piano, piano technique

Piano Technique: Playing BEYOND the fingers

Many students get finger-trapped playing the piano, hammering away at tricky passages with tight wrists and stiff, plunky fingers. The more glitches they encounter, the tenser they get, which sets up a vicious cycle.

I always advise these harrowed pupils to think bigger than smaller movements, and let arms, especially drive their motions.

In this video, yours truly grapples with a difficult passage from Haydn’s Eb Sonata (49) So I essentially apply what my students have taught me NOT to do. I won’t utilize finger power through knotty measures that will die on the vine from terminal fatigue.

Instead, I start blocking out challenging measures; do my “mashed potato” routine, inject rhythms into my practicing, and enlist bigger-than-fingers energies. (These techniques are well-demonstrated in my video instruction)

In the first segment I explore parallel thirds in five-finger position to show side-to-side arm motions, eventually working my way to the Haydn sonata. (Rondo movement)

Extracting difficult passages from pieces is always a nice way to build technique, alongside a healthy regimen of scales, arpeggios, etc. around the Circle of Fifths.

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