In some teaching circles, the wrist “break” is resoundingly discouraged. (That is, the forearm is regaled as the basic physical activator in piano playing) I’ve lost count of videos where Edna Golandsky, disciple of Dorothy Taubman, tells her riveted audience that the “wrist break,” is a no, no!
The other day, I shut down the class because I was convinced that too many students were being misinformed.
Just watch this Old World Polish pianist “break her wrist” over and over, in a memorable reading of Chopin’s Mazurka, Op. 68, No. 2 in F Major.
Notice her big motions with an activated wrist that roll out amazing trills along the way. Show ME the way, Maestra Halina Czerny-Stefanska (“in rare film footage after winning a 1949 competition jointly with Bella Davidovitch”)
Here’s another example of the wrist break that serves the music to an inspiring level.
Disclaimer: You don’t have to be Russian or Polish to pull this off. Just watch, listen and experiment patiently in your musical sanctuary. Absorb physical elements, fused with musical turns of the phrase that make a performance memorable.
In my own teaching I nourish phrases along with a supple wrist: