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Topic: Help! My fingernails!!  (Read 4728 times)

Offline Troldhaugen

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Help! My fingernails!!
on: October 10, 2004, 07:00:42 AM
Lately I've been having this problem, which is.....my fingernails (especially the ones on my index fingers) easily separate from the underlying tissues. Therefore, playing piano has been a very painful experience. I try not to practice until they seal back together. But, this is so frustrating because I cannot practice for at least 4-5 days. To make things worse, this just keeps happening to me. Does anyone experience the same thing? Is there something wrong with the way I play? I need your help!! I don't want to quit playing piano....:'(

Offline jbmajor

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Re: Help! My fingernails!!
Reply #1 on: October 10, 2004, 07:22:05 AM
How long are your fingernails?  If they are extending further than the actual tip of your finger, you may have to cut them shorter.  Otherwise, yes, it will be tough to play most chords, especially at forte and up.  

On the other hand, if you cut them too short, this splitting can also occur, as I have experienced first hand myself.  I usually leave a milimeter or two of "white" showing on my nails; that way they are long enough to serve their functional purpose and short enough to avoid any splitting/bending back problems.

Offline CC

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Re: Help! My fingernails!!
Reply #2 on: October 10, 2004, 07:34:29 AM
Learn to play with the various flat finger positions. See section III.4.b in link below.
C.C.Chang; my home page:

 https://www.pianopractice.org/

Offline xvimbi

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Re: Help! My fingernails!!
Reply #3 on: October 10, 2004, 07:37:37 AM
Alfred Brendel tapes his fingers, right over the tips.

My question would be: why does this happen? Are you playing mostly with curled fingers and vertical fingertips? If so, you could flatten the fingers somewhat. I realize that this could mean changing the entire way of how you play, which might be impossible, but it sure beats having separated fingernails all the time.

Offline Troldhaugen

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Re: Help! My fingernails!!
Reply #4 on: October 10, 2004, 08:52:52 AM
Thank you guys for the help! I usually keep my fingernails trimmed, but just like you jhmajor, I always leave a little bit of the white part. I think the cause of my problem lies in the way I play piano because my fingers are usually usually curled and in a vertical position. I tried to switch to flat finger positions once, but I decided not to because I was concerned it might slow me down and reduce the flexibility of my fingers and all. So do you guys really think I should start practicing with flat fingers? How long do you think it will take me to feel confortable with it? Does this mean I have to re-learn all the pieces that I've been playing with new finger positions? Thanks so much.

Offline xvimbi

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Re: Help! My fingernails!!
Reply #5 on: October 10, 2004, 03:18:54 PM
Quote
I tried to switch to flat finger positions once, but I decided not to because I was concerned it might slow me down and reduce the flexibility of my fingers and all. So do you guys really think I should start practicing with flat fingers? How long do you think it will take me to feel confortable with it? Does this mean I have to re-learn all the pieces that I've been playing with new finger positions? Thanks so much.

You don't have to relearn your pieces, but you will have to adjust the ways you create the sound that you want. Check out flat-finger techniques, play familiar pieces, see how they sound and what you need to do in order to get the results you want. It may take a while. In the end, you will have a full range of finger positions at your command, from completely flat to vertical, which is exactly how it should be.

Offline donjuan

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Re: Help! My fingernails!!
Reply #6 on: October 11, 2004, 12:44:16 AM
omg I have the EXACT same problem!!  and I get it the same way- breaking when the index finger is too bent.  I havent changed my ways because, well, Im stubborn, but I have found ways of living with it.  First, I apply an ointment called "New Skin" to the place where I have the nail growing under the main nail, let it dry (and wait for the anesthetic to kick in), and if the nail is long enough, you can use pliers or tweezers to yank the obtrusive nail OUT --> completely!!!  You may think this hurts and it will if you dont do it right (eg. the nail is the wrong length compared to the main one;) or if you pull at the wrong angle.  You will have to pull from one side to dislodge it from the skin, and the rest is usually pretty easy.  

Now, sometimes This technique has gone awry and it hurts like hell, so an easier half solution is to cut the obtrusive nail as short as possible and fill the gap with "New Skin".  This way, you can play piano normally, but without applying New Skin it will kind of hurt.  you apply the ointment everytime ytou practice until the finger heals.  

If you have never heard of New Skin, it is kind of like rubber cement for your body. (hhmmm, I wonder if I could use rubber cement, hmm model airplane glue..i dunno)

donjuan

Offline Troldhaugen

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Re: Help! My fingernails!!
Reply #7 on: October 11, 2004, 02:06:13 AM
I've never heard of "New Skin" before. Where can I get one? I'll definitely give it a try. Does it actually help accelerate the healing process or just ease the pain while playing? 'cause I need to find a permanent solution to the problem if I don't want to see my fingernails fall apart eventually. My condition is....the white part of my index fingernail is getting larger and larger because of the repeated seperations. I don't want to lose my fingernail, either. :'(  

Offline donjuan

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Re: Help! My fingernails!!
Reply #8 on: October 11, 2004, 04:33:13 AM
yeah, Im holding the bottle right now...damn it's hard to type with one hand!  ;D- it's actually a canadian product, so unless you're a canadian like me you probably wont find it in your average supermarket.  However, I am sure wherever you live they have alternatives.  "Bandaid" brand came out a while ago with their own liquid bandage, but I havent tried it.  However, this is wider spread than New Skin, so maybe you can find it. (I think there was even a TV commercial for it..)

anyway, go to your local pharmacy/drug store/ Safeway type thing and ask them for an antiseptic liquid bandage.  Haha dont say you need it to pull your fingernails out lol

Now, it eases the pain AND helps accelerate healing- Its like playing piano with a bandaid in that the skin will not pull on the sore nail when you grip the key, but doesnt feel like a bandaid- it feels like nothing.  It accelerates healing by reducing trauma to the area when you thump it into the key.

donjuan

Offline Troldhaugen

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Re: Help! My fingernails!!
Reply #9 on: October 11, 2004, 05:30:42 AM
Thanks so much, donjuan! I'm going to follow your recommendation right away....well....actually I'm on my way to the supermarket now... ;D

Offline donjuan

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Re: Help! My fingernails!!
Reply #10 on: October 11, 2004, 05:58:57 AM
no problem!

Just remember if you try to pull your obtrusive nail out, it may hurt the first time (even bleed :o) it takes practice and technique.  Maybe you should just cut the nail short as possible and use the liquid bandage everytime you practice piano until it heals up.

I wish you luck,
donjuan

Offline CC

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Re: Help! My fingernails!!
Reply #11 on: October 11, 2004, 06:00:43 AM
Actually, flat finger (FF) is the EASIER way to play.  That's why the curl is taught, so that you need/develop stronger technique and have FF as you backup.  FF is easier because you can relax the muscles for the last phalanges of the fingers. Curl is more difficult because of curl paralysis.  But you have to know how many FF positions and how to use them. So read up on them in link below.  You don't have to play FF all the time.  Once fingers are cured, go back to curl if you want.  However, once injured, you need to either tape them up or use all FF.  Then, when cured, use combination of FF and curl so you don't get injured any more; if you feel injury coming, use more FF.
C.C.Chang; my home page:

 https://www.pianopractice.org/

Offline CC

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Re: Help! My fingernails!!
Reply #12 on: October 11, 2004, 06:02:04 AM
In any case, everyone HAS to learn FF because it is an integral part of technique.
C.C.Chang; my home page:

 https://www.pianopractice.org/
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