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The craft of piano playing

Discussion in 'Technique' started by Anonymous, Dec 27, 2006.

  1. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Hi all!

    Have you ever read this book?If you have, the dvd version was released a month ago, so i thought you might find it interesting.
    Here is the link:

    http://maplegroveproductions.com
     
  2. robert

    robert New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Havn't read it but a sentence on the site caught my interest. "...replaces both tension and over-relaxation with effective hand activation..."

    Everyone else preaches how you should be perfectly relaxed but this has never really worked for me. Once I really try to relax my hands, shoulders, arms while keeping my fingers stiff, my playing get sloppy and I make more slips. When I do not relax that much and even phase lock the wrist for trilling really fast or make short but very fast runs, I get a much better result. Yes, I get more tired and one should not do that but for very short moments but from what I have been taught, one should never be tired in the arms from piano playing or one is doing something wrong.

    I believe this is a misunderstanding originating from that one should never feel pain. But there is quite some difference between being tired and feel pain. I believe that when pushing the limits, really powering up in your entire body is not wrong while there are many ways to do this wrong.

    I actually outrange my piano teacher (who has been a eurpoean touring concert pianist) in the speed of trills with my method. I am faster and can even keep the trills more consistant and also keep the speed up for a longer time. However, that is the only thing I am doing better than him ;).

    But back to subject. It seems like Alan Fraser is addressing this issue and it could be interesting to watch. But the speed when trying to download the 88 MB demo is ridicolous low. In 1 hour, it will be on my hard drive (I have 24 Mbit/s so it is not because of me).
     
  3. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Thanks for the perceptive comments about effective activation. As for the slow download rate, I am afraid it might be due to our location in Serbia, however we are looking into it and have some new solutions in the works!
     
  4. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

  5. PJF

    PJF New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Agreed, coordination should be the technical aim. I've gotten into my fair share of arguments with teachers who advocate extreme relaxation. Motion is impossible without some tension somewhere. The problem most people have is holding simultaneous tensions in opposing muscle groups, this creates an enormous amount of friction. Often times, pianists become overly concerned, obsessed even, with downward motions while completely ignoring the fact that there must be a finely tuned mechanism in place to release the finger from the key. Developing that release mechanism is an art in itself. Letting your fingers ease up with the keys instead of actively lifting them will put you on the right track.

    Pete
     
  6. juufa72

    juufa72 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    looks like an interesting DVD. I can't counter with any ideas which point out "flaws" with the demo because my technique is not the greatest. What I can say is that with the short clip on octave-ing was wild. That was extremely fast.
     
  7. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I wonder if he has any thoughts of "curing" tendonitis. I've been told you can't.
    I liked the concepts in this video and may purchase it. Except maybe my new piano teacher will teach me the same things, so I better wait.
     
  8. rachmaninoff

    rachmaninoff New Member Piano Society Artist

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    haha yeah thoses octaves where extremely cool I think it's a interesting dvd but don't have any money on this moment to buy it :roll:
     
  9. robert

    robert New Member Piano Society Artist

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    I looked through the demo and everything he says makes sense to me and fits pretty well with what my piano teacher points out to me when there are flaws in my technique. I especially have a problem with relaxation as my hands often collapses when I try to do that. My teacher puts it "Your arms should feel like spagetthi...and your fingers like steel".
     
  10. MindenBlues

    MindenBlues New Member Piano Society Artist

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    What I have read and watched so far sounds very interesting to me too. Will read more later on.

    It is so easy to say "Relax"! This will also not work this way. Because relaxing can't be demanded. I read somewhere, better replace the word "relax" by "release". It is because what we need to do to relax is to UNDO something instead active DO something. That is the important thing.

    It can be that in my case normally my hands and shoulders are relaxed while playing piano. However, I get voice lessons and constantly my voice trainer have to remind me to release tensions in the throut, neck and everywhere. It is soooooo difficult to relax if someone demands to "execute" relaxing...

    Sorry for coming off topic.
     
  11. Anonymous

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    Tendonitis certainly CAN be cured, once you address the root cause, which is an improper use of self and especially of structure and function. As for the DVD, it costs less than half what a single private lesson with Prof. Fraser costs, but is worth literally dozens of lessons - don't wait!
     
  12. juufa72

    juufa72 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    I sat at the keyboard placed my 5th finger (right hand) on a D# and tried to stretch my 3rd finger one octave below to a D#. I could not; I can barely stretch a 7th using this technique. It is because my 5th finger (on both hands) is small-- 2&1/4" long (5.7cm) at the base to tip. I believe that to use this technique, or many of the lessons shown, you are better off with longer fingers.

    I'll sit this DVD out and wait for one to come out which targets small hands and small hands only.
     
  13. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I appreciate your enthusiasm for this man and his teachings. I need a master teacher to watch me play and show me one-on-one how to correct my bad habits. I'm still interested in the video and may purchase it someday. It can't hurt to hear advice from two different teachers.
     
  14. robert

    robert New Member Piano Society Artist

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    I think the DVD has a chapter addressing small hands. I tried and I could reach on octave that way, but not comfortable and I believe it is just an example. I also can reach an octave with any finger combination of the thumb and both 2-5 and 3-5 on white keys. Heck, now when I try, I can reach an octave with any finger combination but for 4-5 and 3-4 (yes I reach with 2-3).
     
  15. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    I believe joca_hdj is Alan Fraser. Either that, or he's got shares in Mr. Fraser's business :wink:
     
  16. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    [quote="robert]Heck, now when I try, I can reach an octave with any finger combination but for 4-5 and 3-4 (yes I reach with 2-3).[/quote]
    I'm sorry, but you'll have to post a picture of that, reaching an octave with 2-3. That sounds outrageous, you must have hands like the Rach :shock:

    Actually I can do an octave with 4-5. But I can't take a picture of that for obvious reasons :lol:
     
  17. Anonymous

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    I showed your posts to Alan Fraser himself, and here is his personal reply:

    That is the MAIN COMPLAINT I have from viewers of the DVD: they all ask when will I do one for a small hand? But you all MISS THE POINT! I show very clearly in the video that these techniques will increase the functionality and capability of ANY hand, and ESPECIALLY a small hand. If you do what I show on the DVD, your hand will cease to feel small, will cease to behave like a small hand. "Small hand" is ALL IN THE MIND!

    For instance, the rotation example is designed to introduce a new FUNCTION to your hand. Try the exercise again, and you'll have to admit, even if you can't stretch an octave from third to fifth, you CAN stretch one or two more notes rotated than you can with your hand laid flat on the keys. And try to sense the different FEELING in your hand when you do this, the new sense of flexibility and moveability! THAT's what it's all about, not about the actual interval.

    Good luck and best wishes,

    Alan Fraser
     
  18. juufa72

    juufa72 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Proof that despite stretching I will have small hands and cannot reach like a big hand. And I object to the opinion that small hands is all mental. We are given what we have from genetics and nothing will change the fact that people with small hands actually have small hands and no matter how many times they say "I have hands capable of playing like Rachmaninov-sized hands with a few simple stretches," they will only upset themselves down the road when someone points out that they have small hands and that's a sad fact of life.
     
  19. MindenBlues

    MindenBlues New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Juufa, I just tried out. I have larger hands (I am 1.91m long), but I can't stretch my hands more like you do in the picture. You may be right, small hands remain small hands. The thing is only how they can be trained to be more flexible.
    I have seen Chopin's left hand as original gypsum print in the musee de la vie romantique in Paris. He had small, really small, thin hands like a woman. Howevere the hands must have been unbelievable flexible. And enough to reach at least 10 keys with additional notes in between. That happens e.g. on the Nocturne 48/1 i am just working on a bit.
    Your hands are bigger than Chopin's hands were. No need to whine about your hand size or length of your pinkies or whatever, really.
     
  20. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    All this talk about hand size made me look at my own hands. Something I never thought about before, (well, I know it is sometimes more practical to use the fourth finger when playing octaves on black keys) but I wonder why I don't use fingers 4 and 1 on the white keys at all. I never do this but I can see that I have a longer stretch. I guess 1 and 3 would work if there weren't any notes in between. I'm so used to stretching 1 and 5 into octave length and do it without looking, but I wonder if with exercises I could make this 1 and 4 a viable or even a better alternative.
     

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