Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Gifts and supplies for the musician
SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
Ad (Piano Sing)
How to Make Your Piano Sing
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad 125) Sweetwater - Digital Keyboards & Other Gear
Digital Pianos at Sweetwater
(ad) Pianoteq
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
Who's Online
129 registered (accordeur, ando, Allan Sutton, A Guy, anamnesis, 36251, 33 invisible), 1622 Guests and 17 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Quick Links to Useful Piano & Music Resources
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers
*Organs

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano & Music Accessories
*Music School Listings
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Contest
*Links
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Pianos
Page 2 of 2 < 1 2
Topic Options
#951426 - 02/04/09 03:43 AM Re: getting rid of tension
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
Loc: South Florida
 Quote:
Originally posted by keystring:
[Another student feedback, if I may, is that anything negative that is mentioned can actually subconsciously become a goal. "Don't think about a pink elephant." - you can do nothing but think about pink elephants after that!
Yes. And it doesn't even have to be negative.

If I, as a teacher, mention something to you that you don't need, and you assume that it is important, you may attempt to absorb something that is absolutely harmful.

This is what I meant when I said that people tend to overdo anything.

Trying to guide students to make the right physical movements for *them* is incredibly tricky.

For instance, right now I have a student who started playing everything disconnected. I was not sure about letting this go on. My gut was not to stop it, but I don't always obey my gut feelings.

So I mentioned that it really is necessary to connect the notes.

Then watched this student ruin everything.

Fortunately, I was able to say, "Forget about it. Just play. We'll worry about this later."

And a bit later the notes started "connecting themselves". It was part of a process. The moment I tried to introduce the concept of legato, before it was just the right time for this particular student, the whole hand tensed, the fingers looked all wrong, the wrist locked.

I had to "back away" and look at things differently. How many times are keys actually struck in an at least someone detached manner, for any of a zillion reasons? What about getting the concept of "finger staccato", perhaps a misnomer, but definitely something that happens.

What if insisting on legato, as a default, not only blocked out the other (a natural staccato technique, already there), but also added unnecessary tension in a way that I couldn't even get rid of later?

These are the kinds of decisions that a good teacher has to make, on instinct, and quickly.

Now? Next week? Leave it for next month? Or just watch, do nothing, and see if it comes naturally?

I'm convinced the average teacher does immense damage by attempting to micro-manage every tiny movement, complete with all sorts of subtle wrist movements and elbow movements and rotations and a thousand other things, until students' own natural development is so warped that it never get back on track fully.
_________________________
Piano Teacher

Top
(ad) Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
#951427 - 02/04/09 03:59 AM Re: getting rid of tension
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5976
Loc: Down Under
 Quote:
Originally posted by Gary D.:
I'm convinced the average teacher does immense damage by attempting to micro-manage every tiny movement, complete with all sorts of subtle wrist movements and elbow movements and rotations and a thousand other things, until students' own natural development is so warped that it never get back on track fully. [/b]
I think you're right. If not immense damage then at least lots of unnecessary trouble.

And keystring - you said:
[quote]Having been caught out by this myself, I almost fear the word "relax". Surely there must be something else or in addition. [/b]

How about "freedom" instead of "relaxation"? \:\)
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

Top
#951428 - 02/04/09 04:04 AM Re: getting rid of tension
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
Loc: South Florida
 Quote:
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Gary D.:
For instance, when you played the Ab Chopin Etude[/b]
Thank you for watching and yes, that was illustrating a point. I now play it with naturally curved fingers as it's more responsive. The black note, on the other hand, I do totally flat. But enough about me... [/b]
But that's interesting. I had to give myself permission to play with fingers as straight or as flat as would feel completely comfortable, even if doing so appeared to be insanely exaggerated. This was temporary.

I needed this because I had been lead to grip or grasp or lock up in a million ways.

The moment I allowed myself to play with straight fingers in a manner that I had actually seen a couple famous players use, I discovered that I only needed to use them in this straighter position when playing finger work that demands great power and not too much speed.

For instance, if I play a B major scale forte, at perhaps 50 to 70% speed (mine), my fingers want to be fairly flat, although the curve as they "come in". It's a natural movement for me. If I play the same scale mf and close to as fast as I am able, I have a gentle curve to the fingers (or it appears that way) because my fingers are starting much closer to the keys.

If I take that same scale and attempt to go at maximum speed, without unnecessary tension, p or pp, more curvature. I'm not sure the curvature is actually changing so far as what the fingers do *after* they make contact with the keys.

For a C scale, very fast, soft, my fingers seems to be as curved as much anyone else's. So if I practice such scales more slowly, with more motion, loud (or fairly so), the fingers appear to be straighter only because I am introducing more motion, just for ease.

And that is at least what I *think* I see when I view fine players, in videos, playing music I play myself. So if my description sounds like something weird, again it is the word problem, and this environment.

(I observed that as I played faster and lighter, my fingers *appeared* to curve more simply because they started on or close to the keys. And then I started to see that this is what most pianists appear to do, at least to some extent.)

For my students I simply explain that our fingers adapt, constantly, to the contour of each succession of notes we play, in a million ways. If we attempt to monitor them in a way that forces them into a particular shape, we usually end up with something that is no longer instinctive. And that our hands make each of us find different solutions.

My fingers are very stiff in the way the move up and down, which means several things. First, they never collapse. No double-joints, nor problems with a collapsing 5th finger on octaves, and so on. And my finger tips are slim enough so that they fit very easily between black notes. My fingers open up very easily, large stretches between fingers.

So if I attempt to lift my fingers as some teach, my fingers immediately cramp. One of my best students had fingers that were quite curved, and totally natural that way. Very different from mine.

That one idea, letting my fingers "stretch" as I "lifted them" totally unlocked everything. The same idea would likely completely destroy someone else. I've never used it for a student.

It was the thing I was missing. Or one of the keys. I'm not even sure anyone could have told me that.
_________________________
Piano Teacher

Top
#951429 - 02/04/09 04:32 AM Re: getting rid of tension
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Easily said Gary \:\) . To explain what you are doing you need to speak anatomically. Flat finger technique uses the intrinsic muscles of the hand to a much greater extent than natural. Are you the trumpeter? It's the same muscles the players who play on the proximal phalange use. I for one haven't played a Bb scale whether pp or FF for many years.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


Top
#951430 - 02/04/09 05:11 AM Re: getting rid of tension
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11843
Loc: Canada
 Quote:
How about "freedom" instead of "relaxation"?
Possibly - How about direction, as in directing, as well as sense of direction, knowing "how to"?

Top
#951431 - 02/04/09 05:21 AM Re: getting rid of tension
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Freedom's just another word...
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


Top
#951432 - 02/04/09 01:16 PM Re: getting rid of tension
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
My simplistic comment is that you can also see the tension coming when you look at the students face: A student, 8 years old, 2nd year of study, this week pursed her lips and pinched her eyes partially shut and angled forward to be closer to the keyboard. She does wear glasses, but this intensity was because after preparing hands alone, we went to hands together, very slowly.

In another song which she knows very well that is faster and has accents, she started allowing her shoulders to rise to ear level in anticipation of the accents.

It really is helpful to watch the student execute her moves, and you do hear it in the sounds at the piano too, but my point is that you can see it just before it happens in the face and shoulders.

In correcting these things, first of all the student must gain awareness that she is doing it. I hope she has lots of discoveries in her practice this week about her physical motions and whether they are unnecessary and problematic.

We've now opened this up for discussion in the future. What an opportunity to communicate about this with her since it's so real to her now. You have to catch them in the act and bring it to their attention. "Freeze!"

She laughed when we pointed out these strange mannerisms on the "freeze". Nothing like stopping to feel the tension, believe me, it doesn't feel good, and one would want to eliminate it from happening for sure.

If you pull your shoulders up around your ears, it totally immobolizes you and keeps you from playing the piano, it just isn't possible.

What a good example of what not to do!

Top
#951433 - 02/04/09 01:17 PM Re: getting rid of tension
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
 Quote:
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianobuff:
 Quote:
by Gary D:


I tend to put greatest emphasis on demonstration, with as few words as possible, [/b]
This I agree! [/b]
a necessary evil for me. I'm of the 'I do and I understand school' [/b]
For a four to eight year old? I'm not saying I am great at not over explaining, I try my best to be quiet and to say "look" or "listen" and "then it's your turn", I really think it is the best way. It helps though to have two pianos side by side, especially for the wee ones. Less talk, having them listen to tone and see "correct technique" works wonders. Of course, you need to be the best role model possible, because they pick up on everything.

Hope I'm not soundng great or anything (role model). I just do my best, showing good posture, balance, natural hand postion, good tone, etc...

This ultimately leads to no tension/minimal effort/maximum results which equals good technique. Which I agree, technique is very subjective. We all have our own ways and beliefs on the best way to play the piano.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher,
member MTNA and Piano Basics Foundation

Top
#951434 - 02/04/09 01:25 PM Re: getting rid of tension
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
Gary mentioned stretching fingers into black keys to play. I think... I'm reading quickly these posts so apologize if I am speaking incorrectly... but this is what I teach as well, once the basics of balance is learned.

Curved fingers... not good, imo.

Have to go... great thread!
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher,
member MTNA and Piano Basics Foundation

Top
Page 2 of 2 < 1 2

Moderator:  Ken Knapp 
What's Hot!!
Christmas Header
- > Gift Ideas for Music Lovers < -
From PianoSupplies.com a division of Piano World.
-------------------
The December Free Piano Newsletter
-------------------
Forums Rules & Help
-------------------
ADVERTISE
on Piano World

The world's most popular piano web site.
-------------------
PIANO BOOKS
Interesting books about the piano, pianists, piano history, biographies, memoirs and more!
(ad) Yamaha CP Music Rest Promo
Yamaha CP Music Rest Promo
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
Ad (Seiler/Knabe)
Knabe Pianos
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
(ad) Piano Music Sale - Dover Publications
Piano Music Sale
Sheet Music Plus (125)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
New Topics - Multiple Forums
A new clip of Don Pullen in action
by rintincop
12/17/14 11:03 PM
Learn a Song in 7 minutes: Carol of the Bells
by Hugh Sung
12/17/14 10:11 PM
December 2014 Holiday Piano Bar
by piano_primo_1
12/17/14 06:14 PM
The Language of Taste - Pianos, Wine ... and Birds
by PNO40
12/17/14 05:16 PM
Good Practice Amp for Roland FP7F?
by TheloniousPunk
12/17/14 04:24 PM
Forum Stats
77333 Members
42 Forums
159946 Topics
2348919 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
Gift Ideas for Music Lovers!
Find the Perfect Gift for the Music Lovers on your List!
Visit our online store today.

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
|
Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |


copyright 1997 - 2014 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission