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#2217715 - 01/20/14 03:07 PM am I the only one whose hands get tired?
LS35A Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/31/09
Posts: 139
Loc: Hayden, ID
I can only play 45-60 minutes a day, 5-6 days a week.

My hands get so stiff. And no, I'm not pounding on them or anything.

I had the same problem when I played classical guitar and I've generally had muscle soreness problems my entire adult life.

Sure would be nice to play a couple of hours a day.

I'm watching my practice time carefully and hope in another six months or so to try adding more time to my routine.

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#2217719 - 01/20/14 03:16 PM Re: am I the only one whose hands get tired? [Re: LS35A]
Derulux Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5281
Loc: Philadelphia
Have you looked into technique-based solutions?
_________________________
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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#2217729 - 01/20/14 03:41 PM Re: am I the only one whose hands get tired? [Re: LS35A]
gooddog Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4777
Loc: Seattle area, WA
LS35A, have you checked to make sure you are playing with no excess tension? Pay attention to your forearms, upper arms, shoulders, neck and back. Is your back straight? Do you arms swing freely at your sides? Are you wrists supple? Are you playing with the bench at the right height?

Perhaps play for 30 minutes, take a rest and go back to it. I know when I dive into serious practice time during the summer, (I teach), I have to work up to it gradually or I get sore.
_________________________
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#2217922 - 01/20/14 11:21 PM Re: am I the only one whose hands get tired? [Re: LS35A]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11558
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: LS35A
I can only play 45-60 minutes a day, 5-6 days a week.

My hands get so stiff. And no, I'm not pounding on them or anything.

I had the same problem when I played classical guitar and I've generally had muscle soreness problems my entire adult life.

I'm learning and relearning technique, because originally I played self-taught years ago. Good technique could be described as using your body efficiently, with maximum ease and least effort and strain. What many of us do is the exact opposite. Some of what I'm learning carries over to other activities and instruments. You may be doing something at guitar which you also do with piano, and you might even be doing so in everyday life. Since you described this for piano, guitar, and "generally" it might be a combination of your personal makeup (people are naturally loose or tight) and how you do things.

Did you ever get guidance or feedback for how you play for either guitar or piano?
Quote:
I'm watching my practice time carefully and hope in another six months or so to try adding more time to my routine.

Much more important than "how long" is "how".

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#2217938 - 01/21/14 12:20 AM Re: am I the only one whose hands get tired? [Re: keystring]
LS35A Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/31/09
Posts: 139
Loc: Hayden, ID
Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: LS35A
I can only play 45-60 minutes a day, 5-6 days a week.

My hands get so stiff. And no, I'm not pounding on them or anything.

I had the same problem when I played classical guitar and I've generally had muscle soreness problems my entire adult life.

I'm learning and relearning technique, because originally I played self-taught years ago. Good technique could be described as using your body efficiently, with maximum ease and least effort and strain. What many of us do is the exact opposite. Some of what I'm learning carries over to other activities and instruments. You may be doing something at guitar which you also do with piano, and you might even be doing so in everyday life. Since you described this for piano, guitar, and "generally" it might be a combination of your personal makeup (people are naturally loose or tight) and how you do things.

Did you ever get guidance or feedback for how you play for either guitar or piano?
Quote:
I'm watching my practice time carefully and hope in another six months or so to try adding more time to my routine.

Much more important than "how long" is "how".


Agreed - more bad practice is not a good thing.

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#2217950 - 01/21/14 12:47 AM Re: am I the only one whose hands get tired? [Re: LS35A]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11558
Loc: Canada
Did what I wrote about some practices extending beyond any specific instrument make sense?

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#2217958 - 01/21/14 01:30 AM Re: am I the only one whose hands get tired? [Re: LS35A]
Jayden Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/11/13
Posts: 90
Loc: Perth, Western Australia
I would suggest playing for 30 minutes, then taking a rest and spend some time watching a movie or something. Then go back to it.

You're both resting and employing spaced repetition simultaneously.

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#2218070 - 01/21/14 09:01 AM Re: am I the only one whose hands get tired? [Re: LS35A]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11420
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I think the important thing is to pay attention to when your hands start to feel fatigued and stop before that happens. That might even be 15 minutes. That is good, but it is not a solution to the problem you are having long-term. In order to figure out what you are doing wrong, it is best to work with a teacher who knows how to help with tension issues.

Another thing you can do is really pay attention to how it feels when you are playing. Do you tense up for fast scales? Big chords? When you play hands together? Really getting inside your own body and drawing awareness to what specifically causes tension can be a good first step in correcting it.

If you are able to post some videos of you playing we can perhaps give you some pointers on what to correct.
_________________________
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#2218081 - 01/21/14 09:25 AM Re: am I the only one whose hands get tired? [Re: LS35A]
Jayden Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/11/13
Posts: 90
Loc: Perth, Western Australia
Build up some finger strength by pleasing the misses. That might help too wink

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#2218464 - 01/21/14 08:32 PM Re: am I the only one whose hands get tired? [Re: Jayden]
LS35A Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/31/09
Posts: 139
Loc: Hayden, ID
Originally Posted By: Jayden
I would suggest playing for 30 minutes, then taking a rest and spend some time watching a movie or something. Then go back to it.

You're both resting and employing spaced repetition simultaneously.


Good advice, I'm going to try that. 30 minutes, 10 minute break, 15-30 minutes.

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#2218467 - 01/21/14 08:37 PM Re: am I the only one whose hands get tired? [Re: keystring]
malkin Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2412
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Originally Posted By: keystring
Did what I wrote about some practices extending beyond any specific instrument make sense?


It makes sense to me!
_________________________
A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#2218711 - 01/22/14 11:21 AM Re: am I the only one whose hands get tired? [Re: malkin]
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 540
I can play for two hours and my hands do not get tired? I get stiff from sitting down for two hours but thats all. Not tired hands. Maybe you have other reasons for tired hands and need to see a doctor

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#2218725 - 01/22/14 11:41 AM Re: am I the only one whose hands get tired? [Re: adultpianist]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11558
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: adultpianist
I can play for two hours and my hands do not get tired? I get stiff from sitting down for two hours but thats all. Not tired hands. Maybe you have other reasons for tired hands and need to see a doctor

The fact that you, personally, have this good experience, doesn't lead to the (alarming) idea of needing a doctor. I think it's a relatively common problem. Just put suboptimum technique or poor habit of some kind in the mix, and you'll get tired hands and more.

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#2218780 - 01/22/14 01:04 PM Re: am I the only one whose hands get tired? [Re: LS35A]
piano_deb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/26/05
Posts: 787
Loc: Memphis, TN
My hands get tired sometimes. It can happen if I start pounding the keys. But it may also caused by my "flying" thumbs. I realized the other day that I hold them up and away from the keys. If I play a note with my thumb, it just flies back up in the air, away from the keyboard, and them I have to bring it all the way forward and down again the next time it's needed. My teacher said it's tension and I need to let my thumbs relax and hang while playing. As I sit here typing, I notice the same tension/flying action, so this is going to take *some* work to resolve. It seems much more ingrained than the stiff-pinkie-finger I had when I first started piano. It doesn't help that I work on a computer keyboard virtually all day long at work at at home, plus the piano keyboard. To relax, sewing makes a wonderful change of pace physically, but knitting causes crazy-bad hand cramps. Tension, again.

Sorry for the rambling post. I hope something in it is helpful!


Edited by piano_deb (01/22/14 01:07 PM)
_________________________
Deborah
Charles Walter 1500
Happiness is a shiny red piano.

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#2218832 - 01/22/14 02:29 PM Re: am I the only one whose hands get tired? [Re: malkin]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11558
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: malkin
Originally Posted By: keystring
Did what I wrote about some practices extending beyond any specific instrument make sense?


It makes sense to me!

Thanks, Malkin. smile

I was wondering if I could manage any examples, and am curious if anyone else has anything to add to the idea. I first thought of it when the OP wrote of having similar things with classical guitar and also in real life. Giving it a try:

- "Posture" - didn't have much, and when I did try for it, misunderstood. I understood eventually that we balance ourselves over gravity, and balancing itself is not a rigid thing, but a continual adjustment. If you fight for balance or "hold" yourself straight, that puts tension in your whole body including the hands. If you learn balance, everything in life becomes easier.

There are specific versions of this for piano and other instruments, but the general principle is there too.

- "Relaxation" - This idea went loopy. I got the idea that "tension is bad" and moved to "limpness" which is ineffective, and puts a dead weight on the body. This was before piano. Then I was looking for some kind of "optimum elastic state of the athlete" that I had read about. What you actually need to know is that it keeps changing. You brace "enough" one second, you release the next second. If you are someone who perpetually grips and braces himself, then you might have pain in things you do in everyday life too. (I'm guessing athletes don't do this).

- The body works as a unit; and 2) no joint in the body should be locked. If you play with the fingers, or even play with the arm, but you don't know your torso and feet play a role, you may create tension. But that principle also exists in all other activities.

- "synchronicity" - This was coined by a personal trainer, meaning that not only does the body work as a unit, but there has to be a logical flow. Think of how a pitcher throws a ball. Google "mythbusters - throw like a girl" - or watch the free tutorials on golf (I don't play golf) that are everywhere.

When I started to go after some of these things, I discovered things I was doing in places other than piano, which also caused aches or clumsy ways of doing things. Can anyone else relate? Or maybe conversely - a person with athletic experience who applies it? SH?

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#2218926 - 01/22/14 04:02 PM Re: am I the only one whose hands get tired? [Re: LS35A]
JohnSprung Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/11
Posts: 1243
Loc: Reseda, California
Originally Posted By: LS35A
I can only play 45-60 minutes a day, 5-6 days a week.

My hands get so stiff. And no, I'm not pounding on them or anything.

I had the same problem when I played classical guitar and I've generally had muscle soreness problems my entire adult life.


How long have you been doing this? If you just started recently, it could just be that you're building up muscles that you haven't used much in the past. Is it the muscles that are actually in your hands, or the ones in the forearm that act via tendons?

Given that you've always had muscle soreness, I'd look to diet. Are you getting the right micronutrients from veggies? Drinking plenty of water?
_________________________
-- J.S.

Knabe Grand # 10927
Yamaha CP33
Kawai FS690

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