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#1898043 - 05/16/12 02:17 PM A New PW Video on Proper Hand Position for Piano Playing
Piano World Offline



Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 5604
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME (orig. Nahant...
One of our new videos, created for us by pianist Robert Estrin.

This one talks about proper hand position for effortless piano playing.



See our new Videos Page


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#1898052 - 05/16/12 02:40 PM Re: A New Short PW Video on Piano Playing Technique [Re: Piano World]
HeirborneGroupie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/05/09
Posts: 223
Loc: Florida
Great video. Thanks. I can't wait for the next one.

I do have a question about my hand position. I mentioned this in another thread and received helpful answers but varied. My problem is this...when I play, my 5th finger sticks straight up. Actually, it's not only when I play. It seems to be a habit I formed while doing any number of things like typing, drinking out of a cup (not kidding grin), and more. It happens on both hands and I don't feel any tension although it's probably there. Some responses I've received have said not to worry about it and others say I should try to fix it. Are there exercises I can do to correct this? Everything I've tried so far has failed.

I hope I posted this in the correct place. Thanks for your time.
_________________________
Carol
Kawai RX 2


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#1898057 - 05/16/12 02:51 PM Re: A New Short PW Video on Piano Playing Technique [Re: Piano World]
music32 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/07/07
Posts: 1205
Loc: Berkeley, California
I love the drop of the natural position of the hand.. exactly what I have discovered and work with all the time. Thank you for this priceless wisdom.
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NYC HS of Performing Arts
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#1898074 - 05/16/12 03:31 PM Re: A New Short PW Video on Piano Playing Technique [Re: Piano World]
ZoeCalgary Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/11
Posts: 748
Loc: Calgary Alberta
That was excellent! Thanks!
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Preparing Grade 6 RCM.


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#1898229 - 05/16/12 07:26 PM Re: A New Short PW Video on Piano Playing Technique [Re: Piano World]
fingerspitzngefuhl Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/24/12
Posts: 44
Loc: Southern Northern California
Although I'm not real crazy about the *smallness* of my hands (can reach an octave) I'm actually glad I don't have long "spider fingers" because I think it's *so* easy for those who have them to fall into the habit of having straight/bent backward fingers.

Thanks for the video!
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Just starting "piano advantures" - at page 50-60-odd.

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#1898234 - 05/16/12 07:37 PM Re: A New Short PW Video on Piano Playing Technique [Re: Piano World]
jotur Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5559
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Thanks, Frank! What a great idea these videos are! Some nice perspective there -

Cathy
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#1898440 - 05/17/12 05:08 AM Re: A New Short PW Video on Piano Playing Technique [Re: Piano World]
Jean-Luc Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/19/12
Posts: 322
Loc: France
Thank you very much for this very interesting video, very much appreciated smile
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Jean-Luc

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#1898454 - 05/17/12 06:31 AM Re: A New Short PW Video on Piano Playing Technique [Re: Piano World]
Artur Gajewski Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 304
Loc: Helsinki, Finland
Wow, I learned more from this video than by reading any piano related books smile Can't wait for more...


Edited by Artur Gajewski (05/17/12 06:31 AM)
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Author of Piano Lessons Package for Synthesia & Child's Piano Play

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#1899048 - 05/18/12 06:50 AM Re: A New Short PW Video on Piano Playing Technique [Re: Piano World]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2409
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
What a wonderful presenter! He has a very natural enthusiasm. I look forward to more of these.
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Richard

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#1899049 - 05/18/12 06:53 AM Re: A New Short PW Video on Piano Playing Technique [Re: Piano World]
Artur Gajewski Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 304
Loc: Helsinki, Finland
I would love to hear what topics other videos will be of. Thank you Robert!
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Author of Piano Lessons Package for Synthesia & Child's Piano Play

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#1899166 - 05/18/12 11:19 AM Re: A New PW Video on Proper Hand Position for Piano Playing [Re: Piano World]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11730
Loc: Canada
I like the idea of an effort-free way of getting a basic hand shape, and the idea of efficiency and how he relates this to the keyboard. At the same time I have some questions and observations.

Some time back I learned a new instrument and after a year I learned things from the Internet. A lot of the advice was good, but I understood it too literally and didn't know that things vary according to other things going on. If the same thing is given by a teacher, then he'll observe and have you adjust things. Sometimes I understood but wasn't doing what was in the book or video, but didn't know it - and sometimes I only thought I understood. I got into some problems even when the stuff was good, AND I gained from it.

This leads to questions (clarification) for Mr. Estrin: I get what you are saying about this way of forming the hand bringing you into an efficient area of the keyboard, and why that is efficient. But I might also get the idea that we restrict ourselves to having the hands in that area when playing anything. I'm thinking that you intend this more like a home base and a general starting point - is this right?

At this moment I am learning to move in and out of the black key area according to the music I am playing, and have been encouraged to watch good pianists. So this idea of staying in one area really struck me. Then when I watched you play, Mr. Estrin, I saw that this region of the keyboard looked like your home base, but that you moved freely in and out (I watched the left hand, and other videos). So this made me think that you are giving a first home base which is a good place to be generally, and some first good principals. But NOT to stay only in that area no matter what. Is that correct?

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#1899919 - 05/19/12 06:28 PM Re: A New PW Video on Proper Hand Position for Piano Playing [Re: Piano World]
CarlosCC Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/06/09
Posts: 1376
Loc: Lisbon, Portugal
Thanks for this new video page!
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#1899958 - 05/19/12 07:55 PM Re: A New Short PW Video on Piano Playing Technique [Re: HeirborneGroupie]
bobestrin Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/10/09
Posts: 1
Loc: Orange County, California
I really appreciate all the comments on the video. There will be more videos coming soon on a wide range of topics including memorization, sightreading and more. What I showed in this video is an approach to the keyboard that offers the most relaxed position requiring minimal effort to maintain. It also places the fingers where they can easily reach black and white keys with equal ease. However, this is an ideal to strive for. Watching some of the greatest pianos of all time, like Vladimir Horowitz, you will see interesting deviations on these ideals. If you don't sense tension as in the raised 5th finger, it may not be a problem. If you would like to try achieving a more perfect hand position, try slow practice. This gives you an opportunity to study your hands and work on being over the keys so your fingers have the minimal distance and effort in playing. You can work on hand position with your music as well as with scales and arpeggios.


Edited by bobestrin (05/19/12 08:02 PM)

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#1900007 - 05/19/12 10:21 PM Re: A New Short PW Video on Piano Playing Technique [Re: keystring]
Andy Platt Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2397
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: keystring
This leads to questions (clarification) for Mr. Estrin: I get what you are saying about this way of forming the hand bringing you into an efficient area of the keyboard, and why that is efficient. But I might also get the idea that we restrict ourselves to having the hands in that area when playing anything. I'm thinking that you intend this more like a home base and a general starting point - is this right?

At this moment I am learning to move in and out of the black key area according to the music I am playing, and have been encouraged to watch good pianists. So this idea of staying in one area really struck me. Then when I watched you play, Mr. Estrin, I saw that this region of the keyboard looked like your home base, but that you moved freely in and out (I watched the left hand, and other videos). So this made me think that you are giving a first home base which is a good place to be generally, and some first good principals. But NOT to stay only in that area no matter what. Is that correct?


I'd say categorically - YES! Like many things this is something of an ideal which you strive to return to; but if you were to try to play everything like that you would fail.

My teacher keeps talking to me about the various touché (she's not French but uses that word) to use when playing different passages. Sometimes you will need more rounded fingers, sometimes flatter ones. As you note you'll need to adjust your handshape as you move into and out of the black keys. And, of course, stretches will cause adjustments too.

It does make me laugh a little bit when people talk about no longer playing as if there is a ball in your hand and similar things which must have gone out of style 30 years ago ... unless there are some really bad teachers out there!
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#1900044 - 05/19/12 11:54 PM Re: A New Short PW Video on Piano Playing Technique [Re: Piano World]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11730
Loc: Canada
I'm not sure my question was understood. I was not talking about the shape of the hand but the region of the keyboard. The video talks about not moving into the black key area but rather always staying in the white key area in front.

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#1900139 - 05/20/12 09:01 AM Re: A New Short PW Video on Piano Playing Technique [Re: Piano World]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2409
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
What the video talks about, keystring, is keeping the fingers at or near that part of the keyboard where the black and white keys meet as a default position. Bob did touch, very lightly, on it in his repsonse:

Originally Posted By: bobestrin
It also places the fingers where they can easily reach black and white keys with equal ease. However, this is an ideal to strive for.


This parallels the 'minimum movement principle' in guitar playing and keeping the index fingers on the embossed keys (F and J) when touch typing. From this position the fingers can readily be curled for a Bach type touch, lengthened for a Liszt type touch and reach black keys and white keys with equal facility. It also places the fingers in the best position for knowing where they are on the keyboard from touching the adjacent black keys and feeling the B/C and E/F gaps.
_________________________
Richard

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#1900205 - 05/20/12 11:54 AM Re: A New Short PW Video on Piano Playing Technique [Re: Piano World]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11730
Loc: Canada
I think I finally got the video they way it was intended. I was thrown by "to keep the hand at the point...." as advice to keep the hands at that line in front of the black keys. But now I understand that Bob is saying that having this shape to the hand ALLOWS you to be in this area of the keyboard from where you can reach both white and black keys with ease. So if your hand is spread with flat fingers for those kinds of passages, then the fact that the pinky is short placing it near the edge, and the middle finger is long, would force you to move in and out excessively because you * could not * easily reach all keys with all fingers with those flat fingers. So it is not an instruction to have the hand there, but that for many passages, this shape of the hand makes it possible to have this home position.

As I wrote, when I started my first instrument I followed some on-line things and things in books which I understood wrongly and this created mischief. For that reason I'm very careful about how I understand things.

There is another interesting thing about this video. That is, when Bob demonstrates how to get this hand shape, the down motion is at the wrist which is what we want to feel at the piano. Not so long ago, having learned self-taught as a child, I didn't have that. I only got that recently. Two weeks ago, if I had tried to do what the video says, I would have either braced my fingers insanely making them stiff, of I would have collapsed at the knuckles as I would try to pull the hand down - because I didn't have that feeling in the wrist. I would have thought I was doing what the video says. When I first tried what the demo shows, I was doing both of those things because they're my old habit. It felt "bad" because now I know what "good" feels like. Shirley had mentioned the wrist, so I noticed the wrist - and then I got something that looked good and also felt good. At that point it actually became something to help me get that new thing in the wrist.

I think Bob addresses something very important because people are caught between the old "as if holding a ball" which is "out" because it often leads to stiff rigidity, and a "like your hand hangs at your side" which is sort of nowhere. So this gives us the shape but with a good feel to it (if we can reach it the right way) and also a *reason". Now I feel that I have actually understood that video.

Oh - and thank you, Bob Estrin.

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#1900470 - 05/20/12 09:42 PM Re: A New Short PW Video on Piano Playing Technique [Re: Piano World]
KeysAngler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/14/10
Posts: 253
Loc: The Fabulous Florida Keys
Fantastic work !!!

Thank you very much.

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#1911534 - 06/10/12 05:26 PM Re: A New PW Video on Proper Hand Position for Piano Playing [Re: Piano World]
John_In_Montreal Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/21/11
Posts: 402
Loc: Montreal Canada
Hi Frank, and Everyone,

What a strange coincidence... I was browsing the web this week and happened to come upon this website . Now I bump into this thread today and who do I see? the same person / teacher smile.

Very good videos on Robert's website by the way - scroll down to near bottom of page, right-hand pane: "Piano playing technique" and "Practicing the piano".

John


Edited by John_In_Montreal (06/10/12 05:27 PM)
_________________________
"My piano is therapy for me" - Rick Wright.
Instrument: Rebuilt Kurzweil K2500XS and a bunch of great vintage virtual keyboards. New Kurzweil PC3X.

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#1911561 - 06/10/12 06:05 PM Re: A New PW Video on Proper Hand Position for Piano Playing [Re: Piano World]
Piano World Offline



Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 5604
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME (orig. Nahant...
Hi John,

Yes, Robert is making a series of videos for us.
I agree, he does a nice job.
_________________________
- Frank B.
Founder / Host
www.PianoWorld.com
www.PianoSupplies.com
Find Us On:
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-------------------------
It's Fun To Play the Piano ... PLEASE Pass It On!
And please invite everyone you know to join our piano forums!
Coming to Maine? We're in Parsonsfield (southwest) let's get together!


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#1911726 - 06/11/12 06:19 AM Re: A New PW Video on Proper Hand Position for Piano Playing [Re: Piano World]
John_In_Montreal Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/21/11
Posts: 402
Loc: Montreal Canada
Originally Posted By: Piano World
Hi John,

Yes, Robert is making a series of videos for us.
I agree, he does a nice job.



That is mighty nice of him smile Thank You, Robert, for taking the time to share your knowledge and humour with us! Looking forward to more of your videos.

John
_________________________
"My piano is therapy for me" - Rick Wright.
Instrument: Rebuilt Kurzweil K2500XS and a bunch of great vintage virtual keyboards. New Kurzweil PC3X.

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#1912457 - 06/12/12 05:49 PM Re: A New PW Video on Proper Hand Position for Piano Playing [Re: Piano World]
Stephen Hazel Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 734
Loc: Seattle-ish, WA
Me too! Those videos are GREAT !!!!!

Lookin forward to MORE !!
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http://PianoCheetah.com - writing my own piano practice program ...yeah, I'm crazy like that

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#1912691 - 06/13/12 06:56 AM Re: A New PW Video on Proper Hand Position for Piano Playing [Re: Piano World]
Jean-Luc Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/19/12
Posts: 322
Loc: France
I just watched the two new videos, very interesting and pleasantly presented, thank you very much smile
_________________________
- Please, forgive my bad English smile

Jean-Luc

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#1912705 - 06/13/12 07:37 AM Re: A New PW Video on Proper Hand Position for Piano Playing [Re: Piano World]
griffin2417 Offline

Silver Supporter until Dec 29 2012


Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 2451
Loc: Minneapolis, MN

The videos are great Frank! Good information. Thanks!
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Carl


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#1915581 - 06/19/12 05:33 AM Re: A New PW Video on Proper Hand Position for Piano Playing [Re: Piano World]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
He's a passionate and fun to watch teacher (doubly so when he plays my favorite Schubert impromptu). I enjoy his youtube series

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#1921840 - 07/02/12 03:39 PM Re: A New PW Video on Proper Hand Position for Piano Playing [Re: Piano World]
chordelia Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/02/09
Posts: 5
Loc: United Kingdom
Wow Thank you! That is great information and makes such good sense.

Wonderful-look forward to more too.

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#1921921 - 07/02/12 07:00 PM Re: A New PW Video on Proper Hand Position for Piano Playing [Re: Piano World]
thetandyman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/27/12
Posts: 443
Loc: Indiana
I love to soak up every video Robert Estrin posts, from moving, brand comparison, and the hand position film. He's a treasure for pianists
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#1946442 - 08/20/12 09:48 PM Re: A New PW Video on Proper Hand Position for Piano Playing [Re: thetandyman]
EdwardianPiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/29/11
Posts: 752
Loc: Liverpool, England
LOVED the video! I am so grateful for this- really really needed to know all that- been having the wrong hand position for ages!
I find Robert very engaging and interesting to learn from- many many thanks to him! I look forward to more.


Edited by EdwardianPiano (08/20/12 09:51 PM)
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#1947732 - 08/23/12 09:54 AM Re: A New PW Video on Proper Hand Position for Piano Playing [Re: Piano World]
Stephen300o Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/22/12
Posts: 62
My inspiration to take up the piano is Tom Waits, but he doesn't exactly have textbook technique..
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LySDkDuqLCE

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#1949302 - 08/26/12 10:39 AM Re: A New Short PW Video on Piano Playing Technique [Re: Andy Platt]
lrao Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/24/12
Posts: 1
Hi, Robert. Thank you for the informative video. If you are thinking of other videos to produce, I would like to make a recommendation - could you explain the circle of 5ths to adults possibly who are learning theory? I know this is a far cry from hand position but theory questions are more difficult for me to grasp as an adult than when I was a kid.

Thanks again.

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