Advice on curling fingers

Posted by: wolfetho

Advice on curling fingers - 02/17/13 09:05 PM

Hello:

I've been playing the piano for over 30 years, and recently I developed a bad habit. When I use my 4th and 5th fingers in my right hand, I am curling my middle finger under, and sometimes my index finger will stick straight out.I know this is a sign of tension in my right hand, but I wonder if anyone has some advice on how to cure this bad habit.

I've also been having trouble with tendonitis in my right wrist and forearm from using the computer,and I think this might be related.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Tom
Posted by: lechuan

Re: Advice on curling fingers - 02/18/13 01:30 AM

I had a similar sounding problem. It sounds like you may be grasping with your fingers. What helped me was thinking of my fingers more as wiggling from a high, relaxed position (watch Horowitz play in slow motion, he keeps his fingers very relaxed, only forming a strong finger arch for the moment of impact), and falling into the keys, NOT grasping the keys.

I used to have a lot of wrist pain from PC and piano use (10+ hours per day) I haven't had many issues after working on releasing tension. I also got an Evoluent Vertical mouse which I find helpful for PC work.

If you haven't already, pick up a copy of "What every Pianist needs to know about the body" (book), "The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook", "Freeing the Caged Bird" (DVD), and possibly a teacher with experience in correcting such things.
Posted by: ten left thumbs

Re: Advice on curling fingers - 02/18/13 02:43 AM

It's difficult to know without seeing you, but you could try this:

Rest your hand (fingers curved) on a closed keyboard lid. Notice how relaxed your fingers are in their curve, the tips of your fingers resting on the wood. Next, keeping all other fingers down, gently lift your thumb. The thumb goes straight up and down, moved by the thumb joint. Tap it a little on the wood. Now put it down and tap with finger 2. Continue for all fingers, keeping the resting fingers resting on the wood.

Next, are you sure you sit far enough away from the piano? Many people sit too close, with elbows at 90 degrees, and it causes all sorts of problems.
Posted by: John v.d.Brook

Re: Advice on curling fingers - 02/18/13 11:08 AM

You also may want to learn more about focal dystonia. It displays similar symptoms.
Posted by: wolfetho

Re: Advice on curling fingers - 02/20/13 09:36 PM

Thanks everyone for your advice.I've switched my conventional
mouse to a Magic Trackpad (Apple) and that seems to help
somewhat.I think I'm going to go see a doctor who spoke locally here at a piano teachers guild meeting. He seemed to be quite
knowledgeable. He also wrote a book (with 7 other people)
on injuries that happen to musicians.

John-thanks for pointing out that link. Wow-I sure hope I don't have this!