxation, but it's certainly improving my ability to use fingers separately and in groups.

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I disagree with this whole business about relaxation while playing the piano. In my opinion this is essentially a fraud designed to attract students: relaxation implies lack of effort, and an effortless method of playing the piano is appealing to many students.

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Aha, ahhhaaa, aaaahhhhhhhaaaaa! Yeah, right.

kellypiano:

Have you ever had videos made of your playing? Does your teacher have a recording device (zoom Q3, for instance) that can offer you the unblinking eye of the camera? You need to be able to visualize what you are doing when you are tense in order to have a prayer of relieving that tension.

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Originally Posted by Andromaque
Originally Posted by gooddog

For your ears: Occasionally practice for just a few minutes with wrist weights. This will simulate arm weight, improve your tone and make you aware of what relaxed arm weight sounds like.
Do you mean actual weights.. how many oz??
I have 1/2 pound and 1 pound weights that I have used. They are elastic and slip over your hand. I got the idea from Seymour Bernstein's book "With Your Own Two Hands." The first time I did it, I was astounded at the difference in my tone. It is important to remember to use this only as a temporary practice tool just to become familiar with the feel and sound of arm weight.


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Originally Posted by gooddog
Originally Posted by Andromaque
Originally Posted by gooddog

For your ears: Occasionally practice for just a few minutes with wrist weights. This will simulate arm weight, improve your tone and make you aware of what relaxed arm weight sounds like.
Do you mean actual weights.. how many oz??
I have 1/2 pound and 1 pound weights that I have used. They are elastic and slip over your hand. I got the idea from Seymour Bernstein's book "With Your Own Two Hands." The first time I did it, I was astounded at the difference in my tone. It is important to remember to use this only as a temporary practice tool just to become familiar with the feel and sound of arm weight.


I don't think I'd describe this mostly in terms of arm-weight. It works the fingers a bit harder and gives them a different counterforce to balance, if they are to stabilise the arm. If it were about arm-weight, it would follow that it would be harder to play upon removing them- not easier. I actually find it stops me from burdening the fingers with excessive weight/downward pressure- strange as that might seem on the surface. By giving you a different balance to find between arm and finger, it wakes up the senses which allows normal balance to improve, I believe. The sheer feel of lightness upon removing them is quite incredible. Personally I use a kg, but wouldn't recommend going straight into that.

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Originally Posted by Gyro
I disagree with this whole business about relaxation while playing the piano. In my opinion this is essentially a fraud designed to attract students: relaxation implies lack of effort, and an effortless method of playing the piano is appealing to many students.
Wait.. what?

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Originally Posted by gooddog
For your arms,wrists and shoulders: Become conscious of a relaxed wrist and arm by exaggerating their motion during practice.

For your ears: Occasionally practice for just a few minutes with wrist weights. This will simulate arm weight, improve your tone and make you aware of what relaxed arm weight sounds like.


You don't need wrist weights. Just play hands separate and place the non playing hand on top of the forearm of the playing hand and put various pressure on it...

Akira #1623509 02/19/11 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Akira
Don't forget to breath.


that's a good tip, I saw actually once pianist who suffocated himself to death during long piece on stage.

Gyro #1623510 02/19/11 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Gyro
I disagree with this whole business about relaxation while playing the piano. In my opinion this is essentially a fraud designed to attract students: relaxation implies lack of effort, and an effortless method of playing the piano is appealing to many students.


Gyro I tried giving you the benefit of the doubt but you are just a troll. That or you have absolutely no concept of what pianistic technique is really about. Your quoted passage above is really just shocking..

Gyro #1623511 02/19/11 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Gyro
I disagree with this whole business about relaxation while playing the piano. In my opinion this is essentially a fraud designed to attract students: relaxation implies lack of effort, and an effortless method of playing the piano is appealing to many students.


I agree, you have to relax from time to time to allow your muscles to rest e.g. during boogie woogie Chopin octave movements but when you actually play you cannot be relaxed - this is not possible physically.

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