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#2075906 - 05/02/13 01:21 PM Re: Hands postion help request. [Re: Jean-Luc]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11731
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Jean-Luc
In me quest for a better technique, I have found some interesting pieces of information and I decided to post them her in the hope it might be useful to other people who have problems like me so here I start with this series of videos posted by Dr. John Mortensen, Professor of Piano at Cedarville University.

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL753730BB176690A0

It think there is a lot of very interesting things here smile


Have you run into where he goes off on a long tangent on Dr. Seuss Books ("especially Green Eggs and Ham")? laugh Which strangely enough makes total sense. (The 5th finger one).

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#2077833 - 05/05/13 06:47 PM Re: Hands postion help request. [Re: Jean-Luc]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: Jean-Luc
I uploaded two more videos, the first one is to see if I understood Derulux correctly (I had some difficulties seeing the "correct thumb" technique, so in the video I show what I think I understood :))
[video:youtube]http://youtu.be/HydKG45XrgQ[/video]
In the second video, more demonstration of what I think I understood and some experimentation with forearm roation (in the video I experiment a bit with dynamic and I am amazed by how easier it is that way :)) [video:youtube]http://youtu.be/gBcvufCyQS8[/video]
Sorry, it both video it's not actual music, I just play what goes through my head, I really wanted to focus on the
technique smile
I added a third video for the thumb specifically: in the 3 first notes, I play the way I understood as being wrong (fixed thumb), the 3 notes after that, the thumb moves up but do nothing else, the 3 last notes, it actually move down and participate to the impact. I am not sure between the getting ready up, and hitting the key version, which one is right (if any :)) [video:youtube]http://youtu.be/8nJYlAECLxw[/video]

It certainly looks better with a more active thumb. One thing I definitely noticed is that your thumb looks very tense in the video--do your tendons always stand out that much, even when your hand is relaxed and not doing anything?

Active thumb is good; what I would also like to see is your hand and arm supporting the note striking. Right now, your thumb is completely off to the side playing its own note under its own power. When you hit those thumb strikes, your arm weight should be over top of the thumb (for a hint: look at the video of you playing 1-5-1-5-1-5).

Also, I noticed something else-- when you used your mouse, your wrist was very low. It's going to feel weird, but if you hold your mouse with just your fingertips, and don't rest your wrist on any surface, you may see some improvement in wrist pain reduction (same for typing-- fingertips only).
_________________________
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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#2078024 - 05/06/13 01:07 AM Re: Hands postion help request. [Re: Jean-Luc]
Whizbang Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 788
Originally Posted By: Jean-Luc
I uploaded two more videos, the first one is to see if I understood Derulux correctly (I had some difficulties seeing the "correct thumb" technique, so in the video I show what I think I understood :))
[video:youtube]http://youtu.be/HydKG45XrgQ[/video]
In the second video, more demonstration of what I think I understood and some experimentation with forearm roation (in the video I experiment a bit with dynamic and I am amazed by how easier it is that way :)) [video:youtube]http://youtu.be/gBcvufCyQS8[/video]
Sorry, it both video it's not actual music, I just play what goes through my head, I really wanted to focus on the
technique smile
I added a third video for the thumb specifically: in the 3 first notes, I play the way I understood as being wrong (fixed thumb), the 3 notes after that, the thumb moves up but do nothing else, the 3 last notes, it actually move down and participate to the impact. I am not sure between the getting ready up, and hitting the key version, which one is right (if any :)) [video:youtube]http://youtu.be/8nJYlAECLxw[/video]


Hi Jean-Luc,

Your posted videos look a LOT better, but it's hard to tell from the video how your hands "feel".

I agree with Derulux that the way that your thumb hovers over the keyboard looks a bit weird and possibly represents some tension.

I just -had- to go down and see what the heck I do in that situation. I'm far from a master of technique, so please take this with a grain of salt.

If I'm connecting the notes in a simple right hand melody, I'm finding that I keep all my fingers almost resting on the keys with a lower wrist position.

If I play more detached and staccato the way you're playing, then I'll actually raise my wrist position, but, still the hand and fingers will droop down towards the keyboard. My thumb is definitely above the keyboard in this case, but it's not sticking forward parallel to the keys the way your thumb is. I'm not sure if that's an artifact of my trying to reproduce a five-finger melody or if it is actually representative of my actual hand position.

Your left hand looks much more relaxed than your right hand, but keep in mind that I can't really see your left thumb from the angle.

Your use of forearm to help in the playing of the notes looks much MUCH better.

We still can't see your shoulders. If you are holding your arms up by keeping your shoulders lifted up in a static position, you're gonna end up regretting that. Does your neck feel tense at the end of the day? If so, you might be scrunching your shoulders up for a long period of time and, believe it or not, this can result in forearm and wrist problems.
_________________________
Whizbang
amateur ragtime pianist

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#2078125 - 05/06/13 05:33 AM Re: Hands postion help request. [Re: Jean-Luc]
Jean-Luc Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/19/12
Posts: 322
Loc: France
Thank you to both of you for your help smile
You are most definitively right thinking there is something wrong with my thumbs because they hurt a lot (it radiates up to the elbow and into the index finger).
I have rather skinny wrist so my tendons are always fairly visible but still a lot less when my hands are resting. What you say reminds me of something my kinetherapyst said. He was surprised because both, my flexor and extensor tendons were painful. So, maybe when playing I contract both (at least for the thumb) and it might be an explanation for the pain (I don't remember exactly how it's called, but according to what I have read it's bad). The problem is, I really try hard to have everything as relaxed as possible. Right now, more or less all my fingers hurt (but my thumbs much more than the others). It feels a bit as if I had tried to walk on the tip of my fingers (with my finger extended). It might be the result of trying the "freeing the caged bird" technique, it seems I do something wrong and if I actually try to have the whole weight of my forearm resting on my fingers, I tense them too much.
Derulux, I will try to hold my mouse as you described, it's true it feels a bit weird but if it can help, I am game smile I will also try not to have my thumb as far out (I think I started playing like that because otherwise I was striking the key almost with my nail)
Whizbang, strangely enough, except at the very beginning, a few months ago, I have never really felt any pain in the shoulder area or the neck, overall, with the exception of my hands, I can't really say I have felt pain anywhere (well, in my forearms, but it's more a "radiating pain".
According to the various exams, so far I have no real tendonitis or anything like that, so I guess the pain is "only" a strong warning signal but I know I can't just ignore it.
Thank you very much, I really appreciate the help and if I do not apply it right, it's not because I do not try, it's because sometimes I am a little "thick" smile

After reading my post I noticed something that might be ambiguous : When I say, I probably did something that made things worst, I have to explain what it was (so that it doesn't happen to someone else) and also have to say it wasn't due to a tip given to me in this thread but a video I watched. I started to play with my hand still curved but the fingers almost straight and pointing down (supposedly to support the weight of the hand better, only using the bones instead of the tendons). Well, I don't know if I misinterpreted anything, but the day after all my fingers hurt like heck, so, most certainly something I wouldn't recommend smile


Edited by Jean-Luc (05/06/13 06:13 AM)
Edit Reason: What made things worst
_________________________
- Please, forgive my bad English smile

Jean-Luc

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#2078306 - 05/06/13 01:01 PM Re: Hands postion help request. [Re: Jean-Luc]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
Quote:
I will also try not to have my thumb as far out (I think I started playing like that because otherwise I was striking the key almost with my nail)

I saw some of this in the video, but I don't think I mentioned it. There are more movements that go into playing. In/out being one of them. This would take care of the "striking distance" for the thumb, because your whole arm, starting at your elbow, would move in to play the thumb (or, if your thumb is playing first, your arm would start in and then move out for other fingers).

Unfortunately, these types of movements get very intricate and difficult to explain in words -- one of the reasons many people always suggest getting a good teacher. Sitting down in person is an invaluable thing.

Since you're playing a basic five-finger progression: you would start in on the thumb. Move out to the middle finger, and then move back in to the pinky. Or, start in on the pinky, move out to the middle finger, and back in to the thumb.

I recommend getting the tension out, the independence going, and the active thumb moving before we start adding new movements -- because each one will create new tension possibilities if done incorrectly. There are really four major movements that work in unison to produce sound.

Quote:
I started to play with my hand still curved but the fingers almost straight and pointing down (supposedly to support the weight of the hand better, only using the bones instead of the tendons). Well, I don't know if I misinterpreted anything, but the day after all my fingers hurt like heck, so, most certainly something I wouldn't recommend

I noticed a little finger straightening, too.. not sure if I mentioned it previously. I was really trying to focus on one thing at a time. But yes, you should not shoot your finger out like a striking snake (straight) so that the knuckles straighten. I really have no other way to describe what it is you did.. almost like you tried to push your finger straight out and into the key, instead of letting gravity drop the hand into the key. (This is one of those things where, if you can't follow what I'm trying to say, we'd have to sit in person to discuss, and I could show it to you..)
_________________________
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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#2078688 - 05/07/13 07:26 AM Re: Hands postion help request. [Re: Jean-Luc]
Jean-Luc Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/19/12
Posts: 322
Loc: France
Thank you Derulux, I think I understood your explanations and I will probably post another video update when my hands are a bit less painful smile
Yesterday, while reading this thread once more I think I had a Eureka moment (at least I hope so smile )
I was reading, my hand resting on my mouse (this is important and resting is the keyword). I reached the part where you mention the way I hold the mouse and of course I looked at my hand. And I guess I understood something I had never considered before. I have a strong interest for architecture and when thinking of the hand and the piano, I had always made an association with an arch (or to be more precise, to the flying buttresses of a Gothic building), never of a cupola. And I think it was one of my big mistakes. I have read many times "imagine you are holding a ball" in your hand, but I think I always translated it in my head to "imagine you are holding a cylinder". Meaning, I have always paid attention to the relaxation between the tips of my fingers in the direction of my arms, never to the transverse direction. Looking at my hand resting "around" the mouse, I realized it was perfectly relaxed and, at least I believe, in a perfect piano playing position. Contrary to my usual piano playing position, the hand not only form an arch from the tip of the fingers to the wrist, but also from the thumb attachment to the pinky and should, at least if I transfer my architectural knowledge to the hand, be able to passively support my arm weight, without real participation of the muscle in the palm, thus with a lot less tension smile It would make no sense for me to try today due to the pain, but I will definitively update you smile
btw, I think I have to clarify something. Whizbang pointed out in a previous post that I should rest until I heal and his advice was of course right. But the fact is, according to the doctor and the various exams, I apparently have no injuries (only some remaining traces of a De Quervain tendonitis). Apparently, the pain I suffer is comparable to what would happen if I made a tight fist for several hours, and should slowly disappear if I manage to remove its source.
_________________________
- Please, forgive my bad English smile

Jean-Luc

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#2078800 - 05/07/13 12:03 PM Re: Hands postion help request. [Re: Jean-Luc]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
No problem.. happy to help. smile

The cylinder comment is very insightful. So the tension we saw was because you were holding your hand "flat" across the x-axis, rather than letting it curve naturally. That would certainly create fatigue, and possibly pain in the outer fingers.

It was very tough to see that from the side. I imagine if we looked from the top, we might have seen a flatening, and possibly even an unnatural widening, of the knuckles on the back of the hand (creating a scenario where the fingers are unnaturally slightly separated). So, watch for those visual symptoms.

You hit it right on the head-- the key is to relax, not to "hold" any one particular posture. Like yoga, if you try to hold a pose, your muscles will work overtime. But if you're just sitting, your muscles are relaxed. wink
_________________________
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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