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What age do you introduce wrist motion? (Read 3130 times)

Offline green

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What age do you introduce wrist motion?
« on: September 17, 2013, 02:16:32 PM »
What age do you introduce wrist motion?

When they are ready it would seem, but I have tried to introduce it at different age levels with varying degrees of success, but wonder if its perhaps structurally not necessary or so important up to certain ages? Any thoughts, experience, or personal research? Thanks.

Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: What age do you introduce wrist motion?
«Reply #1 on: September 17, 2013, 02:28:36 PM »
What age do you introduce wrist motion?

When they are ready it would seem, but I have tried to introduce it at different age levels with varying degrees of success, but wonder if its perhaps structurally not necessary or so important up to certain ages? Any thoughts, experience, or personal research? Thanks.

It's worth teaching students to play notes with both up and down wrist motions from day one. However, I wouldn't actively advise it within playing of pieces for quite some time. This is just an exercise for initial looseness. They will almost certainly radically overdo it if encouraged early on, and this will interfere with their ability to learn proper finger action and a connected arm, unless they've already been playing this way for a while. What it is essential is side to side movement to subtly follow the fingers. It keeps the wrist loose without interfering with alignment issues or with finger action.

Offline hardy_practice

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Re: What age do you introduce wrist motion?
«Reply #2 on: September 17, 2013, 02:57:20 PM »
That's a strange question to ask as within the first few pages of any beginner book you're going to need to play some notes with a wrist going up (staccato) and some with a wrist going down (accent).  Extra exercises as well are fine.
B Mus, PGCE, DipABRSM

Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: What age do you introduce wrist motion?
«Reply #3 on: September 17, 2013, 03:03:37 PM »
That's a strange question to ask as within the first few pages of any beginner book you're going to need to play some notes with a wrist going up (staccato) and some with a wrist going down (accent).  Extra exercises as well are fine.

If you're talking about movement away from the alignment of the wrist, this is most certainly not a "need". Neither is it how the finest pianists typically accomplish either accents or staccato. Students who produce staccato with a wrist that angles during the process usually use a rather course arm jab that jams the wrist into a collision and squashes the hand. Far better to keep the alignment as the whole forearm bounces away in alignment. That way you know the fingers are being developed, while the arm creates freedom for them to move without impact. I'm still having to do untold quantities of repair work, to compensate for the fact that my wrist was constantly losing alignment in my younger days.

Offline keypeg

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Re: What age do you introduce wrist motion?
«Reply #4 on: September 17, 2013, 03:08:56 PM »
My first immediate thought was that you would not want to teach impeding wrist motion and then you are at least partly there.

Offline hardy_practice

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Re: What age do you introduce wrist motion?
«Reply #5 on: September 17, 2013, 03:20:22 PM »
This guy's good.  I'd launch straight in on his finger staccato (not your query I know).
[ Invalid YouTube link ]
B Mus, PGCE, DipABRSM

Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: What age do you introduce wrist motion?
«Reply #6 on: September 17, 2013, 03:30:59 PM »
This guy's good.  I'd launch straight in on his finger staccato (not your query I know).
[ Invalid YouTube link ]

He's a very fine pianist himself, but I find it rather curious that he advises the finger pull for quick staccato- yet never demonstrates this himself nor asks the student to attempt it at high speeds. I don't doubt he has the technique for a fast staccato, but would his fingers really take that path at speed? Personally, I'm not convinced at all that the indirect line of scratching backwards is good for speed. Seeing as we're on the wrist, the reaction would drag it forwards and up, which would make it extremely difficult not to lock up the wrist when attempting it literally at speed.

Offline hardy_practice

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Re: What age do you introduce wrist motion?
«Reply #7 on: September 17, 2013, 03:53:45 PM »
Mr Fraser illustrates using the wrist and arm weight for accents just after 21:00 here (though I recommend watching the whole thing) - easy to teach children from day one.  At 27:12 he does both up and down:
B Mus, PGCE, DipABRSM

Offline awesom_o

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Re: What age do you introduce wrist motion?
«Reply #8 on: September 17, 2013, 04:00:52 PM »
A good friend of mine studied with John Gough!

Scratching backwards in an indirect line is what the student tries to do, with poor results.

As Mr. Gough says, it's more akin to pizzicato on a string instrument.

You'll notice the student is very focused on the finger motion itself, and as a result he is not very focused on the tone itself.

Mr. Gough is focused on the tone, and his fingers simply make that tone happen, with no questions asked.

Needless to say, Mr. Gough has the better tone.

Offline awesom_o

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Re: What age do you introduce wrist motion?
«Reply #9 on: September 17, 2013, 04:08:46 PM »



Fantastic video! I think everyone needs to watch this!

Offline hardy_practice

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Re: What age do you introduce wrist motion?
«Reply #10 on: September 17, 2013, 04:24:33 PM »
You'll notice the student is very focused on the finger motion itself, and as a result he is not very focused on the tone itself.

I was going to say that!  If the student had used his ears - he had the technique down - there would have been a perfect staccato run.
B Mus, PGCE, DipABRSM

Offline awesom_o

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Re: What age do you introduce wrist motion?
«Reply #11 on: September 17, 2013, 04:40:55 PM »
I believe using the ears is by far the most important thing in being a musician.

This is why I do not teach "arm weight technique" in isolation.

Instead, I teach it through creative improvisation, where the student must learn to use their ears instead of being so focused on "technique" all the time.

Learn to use your ears properly, and your body will adapt!

You will have sickeningly good technique if you are an amazing improviser!

Offline hardy_practice

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Re: What age do you introduce wrist motion?
«Reply #12 on: September 17, 2013, 04:46:36 PM »
Imagine if you had to use technique to eat your dinner!  You'd waste away.  That Fraser video is an interesting example of how we can, and do, physically imitate rather than work out technique - he's got Carola Grindea's arch 100% correct.  That's not working out, that's seen then done.  
B Mus, PGCE, DipABRSM

Offline awesom_o

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Re: What age do you introduce wrist motion?
«Reply #13 on: September 17, 2013, 04:55:02 PM »
There is a great deal of imitation that goes on among pianists.

People try and imitate what they've heard on recordings.

People try and imitate what they've seen in videos.


Creative improvisation is not learned through imitation. Neither is composition. Neither is technical skill.

One needs to discover for one's self what works.  Creative improvisation is the best venue for developing this ability to discover.







Offline hardy_practice

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Re: What age do you introduce wrist motion?
«Reply #14 on: September 17, 2013, 04:58:10 PM »
For technique, providing the model is good, it's 100X more powerful than words.  For interpretation, no, that can only come from the individual.
B Mus, PGCE, DipABRSM

Offline awesom_o

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Re: What age do you introduce wrist motion?
«Reply #15 on: September 17, 2013, 05:13:32 PM »
But there is certain technique that is too advanced for imitation to occur.

Being able to use such advanced technique means that you have an advanced musical understanding.

Imagine a beginner dancer trying to imitate the moves of a first-rate professional ballerina.

The only way you can do those moves is if you are a highly advanced dancer yourself.... in which case you will be understanding those moves and not simply imitating them.

Offline hardy_practice

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Re: What age do you introduce wrist motion?
«Reply #16 on: September 17, 2013, 05:19:35 PM »
Different strokes for more/less advanced folks.  Do notice though, as in the videos above, the teachers talks but then demonstrates.  They may/may not take in the words but it's the demonstration the student copies.
B Mus, PGCE, DipABRSM

Offline awesom_o

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Re: What age do you introduce wrist motion?
«Reply #17 on: September 17, 2013, 05:25:12 PM »
Different strokes for more/less advanced folks. 

Is this really the case though? I mean, if somebody plays waaaaaaay more advanced than you, with an infinitely more stylish tone, wouldn't you want to be using exactly the same technique as him/her?

 :)

Offline dima_ogorodnikov

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Re: What age do you introduce wrist motion?
«Reply #18 on: September 17, 2013, 05:32:53 PM »
-
No amount of how-to information is going to work if you have the wrong mindset, the wrong guiding philosophies. Avoid losers like the plague, and gather with and learn from winners only.

Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: What age do you introduce wrist motion?
«Reply #19 on: September 17, 2013, 05:36:54 PM »
I was going to say that!  If the student had used his ears - he had the technique down - there would have been a perfect staccato run.

Sure. Just like how a golfer who remembers to watch the ball quickly starts getting a hole in one. It's amazing how many idiot golfers don't watch where the ball goes and therefore hit it into the trees. Then again, maybe you actually need to have learned a reliable quality of movement? The kid doesn't have anywhere near enough finger movement. The interesting part of the film is where the teacher talks entirely about the arms in the octaves, but where all the student's problems lie in the fact that his hand isn't generating anywhere near enough movement.

Offline awesom_o

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Re: What age do you introduce wrist motion?
«Reply #20 on: September 17, 2013, 05:37:54 PM »

As for "proper" usage of the ears.

For me, proper usage of the ears means being able to improvise beautifully.

Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: What age do you introduce wrist motion?
«Reply #21 on: September 17, 2013, 05:40:43 PM »
I believe using the ears is by far the most important thing in being a musician.

This is why I do not teach "arm weight technique" in isolation.

Instead, I teach it through creative improvisation, where the student must learn to use their ears instead of being so focused on "technique" all the time.

Learn to use your ears properly, and your body will adapt!

You will have sickeningly good technique if you are an amazing improviser!

This is only true if your manner of movement is consistent. Take golfers who stop the club short of the ball on the first putt and then knock it 20ft past on the next. It's specifically because they observed the result on the first mistake that they made such a gross error on the next. Adding something extra didn't help, because there was such a wide margin of unpredictability within the average result of a single intention. The next time they went to the other end of their margin of error- plus an even greater excess still due to the observation of feedback! You can't expect feedback to provide the correction unless you make the same mistake every time. If you have a wide margin of error, the only thing that will enable the ears to make corrections is to eradicate the margin of error from your technique. From that moment on, trial and improvement can begin. Until then, it's pure chaos.

Offline hardy_practice

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Re: What age do you introduce wrist motion?
«Reply #22 on: September 17, 2013, 05:42:41 PM »
Is this really the case though? I mean, if somebody plays waaaaaaay more advanced than you, with an infinitely more stylish tone, wouldn't you want to be using exactly the same technique as him/her?

 :)
My teacher did - sparks flew from her fingertips.  It happened to me as I followed her guidance.   Which was a combination of a couple of words and the odd demonstration.

Actually your quote reminds me of a Chopin anecdote.  Remember he was listening to Liszt play his Etudes while writing a letter home?  He said he wanted to 'rob Liszt of his way of playing them'.  Now that is true - he wanted that technique - but what is also true is that he wouldn't have given up his own technique in exchange.  Chopin's was this caressing, feeling the keys technique which has a drawback -  it's less rhythmically sharp.  Liszt had the standard that I hear from every conservatoire prof.  It's amazingly precise but lacks life.
B Mus, PGCE, DipABRSM

Offline hardy_practice

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Re: What age do you introduce wrist motion?
«Reply #23 on: September 17, 2013, 05:45:30 PM »
I refuse to discuss golf. (though I've had pro lessons)
B Mus, PGCE, DipABRSM

Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: What age do you introduce wrist motion?
«Reply #24 on: September 17, 2013, 05:46:46 PM »
My teacher did - sparks flew from her fingertips.  It happened to me as I followed her guidance.   Which was a combination of a couple of words and the odd demonstration.

Actually your quote reminds me of a Chopin anecdote.  Remember he was listening to Liszt play his Etudes while writing a letter home?  He said he wanted to 'rob Liszt of his way of playing them'.  Now that is true - he wanted that technique - but what is also true is that he wouldn't have given up his own technique in exchange.  Chopin's was this caressing, feeling the keys technique which has a drawback -  it's less rhythmically sharp.  Liszt had the standard that I hear from every conservatoire prof.  It's amazingly precise but lacks life.

You must lend me the audio recordings of his playing, that anyone would clearly have to own in order to make such a ludicrously unwarranted judgement.

Offline awesom_o

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Re: What age do you introduce wrist motion?
«Reply #25 on: September 17, 2013, 05:48:01 PM »
I'm sorry, but how is it that you have surmised that Liszt's playing in any way lacked life?

'M. Liszt's playing contains abandonment, a liberated feeling, but even when it becomes impetuous and energetic in his fortissimo, it is still without harshness and dryness. [...] [He] draws from the piano tones that are purer, mellower and stronger than anyone has been able to do; his touch has an indescribable charm. [...] He is the enemy of affected, stilted, contorted expressions. Most of all, he wants truth in musical sentiment, and so he makes a psychological study of his emotions to convey them as they are'


Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: What age do you introduce wrist motion?
«Reply #26 on: September 17, 2013, 05:49:15 PM »
I refuse to discuss golf. (though I've had pro lessons)

Why? Surely you just aimed more to the left, if you sliced the ball way off to the right? It's the exact same premise as the idea that using the ears automatically generates technique. Take feedback from the error and then adapt. Any golfer who can't see that the ball is going off to the right and then hit it straight instead must be blind, no? Can you not see that giving a meaningful cure for a slice- given that it's identical logic to the idea that ears automatically cure bad technique?

Offline hardy_practice

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Re: What age do you introduce wrist motion?
«Reply #27 on: September 17, 2013, 06:25:41 PM »
I'm sorry, but how is it that you have surmised that Liszt's playing in any way lacked life?
Well, not life as we know it Jim - in the sense his (modern) touch couldn't touch the heart as Chopin did.  A read of this article would help if you've got a good library nearby: http://em.oxfordjournals.org/content/XXIX/3/398.citation

Remember how they couldn't hear him in Vienna?  Chopin had something no one else had - intimacy.
B Mus, PGCE, DipABRSM

Offline green

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Re: What age do you introduce wrist motion?
«Reply #28 on: September 17, 2013, 10:16:22 PM »
György Sebök masterclass:


Offline green

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Re: What age do you introduce wrist motion?
«Reply #29 on: September 17, 2013, 11:29:57 PM »
I find Fraser's personality and playing, as it comes through in the videos I have seen, to be somehow unmusical. I have never seen him doing an actual masterclass where we can visibly see examples of what he is talking about demonstrated.

With Sebok, it is as though he is speaking to the soul of the student, look at that alignment, the clarity of mind and body, I hear honesty and truth in everything he says and plays. But perhaps I'm comparing apples to oranges...

Offline awesom_o

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Re: What age do you introduce wrist motion?
«Reply #30 on: September 17, 2013, 11:33:54 PM »
I find Fraser's personality and playing, as it comes through in the videos I have seen, to be somehow unmusical.

Something about him strikes me as though he not an exceptional improviser.

Offline green

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Re: What age do you introduce wrist motion?
«Reply #31 on: September 18, 2013, 12:04:49 AM »
Yes, imrov is what learning all this stuff is about, but most people never reach the level where they can actually do that. I personally only really feel technically free when I improvise (predominately jazz). Learning 'pieces', classical or whatever, are basically notated improvs, so how do people here teach improvisation at different stages and levels? (let's just forget about wrist motion!).

Offline awesom_o

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Re: What age do you introduce wrist motion?
«Reply #32 on: September 18, 2013, 12:27:13 AM »
It really depends on the student, and their level of musical experience and comfort.


Young pupils I start by doing our anthem, O Canada. They begin with one hand, playing only the melody.

I accompany from the secondo-position , improvising in full orchestral mode, with absolutely perfect rhythm and harmonically rich, densely contrapuntal flavour.

Obviously I scale it a bit back for more timid pupils.

Very quickly they can do it in all keys. Sometimes I pick a key and sometimes I let them pick the key.

More advanced pupils do it hands together in unison, full-on primo-four-hands style. This is much, much harder, and the louder unison in the primo allows me to use more of my musical might in the secondo-making it even harder.

When they can do that well, they can usually also do solo improvisation.  Both freestyle.... and 'set tune' style. Twinkle Little Star, Happy Birthday, Lightly Row etc... are all good

When they can do that, they can begin doing their own solo version of the anthem. But that is near-professional level....if you can make that sound really good.

Offline awesom_o

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Re: What age do you introduce wrist motion?
«Reply #33 on: September 18, 2013, 12:29:40 AM »
Pick a key signature. Sing 'Happy Birthday' in that key with your voice, using as good-quality pitch as you can muster. With your right hand hanging relaxed by your side, use your  left hand to accompany the melody. Avoid solid block chords, and think instead of a moving line, as though your left hand was a cello or bass player, accompanying a soprano.

Make sure you maintain the rhythm! That is the most important thing!

At first, you may find yourself able only to give one or two accompanying bass notes per bar. That is ok! Make sure they sound good with the melody that you are singing beautifully and rhythmically with your voice.

Over time, your bass player should become more skilled at providing a pleasing accompaniment, rather than a stiff, 'squarish' sounding one.

Practice in different keys every day

Offline awesom_o

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Re: What age do you introduce wrist motion?
«Reply #34 on: September 18, 2013, 12:34:26 AM »
Also, as soon as students are able, they must begin each and every practice session with an extended perfect cadence, I-IV-I-V-I, in every single key via the circle of FOURTHS or FIFTHS.

The trick is to THINK about the next key while you are STILL PLAYING the cadence in the old key, so that when it comes time to move to the new key, you can do it INSTANTLY. This way the student maintains a rhythmic pulse through the ENTIRE circle of fourths cadence exercise.

Do this and it really pays off quickly. It's much easier said than done.

Alternate major cadences one day, minor cadences the next, to keep things fresh!!


I love freshness!

Offline green

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Re: What age do you introduce wrist motion?
«Reply #35 on: September 18, 2013, 05:15:50 PM »
great ideas! thanks very much!