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Topic Options
#2053530 - 03/24/13 02:57 PM Is my playing technique incorrect?
Jason Zhao Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/27/13
Posts: 58
I've once talked to Norbert and we went into the conversation of my playing technique. He says that it was the Asian technique or something similar.
I've described my playing as:
-Curled fingers with the tips touching the keys.
-My arms for strength and my wrist for when necessary.
-When I play octaves and jump simultaneously I stiffen my hand so the position doesn't move.

I'm a Gr.8 student, if that helps. Norbert than told me that I should take advantage of my arms weight or something like that. (This happened a whole ago so I can't exactly remember)

Please give me some tips on how to improve playing!
Thank you!

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#2053535 - 03/24/13 03:11 PM Re: Is my playing technique incorrect? [Re: Jason Zhao]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18292
Loc: Victoria, BC
It's very difficult to put into words a comparison of what you might be doing and what should be done. Criticism of technique and imprpvement of it can best be done under the guidance of a teacher. What Norbert told you and what we might write don't necessarily translate to your complete understanding of what we might mean.

"Curled fingers" might work - might even be necessary - in some contexts, but less appropriate in others. I'm not sure what you mean when you write "my wrist for when necessary." "Stiffen[ing]" is almost never good as it implies tension - a decided impediment to good, fluent playing.

If you really need tips on how to improve your playing, you need to work with a teacher who can :
1) observe how you play
2) suggest how to improve your technique
3) correct your misapprehension of what you think s/he said or meant.
4) give physical examples along with verbal descriptions of what you need to do.

This last part is most important because when you teacher might say, for example: "Relax your wrist" or "use arm weight" you might attempt something that is not exactly what s/he meant. If we can't see how you play, then we can't give tips or advice. That is why a good teacher - and the immediate interaction that working with a teacher can provide - is so important.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#2053545 - 03/24/13 03:44 PM Re: Is my playing technique incorrect? [Re: Jason Zhao]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5282
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
Do you have pain or tension when you play?

What does your teacher say?
_________________________
website

mp3\wav files

AvantGrand N3, CP5

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#2053698 - 03/24/13 08:57 PM Re: Is my playing technique incorrect? [Re: Jason Zhao]
Jason Zhao Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/27/13
Posts: 58
Well, I never asked my teacher of playing techniques...
She sees me play but she never really tells me anything.
I guess I'll ask her next time, It is really hard to describe how I play.
If your talking about a type of soreness in my arms then yes, that happens occasionally when I play a non-classical piece that has lots of jumps.

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#2053720 - 03/24/13 10:08 PM Re: Is my playing technique incorrect? [Re: Jason Zhao]
Lingyis Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/15/09
Posts: 832
i don't really think there's anything wrong with curled curled fingers--yes it's less ergonomic and unnatural, but i think for even Gr. 8 it's much better to develop strength in the two "joints" in the fingers (not sure what the word is). later on you should start moving to slightly flatter fingers and there's no doubt (in my mind anyway) it's easier to go from curled to flat then the other way around.

i don't think there's anything particularly "asian" (or russian, i suppose, since i think that's how knowledge flowed many many years ago) about anything else you do. the things recommended are kind of applicable to most students.

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#2053755 - 03/25/13 12:22 AM Re: Is my playing technique incorrect? [Re: Jason Zhao]
JoelW Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4932
Loc: USA
Post a video with you playing. Sometimes the fingers are curled, sometimes they're straight, sometimes they're in between. Point being that the hands are naturally very dynamic when playing with good technique. Post a video if you can.

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#2053773 - 03/25/13 01:52 AM Re: Is my playing technique incorrect? [Re: Jason Zhao]
Jason Zhao Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/27/13
Posts: 58
Ok, I will try to post a video tomorrow, if I can manage to figure out how

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#2053809 - 03/25/13 05:21 AM Re: Is my playing technique incorrect? [Re: Jason Zhao]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5282
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
Originally Posted By: Jason Zhao
Well, I never asked my teacher of playing techniques...
She sees me play but she never really tells me anything.
I guess I'll ask her next time, It is really hard to describe how I play.
If your talking about a type of soreness in my arms then yes, that happens occasionally when I play a non-classical piece that has lots of jumps.


If you have pain or tension on a regular basis in your top forearm muscles you are playing incorrectly.

I was forced to relearn everything when I was 28. I had my share of bad teachers during high school and even college who never corrected my bad technique.
_________________________
website

mp3\wav files

AvantGrand N3, CP5

Top
#2053812 - 03/25/13 05:49 AM Re: Is my playing technique incorrect? [Re: Jason Zhao]
debrucey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 2606
Loc: Manchester, UK
If that be the case, you either have perfect technique, or your teacher can't/doesn't teach technique, for whatever reason.

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#2053866 - 03/25/13 08:38 AM Re: Is my playing technique incorrect? [Re: BruceD]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12222
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: BruceD
It's very difficult to put into words a comparison of what you might be doing and what should be done. Criticism of technique and imprpvement of it can best be done under the guidance of a teacher. What Norbert told you and what we might write don't necessarily translate to your complete understanding of what we might mean.

"Curled fingers" might work - might even be necessary - in some contexts, but less appropriate in others. I'm not sure what you mean when you write "my wrist for when necessary." "Stiffen[ing]" is almost never good as it implies tension - a decided impediment to good, fluent playing.

If you really need tips on how to improve your playing, you need to work with a teacher who can :
1) observe how you play
2) suggest how to improve your technique
3) correct your misapprehension of what you think s/he said or meant.
4) give physical examples along with verbal descriptions of what you need to do.

This last part is most important because when you teacher might say, for example: "Relax your wrist" or "use arm weight" you might attempt something that is not exactly what s/he meant. If we can't see how you play, then we can't give tips or advice. That is why a good teacher - and the immediate interaction that working with a teacher can provide - is so important.

Regards,


Great post, BruceD. It is very hard to judge anyone's technique based on what is said. I have had many students who make adjustments based on what some guy said on a youtube "instructional" video or some book, and ended up with worse results. Either they weren't doing what the person said exactly, or the changes weren't necessary, or just plain bad technical advice.

You best resource is your current teacher. Let her know that you sometimes have pain when playing, and show her an example. She will then be able to work you through it (hopefully).
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2054064 - 03/25/13 02:52 PM Re: Is my playing technique incorrect? [Re: Dave Horne]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5379
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: Dave Horne
Originally Posted By: Jason Zhao
Well, I never asked my teacher of playing techniques...
She sees me play but she never really tells me anything.
I guess I'll ask her next time, It is really hard to describe how I play.
If your talking about a type of soreness in my arms then yes, that happens occasionally when I play a non-classical piece that has lots of jumps.


If you have pain or tension on a regular basis in your top forearm muscles you are playing incorrectly.

I was forced to relearn everything when I was 28. I had my share of bad teachers during high school and even college who never corrected my bad technique.

Yeah, I've read through and everyone's post is great. I have little to add in a "big picture" sense beyond what has already been said. I just caught this snippet of conversation and thought I'd offer something here..

OP mentioned tightening/stiffening/locking (I forget which word; they're all basically the same thing) when jumping octaves, and then mentioned muscle fatigue and/or soreness when playing those things. This is because you're not supposed to lock your arm in place.. so I'm going to offer that you have quite a bit of tension in at least this one aspect of your technique. Could eventually lead to repetitive stress injury if pushed too far.

This is just something to be cognizant of. It would be difficult to delve deeper based on what has been offered so far. A video would help, but a true diagnosis of technique would require sitting down in person.
_________________________
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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#2054552 - 03/26/13 01:28 PM Re: Is my playing technique incorrect? [Re: Jason Zhao]
Jason Zhao Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/27/13
Posts: 58
Yeah, I wish I could get a video up but it seems I lost my camera! (Silly me...)
I think I once asked my piano teacher about techniques and I told her about the sore fore arms. She said you have to relax your hand or something like that. But that's all she said...

Next time, I'll ask her into more detail.

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#2054587 - 03/26/13 02:57 PM Re: Is my playing technique incorrect? [Re: Jason Zhao]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5282
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
Originally Posted By: Jason Zhao
Yeah, I wish I could get a video up but it seems I lost my camera! (Silly me...)
I think I once asked my piano teacher about techniques and I told her about the sore fore arms. She said you have to relax your hand or something like that. But that's all she said...

Next time, I'll ask her into more detail.


You pretty much confirmed what I suspected, you are playing using the wrong set of muscles. I could explain to you in writing how to approach the piano correctly, but to be perfectly honest, it would be much easier to show you in person.

I also had pain\tension\tightness in my top forearm muscles and learned how to play with the least amount of effort after studying with a concert pianist. I studied with him for ten lessons but as far as technique goes, he showed me in about ten minutes in the first lesson what I was doing wrong and how to play correctly.

If you happen to live near me I'll gladly spend an hour or two with you.

Get a teacher who can show you how to play with the least amount of effort. It's not intuitive but it can be taught.

Good luck.
_________________________
website

mp3\wav files

AvantGrand N3, CP5

Top
#2054651 - 03/26/13 04:55 PM Re: Is my playing technique incorrect? [Re: Jason Zhao]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5379
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: Jason Zhao
I think I once asked my piano teacher about techniques and I told her about the sore fore arms. She said you have to relax your hand or something like that. But that's all she said...

I find this a lot.. people can always tell you what's wrong, but they aren't able to articulate how to fix it. Relaxation is the end result, but it is the movements and thought processes that go into them that cause the tension, so unless you know which movements to change and how to change them, "just relax" won't really help at all.

One thing I can say for sure: don't focus on locking your hand in "octave" or "chord" position. It will go there on its own.

Beyond that, we'd really have to take a look at your playing to be able to get into more details.
_________________________
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.

Top
#2055401 - 03/27/13 11:35 PM Re: Is my playing technique incorrect? [Re: Jason Zhao]
Jason Zhao Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/27/13
Posts: 58
Yeah,
I looked everywhere for my camera and I just can't seem to find it.
I'll just ask my piano teacher now.
Thanks everyone for tips!

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