Do the conditions of a room have an effect on your playing?

Posted by: TylerNB

Do the conditions of a room have an effect on your playing? - 12/10/12 09:48 PM

I find that when the room is cold, my hands feel a bit less loose than usual. So maybe practicing in a cold room is hazardous to my piano playing if it makes my hands stiff. So is it possible that the temperature of the room is having an effect on my piano playing?
Posted by: BruceD

Re: Do the conditions of a room have an effect on your playing? - 12/10/12 11:41 PM

Short answer : It depends.

If the room is below freezing, well, yes, it would probably be hazardous to your piano playing and maybe to your general health as well. How cold is the room in question? Of course, you have less flexibility when your hands are cold, but I'm not sure whether playing in a "cold" room is necessarily hazardous to your piano playing.

My living room is about 18°C (approx. 64°F) this time of year, and while that would be a little too cool to just sit and read, it's fine for practicing. The fingers soon loosen with practicing. It all depends upon how cold the room is but isn't the answer simply common sense : if your hands are too cold for your normal flexibility then your playing will be somewhat limited - that's different, however, than saying that the temperature is "hazardous."

Regards,
Posted by: fledgehog

Re: Do the conditions of a room have an effect on your playing? - 12/11/12 01:48 AM

I'm afflicted by Raynaud's syndrome in my hands, so if it's less than about 65 my hands go icy cold and i quite often lose dexterity until I can get them warmed up again.
Posted by: Derulux

Re: Do the conditions of a room have an effect on your playing? - 12/11/12 02:39 AM

Originally Posted By: TylerNB
So is it possible that the temperature of the room is having an effect on my piano playing?

Anything is possible. Heat up the room and see if your playing improves.

Incidentally, one way to combat a cold room is to warm up properly. I like to run my hands and lower forearms under warm/hot water for a few minutes if I know I'm going into this kind of environment. But anything that warms up the muscles will help. Once they're warm and loose, the cold will have little effect unless you have a specific medical condition (one of which has already been mentioned in the thread).
Posted by: ChopinAddict

Re: Do the conditions of a room have an effect on your playing? - 12/11/12 03:19 AM

"Hazardous" is maybe too strong a word, but I think it can certainly affect your playing if you don't feel comfortable.
Posted by: bennevis

Re: Do the conditions of a room have an effect on your playing? - 12/11/12 05:39 AM

A mountaineer's trick of warming up or getting circulation into your hands and fingers is to swing your arms around in circles. The centrifugal force will get warm blood into your fingers. The exercise itself also helps to warm your whole body up, of course. I often combine this with jumping on the spot or hopping..... grin
Posted by: gooddog

Re: Do the conditions of a room have an effect on your playing? - 12/11/12 09:47 AM

Temperature and humidity will also effect the performance of your piano which will, in turn, effect your playing.
Posted by: TrueMusic

Re: Do the conditions of a room have an effect on your playing? - 12/11/12 01:53 PM

It seems to me like yesterday they did, or at least would have had I not been properly warmed up. I had my piano juries and when I got on stage it felt FREEZING. It was a fairly cold day yesterday [let's be real, I mean San Diego cold....it was like 58.] But for some reason I think they had the AC in in our performance hall...and when I got on stage I could feel the cold air on the back of my hands. I made it through my pieces without a problem [actually, it was the best I'd ever played them for my teacher and the rest of the piano faculty] but my hands did have a few moments that they felt like they wouldn't work.
Posted by: Michael_99

Re: Do the conditions of a room have an effect on your playing? - 12/11/12 04:00 PM

Temperature is a funny thing. For the whole of my life, I could never wear a t-shirt under my dress shirt cecause it would be very hot and I would probably get a nosebleed. But ALL of the women would complain to the janitors/boilerroom engineers that they were freezing. When asked by managers or others about the position, I said that the women were all wearing lovely clothing, often shortsleeves, lovely skirts but as a guy I had to wear a suit, a shirt, and a tie and was not permitted to remove or wear more revealing clothing. So my answer is to always carry a sweater and keep warm clothing in their locker.

I grew up in Northern Canada and I guess my blood is always half frozen. I went to a movie theater in the summer and this women said she was freezing. I said where are you from and she said Mexico, then I understood why she was cold.

It would be true that if you were cold and trying to play a piano, it could make it difficult to play, but so, too, if you were a guy that sweats a lot, wet fingers would not be good either.

That is why the piano world needs a digital piano/keyboard, $500 - Y? Well, if it gets too cold in my shack and the cost of fuel is too expensive to heat the house, I can take my digital piano into the bathroom or any other small room and stay warm to play the piano. In the summer it is very hot, for me, in Canada, and so I play my digital in a sreened deck - don't want to die of west nile - where it is cool and, of course, I wear headphones. Yes, I love my piano very much. There aren't words to express the sound and pleasure from playing an acoustic piano, but a digital lets you play when and where under the worst of conditions of a marriage or s climate. A cheap digital piano is a priceless gift.
Posted by: BruceD

Re: Do the conditions of a room have an effect on your playing? - 12/11/12 04:21 PM

Originally Posted By: Michael_99
[...]
That is why the piano world needs a digital piano/keyboard, $500 - Y? Well, if it gets too cold in my shack and the cost of fuel is too expensive to heat the house, I can take my digital piano into the bathroom or any other small room and stay warm to play the piano. In the summer it is very hot, for me, in Canada, and so I play my digital in a sreened deck - don't want to die of west nile - where it is cool and, of course, I wear headphones. Yes, I love my piano very much. There aren't words to express the sound and pleasure from playing an acoustic piano, but a digital lets you play when and where under the worst of conditions of a marriage or s climate. A cheap digital piano is a priceless gift.


Or you could junk the digital, move you and your acoustic to the West Coast where it is never too hot nor too cold and you could have the satisfaction of being able to play your acoustic year-round! smile

Cheers!
Posted by: Chopinlover49

Re: Do the conditions of a room have an effect on your playing? - 12/11/12 08:41 PM

I have arthritis in my hands, neck, and back, and a cold room is definitely a problem for me. To make it worse, my wife is from Northern Canada and goes barefoot in the snow. She is always hot so she wants the room setting to be 62 or 64. I wear sweaters all the time, even in the summer. The piano is in a bedroom on the second floor and the room never varies from 64. I am thinking of putting a portable electric heater in the room just to raise the temp to 70 so I can loosen up and play without discomfort. I definitely think the room has a lot to do with performance.