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#1120159 - 04/18/07 08:29 AM Wrists and fingers
JustForNow Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/14/06
Posts: 25
Loc: London

So my first lesson is tomorrow. Hurrah!

However, I've been wondering...I'm a secretary at the mo and a fair bit of the day is spent typing. I touch type in the correct manner etc, but I realise that adding another 2 or so hours of practice on the piano to my day might put undue stress on my wrists and fingers.

I'm not planning on being a secretary for years and years, in fact, I would like to change professions in the next few months, but I was wondering if there were any techniques for preventing the dreaded RSI that I've heard so much about. Prevention is better than cure!

Does anyone else here on the forum have a typing-heavy workday and then go home to practice piano?

Wish me luck for tomorrow!

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#1120160 - 04/18/07 09:00 AM Re: Wrists and fingers
Donna R. Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/26/07
Posts: 794
Hi JustForNow,

I spend my mornings mostly typing, my afternoons on other things that stress my hands like cleaning and gardening, and I have arthritic fingers - and so far piano hasn't caused any major problems. But I'm rarely able to put in 2 hours of practice - it's usually closer to 45-60 min. One of the things I do notice is that I can't repeat identical phrases over and over without running into problems. If I'm working on something that's giving me trouble I'll practice it for a couple of minutes, break away and play something else that moves my fingers in a different pattern for a few minutes and then come back to the problem piece. I also have to be cautious with strengthening exercises. But I think your teacher will be able to give good advice on how to avoid running into difficulties.


#1120161 - 04/18/07 09:48 AM Re: Wrists and fingers
LaValse Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/21/07
Posts: 1225
Loc: Mumbles, Wales
Originally posted by JustForNow:
Wish me luck for tomorrow! [/b]
Good Luck! \:\) I think the most important thing about pain free practice is to make sure you are totally relaxed... That and not sailing the weekend before ;\) ...

#1120162 - 04/18/07 11:59 AM Re: Wrists and fingers
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
it's important to let your wrist remain supple, no matter what you play, which is the only way to avoid any injury to wrists. also, playing piano is not just about using fingers, rather than fingers as 'weight distributors', where weight could come from your arms or even body.

as an example, put your fingers in 5-finger position, and if you keep your hand stable without moving, now you play each note consecutively, which means you only use finger in playing and you'd notice the sound from each finger may not even. now, at the same position and play in the same way, but along with your finger playing, you shift your hand to distribute a bit arm weight to the finger which is playing note, in which case you'd notice you can control the sound and eveness of your playing. that's the idea.

anyway, good luck to your lesson!

#1120163 - 04/18/07 04:46 PM Re: Wrists and fingers
Aaj Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/24/07
Posts: 10
Signa hit it dead on. I'm a programmer by day so my time at the keyboard (the other type, lol) is between 6-8hrs a day. I had this same fear - but my teacher is constantly telling me you aren't supposed to be typing out the notes with your fingers, but playing them with your arms and body. Its a challenge for me to say the least, and one i still struggle at every day, but its getting better.


#1120164 - 04/21/07 12:39 PM Re: Wrists and fingers
Rami Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/09/07
Posts: 206
Loc: Israel/USA
I'd add to all these the important thing that your teacher should be a good one with a good knowledge of stress free piano playing techniques.
Good luck with your lessons.

#1120165 - 04/21/07 12:58 PM Re: Wrists and fingers
Euphonatrix Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/14/06
Posts: 518
Loc: Hessen, Germany
Hi JFN, how did your lesson go?
I noticed that some bad habits I developed when typing influenced my piano playing, e.g. I hit the space key with my right thumb only, curving it quite extremely. For a long time I was not able to relax my thumb while playing piano. In fact, I used to curve it inward as soon as the other fingers had to move, which caused a lot of stress. Smooth, even and rapid passages were difficult to play. Only when I noticed these problems were rooted in my typing habits I could tackle them.
So my advice - in addition to the excellent previous posts - is: watch yourself carefully and check whether occuring problems might be linked to typing (or other everyday activities ...)
"The creative process is nothing but a series of crises."
(Isaac B. Singer)

#1120166 - 04/21/07 03:33 PM Re: Wrists and fingers
okapi Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/13/07
Posts: 17
Loc: quebec
Problems with my thumbs too, associated with my long hours of typing at the job. They were sticking out quite a lot and were out of time, kind of late, to hit the key when their turn came.
The good thing is even if I started late, I find there was some kind of adaptation process that happened : I see tendons I used not to see, and it seems the pain of typing at the job is gone, like if the movements are not the same, or maybe is corrected some bad habit I had, don't know.
Bottom line : don't worry.

#1120167 - 04/21/07 05:54 PM Re: Wrists and fingers
PianoTeacherKim Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/09/07
Posts: 255
Loc: Kailua-Kona, HI
Some good stretching will also help keep your hands and wrists in good shape. Do wrist and shoulder rolls, stretch your neck and upper and lower back.

Give yourself small "hand massages" to improve blood flow and relieve any repetitive-motion stress.

One of those stress-relief squeezy ball things is good for your hands, too, and can even increase strength.

Take frequent breaks at work, too, as well as during practicing. Breathe deep, do a few stretches, and drink some water! :-)


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