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#2060958 - 04/07/13 07:07 PM Hand positioning when playing.
Serge Marinkovic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/11/09
Posts: 335
Loc: United States
When playing or practicing I always keep my hands on the keys. I never lift up or bounce around. I was practicing yesterday and my step daughter brought it to my attention. I never noticed it before. My hands are almost flat and I never bring my hands down in any rush to play anything. I bring the hands down to the keyboard then begin to play. What are your hand positions when playing and how do you find them beneficial ?
_________________________
Serge P. Marinkovic, MD


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#2062040 - 04/09/13 04:24 PM Re: Hand positioning when playing. [Re: Serge Marinkovic]
Arghhh Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/31/08
Posts: 1048
I used to play like this, and my teacher has been working on having me avoid this (on jumps). I suppose if you have a long time to move from one position to the next, there is no problem staying in contact with the keys. But if the speed picks up, it is actually faster to move the hand in an arc. In addition, if I'm sticking to they keys all the time, there is usually a fear factor involved, and that fear leads to unnecessary tightening of the arms.

What were you practicing that your daughter thought you were too close to the keys on?

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#2062056 - 04/09/13 04:55 PM Re: Hand positioning when playing. [Re: Serge Marinkovic]
Serge Marinkovic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/11/09
Posts: 335
Loc: United States
Mazeppa, but now I understand the thoughts of an arc. That's the way my grandfather taught me to move from one area to another in an arc. That's what is so nice about this forum the opportunity to realize and learn. Thank you.
_________________________
Serge P. Marinkovic, MD


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#2062070 - 04/09/13 05:30 PM Re: Hand positioning when playing. [Re: Serge Marinkovic]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19231
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Serge Marinkovic
When playing or practicing I always keep my hands on the keys. I never lift up or bounce around. I was practicing yesterday and my step daughter brought it to my attention. I never noticed it before. My hands are almost flat and I never bring my hands down in any rush to play anything. I bring the hands down to the keyboard then begin to play. What are your hand positions when playing and how do you find them beneficial ?
To me, posts like this illustrate the difficulties and pitfalls in trying to use words to describe technique.

It seems virtually impossible to always keep hands on the keys. That would require sliding along the keyboard while the fingers are touching the keys. In addition to being impossible, all good pianists lift their hands off the keys when there is some free time and under many other circumstances. Also, if the piece is difficult not rushing to play some passage or notes seems virtually impossible. Of course, maybe the OP means something different from what most would mean by not rushing or keeping hands on the keys.


Edited by pianoloverus (04/09/13 05:33 PM)

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#2062079 - 04/09/13 05:51 PM Re: Hand positioning when playing. [Re: Serge Marinkovic]
jeffreyjones Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 2290
Loc: San Jose, CA
Originally Posted By: Serge Marinkovic
When playing or practicing I always keep my hands on the keys. I never lift up or bounce around. I was practicing yesterday and my step daughter brought it to my attention. I never noticed it before. My hands are almost flat and I never bring my hands down in any rush to play anything. I bring the hands down to the keyboard then begin to play. What are your hand positions when playing and how do you find them beneficial ?


Keeping your fingers on the keys all the time is a good practice, and one that I follow religiously whenever the writing is primarily passagework and smaller chords. But as far as the shape of the hand, there are lots of different touches that you should be using depending on the sound you're trying to produce. If I'm comfortable with a wash of sound, I flatten out and use the pads. If I want a more brilliant or incisive sound, I curl my fingers more towards the nail and in some cases even play on the nails to make every note sparkle a little more.

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#2062082 - 04/09/13 05:56 PM Re: Hand positioning when playing. [Re: Serge Marinkovic]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5286
Loc: Philadelphia
You were practicing Mazeppa while doing this? Any chance you can post a video recording of it?
_________________________
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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#2062085 - 04/09/13 06:10 PM Re: Hand positioning when playing. [Re: Serge Marinkovic]
gooddog Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4785
Loc: Seattle area, WA
Staying close to the keys is what my teacher would call "economy of motion." It uses the least amount of finger and hand energy, saves time and depends more on the arms, shoulders and back for lateral movement and volume. It also allows for better tone and smoother rapid passage work. The idea of lifting and dropping in an arch is, of course, necessary when jumping from place to place, but even that arch shouldn't be too high in the air because it costs time. If you watch some of the pros carefully, you will see they stay fairly close to the keys.

I was originally taught to play with a high palm arch and high, curved fingers which all contributed to my overall tension. It sounds to me like you are doing fine but it's hard to tell without actually seeing you play.

I think it would be helpful, Serge, if you could post a video so we could all see what you are doing.
_________________________
Best regards,

Deborah

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#2062109 - 04/09/13 07:43 PM Re: Hand positioning when playing. [Re: gooddog]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19231
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: gooddog
Staying close to the keys is what my teacher would call "economy of motion."
Yes, but this is not what the OP said("always keep my hands on the keys") in his opening post. In addition, most(really all I'd say)professional pianists quite frequently lift their hands quite high(say 6")off the keys when this opportunity is available or appropriate. And sometimes much further than that. Of course, this doesn't mean there aren't passages where lifting one's hands would be very inappropriate or impossible.


Edited by pianoloverus (04/09/13 08:14 PM)

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#2062113 - 04/09/13 07:56 PM Re: Hand positioning when playing. [Re: Serge Marinkovic]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17851
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: Serge Marinkovic
When playing or practicing I always keep my hands on the keys. I never lift up [..]


The key words here, "always" and "never" should surely not be taken literally, otherwise I would think that the OP would have considerable difficulty playing some pieces well.

It's not practical to try to make a generalization about hand position, since hand position really depends upon context, doesn't it?

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#2062117 - 04/09/13 08:01 PM Re: Hand positioning when playing. [Re: BruceD]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19231
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: BruceD
Originally Posted By: Serge Marinkovic
When playing or practicing I always keep my hands on the keys. I never lift up [..]


The key words here, "always" and "never" should surely not be taken literally, otherwise I would think that the OP would have considerable difficulty playing some pieces well.

It's not practical to try to make a generalization about hand position, since hand position really depends upon context, doesn't it?

Regards,
I'd say one should not use "always" or "never" unless they mean it. Here the OP chose to use both of them. In terms of playing the piano even words like "usually" or "infrequently" would be far too strong IMO.


Edited by pianoloverus (04/09/13 08:16 PM)

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#2062206 - 04/09/13 11:59 PM Re: Hand positioning when playing. [Re: Serge Marinkovic]
Serge Marinkovic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/11/09
Posts: 335
Loc: United States
I am still learning the notes. It will be several months before I can video tape it. But I also need to address my performance anxiety. My daughter who likes classical music but is more in tune with alternative rock and roll has been watching my purchased video tapes. I have over 100 video tapes including Richter, Sokolov, Gilels, Horowitz, Rubenstein, Pollini etc. Really diverse selection of pianists and repertoire. My wife says that when I am at the clinic over the last year she puts in a different video and listens and watches. She is a freshman here at ULL and wants to transfer to Tulane in a couple of years. So all of a sudden at the dinner table she critiques my practice etc. She looks at my scores see's what I am practicing and finds a tape. She is 19 and never did this before and I am flattered at her attention to detail. She is maturing before my eyes and her comments are insightful. So now after I practice for a few hours she texts me " Sounds very good must it be so dry when you practice? More color! This is after practicing Mazeppa for two weeks. Tonight I asked my wife is Courtney coming home soon ? No at school until 7 pm . So I try to get two hours in before she comes home. I wonder how long it will take for her to notice my new approach?
_________________________
Serge P. Marinkovic, MD


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#2062220 - 04/10/13 12:41 AM Re: Hand positioning when playing. [Re: Serge Marinkovic]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5286
Loc: Philadelphia
The most mistakes happen before the final product is compiled. So, the most improvement can be made in the process before the final product is completed. Play something besides Mazeppa if you want. Just need to see your hands move.
_________________________
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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