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#1038550 - 01/15/09 09:53 AM Resting Fingers Lightly on Keys
JagNut Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/17/08
Posts: 24
Loc: Arlington Texas
I have been using a Miracle Piano System for self-teaching. I like it because it plays a metronome behind each piece (in correct time) and it grades me on pitch and rythm for every practice piece. It has many modes for each piece - demo, unpaced notes, paced notes, and allows LH, RH or both.

I have one problem. Often, when switching chords (e.g. CEG to CFA) I will allow a finger (in this case my pinky) to remain in light contact with a key (in this case C). However, the midi keyboard (velocity sensitive) requires a fairly light touch to sense a key depression. The program seems to expect me to fully release each key prior to playing the next note. The practice mode uses a paced pointer and does not move to the next note until I have fully played (i.e released) the previous note (causing errors to be recorded).

This problem would, of course, not occur on an accoustic (non-electronic) piano. So here is my question. Is it considered bad form (i.e. a "bad habit") to allow some fingers to to remain in light contact with one or more keys after playing them. It seems to me that maintaining light contact is a good idea as an aid to navigation.

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#1038551 - 01/15/09 11:39 AM Re: Resting Fingers Lightly on Keys
Kymber Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/25/08
Posts: 1348
Loc: MA
Hi Glen J,
I don't think that is considered bad form if you hand is just resting there and not producing sound. Otherwise where else would you put your hands?

I wonder if that is something you can contact the company about.
Mabye they need to make a revised version of their system.

Sounds like you are getting alot out of it though-that's great.
“The doubters said, "Man cannot fly," The doers said, "Maybe, but we'll try,"
And finally soared in the morning glow while non-believers watched from below.”
― Bruce Lee

#1038552 - 01/15/09 12:54 PM Re: Resting Fingers Lightly on Keys
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3273
Most pianists do not consciously think about what the fingers they are not using at the moment are doing.

I know I don't...I concentrate on the notes/fingers I am playing, and let the other fingers "float", and trust my brain to move/relax them out of the way as necessary.

Think of your body as you move through, say, a crowded store, or some woods. When the space you have to move through is tight, you concentrate on those parts of your body that you have to move to avoid a collision. But the rest of your body is on automatic pilot, so to speak, and you do not have to consciously direct those parts to turn or whatever.

Letting your fingers float on the keys when not being used is like letting them be on automatic pilot...a natural and normal form at the piano. And, as you correctly state, your fingers floating on the keys gives your brain feedback that helps you to locate your hand position, something that people who do not look at the keyboard all the time as they play rely upon.

I would say that continuing your studies with that program that forces you to completely release a key before moving on is at some level teaching you a to play in a limited manner, and, as such, is teaching you a mistake.

Just my 2 cents.
Music teacher and Blues piano player.

#1038553 - 01/15/09 12:59 PM Re: Resting Fingers Lightly on Keys
JagNut Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/17/08
Posts: 24
Loc: Arlington Texas
I think it is an excellent system that I bought about 15 years ago. Now I am back to having some fun with it. The company is now out of business although there is an excellent review and FAQ on the PEP forum. One thing I think I like best is that it forces me to play the notes exactly in time. The lessons are tedious and I am finding it better to just move through the (progressively more difficult) songs on my own. I think it is a little too heavy on LH chords/RH melody, but I am also working my way through Alfred's All-in-One - usually on my acoustic piano.

Maintaining touch with the keys helps me in moving from key to key, particularly when only a few fingers have to move. On the other hand, when I have to move my whole hand from one chord to another (e.g. CFA down to GDF, I have some difficulty without some touch to guide me, although I believe this will eventually work itself out.

#1038554 - 01/15/09 01:06 PM Re: Resting Fingers Lightly on Keys
LisztAddict Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/12/05
Posts: 2896
Loc: Florida
When playing, I do rest the fingers on the keys at times. But during "practice", most of the time, I lift the fingers clearly off the keys.

#1038555 - 01/15/09 02:40 PM Re: Resting Fingers Lightly on Keys
packa Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/05
Posts: 1399
Loc: Dallas, TX
One other difference with an acoustic: on a grand piano with double escapement, you can repeat a note without fully releasing the key. Just let the key return about halfway to re-arm the escapement and press again to get a second strike. This technique is deliberately taught and used for some playing situations; it is excellent for playing softly repeating notes or chords in legato passages where you may not want to rely completely on the pedal.
Paul Buchanan
Estonia L168 #1718

#1038556 - 01/15/09 02:57 PM Re: Resting Fingers Lightly on Keys
JagNut Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/17/08
Posts: 24
Loc: Arlington Texas
Thanks, Packa. But I think I am probably years away from trilling or using repetion function of the keys. And pedals? Did you say there are pedals? (Just kidding)

#1038557 - 01/17/09 08:32 AM Re: Resting Fingers Lightly on Keys
jazzwee Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7152
Loc: So. California
IMHO, leaving fingers close to the keys, or resting fingers or even hands on keys (assuming a weighted keyboard) is important for relaxation).

However, purposely retaining your fingers on notes previously played is a recipe for pain and tension. For beginners (hey I went through it too), there's a tendency to keep the fingers in the shape of what's been played. But you're doing something like an arpeggio or a major seventh chord, then your hands remain outstretched and that's very tense. It actually prevents you from playing technically better.

So my advice is, touching non-playing keys is fine, but after the note has been played, let the reponsible finger return to it's natural shape and have it land where it may or lift it naturally if rotation of the hand is necessary. In other words, just relax it.

Navigating through the keyboard will come naturally over time without relying on your hand retaining a specific position.
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