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Topic: Hand position and pedaling, help?  (Read 1445 times)

Offline lexi2k17

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Hand position and pedaling, help?
on: November 06, 2021, 10:24:21 PM
Hi,

I am new to the forum, thought I would ask a question.

I have self-taught myself piano for 14 years, and I can now comfortably play advanced pieces like Fur Elise and The Sugar Plum Fairy. I want to know if I'm practicing good hand posture correctly, and how to pedal. (I use the pedal but not with knowledge of how to use it properly, so I don't know what I'm doing when I diminish, and sometimes make my playing too muddy just from ignorance; I don't even know what the other pedals do (I know, shame on me XD)). Same with hand posture. I know to relax the wrists, but what should I be feeling?

What resources (good videos, websites, or books) do you recommend for posture and learning basics of pedaling, since for now I am still unable to take formal lessons (of course I want them in the future)? Is there some technique your teachers have showed you to grasp what you should feel if you play correctly? (For example, to learn to hold the bow, my teacher started with holding a pencil and feeling the correct finger position until we could actually handle the bow for the first time after learning to finger-pluck the violin. Since I've never been formally taught a start-to-finish curriculum on piano as I have on violin, I don't know how to "feel" if I'm doing the proper technique just from watching a teacher online).

Thanks!


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Offline dogperson

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Re: Hand position and pedaling, help?
Reply #1 on: November 07, 2021, 03:29:53 AM
Re pedaling: yes, principles of pedaling can be learned, but the golden  rule is to adjust the pedaling based on what you hear. If it sounds too muddy, release the sustain pedal.  If it sounds to dry, use the sustain pedal.  You must listen and adjust. 

The number of other pedals and their function depend on your piano. The one in the far left is the una corda pedal— use  it and listen  to how it changes the tone

I like most of Graham Fitch’s videos

John Mortensen has a series on body and  hand

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4g-pgsSZCIY&t=6s

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=BV1GW3PGx8o 



Offline anacrusis

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Re: Hand position and pedaling, help?
Reply #2 on: November 07, 2021, 09:59:56 PM
Hi,

I am new to the forum, thought I would ask a question.

I have self-taught myself piano for 14 years, and I can now comfortably play advanced pieces like Fur Elise and The Sugar Plum Fairy. I want to know if I'm practicing good hand posture correctly, and how to pedal. (I use the pedal but not with knowledge of how to use it properly, so I don't know what I'm doing when I diminish, and sometimes make my playing too muddy just from ignorance; I don't even know what the other pedals do (I know, shame on me XD)). Same with hand posture. I know to relax the wrists, but what should I be feeling?

You should not be feeling much of anything. Playing should feel as natural as just being relaxed and doing something that feels natural and easy for your hands. If you feel pain, aching, tiredness, fatigue or any other type of discomfort something is wrong (even if the music is difficult). It should not feel like it takes effort or is difficult.

Quote
What resources (good videos, websites, or books) do you recommend for posture and learning basics of pedaling, since for now I am still unable to take formal lessons (of course I want them in the future)? Is there some technique your teachers have showed you to grasp what you should feel if you play correctly? (For example, to learn to hold the bow, my teacher started with holding a pencil and feeling the correct finger position until we could actually handle the bow for the first time after learning to finger-pluck the violin. Since I've never been formally taught a start-to-finish curriculum on piano as I have on violin, I don't know how to "feel" if I'm doing the proper technique just from watching a teacher online).

Thanks!

I think the best resource would be a reputable teacher giving in-person lessons. There is so much you can get wrong and it's so difficult to communicate just through a video or text.

Offline tiberiuszgo

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Re: Hand position and pedaling, help?
Reply #3 on: November 11, 2021, 11:57:17 PM
Hi, I also self taught myself piano but I am much newer.

I can give a tip for the pedal, just play whatever piece it is with the pedal all the way, and the parts that dont sound good with the pedal you can hold it while letting go of the pedal so it sounds clean without sounding like the audio has been cut.

It is just the way I do it I don't know how anyone else does it but take note that the pedal is let go and used again when the chords change (If I remember)

Offline thirtytwo2020

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Re: Hand position and pedaling, help?
Reply #4 on: December 01, 2021, 10:21:46 AM
I can't think of any particular video or book to recommend, but finding a correct hand position at the piano is not difficult. I think most people will tell you to keep your hand relaxed and resting just over the keyboard with fingers slightly bent, wrist loose and at approximately at the same height as the elbow.

Regarding sitting posture, the recommendation is much the same as for sitting in general. Try to keep a straight back, open chest, plant both feet on the floor and don't sit too far back on the bench.

The feeling I get when sitting like that is a kind of general suppleness; a sense that the whole body is behind the hands, ready to adjust and support.

The tricky bit is of course to keep a helpful posture at all times while playing. It's easy to tense up while performing challenging tasks at the piano. The best thing is to regularly see an experienced teacher who can remind you and stop you from getting used to movements that are not optimal. But as I said, the basics are not at all complicated, and it's a very crucial first step that you are considering these things in the first place. 
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