Do you workout with weights? Why or why not?

Posted by: theJourney

Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/05/13 05:55 AM

Quote:
strength training in parallel with motor learning can lead to improved muscular coordination...

We thus speculate that “normal” strength training involving more complex muscle recruitment patterns and a more prominent role of muscular coordination may have the potential to induce learning-related phenomena in the central nervous system.


http://jap.physiology.org/content/99/4/1558.full

Quote:

Use it or lose it

Muscle mass naturally diminishes with age. "If you don't do anything to replace the lean muscle you lose, you'll increase the percentage of fat in your body," says Edward Laskowski, M.D., a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., and co-director of the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center. "But strength training can help you preserve and enhance your muscle mass — at any age."

Strength training also helps you:

Develop strong bones.
Control your weight.
Reduce your risk of injury.
Boost your stamina.
Manage chronic conditions.
Sharpen your focus.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/strength-training/HQ01710

As someone who is enjoying the ride on the downhill half of the mid-century mark, I found myself spending +/- of the past six months on doctor's orders on a combined cardio and full body resistance training program. Despite my apprehension about the weight lifting having a negative impact on my playing (and remembering Chopin's quote that " a pianist's body should feel very soft life a rubber sponge "), I have noticed a number of very positive impacts on my piano playing including:

- more stamina
- better concentration
- better dynamic control
- improved chord voicing flexibility
- easier " playing with arm weight " / long line contact with keyboard
- increase in maximum tempi, particularly of pieces with wide register and big jumps

In short, I am sold!

Anyone else experience that workouts that are traditionally more associated with athletics and that might even be contra-indicated by some in combination with piano playing have actually improved their piano technique?
Posted by: JoelW

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/05/13 06:18 AM

I do, but not solely for piano. I do it to feel good in general. We need a healthy diet and daily exercise for our bodies to be at their best. (and that includes playing music)
Posted by: Dave Horne

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/05/13 06:39 AM

I work out just about every day and incorporate weights (not free, but machine) into my regimen. I primarily use weights to prevent lower back pain and have gotten into using weights for appearance a little bit.

I have noticed that using excessive amounts of weights, which I've stopped doing, can cause pain in my hand and wrists. So instead of going for more and more weight, I'm now leaning towards more and more reps at a lower setting.

I wouldn't say that working out helps my piano playing though I would add that it does help me in loading up and moving my equipment. smile
Posted by: Thrill Science

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/05/13 11:32 AM

Yes. I see a personal trainer twice a week for weight training. I'm 50 years old. I find strengthening my "core" reduces back problems and improves my posture.

I did this specifically to help increase my stamina at the piano keyboard. Sitting for long periods of time with your arms raised takes considerable strength....
Posted by: BruceD

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/05/13 02:31 PM

Yes, I do, five days per week, on average, using moderate weights along with cardio-vascular exercises, purely for physical-maintenance, general health reasons.

Regards,
Posted by: bennevis

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/05/13 03:06 PM

I use heavy weights and few reps, to maintain my muscle mass which would otherwise be depleted with my advanced age wink and my aerobic exercise (like running on hills, swimming, climbing etc). It's a compromise between strength and endurance, but I reached my limit in both a long time ago. So, I just try to keep what I've got as long as I can, so that I can still do all the things I want to do.

Whether or not weight-training helps my piano playing is difficult to say. Maybe my ffff is more solidly grounded and fuller-sounding, and better controlled than it would be if I hadn't weight-trained...... cool
Posted by: JoelW

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/05/13 03:37 PM

I just recently started lifting again for the first time in a couple years. If I continue to lift could it actually have a negative effect on my musical performance by changing my forearm strength? Could it make me tense up during playing? i.e. "throwing off my shot"
Posted by: spanishbuddha

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/05/13 05:00 PM

Yes, for tennis though.

But, wear gloves, your hands will thank you. Especially if you have a risk factor for Dupuytren's.
Posted by: bennevis

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/05/13 05:03 PM

Originally Posted By: JoelW
I just recently started lifting again for the first time in a couple years. If I continue to lift could it actually have a negative effect on my musical performance by changing my forearm strength? Could it make me tense up during playing? i.e. "throwing off my shot"


I'd think you'd adapt to the increased strength, which develops gradually (if it developed overnight, no doubt it'll throw you off your shot...... wink ). The body is amazing in its ability to adapt to any changes, as long as it's given time.
Posted by: TromboneAl

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/05/13 05:19 PM

Friday is Bowflex day. I do strength training once per week. Only once? Yes, highly recommended frequency:

Strength Training Frequency

We've had this machine for almost two years now, and my wife and I haven't missed any of our weekly workouts on it except when we are traveling.

[img]http://nautilus.scene7.com/is/image/Nautilus/100070?$PRODUCTDETAIL_V2$[/img]

The advantages of Bowflex are:

1. You have to make the positional adjustments as you do your "lift." One of the supposed drawbacks of typical weight machines is that you just push on a bar, and don't get the advantage of needing those stabilizing muscles.

2. The resistance increases as you execute the push or pull.

3. There's no momentum involved.

4. The machine is well-made and well-supported (and there's been no rusting, which says a lot in our humid climate).

5. You can find them pretty cheap at garage sales or on Craigslist.

The disadvantages

1. With higher resistances, the feeling is less aesthetically pleasing than lifting a free weight, or moving a bar with a traditional machine. I think this is due to advantage 2 above.

2. With high resistances, as you complete more reps, you find that you can't move as far. It makes it a little harder to quantify your reps.
Posted by: Ted

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/05/13 09:01 PM

This topic has appeared many times on piano forums and the general consensus always seems to be that resistance training of all types is excellent for health and has no negative effect on piano playing. My experience is that playing in inappropriate or stressful ways is the main cause of piano related injury. I have always used weights, springs and bullworkers. At various times I have stopped on the advice of other people, once for several months, but all that happened was that I felt worse and my piano playing stayed the same.
Posted by: Thrill Science

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/05/13 10:06 PM

And then there's Tzimon Barto who can probably move pianos better than he can play them

see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cf666Warxp0

and http://www.tzimonbarto.com/
Posted by: Bluoh

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/05/13 10:17 PM

I do strength training, but no regular work with weights.

I don't buy into the "I don't want to look like a weight lifter" (which is the most idiotic thing ever, in my opinion... that's like saying "I don't want to play golf because I don't want to be like Tiger Woods") but I just don't like them and they're not dynamic.

When you lift weights, you're only working your muscles in two directions. But your arms are mobile and your muscles move in so many other directions; why are you neglecting all the other motions? Incorrect training => underdeveloped muscles on one side and overdeveloped muscles on the other; also, there are tiny muscles that you might not be able to work with weights...

I do dance/pilates/yoga work that's much more dynamic (in my opinion) and works a diverse group of muscles.
Posted by: Sand Tiger

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/05/13 10:17 PM

I don't do weights. Bad shoulders, bad knees, and a host of other minor aches and pains are solid reasons against.

I have found that yoga is a big help. Focusing on breathing and the relaxed state of concentration that yoga practice involves are a help for musicians of all sorts. Many pianists experience tension in the neck and shoulder area, and many yoga positions address this directly.
Posted by: Bluoh

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/05/13 10:23 PM

Originally Posted By: Sand Tiger
I don't do weights. Bad shoulders, bad knees, and a host of other minor aches and pains are solid reasons against.

I have found that yoga is a big help. Focusing on breathing and the relaxed state of concentration that yoga practice involves are a help for musicians of all sorts. Many pianists experience tension in the neck and shoulder area, and many yoga positions address this directly.


I'm big on yoga too. A lot of yoga stretches help with shoulder/back tension. smile
Posted by: theJourney

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/08/13 02:49 AM

Originally Posted By: Dave Horne

I wouldn't say that working out helps my piano playing though I would add that it does help me in loading up and moving my equipment. smile


smile

I suppose the improvements which I have experienced are a testament to how incredibly out of shape I had become while it seems that you and others were keeping up on the maintenance over the years.

I still am not strong enough to carry an Avantgrand N3 to gigs though!
Posted by: FSO

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/08/13 12:54 PM

No weight training and the weakest person I know, it's conceivable to me that strength might assist playing in a lot of ways but, um, there *has* to be some small loss of sensitivity...doesn't there?
Posted by: bennevis

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/08/13 01:13 PM

Originally Posted By: FSO
No weight training and the weakest person I know, it's conceivable to me that strength might assist playing in a lot of ways but, um, there *has* to be some small loss of sensitivity...doesn't there?


Er...no.

Some of the greatest pianists are built like Russian bears - Lazar Berman, Andrei Gavrilov, Grigory Sokolov. They have immense power at their command (just listen to all three playing the huge cadenza to Rach 3), but also the most delicate pppp.

Have a listen to any of their recordings.
Posted by: Ian_G

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/08/13 01:15 PM

Originally Posted By: FSO
No weight training and the weakest person I know, it's conceivable to me that strength might assist playing in a lot of ways but, um, there *has* to be some small loss of sensitivity...doesn't there?


It could be, FSOchen. Probably more beneficial to an instrumentalist would be more softer ways of working out, like Tai Chi.
Posted by: FSO

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/08/13 03:04 PM

But...I mean, I feel the strain when lifting a couple of kilos and, as such, less than a hundred grams is a noticeable difference to me. It strikes me that someone capable of lifting a hundred kilos mustn't be able to discern quite as distinctly the difference...um...to suggest otherwise is to say that by being stronger one develops *more* degrees of intensity and sensitivity. I'm not denying this outright but merely stating that this strikes me as unlikely; the most sensitive people would be walking monoliths. Um...I would suggest that perhaps the titans you mentioned were simply very sensitive in the first place? It's impossible to know, of course, but I just wonder that perhaps they might have been infinitesimally more sensitive if weaker...likely at the expense of velocity, dynamic range, evenness of large chords etc....I don't know laugh Um...it's just widely unverifiable reports of, say, the sickly Chopin's touch that make me wonder...
Posted by: slipperykeys

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/08/13 03:27 PM

I have a garden so I don't have the time to waste lifting lumps of metal about the place. Also my experience in life is that the more muscle-toned the body the less able the brain.

I don't suppose Horawitz "weight-trained".

It is a modern fad. No time for that rubbish, I would be paying to make somebody else rich while the trees grow taller in the garden, pshaw, as we used to say.

I'll stick to playing the piano, stuff the "gym"!

Besides that, it seems so popular with everybody else they don't need me.

Mutual.
Posted by: bennevis

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/08/13 03:41 PM

Actually, I think that if you have more (power) in reserve, you have more control. Like trying to open the jammed lid of a tin of cookies. If you're close to using all your strength, when it suddenly yields, it flies off because you're right at your limit and can't control it. Whereas someone much stronger can easily hold back and use just sufficient strength to get it open smoothly.

So, at the extremes of dynamics (I admit, more at fff than at ppp, but still....), a powerful pianist has greater control of tone and touch. I think it's possible to hear this in music that demands a huge dynamic range, say, the Liszt Sonata. A less strong pianist may sound more strident at fff, (or maybe he'll just scale down his fff to ff to keep in better control) whereas a more powerful player is able to produce a more rounded tone at fff as well as powerful sound.

It's often noticeable that teenage pianists who haven't yet fully developed their strength don't have the kind of control between pp and ppp that they later show, (as well as between ff and fff).
Posted by: slipperykeys

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/08/13 03:56 PM

A little side story...

I work in an environment where physical fitness is taken extremely (really, I mean it) seriously be some of the staff. Others, like myself do not have to bother so much, and get paid proportionately less.

I asked one of my friends who was very fit to help me move my piano one night, he was very willing.

He came to my flat and I showed him where the piano was and where I wanted it moved to, "no problem, mate, let's get moving".

I went to the treble end.....

We moved the piano, had a chat and a drink and off he went.

I saw his wife at work the next day and told her I was very grateful to Malcolm for his help.

"Well, to be honest, he was a bit upset", she said, "he thought you looked stronger than him and he knows you don't work out, he was amazed that you weren't as tired as he was".

I couldn't help laughing and felt duty bound to explain, "Well, ELaine, you know what a grand piano or a harp looks like?"

"Yes".

"Well, an upright is the same shape only it's in a box, I made sure Malcolm had the heavy end!"

She let me down by telling him and I had to cough up for extra drinks.

Anyway, thanks Malcolm, I still appreciate it.
Posted by: FSO

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/08/13 04:08 PM

Originally Posted By: bennevis
It's often noticeable that teenage pianists who haven't yet fully developed their strength don't have the kind of control between pp and ppp that they later show, (as well as between ff and fff).

....So...it's not due to the amount of practice and skill they accumulate in later years at all? laugh I agree with a lot of what you say, it's fair enough in most regards, but, as with any opinion posted here not in its entirety, leaves a lot of holes to be exploited. I mean, um, I have to disagree with the notion that more strength = more control; I'd adapt it to more strength = easier control...it's harder to pick up peas with chopsticks, but if you use a spoon, even though you get from one place to another with less effort, there'll be a little bit more wobble...of course, for moving lots of peas, it's incredibly difficult when using chopsticks...possible, but difficult, whereas with a spoon, it's still just as easy and the amount the peas wobble is *reduced*...um...I think that metaphor stands from all analogous standpoints...
Posted by: bennevis

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/08/13 04:46 PM

Originally Posted By: FSO
...it's harder to pick up peas with chopsticks, but if you use a spoon, even though you get from one place to another with less effort, there'll be a little bit more wobble...of course, for moving lots of peas, it's incredibly difficult when using chopsticks...possible, but difficult, whereas with a spoon, it's still just as easy and the amount the peas wobble is *reduced*...um...I think that metaphor stands from all analogous standpoints...


It reminds me of a Sherlock Holmes programme on ITV, where Dr. Watson made several attempts to spear the last pea on his plate with his fork. Holmes (played by Jeremy Brett) lost patience, grabbed Watson's fork and, using the curve of the fork, squashed the offending pea instead (and thus mushy pea was born.....grin ).

The moral of the story: if Watson had a pair of chopsticks (and knew how to use them), he'd have been able to pick up the pea easily. Or alternatively, if he had more strength, and therefore more control with his fork........ wink
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/08/13 06:13 PM

Originally Posted By: bennevis
It's often noticeable that teenage pianists who haven't yet fully developed their strength don't have the kind of control between pp and ppp that they later show, (as well as between ff and fff).
Even if this statemenet is true(which is not at all clear especially since we don't kinow if you;re thinking of average amateur pianists or far better ones), I think any lack of dynamic control is because their technique isn't as developed as it becomes later and has absolutely nothing to do with their strength.

If you watch videos of great pianists(Kissin, Lisiecki, Conrad Tao, etc.) when they were very young, they don't look strong yet they have no problem with dynamic control since their technique is so good.
Posted by: bennevis

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/08/13 06:46 PM

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
....I think any lack of dynamic control is because their technique isn't as developed as it becomes later and has absolutely nothing to do with their strength.

If you watch videos of great pianists(Kissin, Lisiecki, Conrad Tao, etc.) when they were very young, they don't look strong yet they have no problem with dynamic control since their technique is so good.


Kissin is probably the one pianist who has made recordings at all stages of his career since he was a kid of 12, playing the Chopin concertos, when his technique was already fully developed, but not his strength. It's noticeable that his dynamic range, especially at the softer end of the spectrum, became more developed as he matured. By the time of his Tokyo recital of 1987, aged 16, he was playing not just with stronger underpinning in ff, but also a greater range at pp.

His recordings and concerts from aged 18 onwards sound to me like the fully mature Kissin with complete control at all dynamic levels.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/08/13 07:18 PM

Originally Posted By: bennevis
Kissin is probably the one pianist who has made recordings at all stages of his career since he was a kid of 12, playing the Chopin concertos, when his technique was already fully developed, but not his strength. It's noticeable that his dynamic range, especially at the softer end of the spectrum, became more developed as he matured. By the time of his Tokyo recital of 1987, aged 16, he was playing not just with stronger underpinning in ff, but also a greater range at pp.
All the pianists I mentioned and tons of others have Youtube recordings of them playing at very young ages so it was not only Kissin.

They all had sensational technique at a very young age. It's your opinion only that Kissin had any lack of control at soft dynamic range an early age(and the same thing for any other great pianists who you think might be lacking in dynamic control at that age). It goes without saying that there would be some technical improvement in every area for these pianists beyond their early teen years, but implying that they were lacking in dynamic control at low levels(as you did in your first post) and that this was due to their lack of physical strength is quite silly IMO. It's also impossible to know if a greater degree of dynamic variation(if in fact there was any)is related to improvement in technique or simply a desire or play the piece differently.

Perhaps Kissin went from "A" dynamic control to "A+" dynamic control later. His earliest recordings/performances would not have been so celebrated if there was any lack of dynamic control(or lack of anything). His physical presence at age 12 was certainly not great and he lacked the physical strength of an adult but it's mostly irrelevant to playing the piano. Playing the piano with dynamic control at low levels is not like removing tops of tight jars.

Posted by: bennevis

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/08/13 07:41 PM

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
It's your opinion only that there was any lack of his control at soft dynamic range an early age(and the same thing for any other great pianists who you think might be lacking in dynamic control at that age). It goes without saying that there would be some technical improvement in every area for these pianists beyond their early teen years, but saying that they were lacking in dynamic control at low levels(as you did in your first post) and that this was due to their lack of physical strength is quite silly IMO.


It's not at all silly to say that Kissin didn't display quite the range between pp and ppp at 12 as he did at 16. And I didn't say he was lacking in control. In all other respects, he was already the complete package at 12. I don't have any recordings of Lisiecki before he was 16, and I've never heard of Tao, so I can't judge them.

Don't you think it's rather silly to keep harping on a point? Feel free to disagree with me, but to say it's silly is plain silly. It's my opinion based on Kissin's several CD/DVD recordings (I never judge these things based on YouTube videos, where the sound quality is so variable) - no other pianist prodigy has been so frequently recorded in good quality sound from such a young age.

Frankly, my dear, your constant use of the word silly is just plain silly - and VERY, VERY tiresome.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/08/13 07:45 PM

Originally Posted By: bennevis
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
It's your opinion only that there was any lack of his control at soft dynamic range an early age(and the same thing for any other great pianists who you think might be lacking in dynamic control at that age). It goes without saying that there would be some technical improvement in every area for these pianists beyond their early teen years, but saying that they were lacking in dynamic control at low levels(as you did in your first post) and that this was due to their lack of physical strength is quite silly IMO.


It's not at all silly to say that Kissin didn't display quite the range between pp and ppp at 12 as he did at 16. And I didn't say he was lacking in control. In all other respects, he was already the complete package at 12. I don't have any recordings of Lisiecki before he was 16, and I've never heard of Tao, so I can't judge them.

Don't you think it's rather silly to keep harping on a point? Feel free to disagree with me, but to say it's silly is plain silly. It's my opinion based on Kissin's several CD/DVD recordings (I never judge these things based on YouTube videos, where the sound quality is so variable) - no other pianist prodigy has been so frequently recorded in good quality sound from such a young age.

Frankly, my dear, your constant use of the word silly is just plain silly - and VERY, VERY tiresome.
OK, I'll just say your post was dumb.
Posted by: bennevis

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/08/13 07:52 PM

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
OK, I'll just say your post was dumb.


Ah, that's much better, my dear.
See, you can expand your vocabulary when you want to grin.
Posted by: GeorgeB

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/08/13 10:23 PM

I do. It is the way to get the kind of body I want.
I usually have the care to keep my wrist free, Not stiff and tense, But firm enough to have enough strength to pull them up and down.

I can end up with blisters on my hands but they usually go away after a few days if I apply moisterizer.

I find it helps my back muscles get stronger, which stops me from slouching forwards. I get much less fatigue after practising several long hours. I am really hyperactive hence it allows me to use up some energy.
Also, it puts me in a great mood and much less likely to get annoyed.
Posted by: FSO

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/08/13 11:18 PM

Bennevis...you're dangerously close to being priceless sometimes, just to warn you.
Posted by: Auntie Lynn

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/08/13 11:26 PM

I have to do it. I am an industrial strength, heavy duty piano player and have to keep the stamina up...way up...
Posted by: John Pels

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/09/13 02:20 AM

There was a time I was quite involved with the weight training. Unfortunately, that time also coincided with me refinishing a piano and also playing the piano. The net result was a great case of tennis elbow. Something had to give and I guess it has been the weight training. That said, it rarely takes me more than a couple of weeks to get back the stamina to play exhausting works like the A flat polonaise or Ginastera Sonata that I never seem to tire of. I am always physically active and do a lot of work on my cars, boats and bikes.
Posted by: Michael_99

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/09/13 04:51 AM

Weightlifting is awesome, but one has to be extremely careful of the wrists, back and elbows because even tiny strains can cause a lifetime of pain for people who type at a computer or play the piano. Most weightlifters don't type or play the piano so they have no worries about pushing the weight limits.

Typing 8 hours a day or playing the piano 4 or 5 hours day is very demanding over 20 or 30 years. So it is one of the times in life where you have to use your head and not your muscles!
Posted by: Ian_G

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/09/13 05:56 AM

Originally Posted By: Auntie Lynn
I have to do it. I am an industrial strength, heavy duty piano player and have to keep the stamina up...way up...


I hear taffeta's good for that.
Posted by: Michael_99

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/09/13 07:58 AM

Brilliant.
Posted by: frankeric

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/09/13 11:59 AM

My 2 cents: Be careful of the small joints/wrists when lifting. I had carpal tunnel last year and trigger thumb surgery this week. Some say it's my starting the piano late in life, I say it's all the weight lifting I've done during my life. I miss the lifting but I now power walk 1,500 miles a year and feel great. Some people have bodies for lifting, I guess I don't.
Life goes on......
frank
Posted by: Michael_99

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/10/13 03:11 AM

Learning to play the piano has nothing, absolutely nothing to do with age. I have weight trained over the years since I was 21. I started to play the piano at 62. I learned to type when I was 13 and typed for a living since I was 21. So as I say, just use your head and not your muscles. When you get the burn, you get the gain, but that is the point when you don't take a 2 minute rest and then type for 8 hours non-stop. You can do it all, but you have to do it right.
Posted by: Michael_99

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/10/13 03:26 AM

frankeric,

Lots of people have hand problems/finger problems and they don't lift weights. The key believe it or not is to relax when playing the piano, typing. Carpal tunnel and tennis elbow are tricky, but learning to relax and go slowly can go a long, long, ways. Being tense is a killer. A no no.
Posted by: stores

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/10/13 04:11 AM

Originally Posted By: Michael_99
Learning to play the piano has nothing, absolutely nothing to do with age.


It has a TON to do with learning to play the piano!
Posted by: wr

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/10/13 08:22 AM

Interestingly, I can only recall hearing of one "great" pianist who was also into a major physique thing (Moritz Rosenthal).

If any of the currently active international touring pianists do weight training, I don't recall hearing about it. It would be interesting to know, if they do. Or, actually, any kind of physical regime they use.
Posted by: Dave Horne

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/10/13 09:25 AM

Originally Posted By: Michael_99
frankeric,

Lots of people have hand problems/finger problems and they don't lift weights. The key believe it or not is to relax when playing the piano, typing. Carpal tunnel and tennis elbow are tricky, but learning to relax and go slowly can go a long, long, ways. Being tense is a killer. A no no.


Yep, learning to play with the least amount of effort is not intuitive and can very easily be taught.
Posted by: Michael_99

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/10/13 12:08 PM

stores,

It has a TON to do with learning to play the piano!

How so?

It takes 20 years to learn to play the piano well. so if you are 4, you will be 20. If you start at 60 I will be 80 or dead.

Kids have lots of free time and their parents pay for their lessons.

A person at 40 usually don't want to spend the rest of their life sitting on a piano bench 3 or 4 hours a day, but it can be done. Most people who try to learn to play the piano don't want to take 30 years to practice 3 or 4 hours a day because they are almost 50 and lots of people die in their 50s, 60s, 70s.

You tell me how it is age is a factor in learning to play the piano. Of course, a bad hand, a bad arm, a bad brain, is a problem, that would so be true for a kid who had a skateboard accident and destroyed his body.

I should tell you that playing the piano is a brain activity. The brain has to train the fingers. The fingers can move quickly at any age but, it is the brain that has to train and control the fingers.

When a kid has no money, few options, and is directed to the piano each day, he will play/practice. A person at 30 has options like to go to a bar with friends, watching tv, you name it, there are a trillion things that are more fun to do than sitting on a piano bench for some people - especially if they work 8 hours a day at a desk job and then sit at the piano 3 hours each evening.
Posted by: FSO

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/10/13 03:35 PM

The older your brain is the fewer potential connections it has left to make; it can be done, but, as with learning pretty much anything, [older] children learn piano the fastest.
Posted by: theJourney

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/11/13 09:36 AM

Originally Posted By: stores
Originally Posted By: Michael_99
Learning to play the piano has nothing, absolutely nothing to do with age.


It has a TON to do with learning to play the piano!


One might say that, unfortunately for many, age is of the utmost critical importance for anyone hoping to become a master pianist. There are some very important reasons for this that have to do with our reality as biological organisms and the windows of opportunity that open and close during our development as children and maturation into adults. One aspect is the kind of super-conducting insulation (myelination) of our neuronal pathways that takes place through adolescence. Another is the wholesale pruning of entire networks of pathways that appear not to be used during our teenage years. Our brains are physically being altered and built into potential-master-pianist-brains when we are children. If you miss this one-off, limited-time-only opportunity, you will never be able to grow a pianist brain later in life.

I am not aware of any master pianist who did not start their lessons already from a very young age, often 4 or younger, and continuing through childhood. Arcadi "OMG what a technique" Volodos is perhaps one notable exception, as he didn't start playing piano until the ripe old age of 8 and didn't devote himself to the instrument and really get professional training until he was 15.

I would say that, in regards to age, it is certainly true that:

"One is never too old to learn to play the piano ... badly."
Posted by: bennevis

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/11/13 10:07 AM

I have a friend who took up piano when he retired at 60, bought himself a Steinway upright and hired a good teacher. Despite his great enthusiasm and daily practice, he never got beyond Grade 1 ABRSM standard and still has problems with co-cordination between his hands some 5 years after starting.

But he loves playing (very) simplified versions of the classics. He has long abandoned his initial idea of doing the grade exams.
Posted by: jdhampton924

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/11/13 10:29 AM

I do work out with weights, I usually lift under my max, and do more reps, or other ways to compensate. I am a bit worried about straining wrists, but haven't seen any need to not work out with weights.
Posted by: theJourney

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/16/13 06:07 AM

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: bennevis
It's often noticeable that teenage pianists who haven't yet fully developed their strength don't have the kind of control between pp and ppp that they later show, (as well as between ff and fff).
Even if this statemenet is true(which is not at all clear especially since we don't kinow if you;re thinking of average amateur pianists or far better ones), I think any lack of dynamic control is because their technique isn't as developed as it becomes later and has absolutely nothing to do with their strength.


There is certainly a good part of technique which resides completely in the brain, but it would seem to me that what we mean by (dynamic) control and raw technique (speed, coordination, independence, microtiming, hand voicing) is often equal to or completely dependent on a physical motor matter. One of the most principal elements of our motoric movements are of course our muscles. Hence, better muscle development, of which strength is an integral aspect, would seem to be of critical importance.

Our bodies undergo some unbelievable transformations, akward periods, growth spurts and continued development into our twenties. It would seem clear to me that any child's technique will depend on what their body can or cannot do in relation to the phase of development in which they find themselves.
Posted by: theJourney

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/16/13 06:12 AM

Originally Posted By: bennevis
I have a friend who took up piano when he retired at 60, bought himself a Steinway upright and hired a good teacher. Despite his great enthusiasm and daily practice, he never got beyond Grade 1 ABRSM standard and still has problems with co-cordination between his hands some 5 years after starting.

But he loves playing (very) simplified versions of the classics. He has long abandoned his initial idea of doing the grade exams.


I know people who in their 40's started with piano or another instrument from scratch and made it all the way through Grade 8 ABRSM. I do believe that there is a huge difference between starting after 55 or before 55 in terms of learning possibilities. Interestingly, those who start very late on the piano and proceed to go far with it are often those that a) had childhood musical training (e.g. public school music classes, singing in a choir, learning to read musical notation) and then b) spent 30 years typing rapidly on a keyboard and finally c) have extreme motivation and spend 2 to 3 hours per day practicing.
Posted by: Pogorelich.

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/16/13 12:51 PM

I don't think lifting weights is good for playing, particularly for sound. To produce a good sound (not to mention not to hurt your hand) your forearm shouldn't be flexed, and I've noticed even when I started doing push ups as part of my work out - it directly affected my playing. I noticed I wasn't able to play with a free arm.
Posted by: Orange Soda King

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/16/13 03:41 PM

People: Do you even lift??

Click to reveal..
I'm not being serious or directing that toward anyone; it's just an internet meme and I was tickled pink to finally find a relevant place to use it smile


I weight lift some, though nothing very heavy duty, and it doesn't bother me at all.
Posted by: frankeric

Re: Do you workout with weights? Why or why not? - 02/18/13 10:58 AM

Hi, all and good comments! I'm the one who at 62 started playing the piano after 2 1/2 years trying to play the tenor sax, zero music before that. I'm just finishing my 2nd year on the piano and will keep playing until I leave this planet.
I've weight lifted off and on for 20 years and had some injuries to my back so I backed off lifting. Now that I'm immersed in the piano I sure don't want anything ot happen to my body because of lifting. I now power walk 1,500 miles a year, about 5 miles per day. Much easier on my body and I get good marks from my doctor too.
Thanks for the comments on being tense. Of all the things I need to keep in my mind when I practice the most important is being relaxed.
Thanks
frank