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#1775574 - 10/23/11 09:16 AM Relaxed staccato
SwissMS Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/11
Posts: 946
Loc: Switzerland
Hello All,
I am an expat living in Switzerland and have been following the forum for a long time. I played as a child, then started playing again in 2006. I played through the Alfred Adult books and then entry level Chopin Nocturnes, Lisst, and Debussey, but my theory knowledge was seriously lacking. I had a 1 1/2 year hiatus from piano when we moved to Europe, because I had no piano, and I was busy trying to learn German! Now, I have a new Avant Grand N2, and I am starting over with a new teacher. I have started with the new Alfred's Premier series at level 4, and I love it! There are three books with CD's: Lesson, Performance, and Theory; and so far I love the variety of music. I skated through the Adult all in one books back in 2006, and I just didn't really learn enough. This time, I am taking it more slowly, but I think I am retaining more.

Yesterday in my lesson, I learned that I have been playing staccato less effectively than I thought. I am working on several pieces that have a mix of legato and staccato, such as Alberti bass with staccato. It seems I have very stiff wrists playing staccato. I just can't seem to get the bounce at the wrist. Either I play finger staccato or the whole arm gets involved. Because my wrists are stiff, my speed is limited. Know any helpful exercises?


Edited by SwissMS (10/23/11 09:24 AM)
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#1775714 - 10/23/11 02:11 PM Re: Relaxed staccato [Re: SwissMS]
Brian Lucas Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/11
Posts: 1004
Welcome back to piano! I'm sure your teacher will be giving you some good exercises to help you relax your wrist (and arm/fingers). A teacher is the best resources because they can observe your playing and give you specific things to work on.

Having said that, something I find helpful is to practice on a hard surface, like a table. I'm sure you've tapped your fingers on a table without even thinking about it. And without tension. If this is the case, just try to apply that same feeling to playing the piano.
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#1775818 - 10/23/11 05:51 PM Re: Relaxed staccato [Re: SwissMS]
Andy Platt Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2426
Loc: Virginia, USA
A couple of exercises my teacher gave me which have been very helpful:

Hold your arms loose by your sides. Using one arm push the other up about halfway down the forearm. Make sure the only thing keeping that arm up is your other hand. Remove the hand - your arm should flop down. It probably won't because of the tension so learn to feel it and get rid of it. For the wrist, specifically, you should make sure your hand hangs limp as you raise the arm up.

Do very slow scales. On each key really really relax the wrist so your whole arm goes down and bounces back up. Have exaggerated (but "real", not "fake") up and down movements of your hand.

It takes a long time to get rid of the tension but it's so worth it (and I'm not rid of it yet, just a lot further down the road).
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#1776547 - 10/24/11 08:36 PM Re: Relaxed staccato [Re: SwissMS]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6164
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
You could also try "Freeing the Caged Bird" by Barbara Lister-Sink.
Welcome back to the wonderful world of piano playing!
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