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How to relax at the piano? (Read 7788 times)

Offline Gieseking

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How to relax at the piano?
« on: March 26, 2002, 11:58:31 PM »
Anybody can help me in how to relax the shoulders?

Thanks

Offline Diabolos

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Re: How to relax at the piano?
«Reply #1 on: March 28, 2002, 07:07:46 PM »
Hi.

In order to answer the question it might be helpful to know when exactly you have problems relaxing your shoulders.

In general contracting the shoulders happens quite often when you try to get better tune or more sound just by pressing the keys harder using your arm muscles (or the shoulder ones); if this is the situation you got problems with, relax your shoulders before playing and try to put your weight on your hands by using your back. Sounds strange, I know, but that's the first step to completely relaxed playing, I think.

Offline mojohk

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Re: How to relax at the piano?
«Reply #2 on: May 30, 2002, 06:51:08 PM »
Hello.

I agree with Diabolos...always check to see if you're tensing up in the middle of playing...focus on a more open, spread out on the keyboard position rather than tensing around the upper body.  Put more weight on the fingers, though tension anywhere is not good.  I've had the same problem too, but after a while, by constantly checking myself, it's pretty rare now.  
I also think you should check the height of your bench.  Your sitting position is very important to your body position when playing...being too low or too high can change your touching dramatically.  You might feel uncomfortable at first after adjusting, but try it out.  It'll work out in the long run.
Hope this helps!

Offline Jenny_Lee

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Re: How to relax at the piano?
«Reply #3 on: July 11, 2002, 02:33:25 PM »
Hi!

Checking your posture at the piano, using arm weight technique certainly help releasing tension on your shoulders, as the others have already suggested. I also think that tension on shoulders sometimes comes with emotional intensity. When we feel something passionately, we breathe in , then the shoulders rise. After a long while, tension builds up. In order not to let this intensity in feeling distracting our technique or causing any unnecessary pain, we have to constantly be aware of our shoulders and not to get over-emotionally involved. We should think how to project this emotion in sound instead of in body movement.

Hope this little piece of advice will help!
Jenny Lee :)

Offline rachfan

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Re: How to relax at the piano?
«Reply #4 on: January 08, 2003, 05:14:49 AM »
Relaxing the shoulders is indeed important.  Typically, when a student gets swept up into the intensity of performing a piece, the shoulders can begin to rise upward.  This unnatural positioning of the shoulders quickly leads to discomfort if not pain in the shoulders and lower neck.  Lowering the shoulders to normal position brings instant relief and relaxation--and better playing.  

Many years ago, I remember playing Beethover's Pathetique for my first teacher, and in the heat of the moment, sure enough, my shoulders crept upward, although I was not aware of it.  She quietly stepped behind me, placed her hands gently on my shoulders prodding me to lower them.  To this day I can still remember the immediate sensation of positive relief from that simple hands-on reminder.  It became permanently ingrained in my consciousness while practicing and performing.  I'd check in with myself: "Are my shoulders rising?"  By consciously monitoring myself, the tendency was conquered and disappeared.  I guess it was like forming a beneficial habit.  

Interpreting music means exploring the promise of the potential of possibilities.

Offline tosca1

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Re: How to relax at the piano?
«Reply #5 on: January 08, 2003, 09:02:27 PM »
Learning to relax the arms and shoulders can begin by first sitting comfortably at the key board with good posture with both feet slightly apart on the floor and allowing the arms to hang loosely and freely at the sides.  

To check that the arms are completely relaxed, using the other hand raise the  the relaxed arm at the wrist so the forearm is horizontal and check that the arm feels completely free and heavy and let it fall.  It should fall loosely and completely freely. Repeat this with the other arm.  

The point of this is that merely telling someone to relax the arms may not help if the person is unaware of the experience of the relaxed state of the arms.  The arms must feel heavy and loose and instinctively when the totally "relaxed" arm is raised by the other hand most people will try to raise the arm themselves which is counterproductive in this exercise.

If the arms are completely relaxed from the shoulder then the shoulders will be as well.  

Hope this may be helpful.
Robert.

Offline chico

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Re: How to relax at the piano?
«Reply #6 on: March 26, 2003, 08:56:55 PM »
i didnt read the replies on this topic coz my english is not so good to understand everything - but go to this site http://www.peter-feuchtwanger.de/english/startenglish.html
and order the "book and video"

believe me: its exciting and interesting, to see, how u can use the smallest possible effort on piano, by trying the exercises from the video ;)


Offline JonE

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Re: How to relax at the piano?
«Reply #7 on: March 28, 2003, 05:15:28 AM »
It seems like tension in shoulders, arms, hands, fingers, etc., are natural reactions that must be retrained in a variety of situations.  So, to avoid the tension, we need to examine exactly where and why it occurs (which passage, which technical situation), and then practice doing the exact opposite of what feels natural - if it feels natural for some reason to raise and tense the shoulders, practice lowering and relaxing them at just the point where we feel most like raising and tensing them.

natasha

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Re: How to relax at the piano?
«Reply #8 on: April 14, 2003, 08:14:16 AM »
swimming really helps! or do the exercises that swimmers do b4 they compete!!  :P

Offline lea

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Re: How to relax at the piano?
«Reply #9 on: April 14, 2003, 09:09:25 AM »
natasha, i agree!!!

and also do lots of stretches and every so often relax and shake your shoulders about.

it is important that you do this as other wise you could get rsi(i think thats how you spell it) and then you may not be able to play the piano ever again.........so stretch, loosen and relax!!!
memo from lea: red bull gives u wings

natasha

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:-*Re: How to relax at the piano?
«Reply #10 on: April 23, 2003, 06:25:50 AM »
do u mean arthiritis lea?
huh? ???
natasha  :D

Offline amee

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Re: How to relax at the piano?
«Reply #11 on: April 23, 2003, 06:35:46 AM »
I think Lea means RSI as in repetitive strain injury.  It occurs from repeated physical movements doing damage to tendons, nerves, muscles, and other soft body tissues.  Pianists get it when they strain too hard.
"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." - Frederic Chopin