Piano Technique: Spot checking for relaxed arms, wrists, and hands (Video)

I think of a whole arm/wrist/hand continuum when playing the piano, and I urge students to alleviate tension anywhere in the spectrum by lifting arms off the keys with a feeling of buoyancy. In this gesture a pupil can monitor the sensation of hanging, dead weight arms in space, and then gently practice lift-offs and drop-downs on the keys. (without a crash landing)

In this sample video, an adult pupil works on refining her C# minor staccato scales through various tension-relieving steps. Thinking “horizontally,” as well, she focuses on not pulling downward on the thumbs, causing unwanted accents. Visualizing a horizontal “plane” of staccato rendering, though vertically “bouncing” from note to note, promotes definition and evenness.

In segment two, the student creates a very well-shaped set of contrary motion scales in Triplet 8ths Legato, internalizing a rolling feeling that reflects in her supple wrist approach.

For staccato playing in the C# minor Arpeggio, she has learned to “snip” a well-shaped legato.

All these romps through C# minor can benefit from Spot Checking for arm/wrist/hand relaxation. In addition, preserving a physical/musical image of what advanced fluid playing will assist present and future practicing.

About arioso7: Shirley Kirsten

International piano teacher by Skype, recording artist, composer, piano finder, freelance writer, film maker, story teller: Grad of the NYC HS of Performing Arts, Oberlin Conservatory, NYU (Master of Arts) Studies with Lillian Freundlich and Ena Bronstein; Master classes with Murray Perahia and Oxana Yablonskaya. Studios in BERKELEY and EL CERRITO, California; Member, Music Teachers Assoc. of California, MTAC; Distance learning and Skyped instruction with supplementary videos: SKYPE ID, shirleypiano1 Contact me at: shirley_kirsten@yahoo.com OR http://www.youtube.com/arioso7 or at FACEBOOK: Shirley Smith Kirsten, http://facebook.com /shirley.kirsten TWITTER: http://twitter.com/arioso7 Private fund-raising for non-profits as pianist--Public Speaking re: piano teaching and creative approaches
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