a question for PIANO PLAYERS and/or TEACHERS

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ok after many years of faff i FINALLY got the piano moved from my mum and dad's house into my flat

so now i am playin it again -- and (as well as bein MANY YEARS out of practice so my fingers = flabby sausages) i straightaway notice the thing i always felt as a kid, which is that my fingers start to ACHE really quickly

is this bcz:
i. i am too tense when i play (what do i do about this)?
ii. poor bloodflow to fingertips (what do i do about THIS)?

(i also get aching hands when i swim and dr vick blames it on bloodflow) (ie cold surround causes blod to mass further into body -- cf also the way yr fingers and hands ache when you try and do something fiddly, like rescrew a flight fitting, w. yr hands above yr head)

(some of the problem is that i am years out of practice -- but this was ALWAYS problem, and bcz i never thought to,m i never asked my pianoteacher abt it back in the day) (he is several years dead now)

mark s (mark s), Monday, 6 November 2006 21:05 (thirteen years ago) link

I am no expert but it sounds like bloodflow. Maybe try stretching fingers/hands before playing? Emphasis on "no expert".

polar bear flashback episode (nickalicious), Monday, 6 November 2006 21:21 (thirteen years ago) link

Also maybe you need to adjust yr sitting position? I think the ideal is that yr elbows make 90 degree angles?

yr pal,

official ass-talker-out-of

polar bear flashback episode (nickalicious), Monday, 6 November 2006 21:23 (thirteen years ago) link

actually i think my posture is ok (well it was when i was a kid) (well no one ever called me on it)

mark s (mark s), Monday, 6 November 2006 21:25 (thirteen years ago) link

I don't see how posture could really affect this but it's possibly to do with your hand position. Your fingers should be arched to avoid cramping. There are a lot of different techniques and exercises you can use to deal with this. You might get some good advice on this from an experienced teacher.

everything (everything), Monday, 6 November 2006 22:10 (thirteen years ago) link

Your fingers, not your wrists? I would still guess that it's tension.

Jordan (Jordan), Monday, 6 November 2006 22:16 (thirteen years ago) link

when you play your hands should be positioned as if a ball were under each one.

also since you haven't played in years it may just be your hands/fingers getting accustomed to playing and growing (yes growing!)

try warming up before playing. hanon 'the virtuoso pianist' is a great exercise book for warming up as well as improving your technique.

jack (sweatypalms1234), Monday, 6 November 2006 22:20 (thirteen years ago) link

The gripmaster is really more for trumpeters and guitarists - also some of my teachers claimed it causes tendonitis.

A-ron Hubbard (Hurting), Monday, 6 November 2006 22:22 (thirteen years ago) link

not my wrists, no

and i had this problem when i was a kid and playing a couple hours a day -- so i don't entirely think it's being out of practice (though i'm sure that's contributing)

will look out hanon, thx -- haha i will never be a "virtuoso" though, "just about ok in very undemanding circumstances" is what i'm aiming at maybe

mark s (mark s), Monday, 6 November 2006 22:24 (thirteen years ago) link

some of my teachers claimed it causes tendonitis.
Even the yellow one, Hurting?

The Redd 47 Ronin (Ken L), Monday, 6 November 2006 22:45 (thirteen years ago) link

the name of the book may sound intimidating but it's really not - fundamentally it covers material important to both the beginner and veteran.

you'll find hanon's exercises repetitive but as a whole you'll learn to keep tempo, balanced playing between both hands and individually, each exercise will emphasize a specific purpose, whether it be focusing on trills, tricky finger transitions, strengthening fingers (for fun put your hand flat on a table and see how far you can lift up your ring finger without moving any other fingers, tough huh?), etc

jack (sweatypalms1234), Monday, 6 November 2006 22:49 (thirteen years ago) link

actually my ring finger liftage isn't at all bad! but i will look out the hanon too, esp. if it has off-keyboard exercises

i have the dohnanyi exercise book which has lots of on-keyboard finger-strengthening stuff -- i kinda like it bcz the instructions are in hungarian and english -- i just started on it when i left school for college and basically didn't then have time to keep up piano (far to go to FIND an unoccupied piano; played double bass and guitar in orchestras and bands so concentreated on them keyb blah blah)

mark s (mark s), Monday, 6 November 2006 22:59 (thirteen years ago) link

as a matter of interest does using a computer keyboard help strengthen fingers in a useful way? (or the opposite?)

(probably not for me as i am two-fingered, but if i used proper real actual secretarial ten finger technique?)

mark s (mark s), Monday, 6 November 2006 23:13 (thirteen years ago) link

It took between 6 and 10 words (faff & piano) of the first post to know who was asking & i don't even like mark s so much.

Eyeball Kicks (Eyeball Kicks), Monday, 6 November 2006 23:45 (thirteen years ago) link


mark s (mark s), Monday, 6 November 2006 23:45 (thirteen years ago) link

Take it as a good thing really. ("So much" is comparative.) (You don't care!)

Eyeball Kicks (Eyeball Kicks), Tuesday, 7 November 2006 00:07 (thirteen years ago) link

not in the slightest but wobble-lipped playing to the gallery helps my ratings among the undecided

mark s (mark s), Tuesday, 7 November 2006 00:12 (thirteen years ago) link

oops, hanon is just music, it does not provide finger exercises...i merely meant the finger lifting test as a way to gauge how strong your fingers were, especially the ring finger as compared to your other fingers, but it sounds like you're rather accomplished already

here's a website that provides the book for free, clear your cookies to override the 2 downloads a day

typing may benefit hand-eye coordination and sight reading but not necessarily strength because it does not replicate the resistance or emotion required when playing a piano key.

i learned to play piano before learning how to type and that made typing very easy...i wonder if learning it the other way around would encourage kids to stick with music and overcome that first hurdle of coordination and reading music

jack (sweatypalms1234), Tuesday, 7 November 2006 03:39 (thirteen years ago) link

I wish I could play piano a bit (in the strong sense that it would be my first choice, of three, if I were confronted by a generous genie.)

Eyeball Kicks (Eyeball Kicks), Tuesday, 7 November 2006 03:48 (thirteen years ago) link

Don't use the aid pictured above (see the sad story of Robert Schumann who obsessed about the strength of his fourth and fifth fingers, tried to do something about it, and ended up not being able to play piano because of it).

Check not your posture, but the way you actually play, the way you use your fingers. You're looking for a balance between not being the tensest thing on earth, bashing the keyboard with fingers arched and tensed into position... and being Mr(s) floppy with fingers falling off the keyboard.

I got RSI over the summer and have had to re-examine the way I play piano, type, play guitar, write and all that jazz so as NOT to damage my hands, wrists and arms anymore.

Andrew Munro (andyboyo), Tuesday, 7 November 2006 19:37 (thirteen years ago) link

Yes, you can hurt yourself with the aid pictured above if you overuse the two heavier tensions

( Yellow < Blue < Red < Black)

or do some of the crazier "pinching" exercises, but if you just use all four fingers to squeeze either with fingertips or middle joints, or use two alternate fingers, 1 and 3 or 2 and 4, I don't think you will hurt yourself- I can do this all day long with the Yellow and the Blue. And yeah, I had some problems before too.

The Redd 47 Ronin (Ken L), Tuesday, 7 November 2006 20:03 (thirteen years ago) link

ten years pass...

so the OTHER piano at my mum and dad's -- the lovely rosewood steinway which went into storage when we sold their house after dad's death in 2010 -- finally arrived at my sister's new house today

having been STOLEN by a VILLAIN while it was on storage, and snuck away and very nearly sold at auction (while a poor substitute switched for it in the storage place and delivered at my sister's house, to her and my baffled anger)

anyway the storage people -- after their initial mortified startlement -- were very good and have absorbed all the costs of searching for it, and worked all their contacts until it turned up, more or less as the auctioneer's hammer fell (exaggeration there for amusing effect, but we were lucky the villain did not sell it privately)

so this is yr update on the s family pianos

mark s, Monday, 5 June 2017 18:23 (three years ago) link

ps for old-time ilxors who remember my tales of dr vick my current teacher is dr vick's nephew, which is grebt bcz

a) he is lovely
b) he thinks i am a much better player than i think i am (he is wrong but very sweet)
c) he is just abt to go on a placement at CERN

mark s, Monday, 5 June 2017 18:29 (three years ago) link

congrats! how does one steal a piano? (assuming it's a grand?)

i just have a baby grand but it's at my dad's

it's such a pain lugging it around

i n f i n i t y (∞), Monday, 5 June 2017 18:37 (three years ago) link

we think he spotted it in storage and swapped the labels while no one was looking, so the designated moving men did all the lugging

(it's a boudoir grand i think: four inches longer than a baby, four shorter than a concert)

mark s, Monday, 5 June 2017 18:45 (three years ago) link

that's fantastic news mark, really great

or at night (Jon not Jon), Monday, 5 June 2017 18:50 (three years ago) link


all the story is missing really is an appearance from this guy^^^

mark s, Monday, 5 June 2017 18:55 (three years ago) link

two months pass...

piano (not this^^^ one, mine) being tuned now in the front room: sound of same thru two closed door is soothing and takes me back to my childhood

mark s, Thursday, 24 August 2017 09:18 (two years ago) link

Nine dampers remain, said the younger, and an equal number of hammers.
Not corresponding, I hope, said the elder.
In one case, said the younger.
The elder had nothing to say to this.
The strings are in flitters, said the younger.
The elder had nothing to say to this either.
The piano is doomed, in my opinion, said the younger.
The piano-tuner also, said the elder.
The pianist also, said the younger.

Wewlay Bewlay (Tom D.), Thursday, 24 August 2017 09:54 (two years ago) link

six months pass...

pleasant cultural update on this story: the piano that had the adventure is currently doing service as a practice instrument for contestants in the hastings international piano competition, which is nice for everyone

(i mean the contestants have been playing it in my sister's house for the last few days, final is fri-sat) (they are all literally a trillion times better than anyone in my family ever was)

mark s, Wednesday, 28 February 2018 12:48 (two years ago) link

two years pass...

ok so i am grabbing this space in all our lives to get back in shape maybe

i: check with downstairs neighbour he doesn't mind sound of piano now and then -- he is fine with and says he likes it
ii: dispense with scales etc so as not to encroach on that
iii: choose pieces i need to polish (out of ones i have already worked on, so not just hours sight-reading badly)
iv: but also think thru my project to work on improvisation

front and centre of three is first movement beethoven sonata op10 no1 ("a la comtesse brown") which is not particularly technically demanding but has a bunch of minor moments i can v easily fuck up. i am not a huge beethoven fan, but when i told my teacher this lol he set me this piece. he is less than half my age and much too indulgent of how rubbish i often am but good to talk to abt weird bullshit that goes on in many musicians' heads (which i always assumed was just me and was why i "wasn't actually musical". he says i am. i say hmmm to that.)

mark s, Saturday, 4 April 2020 13:37 (two months ago) link

I know that movement really well (as a listener), one of my favorite early Beethoven movements

valet doberman (Jon not Jon), Saturday, 4 April 2020 15:09 (two months ago) link

my son is trying to learn “dance monkey”

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Saturday, 4 April 2020 16:00 (two months ago) link

also by beethoven iirc

mark s, Saturday, 4 April 2020 16:02 (two months ago) link

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