As a child learning the piano I had always been asked to 'curve my fingers' from the beginning, which was in the teacher's definition, having a fixed position of the hand where the midsection of fingers are constantly bent. Thus I played from the nails. Given the casual nature of my education and my general antipathy to piano during my teenage years, I had never questioned this (and neither did my teacher!) for it seemed efficient and simple enough for ABRSM piano literature (before grade 8). I did feel rather tensed up most of the time, but nothing that really felt like a technical hinderance, other than things like trills and ornaments which could be flubbed (did not really care about musical considerations). However, problems started to arise when I regained interest in music and moved on to slightly more difficult things, where my fingers did not seem to be as consistently rapid as I willed them to be. The constant tension of the fingers seemed now to restrict my movements, causing frequent slips and a rather poor mileage out of practice sessions (when it came to things like gradually increasing the playing speed of such a piece whose notes are already known). Examples include intermediate literature like the last movement of the Pathetique Sonata, the lead up to the B section in Debussy's First Arabesque, and the stretto of the Chopin Nocturne Op.55 No. 1, where I could not reach the desired tempo without compromising on musical considerations or consistency. Recently, an acquaintance of mine, who had already gotten an FTCL diploma, commented on the above while we were trying out a 8-handed piece with a few others, saying that such bracing created tension at the back of the hand and was all-around limiting. She advised relaxation of the forearm, a concentration of 'weight' on the wrist, and using the fingers in such a way that there was a straightened finger from the knuckle to the key during an attack, in effect playing from firm fingertips, falling down due to gravity. All of this tension-relaxation stuff was rather baffling and revelatory at the same time to me, since no one had ever told me about this before, nor had I paid much attention to it! And now I'm wondering what to do with the piano, with regards to changing the way I had played the piano for 13+ years. Has anyone undergone this phase before, from bracing to the above method of playing? Are there any tips for me to make the transition easier? Or is bracing actually 'okay', with the difficulties I feel able to be overcome with time? (thought this originally, but it seems rather unlikely now).