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 Post subject: Re: Get a grip ;)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 6:41 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2006 4:14 pm
Posts: 167
Location: Canada
pianolady wrote:

One more thing - my last teacher told me that much of my tendinitis and pain problems stem from playing too rigidly and holding much too much tension in my hands when I play. He showed me how that when you play anything on the piano, whether it's phrases or chords, your wrists should always be moving. Like when you come down on a chord, you shouldn't just sit there but you should move your wrist upwards. He explained to me that if you are constantly moving, then you are not as tense and therefore you are not overworking the tendons. I hope I explained that okay. I get what I'm talking about but maybe nobody else does. Oh well....my thing is to just remember all the 'good' advice when I'm actually sitting at my piano.


Your teacher is totally right. I'm so glad he is giving you good advice. It is amazing how many well-respected teachers out there are still of the old school of thought -- insisting on zero or minimal wrist and arm movement and certainly never any body movement. A very successful colleague of mine once told me that I should endeavor to move far less and sit straight up with my head centred above the back of my bum -- to imagine myself as if in a hospital bodycast that does not allow any back movement!!! Well, nothing is further from the truth when it comes to playing most effectively and with least tension.

I'll embarass you a bit, but hopefully for good reasons, by telling you that I followed the link to your Youtube videos so I could actually see you playing, Monica. I cannot tell just how padded/soft your bench is, but my suggestion would be, if you have a rock-hard bench with no padding, to switch from the padded bench to the rockhard one just for awhile. It would ensure that you are not sinking into the padding of your bench.

Take this as a nice compliment about your femininity, but to me, your position is too elegant. You seem poised very ladylike on the bench, which looks esthetically nice, but is not good if getting tendonitis due to the seating position putting strain on the wrists. You aren't a pound overweight, so your bum should not be taking up more than half of the bench's depth, unless you have a fairly small bench. I think you are sitting back too far on the bench. Instead, pull the bench out even further from the piano than it currently is, and then sit further forward on the bench. This will leave the back half of the bench entirely unoccopied if it is a large bench. It will encourage you to lean forward a bit. If you switch temporarily to a rock-hard wooden bench and play while wearing some shorts, the indents on the back of your legs from the front edge of the bench digging into them should be at least halfway up your thighs -- if anything, closer to where your thighs meet your bum than to where your thighs meet your knees. So try to have a bit less thigh on the bench than you currently do.

Hmmm..........can't think of anything else right now, but I hope that these things might help if you try them. I guess I tend to blame our childhood piano teachers for any current problems we have as pianists. I know they had the best intentions with the knowledge they had at that time though.


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 Post subject: Re: Get a grip ;)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 7:53 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2006 4:14 pm
Posts: 167
Location: Canada
Ah, geez! :shock:

I just went to my piano room to try all my own good advice above, and see that I am pretty much doing none of this stuff. How embarassing. Yep, do as I say, but not as I do.


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 Post subject: Re: Get a grip ;)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:18 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 12:38 pm
Posts: 8477
Nicole wrote:
Yep, do as I say, but not as I do.


LOL - I'm very familiar with that saying!!

And about what your friend said about sitting like in a body cast: I think you are right that we should have more freedom and move about more. But like what you just said - I also know that, but don't do it either. Neither does my piano teacher, though. He moves his wrists the way he has 'tried' to teach me, but he does not move around too much. You can see him here: http://www.youtube.com/user/adjpiano#p/u/7/QJAbUQbs5TY. I wish I could play half as well as he!

Regarding the bench (first of all - bless your heart for what you said about my weight :D ), my bench is padded but it's not that cushy. It's tufted though so maybe it looks like I'm sinking into it. And a couple years ago, I was playing with my bench pushed back farther than how you see it. I don't really know why I'm not doing that anymore. I'll have to go try it again too when I get back to the piano. But you know, I looked around my house and I don't have a single cushion-free chair. I do have another bench downstairs, but it is also padded. Oh well....

Thanks for sharing your ideas, Nicole. I'll go now and put on some shorts, move my bench back, sit on the forward edge, lean forward, move around a lot, and trill with different fingers. Did I forget anything? :)

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"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


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