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Piano Technique: Sports analogies weave in and out of Five-Finger positions (Videos)

I can’t resist throwing an occasional curve ball into the teaching arena. Well, certainly not one hurled like a bolt of lightning into a catcher’s glove.

How about playing ball between fingers 1 and 5 (5 and 1, reciprocating in the Left Hand) while imagining a gentle loop to the pitch?

This metaphor, enlisted as a SPRINGBOARD over a SKYPED transmission, seemed to work well for an Alaskan student. It improved the shape of her E-Major and minor pentascale in Legato–smooth and connected, as well as staccato-detached, crisp. (You might say it warmed up the proceedings in a frosty climate!)

Over cyber, no less, she sang through her preliminaries, remembering the supple wrist as shock absorber. To do otherwise, would bring Rosie the Riveter back from the dead. (Relaxation, is the word!)

With my student’s imagination pairing with a necessary physical awareness of how she pulled off a satisfying 5-finger romp, she came out a winner.

In videos below, I snatched the warm-up segment of our lesson together, fleshing out various ways to phrase the openers.

What I gleaned from my work with this pupil and others, was how subtle variations in thinking about a passage as to its shaping, requires physical adjustments that should be noted and safely deposited in the muscle memory bank.

Don’t forget push-ups off the keys!


Exploring different facets of staccato-playing in these escapades

What about balance, and adjusting “CENTER OF GRAVITY” in a B Major Five-finger position:


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