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Topic: Aware: hand injuries  (Read 2054 times)

Offline vivacelife

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Aware: hand injuries
on: January 20, 2005, 09:15:12 PM
Many pianists suffer hand injuries later on in their life. :'(

Please tell us any music that you know is particarlly easy to lead to hand injuries. (Be specific)

It would also be helpful if you can tell us how to avoid hand injuries in this music.

Offline anda

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Re: Aware: hand injuries
Reply #1 on: January 20, 2005, 09:28:31 PM
always listen to what your hand has to say: if something starts to hurt (even if it's just a bit and you feel like it's nothing really), then you're doing something wrong - stop doing that!

most injuries come from wrong techniques. (imho)

Offline aquariuswb

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Re: Aware: hand injuries
Reply #2 on: January 20, 2005, 09:47:45 PM
My recurring injury is with the skin under my nail, right where the nail turns from pink to white at the top. For some reason the skin in this area has always been weak. When I played sports in elementary school, if I caught a football that was thrown too hard, or hit a baseball too hard, the skin would separate from my nail just a bit and start to bleed. It put me out of piano commission for a few days until it healed. Now it just happens if I play too much piano or guitar. This morning, for example, I cut my nails, and when I went to practice piano, after about 1.5 hours my right index finger got really sore and I had to stop because I could tell it was on the brink of bleeding. Anybody know of any remedies for this? A guitarist friend of mine said that he's heard of old bluesmen putting a little crazy glue in there to keep the skin and nail from separating, but I've never tried it... seems like it could do a lot of harm.
Favorite pianists include Pollini, Casadesus, Mendl (from the Vienna Piano Trio), Hungerford, Gilels, Argerich, Iturbi, Horowitz, Kempff, and I suppose Barenboim (gotta love the CSO). Too many others.

Offline steinwayguy

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Re: Aware: hand injuries
Reply #3 on: January 21, 2005, 04:15:45 AM
Petrouchka, Rachmaninoff Third  ::)

Offline Brian Healey

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Re: Aware: hand injuries
Reply #4 on: January 21, 2005, 05:25:32 AM
Many pianists suffer hand injuries later on in their life.

Many pianists also suffer hand injuries early on in their life (myself included).

(although luckily for me, I fixed the "problem")

Party on, Wayne,

Offline johnnypiano

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Re: Aware: hand injuries
Reply #5 on: January 23, 2005, 05:24:40 PM
Anda says "...if something starts to hurt, stop."

One has to avoid stretching and tensing unreasonably while playing; also twisting and turning while holding on with the complementary muscles,  and continuing downward pressure long after the note has sounded.

The pieces that would cause bad physical habits are any that cause anxiety or are learned only superficially.  Speeding up before the piece is ready would again cause a lot of tension. 

Offline whynot

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Re: Aware: hand injuries
Reply #6 on: January 26, 2005, 06:08:02 AM
To reply #2:  ouch!  I never heard of that separation problem before.  Do you cut your nails all the way down to that joining point, or do you leave a little overlap for protection?  Also, I wonder if your nails have a fungus, making them weak and letting them detach from the skin.  People can have it for years and not know it.  A good manicurist could spot that, and I think it's easy to get rid of.  Just an idea. 

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Aware: hand injuries
Reply #7 on: January 26, 2005, 06:34:14 AM
Any piece with excessive double or triple chords playing non stop in one hand will kill your hand. Like..... ammm.. for instance Liszt's Feux-Follets (Will-o'-the-Wisp), from the Transcendentale etude, no 5.

Also any chords/arpeggios which stretch the hand arkwardly, you find that in Rachmaninov many times and Scriabin and of course many others.

To practice in uncomfortable grounds it is many times a matter of neglecting one note or so to make the practice easier. Cycle through different variations of missing out notes, so then when you play them all together your natural method reveals itself. This lets you spend much more time on tough sections than you otherwise physically could.

For instance, overpracticing the tremolo Ondine from Ravel's Gaspard de la Nuit can cause you pain. You have to practice with very light fingers, if they are a fraction too heavy, then within a few minutes of practice your hands will start hurting. Fortunately you are required to play in the ppp range, but if where to say ff, then by no means would we ever start practicing it at that volume. We would learn to play it very gently then increase the volume, this would apply for any difficult section of music. I wouldnt play it with the volume expression, everything else is fine, volume is best controlled once you master the actual movement of the notes and these can be practiced in very quiet ranges which will extend your endurance and time spent practicing and minimise the adverse effect uncomfrtable sections may have on your body.

Also to practice the opening tremolo we might choose to miss out one or two of the notes of the 3 notes chord in the RH. And then add one at a time and see the effect adding notes has on your hand and question yourself how to control it. All difficult sections can be reduced to a single note, and that everyone can play. It is a matter of adding a little at time, in a smart way which reveals this natural way to play. It is different for everyone, so i couldnt say how to do it.
"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."

Offline Daniel_piano

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Re: Aware: hand injuries
Reply #8 on: January 26, 2005, 08:31:34 AM
No piece will ever arbitrarily lead to hand injuries, only playing it in the wrong way
Any piece despite its speed and complexity should be played without any disconfort or hard effort, it should always feel easy and natural under the hands and you should always look relaxed
Good way of playing make it possible for you to appear as relaxed as when playing an easy 1 grade piece even when playing the hardest and fastest piece out there
For example good way of "mastering" speed is when you feel like you're not rushing or moving in a hurry, the speed is there but all your movements are relaxed and look easy and natural

99% of all hand injuries are caused by four factors, none of which is related with the piece you're playing or practicing

1) the first cause is Dual Muscular Pull
This happens when two set of muscles doing different tasks and moving in different directions are both contracted
Free movements ca be achieved only when only a set of muscle if contracted
To move freely we must learn to relax the set of muscles who is not being used when another one is being contracted

2) Proper positions
When moving throught the length of the keyboard or changing playing position, wrist and arm alignment must be kept
To do this we must learn how to reposition the hand each time so that it is in good form
Only 2% of the time out of 98 you must give up good form, all the other times keeping good form and proper alignment is more important than keeping a strict legato
Two problems results from bad form and position: twisting and high wrist
Twisting is what we do to compensate for the short lenght of the thumb so when we have to position the thumb on a key we twist at the wrist and align the arm with the thumb (ulnar abduction)
High wrist happens when you walk more than necessary when playing
We should learn instead of to keep the elbow aligned with forearm in a neutral position at the sides of the body (but not locked)

3) Lack of muscular dynamic
This happens when the muscle is contracted without being released through its lenght, lack of muscular dynamic feel like a static and painful muscular activity, you feel the muscle contracting without any lenghtening movement to support and make the contraction easy

4)Excessive force
A good deal of hand injuries are caused by excessive force when playing or playing the keys with too much strength
Actually very little strenght is required to push the keys down and a better tone result from less strength
We should instead learn how to use the weight of the arm to let the keys be pushed down by gravity instead of strength

I would add a (4a) and a (4b) among the cause of hand injuries

4a) fingers oriented movement
Mostly the movements should result from big arm muscle rotation around the little finger axis
Very, very few movements accors at the fingers and each finger oriented approach (especially those where fingers are required to move without any arm movement) are a sure path to hand injuries

4b) bad sitting position
Most hand injuries risk are reduced by just sitting in the proper position, with the proper posture at the proper height and distance from the keyboard
The leg should be free to move so we should sit not at the center of the bech
The height should be such that when relaxed the tip of the elbow is aligned with the top of the white keys
The distance from the keayboard should be such that the elbow are free to move in front of the body when needed to

If all the bad movements and mistakes caused by not observing these points are corrected and avoided, the risk on hand injury is virtually eliminated
If every piece is played following these guidelines and correcting the problems resulting from negleting them, no piece will even feel like hard, like painful and above all will ever lead to hand injury by itself

"Sometimes I lie awake at night and ask "Why me?" Then a voice answers "Nothing personal, your name just happened to come up.""

Offline MTS_JSOT

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Re: Aware: hand injuries
Reply #9 on: January 27, 2005, 09:47:31 PM
Thanks for the extensive review on hand injuries Daniel  ;D! I'm goin to print that and put it on my piano lol.

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