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Topic: Left hand playing octaves  (Read 2783 times)

Offline eliza1976

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Left hand playing octaves
on: June 21, 2016, 08:05:03 AM
If you are playing octaves on our left hand, how do you do warm up or which muscle to strengthen? After playing a few bars, my forearm muscle feel tired and a faint tingling sensation around my wrist. Is this abnormal or am I subjecting myself to injuries like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome ?

Offline adodd81802

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Re: Left hand playing octaves
Reply #1 on: June 21, 2016, 08:18:41 AM
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"England is a country of pianos, they are everywhere."

Offline indianajo

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Re: Left hand playing octaves
Reply #2 on: June 21, 2016, 12:58:06 PM
First off, proper posture is required for playing the piano.  It is best to have a college trained teacher evaluate one's posture, especially the first two years of practice.  
In general, sit up back straight, eyes level, arms drooping slightly from the elbow to the keyboard, wrists straight horizontally.  If your dimensions make this posture impossible, change the bench, not the posture.  major tendon or nerve damage can come from bent wrist or neck.  
WIth proper posture, when you are fatigued from playing octaves, quit.  Stretch tomorrow (gently) and try to go 10% longer. this is true of any exercise requiring strength, of course.   Sleeping does amazing repair to the muscles.  
This strength problem is why teachers assign exercises, especially in the first few years.    
I've played 58 years with a 15 year break after age 17.  I do three Scott Joplin rags every night after dinner, to keep up my strength.  I ripped 2 tendons in the right shoulder when I fell 3 months ago, the muscle was torn in 5 places, I had to quit playing piano, my arm was immobilized in a sling after surgery. Now getting back, I can only do one SJ rag before the left hand/arm tire out.  I'm following my own instructions on this.  
BTW, each time the physical therapist adds a new dimension to use of the injured right shoulder, it hurts and I have to quit after a few reps the first day.  Tomorrow I can often do 20% more reps before the pain hits, and by the end of a week I'm usually pain free on that exercise up to a minute .  I'm age 66.  Even this age muscles heal fast.

Offline pianoplayer002

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Re: Left hand playing octaves
Reply #3 on: June 22, 2016, 12:39:46 AM
If you are playing octaves on our left hand, how do you do warm up or which muscle to strengthen? After playing a few bars, my forearm muscle feel tired and a faint tingling sensation around my wrist. Is this abnormal or am I subjecting myself to injuries like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome ?

If you get tired in your forearm from playing octaves, it is not because you are too weak in your arm muscles. It is because you are using the wrong technique, and are tense and stiff in your wrist and likely your shoulder too. The tingling is from nerves being compressed by the tense muscles. Playing octaves should feel comfortable and pleasurable in the body.

Offline eliza1976

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Re: Left hand playing octaves
Reply #4 on: June 22, 2016, 03:20:12 AM
I need to clarify:

I was playing some broken chords eg. F A A   

I used my fifth finger to hit the F, then third finger to hit the A, then I use my thumb to stretch to reach an octave higher for the A. That was what I was referring to . I was twitching my wrist as I tried to reach the octave higher A. Do you aim to 'lock' your wrist or to twist it slightly to reach the A ?

Offline outin

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Re: Left hand playing octaves
Reply #5 on: June 22, 2016, 05:59:52 AM
I need to clarify:

I was playing some broken chords eg. F A A   

I used my fifth finger to hit the F, then third finger to hit the A, then I use my thumb to stretch to reach an octave higher for the A. That was what I was referring to . I was twitching my wrist as I tried to reach the octave higher A. Do you aim to 'lock' your wrist or to twist it slightly to reach the A ?
Neither. I use my whole arm to navigate and always try to keep the wrist straight and my movements fluid and relaxed. Broken chords played with a forced strech is a sure way to irritate the nerves in my wrist. When necessary I just let go of certain notes faking legato and make good use of the pedal.

That said some pieces I have found do not sound well because I cannot play with true legato without the pedal and those I just drop. Not worth risking injury.

Offline adodd81802

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Re: Left hand playing octaves
Reply #6 on: June 22, 2016, 08:43:15 AM
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"England is a country of pianos, they are everywhere."

Offline indianajo

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Re: Left hand playing octaves
Reply #7 on: June 23, 2016, 11:09:21 AM
I swivel my wrist from left to right quite a bit. 
It hasn't hurt me yet. I've been playing 58 years. 
I have 29" sleeve arms. There would be no way to play the extended octaves of the piano without twisting the wrist side to side.
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