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New Piano Design for the Future

It's futuristic, to be sure, but the newest piano design from Gergely Bogányi has several components that hark back to the 19th century. Read more >>

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Author Topic: How Does My Positioning Look?  (Read 676 times)
patrickbcox
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« on: September 23, 2017, 02:48:27 PM »

Hello,
I have been dealing with some Tendonitis in my left elbow/forearm.  I am certain it is not 100% due to playing the piano but I do believe piano has been a contributing factor.  I am in the process of finding a good teacher who can help me with this but in the mean time, I have been reading "What Every Pianist Needs to Know about the Body" as well as some writing and videos about the "Taubman Technique."  My own initial assessment is that I am twisting/bending my hand/wrist.  (Ulnar Deviation.)  This seems to be a problem when my hands are playing closer to the middle of the piano because I have fairly wide shoulders.

So i took a couple of pictures of my positioning.  The first is simply of my bench height.  Does this look about right?  And the 2nd is of my left hand positioned how I typically would to play the G below middle C with my 4th finger.  Does my hand/wrist look too bent or deviated?

Thanks!
Patrick




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pianoplayer002
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« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2017, 09:46:35 PM »

It looks ok.

But position is not everything. What's more important is what is the state of your muscles in the position you are in. Are they tense or are they relaxed? Are your joints stiff or supple? The correct position to be in is whatever position your arm ends up in when every joint and muscle of the fingers, hand, wrist, elbow, shoulder and back etc are completely supple. So you can play with "Ulnar Deviation" without it being dangerous. Trying to put your hand in a non ulnarly-deviated position by tensing muscles is just as dangerous as playing with ulnar deviation with tense muscles. "What Every Pianist Needs to Know about the Body" agrees with this, see page 86.

What I do notice is that the knuckle bridge of your hand is slanting slightly outwards. This is usually sign of shoulder tension. More specifically rotating the shoulders back and holding them there instead of releasing them and letting them be where they need to be. When the shoulders are free the knuckle bridge will become level with the ground.

Personally I find that my hand HAS to be ulnar-deviated when I play in the middle of the keyboard if I want my wrist to be relaxed. But my wrist does not get relaxed because I ulnar-deviate my hand, but rather my hand ulnar-deviates because I relax my wrist. Does that make sense?
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louispodesta
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« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2017, 11:23:35 PM »

Dear "Keypeg"

Now do you understand my level of paranoia?

Not only does the OP mention (for the very first time) my coach Thomas Mark's work "What Every Pianist Needs To Know About The Body," he also cites my Taubman references.  That is why I insist on PM for further gudiance.  I could care less about the Trolls.

My concern is having the so-called Moderators of this website playing us for fools.

Specifically, 1)  has anyone noticed the exquisite color transfer of the photographs listed on the OP's initial post.

2)  This man has extremely muscular hands which he did not attain playing on an electronic keyboard.  Then why are the photographs done on an electric piano?

I could go on and on.

Given the importance of the OP's question, then why does not "Pianostreet" just lower themselves to a non-European level and just ask me to pen an article on the subject.
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dogperson
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« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2017, 11:33:05 PM »

Dear "Keypeg"

Now do you understand my level of paranoia?

Not only does the OP mention (for the very first time) my coach Thomas Mark's work "What Every Pianist Needs To Know About The Body," he also cites my Taubman references.  That is why I insist on PM for further gudiance.  I could care less about the Trolls.

My concern is having the so-called Moderators of this website playing us for fools.

Specifically, 1)  has anyone noticed the exquisite color transfer of the photographs listed on the OP's initial post.

2)  This man has extremely muscular hands which he did not attain playing on an electronic keyboard.  Then why are the photographs done on an electric piano?

I could go on and on.

Given the importance of the OP's question, then why does not "Pianostreet" just lower themselves to a non-European level and just ask me to pen an article on the subject.


Louis, before you post another one of your paranoia threads, you should go back and look at other threads from this OP, in which he did indeed reference reading your recommended book by Dr. Mark
https://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php?topic=64223.msg681304#msg681304

Your paranoia for no reason is demoralizing to this forum.   And frankly just because you've taken a couple of lessons from Dr. Mark, does not make you an authority.  Not to fret, no one's going to ask you to write an article
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keypeg
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« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2017, 01:27:43 AM »

Dear "Keypeg"

Now do you understand my level of paranoia?

Not only does the OP mention (for the very first time) my coach Thomas Mark's work "What Every Pianist Needs To Know About The Body," he also cites my Taubman references. 
Dear Louis,

You have made reference to what you call your level of paranoia - there is something you fear.  You have stated that the OP has mentioned these two things.  That's a simple fact: he mentioned those two things.  Clearly that is supposed to mean something that would cause paranoia, but you haven't stated what that is, and I can't guess.  I.e. to refer to these works means that "blablabla" and this is suspicious.  I honestly don't get it.

You also refer to this being your coach, and your references.  And so the paranoia must have to do with your person in some way.  In regards to this, both Thomas Mark's book, and Taubman, are very well known. I heard about both of them before I ran into your reference to them.  ANYONE who is self-teaching, or poorly taught in matters physical, and looks up the physical side of playing, will run into these two works.  Because of my situation, I did.  Therefore there is nothing suspicious about this.

Quote
Specifically, 1)  has anyone noticed the exquisite color transfer of the photographs listed on the OP's initial post.
The picture is pretty good.  Were I to create a photo, it would probably be rather decent too.  Since I work on-line with my own teacher and also make videos for him to study, I invested in a good camera out of respect.  I also discovered that when I publish a photo for private sharing, there are "apps" where at the click of a button the picture is enhanced.   I clicked a few options out of curiosity and was amazed.  This is me as a senior citizen amateur happening on this by chance.
Quote
2)  This man has extremely muscular hands which he did not attain playing on an electronic keyboard.  Then why are the photographs done on an electric piano?
People get muscular hands all kinds of ways.
Quote
Given the importance of the OP's question ...
It is a pretty regular question.
Quote
... and just ask me to pen an article on the subject.
This has nothing to do with you.  Yes, you have things to contribute.  So do others.  This is simply a person asking a normal question, one which in my time I have asked myself.

You are referring to my comment in another thread about pedal.  The point is that people come to forums to learn things.  I lived in a time where we were all in our dark corners, and a few lucky ones managed to get the information, the rest of us didn't.  Since we can all share and learn, it is silly to keep knowledge a secret.  That's my view, anyway.

I find this constant suspicion of people a poisonous, unpleasant thing.  I'm only responding because I was addressed.
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patrickbcox
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« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2017, 01:02:16 PM »

Dear "Keypeg"

Now do you understand my level of paranoia?

Not only does the OP mention (for the very first time) my coach Thomas Mark's work "What Every Pianist Needs To Know About The Body," he also cites my Taubman references.  That is why I insist on PM for further gudiance.  I could care less about the Trolls.

My concern is having the so-called Moderators of this website playing us for fools.

Specifically, 1)  has anyone noticed the exquisite color transfer of the photographs listed on the OP's initial post.

2)  This man has extremely muscular hands which he did not attain playing on an electronic keyboard.  Then why are the photographs done on an electric piano?

I could go on and on.

Given the importance of the OP's question, then why does not "Pianostreet" just lower themselves to a non-European level and just ask me to pen an article on the subject.

Louis,
I am not really following what you think is going on here with my post.  But I can say that in my previous thread you offered to send me more information through PM but never did so.  Should I be paranoid?

And I did learn about "What Every Pianist Needs to Know About the Body" and Dorothy Taubman from my previous post.  Isn't that the point of posting a question?  To learn.

Regarding my piano, the answer is that I just traded in my old Yamaha M series upright for a new Yamaha YUS5 that I am excited to take delivery of next week.  So again, nothing sinister there.

Finally, thanks for your compliments on my photography skills.  Here is my website where you can enjoy more of my photographs... Smiley

http://www.pcoxphoto.com

Patrick
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patrickbcox
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« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2017, 01:07:41 PM »

It looks ok.

But position is not everything. What's more important is what is the state of your muscles in the position you are in. Are they tense or are they relaxed? Are your joints stiff or supple? The correct position to be in is whatever position your arm ends up in when every joint and muscle of the fingers, hand, wrist, elbow, shoulder and back etc are completely supple. So you can play with "Ulnar Deviation" without it being dangerous. Trying to put your hand in a non ulnarly-deviated position by tensing muscles is just as dangerous as playing with ulnar deviation with tense muscles. "What Every Pianist Needs to Know about the Body" agrees with this, see page 86.

What I do notice is that the knuckle bridge of your hand is slanting slightly outwards. This is usually sign of shoulder tension. More specifically rotating the shoulders back and holding them there instead of releasing them and letting them be where they need to be. When the shoulders are free the knuckle bridge will become level with the ground.

Personally I find that my hand HAS to be ulnar-deviated when I play in the middle of the keyboard if I want my wrist to be relaxed. But my wrist does not get relaxed because I ulnar-deviate my hand, but rather my hand ulnar-deviates because I relax my wrist. Does that make sense?

Thanks for your reply.  This is helpful.  The good news is that I have found an accomplished pianist and teacher who is going to help me.  I will see him in a couple of weeks so I am looking forward to that.

All the Best,
Patrick
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dogperson
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« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2017, 02:03:45 PM »

Patrick,
Amazingly  Beautiful photography! Thanks so much for posting the link 
 Great photography, new piano, and a piano teacher coming soon.., the trifecta 😊
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keypeg
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« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2017, 02:15:46 PM »

Patrick, I'm going to take a stab at it, simply by sharing what I've come up with and against.  Perhaps something here and there will give you insights.

My quest has gone along two fronts.  When I was a child I was given a piano, some books, nobody to ever see play, and my "technique" developed from there.  When I was 18 I lost the piano, and didn't have one again for over 35 years.  It also turns out that the music I was given as a child, (sonatinas, mostly Clementi), also set my hand rather rigidly in one pattern. ... Then as a middle aged adult I got violin lessons, and things went wrong on the technical front.  To get out of it I chased "form" for the first time.  It probably made some diagnosing harder, since I was "picture perfect".  Then got a piano, knew technique mattered, and that's where I am now.

Focusing on the word "picture perfect", and zooming in on the word "picture".  You sent two pictures, and you asked about your form.  There may or may not be a clue here.  Playing music is movement and that is a very important component.  When I chased "form", this is in fact an important component.  But if other factors are at play, then by not addressing them, you can miss those problems.  Also, one can aim for form in a sense of "shaping oneself" into a good form, when in actual fact everything is in constant motion. That "going into the right shape" as it were, can create its own rigidity.

Going on to other factors
- There is sitting at the right height and distance, as you've been exploring.  But also, as you play in different areas of the keyboard you can lean in, lean back, sideways, turn a bit to the left or right.  I got ulnar deviation coupled with discomfort when I played mid-piano, because I stayed in close like when I was playing in the far reaches.  It was such an obvious thing, once I realized!

- I'd "line up the hands" so that they were parallel with the cracks between notes or at right angles (subconsciously) when in fact the hands can be angled and should be free to be angled.  If your pinky is far into the keyboard and thumb at the edge, that's quite angled.  This "lining up" created quite a kink at the wrist.

- The hands can move in and out from the black keys.  I didn't necessarily give myself that freedom either. In fact, I seemed to have some kind of "narrow geography" going on.

- Movement and amoeba like shape changing, a kind of constant motion, so that when you've landed on one note, your hand is already starting to change its angles and shapes for the next note.  By "hand" I include the entire apparatus

- What's happening with the rest of your body?  Do you feel a role for your feet?  Are you "holding yourself up" with your back, so that the muscles that feed into your arms are busy holding you up?  Hips and (shifting) balance on the piano bench?

What I have listed are the issues that I have been sorting out.  One principle I learned is that "everything must always be free to move at least a little bit, and everything should be moving at least a little bit".  If you try for a correct shape, that by its very definition, is immobility.  For me it's been a tough nut to crack.

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lostinidlewonder
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« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2017, 02:27:28 PM »

Hi Patrick, don't worry about some crazy members here (thank goodness there isn't many but the ones that are here make a lot of noise), some just forget to take their medication and come on pianostreet to express their lunacy.

If you want more accurate appraisal of your situation I would suggest you post a video of your playing (several angels also is helpful) as photos do not really tell us enough.

A few adults students that I have taught try to consider technique too much in terms of words. Often they are thinking so much about their actions that they end up doing artificial movements which are not from a natural source within them, they separate the context of their technique to the music they are playing. I believe we form our technique over time and should not copy paste ideas of mastery, it must come naturally. Yes there are basic technical concepts which of course can be applied immediately with word directions but when you are actually playing the subtle changes, the relaxation/effortlessness in your movements that you feel etc, this will come with experience and time. Small changes over time will create a big lasting and intrinsic change that you will innately understand.
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mjames
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« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2017, 02:36:18 PM »

Fantastic advice. It's easy to stay still, it's what you do when you're playing that actually matters. I second the notion that you should post videos of your playing.
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patrickbcox
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« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2017, 03:09:56 PM »

Thanks for all of the great advice!  If I take a video of myself playing, what is the best perspective?  Similar to the first picture?  Or maybe shot from a higher perspective?

Thanks.
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c_minor
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« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2017, 03:25:23 PM »

My wrists also hurt when playing, then I came across a video of Graham Fitch on practicing (runs and passagework I think?) which helped somehow. The tip I found useful from the video was to change the rhythm of a passage, then remove any tension instantly during the pauses. I tried it with some Hanon exercises (changed 2/4 to 6/8 with the first beat dotted) at a slow tempo first then changed it back to 2/4 only when comfortable. Surprisingly, I can now finish my warm-up without any numbness or pain at the end.

Dislaimer: I'm still a beginner, so take what I said with a grain of salt  Smiley

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keypeg
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« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2017, 03:40:22 PM »

A few adults students that I have taught try to consider technique too much in terms of words. Often they are thinking so much about their actions that they end up doing artificial movements which are not from a natural source within them, they separate the context of their technique to the music they are playing.
The best thing I've found so far seems to involve variety and a guided invitation to exploration.  My present piano teacher gives his students varied material in the sense of expanding early past 5-finger hand spans and including black notes, and using a larger expanse of the keyboard.  Students are encouraged to seek best sound + greatest comfort.  As the students explore while aiming for these twin goals, things fall into place naturally.  This works for me as well as an adult.  Had I started this way it would have been perfect.  As it is there is a lot to undo.  I've found a violin teacher on ArtistWorks who incorporates the same approach.  I'm seeing that this works.  The OPPOSITE is where (piano) repertoire stays 5-finger, white keys forever, and (sometimes and) where students are told to keep their hand in a "holding a ball" shape and similar.

Simply "having at it" without any kind of guidance to technique does not work for me.  I'll get at the sound I want in some awkward way.  As you're lost and struggling, you'll look for solutions elsewhere and not know which apply, or even how to apply them.  Continuing to play while tied in knots can't work so you just spin in circles.   If given shortcuts and formulas such as ball holding, that is especially devastating for adults since we tend to be much more diligent and extreme in following instructions.

Something is needed.  It won't just magically come out by itself, at least not in my experience.
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lostinidlewonder
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« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2017, 05:47:19 PM »

I wrote: A few adults students that I have taught try to consider technique too much in terms of words. Often they are thinking so much about their actions that they end up doing artificial movements which are not from a natural source within them, they separate the context of their technique to the music they are playing.

The best thing I've found so far seems to involve variety and a guided invitation to exploration.  
Certainly if you read what you quoted from me carefully you will see I am asking students not to consider technique SEPARATE FROM THE CONTEXT of the music they are playing. This opening post asks a question about position but I am trying to highlight that although we could say this and that if there is no actual musical context to consider the technique upon then advice or any corrections one would want to make is rather useless.

Simply "having at it" without any kind of guidance to technique does not work for me.  
I encourage students to simply "have at it" and then come back to me and we assess what has happened. The problem I find with less effective teaching is that the teacher strangles any self exploration and merely forces a student to parrot ideas of mastery, a cut and paste type analogy. A useless teacher would simply say go ahead and experiment and I will not offer you any advice, of course that is stupid I don't know who would pay for such lessons. I think all great teachers allow students to self explore but guide them in the process, a lesser one merely tells them what to do and criticises any deviation from the perfect model. I allow my students to play with inferior technique but form it over time, this allows them to become well aware of their hands, appreciate a better way because they can compare it to what they did before, they are able to think for themselves and learn new technique in the future confidently. You teach them to fish for themselves rather than just give them a fish each time.

Something is needed.  It won't just magically come out by itself, at least not in my experience.
Sure and I didn't say it could anywhere.
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« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2017, 08:01:44 PM »

LiW, I was writing about my experiences and what I have seen.  It was not meant to have anything to do with what you do.  Sorry for the misunderstanding.
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patrickbcox
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« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2017, 09:24:44 PM »

Patrick,
Amazingly  Beautiful photography! Thanks so much for posting the link 
 Great photography, new piano, and a piano teacher coming soon.., the trifecta 😊

Thank you for your kind words.  And yes, I am very excited for the new piano and piano teacher!
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patrickbcox
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« Reply #17 on: September 25, 2017, 02:26:54 AM »

I read something interesting today that I thought I would bring up here. Since I started back playing piano this year, I decided to buy the digital piano you see above because I was not satisfied with my older upright piano and I also liked the idea of being able to play with headphones. But today I ran across an article that contains the following regarding digital pianos...

"Softer Equals Faster.
Many injuries lately are specific to people who play electronic keyboards. One would think that these lighter-action keyboards would be easier to play, but in fact, they are harder. This is because most people have a tendency to press harder than they would on a naturally-weighted keyboard to overcompensate for the lack of resistance. Also, we get fooled by the artificial sound levels. Because of the electronic aspect of the instrument, we become reliant on the actual volume versus the perceived volume. If we are recording, for example, the ultimate dynamic level may be very loud, but to us as performers, in our monitor, it may seem very soft. So we instinctively try to play harder to create a louder sound, when it really doesn’t help. Meanwhile, the louder we play, the stiffer our fingers become. The stiffer our fingers become, the slower we play and the more we push. The more we push, the more pain and damage we inflict on ourselves. The solution here is to keep mentally reminding ourselves as we play that “softer equals faster.” This keeps the muscle system very relaxed. Let them set the levels in the mix."

Does this make sense and could this be an issue for me?  Thankfully my new acoustic piano will be delivered next Monday.

Thanks!

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lostinidlewonder
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« Reply #18 on: September 25, 2017, 02:31:08 AM »

LiW, I was writing about my experiences and what I have seen.  It was not meant to have anything to do with what you do.  Sorry for the misunderstanding.
No worries keypeg I just thought it did since you quoted me, I just wanted to clarify my position.
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« Reply #19 on: September 25, 2017, 02:30:27 PM »

No worries keypeg I just thought it did since you quoted me, I just wanted to clarify my position.
That was a good thing to do, and also helped me understand better what you do.  I think that when I first responded, what you wrote triggered some things, and I took off from it, rather than responding to it, because there are things in this issue that occupy me very much in my thoughts.
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keypeg
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« Reply #20 on: September 25, 2017, 03:03:16 PM »

I read something interesting today ......

"Softer Equals Faster.
Many injuries lately are specific to people who play electronic keyboards. ....
I googled the article, and first came on a gaming site that quoted only that part, but also linked to the original which is here: http://www.richmanmusicschool.com/articles/pianists-pain-prevention-tips
This gives some possible clues about the "faster", which tbh didn't make much sense to me in your quote.  I don't know whether that's the same "fast" as in the first part of the longer article.

About digital pianos first.  I had mid-range to low range Yamaha dp first, because that's what I could afford.  I upgrade to a Kawai CA97 last fall which is considered a "hybrid" because of the action.  This has made a big difference.  First (apologies if you already know this), a look at how DPs produce sound, and volume.  There are two sensors at each key, and when the key passes the first sensor, that's the "on switch" where the soft registers "C4 has been played - turn on sound".  The position of this sensor was rather low on my DP (and most cheaper DPs) so that you had to almost keybed before creating a sound.  This has implications for movement in the hand etc.  There is a 2nd sensor for volume.  When the piano key passes from sensor 1 to sensor 2, the time it takes from 1 to 2 = speed of depression -- the faster the key moves, the louder the sound is.  That is also how acoustic pianos work, since force = distance X time.

About loudness.  We can have wrong ideas about it.  I did.  For me louder was "pressing harder with more force", and soft was "making the hand soft and mushy".  The "loud" created tension that prevented loud and and fast, the the "quiet" created holes in notes that didn't sound.  Trouble is that you do get "loud" with force, because when you press down hard, you also tend to press down with speed. (The part you quoted where he talks about pressing hard bothered me, for that reason).  In fact, you can get louder by increasing speed, and  a larger area over which you move (I can't explain it well in words).  I had to learn different ways of moving.  This also means associating a different movement and sensation in your body with the picture of "loud" and "soft" you have.  Those were my problems.  They may not be yours.

What the writer says, that if you're not hearing the loudness you expect, you will put in more effort to get that loudness, is true.

The CA97 I have is still a digital piano.  It has two features that are important to me.  One is that it has 3 sensors instead of 2.  I am not limited in the range of descent and ascent of the piano keys to "almost to the bottom, back to almost the very top" for each note.  If the travel of the keys could be seen as a swimming pool, where you can dive and rise to different depths, that's a picture I have.  Secondly, the mechanism of the keys is constructed so that the keys move up and down and respond to your push closely to a grand piano.  It's upward, as is the mechanism in a grand.  There is an "escapement" that you can feel clicking under your fingers if you work sensitively enough. There are keystrokes ........ well, I once watched Horowitz play a soft passage, with the sound off, and wondered why he took time to swipe a fly off the keys.  That "side swipe" was a pp note.  I can add motions that are more like swipes and get PP.  If I tried this on my old DP, I'd get dead silence.  I don't know how various qualities of acoustics fare in this, or if uprights and grands work differently.  I have not only a different range of motion, but also more kinds of motions at my fingertips.

Those are my thoughts as a learner.
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« Reply #21 on: September 25, 2017, 11:49:18 PM »

I googled the article, and first came on a gaming site that quoted only that part, but also linked to the original which is here: http://www.richmanmusicschool.com/articles/pianists-pain-prevention-tips
This gives some possible clues about the "faster", which tbh didn't make much sense to me in your quote.  I don't know whether that's the same "fast" as in the first part of the longer article....

Thanks for your reply.  I appreciate your thoughts on this.  One thing I am going to be aware of now is that I am not pressing too hard on the keys.  Because it is true that I may have the volume turned down on the low end and then want to get more sound and just by instinct start pressing harder on the keys for more volume.

Regarding my digital piano, it is supposed to be a pretty good model.  It is a Roland FP-90.  It was actually just reviewed this year by PianoBuyer...

http://www.pianobuyer.com/Articles/Detail/ArticleId/39/Review-ROLAND-FP-90

So this may not be an issue at all but it is something that I thought about after reading that article.

Thanks again!
Patrick
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keypeg
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« Reply #22 on: September 26, 2017, 11:32:26 AM »

Thanks for your reply.  I appreciate your thoughts on this.  One thing I am going to be aware of now is that I am not pressing too hard on the keys.  Because it is true that I may have the volume turned down on the low end and then want to get more sound and just by instinct start pressing harder on the keys for more volume.
I'm glad if anything helped.  Something I noticed in what you have written - your intent NOT to do something.  "not" doesn't work that well.  You need to find out what TO do, catch how to do it, and then practice doing it - in that order.  When you write about getting more volume / getting louder, you are still referring to "pressing harder".  That makes me suspect that you don't have the right concept (just like me a few years ago).

"Louder" is created by speed of descent of the keys.  To give me an idea of just now loose "loud" can be, my teacher used a first analogy of a loose, whip-like action, like your arm is a whip snapping into the keys.  There is nothing looser than the "rope" end of a whip.  This was just a first idea.  Since you have a teacher lined up, you might ask him how loud and soft are actually produce.  Hopefully it's a good teacher who can show how.  Of course the first thing will be his observations of your playing, and suggestions.

Since you have an acoustic on order, it would be interesting for you to compare the feel of the keys of both, really turning on your senses of touch and hearing.  I did then when I had the Kawai and the old DP still both in the house, and also when I was in the store where there were both acoustic grands, and the instrument I was buying.  I was running back and forth between both instruments.  There were things I had never been aware of, as if my fingertips had been "half deaf".  These are explorations we don't even think of.  I find that the sensitivity and awareness gained through such experimentation also helps in playing.  And as soon as you have two instruments, you also go toward a reality of the pianist, who has to play "strange pianos" every time he leaves the house to play somewhere else.

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patrickbcox
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« Reply #23 on: September 26, 2017, 01:01:52 PM »

When you write about getting more volume / getting louder, you are still referring to "pressing harder".  That makes me suspect that you don't have the right concept (just like me a few years ago).

"Louder" is created by speed of descent of the keys....

You know, I think you are on to something here.  Even though I played for many years as a younger person, I don't currently have it in my mind that louder equals faster.  But rather I do have in my mind that louder = press harder.  So this is definitely something I will bring up with my new teacher.  We meet in a week and a half.

And I do plan to keep both my digital piano and my new acoustic piano as I will still have a need to play with headphones at times and I did not really want to buy an acoustic piano with the silent function.  I just felt better about a purely acoustic piano.  It seemed like less chance of issues and possibly a more natural action.  So I will compare the acoustic and digital piano next week.

Thanks again for your comments!

Patrick
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keypeg
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« Reply #24 on: September 26, 2017, 01:21:21 PM »

I was lucky in one respect with "louder = faster", because I had had a few years of violin lesson, and to make a louder sound, one thing you do is to make the bow slide faster across the string.  Nonetheless, I was quite astonished at the idea for piano when I first heard it. 
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pianoplayer002
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« Reply #25 on: September 26, 2017, 11:45:59 PM »

You know, I think you are on to something here.  Even though I played for many years as a younger person, I don't currently have it in my mind that louder equals faster.  But rather I do have in my mind that louder = press harder.  So this is definitely something I will bring up with my new teacher.  We meet in a week and a half.

And I do plan to keep both my digital piano and my new acoustic piano as I will still have a need to play with headphones at times and I did not really want to buy an acoustic piano with the silent function.  I just felt better about a purely acoustic piano.  It seemed like less chance of issues and possibly a more natural action.  So I will compare the acoustic and digital piano next week.

Thanks again for your comments!

Patrick

Do you feel any difference if you try this?

Play some loud chords, and feel as if everything is done with the hand. Grasp the chords with your hands, and let your arm be completely passive. So in other words, don't use your arms to press down the chords at all. Rather, let your entire hand sink down into the piano, just let it go, and try to experience how your hand, with the help of gravity, sinks into the keyboard as one piece (so don't flex the wrist, rather let the wrist follow the hand down into the piano). Allow your wrists, elbows, shoulders and entire torso to feel calm and relaxed as you do this. So no active thoughts that you should "use" your arm to press at all, but just calmly focus on your hands and let the hands sink into the keys. When you contact the keybed, just let the hand calmly rest there, supported by the keybed, without any active pressure from the arm, your arms and torso feeling calm and relaxed.

If this feels bad or insecure, just ignore my advice.
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anamnesis
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« Reply #26 on: September 27, 2017, 12:46:16 AM »

Do you feel any difference if you try this?

Play some loud chords, and feel as if everything is done with the hand. Grasp the chords with your hands, and let your arm be completely passive. So in other words, don't use your arms to press down the chords at all. Rather, let your entire hand sink down into the piano, just let it go, and try to experience how your hand, with the help of gravity, sinks into the keyboard as one piece (so don't flex the wrist, rather let the wrist follow the hand down into the piano). Allow your wrists, elbows, shoulders and entire torso to feel calm and relaxed as you do this. So no active thoughts that you should "use" your arm to press at all, but just calmly focus on your hands and let the hands sink into the keys. When you contact the keybed, just let the hand calmly rest there, supported by the keybed, without any active pressure from the arm, your arms and torso feeling calm and relaxed.

If this feels bad or insecure, just ignore my advice.

One change I would make is to shift or alter the starting or endpoint of the articulation cycle so that you end balanced with poise on the next articulation.  This helps train how the reaction of the arm and follow through of the torso is involved with the horizontal dimension of playing. 

I've been increasingly convinced that the habit of ending on an articulation as a default is actually a major error.   
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patrickbcox
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« Reply #27 on: September 29, 2017, 09:46:38 PM »

Do you feel any difference if you try this?

Play some loud chords, and feel as if everything is done with the hand. Grasp the chords with your hands, and let your arm be completely passive. So in other words, don't use your arms to press down the chords at all. Rather, let your entire hand sink down into the piano, just let it go, and try to experience how your hand, with the help of gravity, sinks into the keyboard as one piece (so don't flex the wrist, rather let the wrist follow the hand down into the piano). Allow your wrists, elbows, shoulders and entire torso to feel calm and relaxed as you do this. So no active thoughts that you should "use" your arm to press at all, but just calmly focus on your hands and let the hands sink into the keys. When you contact the keybed, just let the hand calmly rest there, supported by the keybed, without any active pressure from the arm, your arms and torso feeling calm and relaxed.

If this feels bad or insecure, just ignore my advice.

Thanks for the tip.  There is definitely less tension in the forearm the latter way.
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patrickbcox
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« Reply #28 on: September 29, 2017, 09:48:04 PM »

One change I would make is to shift or alter the starting or endpoint of the articulation cycle so that you end balanced with poise on the next articulation.  This helps train how the reaction of the arm and follow through of the torso is involved with the horizontal dimension of playing. 

I've been increasingly convinced that the habit of ending on an articulation as a default is actually a major error.   

So are you saying that after playing a chord (or note) I should prepare for the next note, rather than remaining on that chord (or note?)  Thanks.
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keypeg
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« Reply #29 on: September 29, 2017, 10:51:31 PM »

I won't guess what anemnesis is saying, but in the feedback I received in my own playing, one thing that was pointed out is that there is continual movement rather than "land here. stop. get started again to go to the next place. stop. go again to go to the next place."  If you think of how you walk, or how a dancer dances, each step is already a preparation for the next step.  The dancer who pauses is still poised for the next place he will go.  Every full stop and then start again is like a "jolt", and expenditure of energy - once to stop - once to get going again.  This was my mistake.
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anamnesis
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« Reply #30 on: September 30, 2017, 01:30:08 AM »

So are you saying that after playing a chord (or note) I should prepare for the next note, rather than remaining on that chord (or note?)  Thanks.

The way you articulate a note should send you to to the next articulation perfectly balanced on the right spot  (Another discussion entirely, but essentially you should feel that you have control over each key and never have the sensation of weak fingers because the leverage is optimized.).

There's a perfect timing involved that allows a chain of momentum to occur that takes advantage of the piano mechanism.  

If you practice ending on articulation the wrong way, you end up practicing a momentum sink hole or wasted energy.  Doing it the right way, involves that same sense of poise mentioned by Keypeg, but if you do happen to release you will actually land on top of the next key anyway.  

Refining the subtle directional nuances that full optimizes that sending off to the right spot is another discussion as well, but the intuition about this correct sense of keystroke timing is a must from the beginning.

If you understand this, you will save yourself a lot of time.   Many talented pianists who aren't cognizant of this end up wasting a lot of time doing exercises to smooth things out (rhythmic variations long-short, short-long being the prime example)  in their playing that are actually quite unnecessary.  If you imagine the implications of the correct timing versus the wrong, more intuitive one, it shouldn't be hard to imagine why those in the habit of the wrong timing would need those sorts of exercises.   
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patrickbcox
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« Reply #31 on: September 30, 2017, 02:49:42 PM »

Thanks keypeg and and anamnesis!  This is helpful.  Now looking forward to starting lessons again!
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keypeg
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« Reply #32 on: September 30, 2017, 03:08:30 PM »

Now looking forward to starting lessons again!
Do tell us how that goes, and what insights you gain.  I'm all agog in advance. Smiley
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