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#1246203 - 08/09/09 01:02 PM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: sotto voce]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Originally Posted By: sotto voce
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
[...] Tell me, how long can you type for before you get tired- without resting your wrists or hands against anything at any point? This is seriously your model for a 'relaxation' method of piano playing? Please don't respond with this stupid analogy of a table under your forearm. Nobody plays that way....

I can't make heads or tails out of this thread any longer—I think it's just so much overanalyzing and mental ... um, self-stimulation—but this stood out to me.

One can type for very long periods indeed with unsupported hands, provided that one's posture is comfortable and "correct." The vocational skill of typing has been around for a long time, and "wrist rests" are a fairly recent idea. Such a thing was unknown in the age of manual typewriters, electric typewriters and even most of the era of electronic typewriters. (Of course, RSIs were practically unheard of then, too, but that's a different matter.)

Steven


Interesting. I suppose the main argument is not to say that this is impossible, but simply to point out that it's more tiring. Also, with a typist merely turning light switches between on and off, there is less need for the same finesse and less impact on the stabilising muscles. When a typist gets tired they can still hit the keys. When a pianist gets tired, they still have to control finest details of the sound. They still have to absord the shockwave that is returned when playing FF.

Is the arm support recommend by chiropractors, do you know?

In my opinion, a technique that preaches that it's 'wrong' to ever take any of the workload off by supporting the hands at the keyboard, is simply closed-minded. When it claims to be in the name of 'relaxation', it's even more doubtful. Every time the hand relaxes to slacken after a chord, the upper body compensates to balance the forces. That's not a true relaxation technique at all. Every relaxation is accompanied by a compensatory tension. Defending it by repeating the business about relaxing is like defending theft by saying that somebody gains from it. It's matter of give and take, not a win-win situation where every relaxation benefits all.

Call it too much analysis if you will, but the reason I'm particularly interested in this is becasue my technique was going nowhere for years, until I conciously began to analyse the process rationally. A method should not be judged solely on when it does work, but also when it does NOT work. The 'relaxation' approach had left me very tense and with no control. Common sense was the thing that made me question the doctrine of never using the hand actively (through fear of lightly using muscles for precisely that which they are designed to do). The more I have analysed it, the more progress I have made and the less I have allowed myself to be limited by some of the principles that had previously governed my approach. When you analyse you can see how flaws can arise from either side- hand or arm. Most typical doctrines only approach from one side- hardly much use for teaching a student whose problem lies on the other side...

The point is not so much about the most detailed analysis itself, but the simplest principles that emerge loud and clear from such an analysis. For example- the idea that a truly relaxed hand CAUSES a need for tension elsewhere. Realising that was the first step towards finding a way of playing that actually works for me. Now I can teach students to improve, whether they suffer the excessively limp hand that I used to have or excessively tense ones. My old exclusively weight-through-the-fingers approach never really did enough for the students who didn't come with naturally stable fingers.

If it doesn't work, analyse it. Then you can fix it.


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (08/09/09 01:37 PM)
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#1246248 - 08/09/09 02:13 PM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
If you have an ounce of dignity then make an attempt to explain this.
You can afford dignity? Lucky man. So, the elbow flexors combine with the elbow extensors to adjust for all changes in the distribution of weight and force that occur to the playing mechanism while in use. There is nothing 'rigid' about it - you'll find it's a far more sophisticated and sensitive system than any on the space shuttle. Hopefully that dissolves the 'rigid elbow' argument.

Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
WHY DO YOU PROPOSE THAT YOUR KNUCKLES DO NOT COLLAPSE WHEN YOU PLAY? WHAT PROVIDES THE FORCE?
My knuckles do collapse when I'm using flat finger technique.

+1 to Steven's points re: typists. According to you they should all be in hospital!
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#1246274 - 08/09/09 03:18 PM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: keyboardklutz]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
If you have an ounce of dignity then make an attempt to explain this.
You can afford dignity? Lucky man. So, the elbow flexors combine with the elbow extensors to adjust for all changes in the distribution of weight and force that occur to the playing mechanism while in use. There is nothing 'rigid' about it - you'll find it's a far more sophisticated and sensitive system than any on the space shuttle. Hopefully that dissolves the 'rigid elbow' argument.

Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
WHY DO YOU PROPOSE THAT YOUR KNUCKLES DO NOT COLLAPSE WHEN YOU PLAY? WHAT PROVIDES THE FORCE?
My knuckles do collapse when I'm using flat finger technique.

+1 to Steven's points re: typists. According to you they should all be in hospital!


Ah, so you've finally at least tried to answer. However, do they collapse into the keys? If not why not? You're still ducking the question. Let's have a real answer, not a half-answer. The rigid elbow is integrally related to this. Your knuckles need to be supporting for your elbows to be free. Why are your knuckles not collapsing into the keys? Because they are permananently too tight to collapse, or because you are gripping?

Many typists were in hospital by the way. I've heard of a huge number of typing injuries. As pianist, we have no need to support endure that constant tensions that are caused by supporting at just one end of the mechanism- unless we insist on the importance of your 'relaxation' method, that is. Still not seeing the paradox here?


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (08/09/09 03:23 PM)
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#1246278 - 08/09/09 03:28 PM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
The rigid elbow is integrally related to this.
There is no rigid elbow!
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#1246294 - 08/09/09 04:00 PM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: keyboardklutz]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Well, it's certainly too rigid in my book. I would never want to employ such pronounced tensions- not even in the name of 'relaxation'.

If there's no rigid elbow it begs the following question even more strongly:

Why are your knuckles not collapsing into the keys? Because they are permananently too tight to collapse, or because you are gripping?

This question still isn't going away. Not even because of your pathetically evasive half-answer. Gravity doesn't stop unless something stops it. Why do your knuckles not reach the keys? Something has to be supporting them...


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (08/09/09 04:21 PM)
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#1246301 - 08/09/09 04:21 PM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: keyboardklutz]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
So, the elbow flexors combine with the elbow extensors to adjust for all changes in the distribution of weight and force that occur to the playing mechanism while in use. There is nothing 'rigid' about it - you'll find it's a far more sophisticated and sensitive system than any on the space shuttle. Hopefully that dissolves the 'rigid elbow' argument.
It is not even pronounced tensions.

I've already said my knuckles do collapse into the keys when I'm using flat finger technique.
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#1246302 - 08/09/09 04:23 PM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: keyboardklutz]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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You may not think they are pronounced. Of course, had you ever learned how to support your hands by resting upon the keys, you would be able to compare the two and see.

Your knuckles touch the keys? Are you joking? The knuckles that connect your palm to your fingers are supported directly by the keyboard? How about the fingers that aren't playing? They also collapse into a series of cluster chords?

Care to illustrate this radical new approach to piano playing on a video?


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (08/09/09 04:26 PM)
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#1246312 - 08/09/09 04:35 PM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
Horowitzian Offline
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At this point, I have to ask. Are you just doing this to increase your post count?
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#1246316 - 08/09/09 04:43 PM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: Horowitzian]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
At this point, I have to ask. Are you just doing this to increase your post count?


Nope. After all the time he wasted asking me such inane questions (only to ignore all of the simple answers I gave), I'm simply not going to let him squirm his way out of the glaring contradictions within his model.

He can either find an answer to the question or concede the fact he's a been talking a complete load of bull. Alternatively he could just stop responding. Not exactly as dignified as having the guts to put his hand up and admit to having been wrong, but it's a darn sight more dignified than trying to change the subject instead of answering the question that will certainly prove him wrong.


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (08/09/09 04:57 PM)
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#1246337 - 08/09/09 05:18 PM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi

Your knuckles touch the keys? Are you joking? The knuckles that connect your palm to your fingers are supported directly by the keyboard? How about the fingers that aren't playing? They also collapse into a series of cluster chords?

Care to illustrate this radical new approach to piano playing on a video?
How about one I prepared earlier?
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#1246341 - 08/09/09 05:27 PM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: keyboardklutz]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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How about one I prepared earlier?
[/quote]

I didn't see any sign of your palm or knuckles being drawn into the keys by gravity. So why is that not happening? Where's the force that prevents them from collapsing onto the keyboard? Perhaps you're holding your wrist still (in that awkward looking raised position), like your elbow? In the name of relaxation... sleep

Does that look like a limp hand at 2:55? Surely you're not actually resting on the keys and gripping there? You ought be careful not to employ such movements, in case you over exert yourself. Remember- gripping is always a bad thing and there's never any need for it.

Anyway, so here we have it: the film that PROVES that gripping muscles should NEVER be employed (except for the fact that even there the hand clearly isn't slack enough for the knuckles to land on the keys- which would happen if you truly released the grip). Obviously we have an example of the ultimate approach to piano technique- and the level of control that it brings. From now on, instead of teaching any of my students about technique, I'll just refer them to your film and tell them to emulate the way you move.

If only more people were aware of this way of approaching to the keyboard...


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (08/09/09 06:06 PM)
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#1246360 - 08/09/09 06:07 PM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Certainly very little gripping! A few years ago I was playing the Bach G Major prelude nearly completely on the edge of the keys on the proximal phalange as an experiment. Try it. With no middle or distal phalange there can be no grip! Your problem is you only have one approach instead of leaving the non-conscious to find whatever the most suitable.
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#1246362 - 08/09/09 06:10 PM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: keyboardklutz]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Certainly very little gripping! A few years ago I was playing the Bach G Major prelude nearly completely on the edge of the keys on the proximal phalange as an experiment. Try it. With no middle or distal phalange there can be no grip!


How about the knuckle though?
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#1246364 - 08/09/09 06:14 PM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
keyboardklutz Offline
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If you look at the state of your hand at rest hanging from your arm at its side it is curved. Chopin was the first to point this out. Placed on a keyboard the hand keeps that shape.
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#1246383 - 08/09/09 07:20 PM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: keyboardklutz]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Registered: 07/24/09
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Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
If you look at the state of your hand at rest hanging from your arm at its side it is curved. Chopin was the first to point this out. Placed on a keyboard the hand keeps that shape.


Held OVER a keyboard the hand keeps its shape. If you hold your hand in the air, it finds equilibrium. When you play a note at a keyboard, gravity acts and the keys push back. A hand does not keep that shape without any grip. The only thing that could prevent gravity from acting on the knuckles (unless the fingers grip) is if you fix both elbow and wrist into position- ie. a solidified forearm. One of the most pronounced forms of tension imaginable.

If you're utterly sincere about the notion of holding both elbow and wrist still, it's possible to play solely by moving the finger. Simply to move a finger from the knuckle is an activation of a grip muscle, in itself. If it's a drop, something need to stop the knuckles from continuing. What creates that force? Keeping the wrist fixed in a high position so the knuckles have to double back on themselves at their limit of motion? And this supposed to be more healthy than deploying a tiny force in the plane that our fingers were designed to act? Do you seriously propose this as your model for 'relaxed' piano playing? This is your great example of a 'better' way to play than introducing slightly more active gripping? Evidence in favour of your assertion that nobody should require any grip whatsoever? You are honestly not joking?

Your hand is about as slack as anything I've seen I'll give you that. It's certainly slack to the point where your control is highly inconsistent. However much of the workload you place on your arms, in order to support that, however, you're still employing aspects of grip. You can't remove it. You can only reduce it to the point where basic functions become vastly less practical and comfortable. Congratulations on achieving that much, at least.

I suspect you're aiming to copy how Horowitz moves. If so, look at his knuckles and how steady his wrist is. Your flat fingers may look quite similar, but the foundations that permit Horowitz to achieve control and balance really have nothing in common.

Please don't tell me you ask your students to play this way- in order to achieve 'relaxation'?


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (08/09/09 07:29 PM)
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#1246396 - 08/09/09 08:15 PM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
keyboardklutz Offline
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I don't use any single technique or copy any one. If you are truly free the composer's technique will come through you. With a 5mm keydip, a Viennese action and a Mozart score I think you could achieve the 'Fraser' technique you wish - I've more or less done it. Look through my videos though and you'll see all types, and why not?
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#1246404 - 08/09/09 08:40 PM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: keyboardklutz]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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So you still believe you're 'free'? After all I explained about the balancing of forces and the levels of tension that are involved with holding so many joints still, in a single ended system of balance? Sorry, but 'free' is last word I'd use to refer to how you move. I'd refer to a lot of big emergency movements to release pronounced tensions that are not controlled. I don't count that as 'free'.

Sorry, but you haven't even begun to 'get it'. All this flapping around and alternating between uncontrolled tension and flaccid release shows that you haven't grasped any of his ideas.

I don't play with a 'Fraser technique'. There's no such thing. The whole idea is that you learn a comfortable way of playing that permits control and ease but does not sacrifice characterisation. The actual details are wide open. There's no single approach and virtually nothing is 'banned'. I'm sorry to be so blunt, but your films don't suggest any of those things are particularly evolved to the most basic of music college standards. If you are intent on retaining such an inconsistent and effortful style of movement, I doubt whether you could ever find the comfort and control that would be expected.

If there's such thing as a Fraser technique, it's basically the efficient quality of balanced movement that is seen in so many professionals. As opposed to the wayward flapping movements that are only seen in amateurs, but which some people insist on promoting.

If you're happy to settle for how you already play, that's fine, but it's never too late to learn, if you choose open your mind. I still play with largely flat fingers, but I've started to find control over them that had never previously been possible.


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (08/09/09 10:26 PM)
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#1246409 - 08/09/09 08:59 PM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
Horowitzian Offline
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I thought you were a B.mus. Why were you basically by your own admission playing like an amateur?
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#1246450 - 08/09/09 10:22 PM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: Horowitzian]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
I thought you were a B.mus. Why were you basically by your own admission playing like an amateur?


Me? Because I was taught a load of twaddle about 'relaxation' that held me back for years. My actual problem was a floppy hand. I've only made any real changes in the last two years or so. I've improved more in that time than in years before that.

I'm not sure what makes you think that a BMus would qualify someone as a professional performer, though.


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (08/09/09 10:50 PM)
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#1246460 - 08/09/09 10:54 PM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
Horowitzian Offline
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I just wouldn't think you'd been trained to have poor technique at that level of playing...aaaaannd I never said anything about a Bmus degree making someone a pro. STOP putting words in my mouth.


Edited by Horowitzian (08/09/09 11:02 PM)
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#1246463 - 08/09/09 11:02 PM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: Horowitzian]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
i just wouldn't think you'd been trained to have poor technique...


No one attempts to train poor technique. It's just that nobody really showed me how to get my hand supporting consistently. I was never balanced and never used my fingers enough. Nothing felt comfortable and I knew more than anyone that my sound was never under much control.

I played the Rachmaninoff 2nd with orchestra a couple of times at Uni (neither of which ground to a halt), so we're not talking complete ineptitude. However, I wasn't exactly about to book Carnegie Hall. Playing was more frustrating than enjoyable, most of the time. I'm not suddenly Horowitz, but I feel control and consistent progress in a manner that had never happened before.


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (08/09/09 11:03 PM)
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#1246464 - 08/09/09 11:04 PM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
Horowitzian Offline
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Well, that's great...for you. Now quit force feeding it to us. Who knows? Maybe something else works for us.
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#1246466 - 08/09/09 11:06 PM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: Horowitzian]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
I just wouldn't think you'd been trained to have poor technique at that level of playing...aaaaannd I never said anything about a Bmus degree making someone a pro. STOP putting words in my mouth.


Amateur= doesn't earn money
Pro= does earn money

Apologies for not stressing that you could also have meant a 'semi-professional' (which is frankly a subset of a professional), but is another discussion on grammar really that important to you?
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#1246467 - 08/09/09 11:07 PM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: Horowitzian]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Registered: 07/24/09
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Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
Well, that's great...for you. Now quit force feeding it to us. Who knows? Maybe something else works for us.


My apologies for answering your question. Go and do what works for you then, instead of criticising what works for me.


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (08/09/09 11:08 PM)
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#1246468 - 08/09/09 11:09 PM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: Horowitzian]
eweiss Offline
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This is how my hands look at the piano.



Sure. They're a little tense. What's wrong with that?
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#1246471 - 08/09/09 11:11 PM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: eweiss]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Originally Posted By: eweiss
This is how my hands look at the piano.



Sure. They're a little tense. What's wrong with that?


The form is very good, but you should really trim your talons more often.
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#1246479 - 08/09/09 11:29 PM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
Horowitzian Offline
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Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
I just wouldn't think you'd been trained to have poor technique at that level of playing...aaaaannd I never said anything about a Bmus degree making someone a pro. STOP putting words in my mouth.


Amateur= doesn't earn money
Pro= does earn money

Apologies for not stressing that you could also have meant a 'semi-professional' (which is frankly a subset of a professional), but is another discussion on grammar really that important to you?


What does that have to do with anything? Other than being another red herring to cover up the fact that you have nothing meaningful to contribute.
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#1246480 - 08/09/09 11:30 PM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
Horowitzian Offline
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Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
Well, that's great...for you. Now quit force feeding it to us. Who knows? Maybe something else works for us.


[...] instead of criticising what works for me.


Seems you've done plenty of that yourself...
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#1246485 - 08/09/09 11:45 PM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: Horowitzian]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
I just wouldn't think you'd been trained to have poor technique at that level of playing...aaaaannd I never said anything about a Bmus degree making someone a pro. STOP putting words in my mouth.


Amateur= doesn't earn money
Pro= does earn money

Apologies for not stressing that you could also have meant a 'semi-professional' (which is frankly a subset of a professional), but is another discussion on grammar really that important to you?


What does that have to do with anything? Other than being another red herring to cover up the fact that you have nothing meaningful to contribute.


Seeing as one either earns money for doing something or does not, I used the only possible alternative of 'professional'.

Sorry, I'm simply defending myself against the accusation that I of put words "into your mouth". If someone is not an amateur, they must be a professional.

As I said, I'm not terribly interested in debating grammar, but I am quite willing to defend myself against any accusations.


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (08/09/09 11:45 PM)
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#1246486 - 08/09/09 11:46 PM Re: Tense hands in beginners. What's the trick? [Re: Horowitzian]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
Well, that's great...for you. Now quit force feeding it to us. Who knows? Maybe something else works for us.


[...] instead of criticising what works for me.


Seems you've done plenty of that yourself...


I've only criticised that which doesn't work.
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