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Joined: Oct 2021
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C
Joined: Oct 2021
Posts: 8
Hi there.

I am practicing for my grade 8 exam and I am really having difficulty adjusting to my teacher's piano which has a lighter action than my piano at home. I thought heavier action makes lighter action easier to play.

Not sure what is wrong. When I practice at home it's all fine. I tried playing on heavier weights piano in stores and no issues. Unfortunately, this is not the case for lighter action piano - It is awful when I play on lighter action pianos especially for fast pieces. Does anyone here have the same problem as me? What did you do to overcome it? The awful playing is hindering my lesson progress. Every week I go there to be picked at for wrong dynamics when I am fully aware of the right dynamics and try my best not to get it wrong on my teacher's piano.

This is what I think is happening.
For slower pieces the beginning is always a little off but after 2 bars my hands figure out the force balance and the rest of the piece will be okay. But for fast pieces, with all the running notes and dynamics, there is not enough time to find the right balance??!!!


I don't always pick the right words when I speak. That's why I love music. I never have to worry about picking the right words with music.
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Ask your teacher if you can start with a few scales and arpeggio runs to warm up and adapt to the piano.

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I think that most pianists, even at the highest level, have this problem to some degree. It is not true that practicing on a normal or somewhat heavy action makes a lighter action easier to play. Playing on a heavy action, assuming it's not unreasonably heavy, might build up a little finger strength or endurance. Practicing on a piano whose touch is much lighter or much heavier than your lesson piano will not help playing on the lesson piano.

I remember practicing the score of some musical on a pretty heavy M&H(the actions at the beginning of the Burgett era Masons were quite heavy) and then going to the rehearsal that used a Clavinova. For the first 15 minutes to half hour I couldn't control the keys at all. I compare it to going from an old normal typewriter to an electric typewriter with its much lighter touch.

You should discuss this with your teacher. It's possible that a few minutes of playing before the lesson will be enough to adjust to the action, but that may not be enough although it should help some. Practicing on lighter actioned pianos can help, but that's not a realistic possibility for many.

It's possible that with more general experience and with more experience on your teacher's piano, you will find it easier and easier to adjust to that piano. For example, my problem on the Clavinova mentioned above only occurred during the first rehearsal on the instrument even though I was still practicing on the much heavier M&H in between rehearsals.

How long have you been taking lessons on this teacher's piano?

Last edited by pianoloverus; 10/26/21 12:59 PM.
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I practiced on a piano with very heavy action for four decades. I negatively adapted to the heavier key resistance by playing with hand tension and by muscling my way through pieces. I had no idea I was doing this until I played on other pianos. On the plus side, it made my hands strong. On the negative side, it slowed me down, made my tone harsh and gave me less dynamic control. It took me a long time to overcome that tension but it made a huge difference in my playing and now I avoid pianos with heavy action. If tension is the cause of your distress I suggest you talk to your teacher about it.


Best regards,

Deborah
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If you can afford it, buy a small touch-sensitive keyboard or controller with light action, for instance Swissonic EasyKey 49, and start practising on it for some time. You'll learn to adapt.

I have a VPC1 which is a heavy controller, and during my holiday I brought the Swissonic. In the beginning it all sounded horrific, and I thought I would only use it to practise the correct finger on the correct key at the correct time for a new piece, and forget about the dynamics. But after a week or so, I noticed that I started to get some control, and eventually I could play with dynamics. Not as well as on my VPC1 obviously, but much better than I had expected.


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