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Topic: wrist pain  (Read 1596 times)

Offline jeremyjchilds

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wrist pain
on: July 03, 2005, 05:08:39 PM
Sorry to bring up this over-hashed topic,

People talk about having proper technique as a way to not develop overuse injuries. So are you talking about hand position? if so, could you try to be a little more precise so I can pick up a few pointers?

I have been working with a very qualified instructor on two areas of my weakness (reading and tech) so she has changed my hand positioning to the ideal position for a nice legato tone. I have begun practicing my tech dilligently (4hrs) and my sight (1hr) each day over the last month from an average of about 2 hours previously. I have an exam coming up in a month, but I have noticed a dull warm pain\ache in the bottom of my wrists. it's not bad yet, but I really want to be efficient up untill the exam

I should note that I practice in sesssions of 45 minutes followed by 15 minutes of watching tv. for about 5 hours each day
I should also note that when I practice my tech, I play slowly, so that everything is perfect, I do not "drive" the speed slowly up with the metronome, I play so that it is very comfortable and natural, and increase the speed as higher speeds then feel natural, provided that tone quality remains intact.

Does anyone elso practice tech this much, any advice would be appreciated
"He who answers without listening...that is his folly and his shame"    (A very wise person)

Offline bernhard

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Re: wrist pain
Reply #1 on: July 03, 2005, 05:18:01 PM

I have been working with a very qualified instructor on two areas of my weakness (reading and tech) so she has changed my hand positioning to the ideal position for a nice legato tone.

This maybe the source of the problem. She may have changed your hand position to a position that is "ideal" for a legato tone, but which is less than ideal anatomically speaking. This of course is setting the stage for a future injury.

As general guidelines, do not lift fingers, use rotation of the forearm for that purpose.
Keep all joints aligned (this means not dropping wrists - which I suspect may be the culprit here) so that the forearm is in line with the wrist-hand but not necessarily at 90 degrees to the piano. Use the muscles to direct your arm weight, not to press the keys. Firm the fingers at the moment of contact with the keys and relax immediately after.

I am sure xvimbi will join in in a moment. ;)

Best wishes,
Bernhard.
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline jeremyjchilds

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Re: wrist pain
Reply #2 on: July 03, 2005, 05:31:36 PM
I should have been more specific,
I am now playing with "arm weight" and transferring that weight over my wrist from finger to finger as I play, my wrist is roughly level with my forearm
"He who answers without listening...that is his folly and his shame"    (A very wise person)

Offline xvimbi

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Re: wrist pain
Reply #3 on: July 03, 2005, 05:48:27 PM
I am sure xvimbi will join in in a moment. ;)

Indeed, here I am :)

OK, as my favorite author in this respect (Thomas Mark) puts it (bluntly): If there is pain, there must be something wrong with the underlying movements.

Unfortunately, one can't make diagnoses and recommend remedies over the Internet. I'd like to start people out by recommending to get acquainted with the human playing apparatus and to understand, in general, what healthy movements are and what unhealthy movements are. Get a copy of the book "What every pianist needs to know about the body" by Thomas Mark. Check out www.pianomap.com for starters. I have yet to see a better text. If you have access to a well-stocked library, check out the Taubman videos.

Beyond that, there is only one thing one can do to make it work: pay attention to your body. Total awareness of what is going on during piano playing (in fact, during any activity) is vital, because without noticing right away when there is tension somewhere, one can't fix the problem until it shows up as pain, in which case it might well be too late.

Wrist problems can have their roots in a myriad of things. For example, over-stretching of the hand and/or thumb orientation often translate to problems in the wrist. One can't point out potential causes for your issues without watching you play. Tell your teacher (don't ever be shy about it), and work together to analyze the situation.

Good luck!

Offline pianonut

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Re: wrist pain
Reply #4 on: July 03, 2005, 07:22:30 PM
interesting you mentioned overstretching.  when i was much younger, i thought you had to reach everything and i purposely would do these ridiculous stretching exercises (like the splits) with my fingers on the vertical outer edge of the keys before playing.  this didn't really do anything, but sort of felt good.  now, i realize that as i am getting more relaxed - i can easily reach notes by doing a sort of quick hop (angled toward black notes at say 25-30 degrees) and not miss notes - and there is a more natural hand shape during my playing - not that you can't spread your hand and squeeze - like an accordian.  but, i don't think it's good to practice wide stretches (over octave) for long periods of time unless it feels relaxed and comfortable.

ps on the suggested site above - under body movements, you can click on alexander technique.  this one must be what my teacher subscribes to as well, because he has mentioned tenseness in the neck as a problem to watch for.
do you know why benches fall apart?  it is because they have lids with little tiny hinges so you can store music inside them.  hint:  buy a bench that does not hinge.  buy it for sturdiness.

Offline abell88

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Re: wrist pain
Reply #5 on: July 03, 2005, 11:56:54 PM
Quote
Get a copy of the book "What every pianist needs to know about the body" by Thomas Mark. Check out www.pianomap.com for starters. I have yet to see a better text.

Xvimbi, would you also recommend Mark's video?

Offline xvimbi

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Re: wrist pain
Reply #6 on: July 04, 2005, 12:25:29 AM
Xvimbi, would you also recommend Mark's video?

I do have the video. It is useful, albeit a bit boring, i.e. it is not very flashy, but who cares. It is less pianistic than I expected. It is rather general; piano playing is only covered in the last portion. I gave it to a few of my friends who don't play the piano, but who had problems from other activities (e.g. caving). They found it to be very helpful. It is not expensive, so I would recommend it, but don't expect full-fledged instructions in piano technique. The Taubman videos will cover that.

Offline abell88

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Re: wrist pain
Reply #7 on: July 04, 2005, 06:57:50 PM
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don't expect full-fledged instructions in piano technique. The Taubman videos will cover that.

Yes...well...when I have $800 to spend on videos...and apparently they're not in the local university libraries (or the public libraries, of course) ...actually, when I have $800 to spend on videos I'll save until I have $1400 to take a course!
 

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