Piano Technique: Avoiding thumpy thumbs!

One of the biggest challenges for pianists, particularly in the staccato playing scale cosmos, is to avoid a downward, pack-a-punch “thumpy thumb!

This unwanted lead weight-loaded attack often interrupts a buoyantly springy journey, transforming it into crowded pile-up of space-less notes.

Yet it seems inevitable that the shortest finger of each hand would overcompensate for its size by adding clout to its arrival, unless the player deliberately deals with its over-assertion.

During a recent lesson with an adult student, a staccato romp in E Major imbued the “UP”-lift of the thumb to counter its fall down flat persona.

And a mental image of the “bouncy” rebound effect, with an infusion of UPWARD energy was enough to put the thumb in its proper place along the scale route. But it also needed to be folded into a finger family-centered smooth transit, not HANGING OUT, determined to throw its weight around.

In the universe of forearm staccato, we worked on the UP-ward release of the thumb in a slow, exaggerated tempo that “untangled” the scale. Eventually, it allowed a well-spaced, well-breathed out journey that was unencumbered by tension and nervous acceleration.

Our key lesson prompts were: “rebound effect, UP, short, springy, well-spaced out notes, FRAMING RHYTHM, composure, centering, relaxed breathing.”

Applying the unobtrusive thumb to practicing Bach Invention 1 in C Major, BWV 772:

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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5 Responses to Piano Technique: Avoiding thumpy thumbs!

  1. Pingback: Piano Technique: Avoiding thumpy thumbs! – Burning Bushes Music

  2. Pingback: Piano Technique: Avoiding thumpy thumbs! | Liv Morales

  3. Pingback: Piano Technique: Avoiding thumpy thumbs! | Henry Tan

  4. bachplayer says:

    when i’m trying to stay relaxed when executing a trill i remind myself that the trill used to be called a “shake” and this reminds me to use more of a wrist motion than just pure fingers. i find this helpful ….

    Liked by 1 person

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