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#2050013 - 03/18/13 02:08 AM Video of hands - Proper camera angle?
ty.beginner Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/12/13
Posts: 42
Loc: Indonesia
Hi all,

My previous instructor did not stress the importance of hand shape and body posture while playing the piano. I actually asked and he said my fingers and body is fine. I am a rank beginner hence i suspect there must be something wrong with how i play. It's quite impossible to think that i got the correct shape with no training before. He's no longer teaching me now and i'm without a teacher for many months and no peers to discuss things with..

So, I'm wondering if i can get some feedback on the shape of hand and body posture through a video here. If possible what kind of camera angle is the best to see the correct shape as video is 2D and generally harder to see. i'm thinking the camera should be level with the keys, but i might be wrong. Can anyone help?

Thank you
_________________________
-TY-
Learning since: Sept 2012
Playing..
Canon in D, Pachebel
Marriage D Amour, Richard Clayderman

Learning..
Clair de lunes, Debussy

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#2050263 - 03/18/13 01:59 PM Re: Video of hands - Proper camera angle? [Re: ty.beginner]
Derulux Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5286
Loc: Philadelphia
You really need to see it from the top and the side. If you can post both of the same recording, great. If not, a 2:00 shot looking slightly over your right shoulder would probably be best. (As if I was sitting next to you at the keys.)

EDIT: 2:00 meaning "2 o'clock" not "2 minutes" wink


Edited by Derulux (03/18/13 03:38 PM)
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#2050293 - 03/18/13 03:10 PM Re: Video of hands - Proper camera angle? [Re: Derulux]
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 540
If you watch this clip of Helene Grimaud, her body posture is not good but her hand posture is. However it has not stopped her becoming a world class professional pianist.

http://youtu.be/4VOuFOzRKQM

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#2050573 - 03/19/13 12:57 AM Re: Video of hands - Proper camera angle? [Re: ty.beginner]
ty.beginner Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/12/13
Posts: 42
Loc: Indonesia
i watched a minute of the video. wow she's swaying so much. guess you can pretty much do whatever you want with the body as long as the hand is good.

derelux, thank you for your suggestion, i'll try to post something back by end of week. i usually have more time during the weekend to fool around with a video camera
_________________________
-TY-
Learning since: Sept 2012
Playing..
Canon in D, Pachebel
Marriage D Amour, Richard Clayderman

Learning..
Clair de lunes, Debussy

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#2050630 - 03/19/13 04:17 AM Re: Video of hands - Proper camera angle? [Re: ty.beginner]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11574
Loc: Canada
If your previous teacher was competent, then you should trust that if he says you were fine, that you were indeed fine. The first thing you should realize is that good technique flows out of the way the body naturally moves, and problems can also occur when one tries to assume "postures". We start off moving naturally as children, but many of us lose that by the time we're adults. However, you may be one of the people who hasn't lost that, and your teacher may have seen that. By trying to have "the right hand shape" we can make ourselves stiff and unnatural. The hand changes shape as we play notes that are close together (resulting in a more curved hand), or spread out (resulting in a more flattened hand). The hand also moves at different angles - it is a fluid part of a fluid body which is also part of the motion.

Do you experience pain or discomfort as you play? Are things difficult because you are locked up in your motions? I.e. is there a problem?

A teacher I respect has students play naturally after having them at the right height and distance from the piano, and then watches them. They are to aim for a good sound and for comfort. When they try to make a good sound and also be more comfortable, they adjust their hands and body and end up with "shapes" and movements that are good. If a problem appears or they are stiff or uncomfortable, this is when she intervenes. There is also the idea that we start off imperfect with anything we do. Babies lurch about when they first learn to walk but can become fluid dancers and athletes over time. What they do refines itself.

Originally Posted By: ty.beginner
I guess you can pretty much do whatever you want with the body as long as the hand is good.

The body is PART of your playing. If your body is stiff, then the hands suffer. If any joints are locked up, then the hands can't function well, and if the hands are tight, there may be tension in the body.

I'm told that Yuja Wang has a natural way of moving (some people move just to be dramatic). Notice how, when she plays notes higher up on the piano, she also leans to the left. Some pianists are more still, but even with Rubinstein who is a relatively "still" player, you will see small sways in his body. I have chosen Wang because the movement is more visible.
Yuja Wang

Do not think of having any given "shape" because your hands should be fluid. Maintaining a shape can make you stiff. If you do make a video, it should show more than your hands. And comments in a forum cannot replace a decent teacher working with you.


Edited by keystring (03/19/13 04:18 AM)

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#2051164 - 03/20/13 03:29 AM Re: Video of hands - Proper camera angle? [Re: keystring]
ty.beginner Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/12/13
Posts: 42
Loc: Indonesia
Originally Posted By: keystring

Do you experience pain or discomfort as you play? Are things difficult because you are locked up in your motions? I.e. is there a problem?



In my first piece that i learn i had the left hand go from d,a,f(an octave higher). At first i used 5,3,1 thinking middle finger to thumb is the biggest stretch my hand allow. It hurts! and i told my teacher (the one mentioned above) about it. He did not change it, but he tried to change the music. I did not agree with his method of solving the problem and always have a nagging feeling. Soon after that i stopped using him as a teacher. My hand still hurts when playing that part.

After messing more with the piano, i found a sheet music for marriage d amour. Coincidentally i found that the left hand has to stretch quite far as well in this piece, but this time the finger notations wrote i should use 5,2,1. I tried it and it works! No pain. So i tried it back in my first piece (canon in d) and it also stopped hurting altogether. smile

Now back to the video of hands. Recently i hurt my left little finger while learning clair de lune. Stopped playing for 2 days completely and when i restart i tried curling the pinky more. The pain stopped. It hasn't healed completely when i tried curling it, so i compared it with a little flat playing and the pain is still there. So i assumed that there is something fundamentally wrong with my hand shape.

To avoid another little injury, i thought i might as well try to get some advice from here. The piano teachers in my town are more catered to children with a fix time slot weekly. No one is willing to do a bi weekly meetings and i dont want to waste their time nor my time and money to do something that is not going to work in the end. I'm 32 and i still have a heavy work load with lots of going out of town work.

Hope that clarify it.

Btw, Thank you for your reply. it does make sense that the hand changes shape depending on the keys needed to be played whether it's far or near. i shouldn't be too fixed on 1 shape and getting too stiff in the result.


Edited by ty.beginner (03/20/13 03:31 AM)
Edit Reason: typo
_________________________
-TY-
Learning since: Sept 2012
Playing..
Canon in D, Pachebel
Marriage D Amour, Richard Clayderman

Learning..
Clair de lunes, Debussy

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#2051673 - 03/21/13 12:30 AM Re: Video of hands - Proper camera angle? [Re: ty.beginner]
ty.beginner Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/12/13
Posts: 42
Loc: Indonesia


I tried recording with my phone placed at the edge of the piano. I didn't have time to setup the tripod and dslr yesterday. Maybe this will help?

It's a 10 minute play (still a work in progress) but i cut to the middle 2 minutes as the file size for the whole 10 minutes is huge at 800mb plus. it takes me half hour to upload the 40mb (2 minute file). How are you guys able to upload a 5-10 minute video of yourself playing? what program do you use to cut the size down? is uploading a 200mb+ video size normal?

as original topic, any help in identifying hand shape problem are appreciated. Thank you


Edited by ty.beginner (03/21/13 01:50 AM)
_________________________
-TY-
Learning since: Sept 2012
Playing..
Canon in D, Pachebel
Marriage D Amour, Richard Clayderman

Learning..
Clair de lunes, Debussy

Top
#2051741 - 03/21/13 04:39 AM Re: Video of hands - Proper camera angle? [Re: ty.beginner]
Derulux Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5286
Loc: Philadelphia
This is a good start. I can't really say too much about uploading/file size/format/etc because I don't do it often, but I'm sure someone else will help out there.

It's 4:30am, so I'm going to shorthand this. Here's what I see:

1. You're sitting too low (elbows are below the keys)
2. Your wrists are often too low
3. You break your wrists
4. You twist
5. Your fingers are artificially rigid and stiff (particularly the LH)
6. You hold your fingers up off the keys (this is minor compared to the others, but I did notice you doing it)

At 0:40, there is a very good example of how not to shape your hand. See how high your wrist is, and how straight your fingers are? It creates a concave arc in your hand, where your first knuckle bends backwards. Very, very bad for your hands.

At this point, I feel obliged to say: please don't think I'm being negative or bashing you at all. I'm just pointing out the things I saw on a one-take viewing because you had asked for this feedback. If we lived less than one ocean apart, I'd be happy to try and help you in person, but I don't travel to Indonesia often, nor do I know any teachers there.

I may be able to give you some quick advice over the forum, but first I need to ask this question: do you feel comfortable at all while playing this passage? Describe to me how you feel while playing.. that may help give me a better idea where to start in crafting a reply. smile
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#2051752 - 03/21/13 05:59 AM Re: Video of hands - Proper camera angle? [Re: ty.beginner]
LarryShone Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/10
Posts: 770
Loc: Darlington, UK
I cant comment too much being a beginner myself but your playing and positioning looks good to me! Nice piece to play too-Debussy's Prelude!
But how on Earth do you manage to concentrate with all the background noise going on? Or does it sound worse than it is?
I dont want to sound patronising but keep up the good work! smile


Edited by LarryShone (03/21/13 05:59 AM)
_________________________
If the piano is the King of instruments then I am its loyal servant.

Yamaha PSR225-I NEED A PIANO wink

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#2051809 - 03/21/13 08:48 AM Re: Video of hands - Proper camera angle? [Re: ty.beginner]
dmd Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 1778
Loc: Pennsylvania
I would stop worrying about your hand shape and just raise your seat 2 or 3 inches.

Then listen to the instruction you are getting from your teacher or get another teacher.

Also, that business about "hurting" your fingers may be more about being new to piano playing and practicing too much in a repetitive manner than it is about a poor hand shape.

BTW ... did your teacher assign you this piece ?
_________________________
Don

My current system: Kawai ES7 + Focal CMS40 Powered Monitors, SennHeiser HD555 Phones, Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 audio interface, Mackie ProFX8 Mixer, Ravenscroft275, True Keys American Grand, Ivory II American Concert D, Steinway Basic, Galaxy Vintage D, True Pianos, Pianoteq, Alicia's Keys

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#2051823 - 03/21/13 09:38 AM Re: Video of hands - Proper camera angle? [Re: ty.beginner]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11574
Loc: Canada
Agree with dmd on raising the seat. Probably the wrists being high and low are both related to that. Meanwhile, when you had lessons and your teacher observed you, it would have been at your teacher's piano and the seating would be different. Did that teacher talk about height and distance?

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#2051922 - 03/21/13 12:34 PM Re: Video of hands - Proper camera angle? [Re: keystring]
ty.beginner Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/12/13
Posts: 42
Loc: Indonesia
Originally Posted By: Derulux

It's 4:30am, so I'm going to shorthand this. Here's what I see:

1. You're sitting too low (elbows are below the keys)
2. Your wrists are often too low
3. You break your wrists
4. You twist
5. Your fingers are artificially rigid and stiff (particularly the LH)
6. You hold your fingers up off the keys (this is minor compared to the others, but I did notice you doing it)

At 0:40, there is a very good example of how not to shape your hand. See how high your wrist is, and how straight your fingers are? It creates a concave arc in your hand, where your first knuckle bends backwards. Very, very bad for your hands.

At this point, I feel obliged to say: please don't think I'm being negative or bashing you at all. I'm just pointing out the things I saw on a one-take viewing because you had asked for this feedback. If we lived less than one ocean apart, I'd be happy to try and help you in person, but I don't travel to Indonesia often, nor do I know any teachers there.

I may be able to give you some quick advice over the forum, but first I need to ask this question: do you feel comfortable at all while playing this passage? Describe to me how you feel while playing.. that may help give me a better idea where to start in crafting a reply. smile


Thank you Derelux for taking the time to help a starter at such an awful hour to be awake. Your comments are exactly what i'm looking for by posting this video. I will increase the height of the chair by some means, as it's non adjustable bench. I'll have to look for some books/boards to lift it. Hopefully it'll fix a lot of issues. I'm short at 160cm/5 feet 3. So i need the height help.

and please dont feel bad by being negative. I appreciate honesty and your comments helps much. I need further explanation on the following though. if you dont mind to explain the terms. I hope i dont come off as defensive but really just ignorant of some terms used like "break" and "twist" in piano playing and wish to know more so that i don't misunderstand your meaning.
3. You break your wrists - what constitute break? as it's not parallel to the floor all the time?
4. You twist - is twisting and rolling the same?
6. You hold your fingers up off the keys (this is minor compared to the others, but I did notice you doing it) - are you suppose to lay the fingers on the keys at all time even when not playing the note?

as to how comfortable i am playing this phrase, right now i dont notice it much. I will try to take note when playing and give you a more detailed answer. I guess my first reaction is that i feel fine with the playing of this phrase other than i need to polish it up more to be faster and more even.

thank you for your help smile


Originally Posted By: LarryShone
I cant comment too much being a beginner myself but your playing and positioning looks good to me! Nice piece to play too-Debussy's Prelude!
But how on Earth do you manage to concentrate with all the background noise going on? Or does it sound worse than it is?
I dont want to sound patronising but keep up the good work! smile


actually it's the clair de lune smile but i didn't play it fast enough. I have not heard of Debussy's Prelude. maybe for the next project? smile

btw, the background noise is from my daughter having dinner while watching barney/playing/jumping.. i get used to it smile thank you

Originally Posted By: dmd
I would stop worrying about your hand shape and just raise your seat 2 or 3 inches.

Then listen to the instruction you are getting from your teacher or get another teacher.

Also, that business about "hurting" your fingers may be more about being new to piano playing and practicing too much in a repetitive manner than it is about a poor hand shape.

BTW ... did your teacher assign you this piece ?


sadly i only had a teacher for a month and right now i dont have a teacher frown and true i was practicing crazily when i hurt the finger.. i think i practiced 2 hours straight when i strain it and stopped. I guess i assigned this piece for myself as i like the tune, and i see a lot of the piece is the areas i need to work on. but mostly it's because i like the sound of it smile

Originally Posted By: keystring
Agree with dmd on raising the seat. Probably the wrists being high and low are both related to that. Meanwhile, when you had lessons and your teacher observed you, it would have been at your teacher's piano and the seating would be different. Did that teacher talk about height and distance?


the teachers came to my house when he taught me using my current seat and piano. I asked him about height and distance and he told me not to worry about it. *shrugs* i was doubtful to say the least. But i stick with him for 4-6 lessons before stopping.

As a last note, thank you everyone who have replied. i appreciate it. Please dont be afraid to point out the errors. I'm here to learn. smile
_________________________
-TY-
Learning since: Sept 2012
Playing..
Canon in D, Pachebel
Marriage D Amour, Richard Clayderman

Learning..
Clair de lunes, Debussy

Top
#2051986 - 03/21/13 02:18 PM Re: Video of hands - Proper camera angle? [Re: ty.beginner]
Derulux Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5286
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: ty.beginner
Thank you Derelux for taking the time to help a starter at such an awful hour to be awake. Your comments are exactly what i'm looking for by posting this video. I will increase the height of the chair by some means, as it's non adjustable bench. I'll have to look for some books/boards to lift it. Hopefully it'll fix a lot of issues. I'm short at 160cm/5 feet 3. So i need the height help.

and please dont feel bad by being negative. I appreciate honesty and your comments helps much. I need further explanation on the following though. if you dont mind to explain the terms. I hope i dont come off as defensive but really just ignorant of some terms used like "break" and "twist" in piano playing and wish to know more so that i don't misunderstand your meaning.
3. You break your wrists - what constitute break? as it's not parallel to the floor all the time?
4. You twist - is twisting and rolling the same?
6. You hold your fingers up off the keys (this is minor compared to the others, but I did notice you doing it) - are you suppose to lay the fingers on the keys at all time even when not playing the note?

as to how comfortable i am playing this phrase, right now i dont notice it much. I will try to take note when playing and give you a more detailed answer. I guess my first reaction is that i feel fine with the playing of this phrase other than i need to polish it up more to be faster and more even.

thank you for your help smile

No problem, I'm always happy to help out with this kind of issue. smile

Breaking your wrist- when your wrist is no longer on the plane created by the point from your elbow to your knuckles. Hold your hand up and "wave" by flapping your hand up/down.

Twisting- the "other" movement of the wrist, when your wrist moves side-to-side in the direction of your thumb and pinky. Hold your hand up and "wave" by moving side-to-side.

Hopefully this was more clear? If not, I can try again.. I'll try to find pics/videos if needed.

Holding your fingers off the keys- try this exercise. Relax your hand at your side. Your fingers will naturally curl. Now, without breaking your wrist, lift up your arm and place your fingertips on a table top or flat surface (your wrist will probably be anywhere from 1-2 inches above the surface). This is about as close to "proper" playing position as I can describe over the internet.

Now, pick up any finger or fingers you like and use your muscles to extend them as much as possible. Feel the pull/muscle strain in your forearm? That is what you're fighting against when you're trying to play. You don't have to leave the fingers on the keys--artificially holding them there will also cause tension. But they can't straighten and 'stretch' out the way your hand appears to do (especially the left hand, if I remember correctly).

Let me know how that goes.. and send me a PM anytime. I'm happy to help. Videos are especially helpful for me, because I can see what it is you're doing, and I'm a very visual learner. smile
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#2052326 - 03/22/13 08:09 AM Re: Video of hands - Proper camera angle? [Re: Derulux]
ty.beginner Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/12/13
Posts: 42
Loc: Indonesia
thanx derelux.. i tried sitting on a thick book and the increased height makes the hand more comfortable. too bad the book is unstable so i need another solution as to how i can raise the bench.

i think i get what you mean by break and twist. i can see what you mean by not breaking it. im afraid i need more time abt the twist though as i thought it was useful to reach far keys. have to break that habit.


i'll take a few days of practice with the new height and all these new info first before i'll post an update. thanx again smile
_________________________
-TY-
Learning since: Sept 2012
Playing..
Canon in D, Pachebel
Marriage D Amour, Richard Clayderman

Learning..
Clair de lunes, Debussy

Top
#2052515 - 03/22/13 02:27 PM Re: Video of hands - Proper camera angle? [Re: ty.beginner]
Derulux Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5286
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: ty.beginner
thanx derelux.. i tried sitting on a thick book and the increased height makes the hand more comfortable. too bad the book is unstable so i need another solution as to how i can raise the bench.

i think i get what you mean by break and twist. i can see what you mean by not breaking it. im afraid i need more time abt the twist though as i thought it was useful to reach far keys. have to break that habit.


i'll take a few days of practice with the new height and all these new info first before i'll post an update. thanx again smile

I used to have a low bench.. try sitting on a firm pillow. You may find it a little more stable. You only really need about 2-3 inches of height, if I remember from the video.

To stop twisting: this will take some time. Think of the moving as one unit.. from the elbow all the way down through the fingers. So, when you need to move to hit a new note, the elbow has to move with it. (It's slightly more complex than that, but not much.) smile
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#2052831 - 03/23/13 07:11 AM Re: Video of hands - Proper camera angle? [Re: ty.beginner]
peterws Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 3454
Loc: Northern England.
I wonder if it would be good, or just fun, to place the camera on one`s head like a miner`s helmet light . . . you can buy cycling cameras cheaply which are head mounting. And then if ya look at the music, we look at it. . . .
_________________________
"I'm playing all the right notes — but not necessarily in the right order." Eric Morecambe

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