Technique should be checked
against the physical and physiological principles. A sound technique should be a
natural one and can never be divorced from music.
- The brain is like the king, the president
- The upper Arms are like the Generals
- The forearms are like the Colonels
- The hands are like the Captains
- The fingers are like the Soldiers
Playing piano should be fun and enjoyable, you don't need the boring and
mechanical daily drill. You don't need to always glue your eyes to the
music scores. Mindless, mechanical repetition is a waste of time. You play it with the nature's gift that every one possesses -- your
brain, your ears, your body especially your upper limb. Forget about the
Hannon's finger exercises etc. which is anti-scientific.
Once the commander
is in control, the rest of the playing members will synchronize and cooperate
in a natural way. If the fingers try to be independent out of the larger playing
members, nature will refuse to cooperate. The stiff wrist and
arm will block the fingers movements. The fingers are the
soldiers, how can you win a battle in the field with the
independent soldiers fighting and without the army General in
control of the battle? In piano playing, finger's independent
playing will result in note-wise playing, a poor
performance without music.
"The studies of Czerny, Clementi, Cramer and the like I have never practiced.
They are bad for the ear and bad for the touch, because they are not alive: they
are merely mechanical. No mechanical playing assists the technique."
- Quote from Vladimir Horowitz
the Outgrowth of Musical Thought" -- The Etude,
March issue of 1932
By the early 20th
century, the short coming of the finger school had been fully
exposed which failed to utilize full body coordination. Piano
technique should be place one a thoroughly rational basis, A
technique with such a rationale will find itself in harmony with
experimental and analytical truth from any period.
There are four major
levers on our upper limb: Upper arm, Forearm, hand and fingers.
Their correspondent joins are: Shoulder joint, Elbow joint,
Wrist joint and Knuckle. The studies of the means of activating
a lever so as to depress the key most effectively and of
stabilizing the lever's base is of vital importance.
In piano playing, I like to use the following
The Brain is the king, the president:
there is no double it, use your brain to play from the very beginning to
the very end. The conscious mind must train the sub-conscious mind. The
brain must guide the fingers, not the fingers the brain. There is no substitute
in piano practice for the careful, conscious repetition of a movement in order
that there may be complete reliability when the movement later comes under the
sub-conscious control. The
hand's acting straightly shows WHAT HAPPENS in the pianist's MIND.
The Upper Arms are the Generals:
It has the longest lever starting from the shoulder joint. Upper arm is moved by the strongest muscles in our chest and back.
The shoulder joints allow myriads movements. The upper arm can freely move
horizontally along the key board, in-and-out the black key area, vertically
depressing the key through the fingers, rotate toward and out from our body.
help to bring the fingers into play position. Once the upper arm is in control,
the forearm, wrist, hand and fingers will cooperate naturally. [ read more...]
The Forearms are the Colonels:
Forearm is moved by the strong muscles in the upper arm. and has the second
longest lever starting from the elbow joint. The bending-and-unbending, rotating
of the forearm plus the constant easy adjustment at the shoulder can put the
hand in successive play positions along the keyboard. Forearm and wrist
coordination can help to achieve speed and brilliance.
The Hands are the Captains:
hand is under the command of upper arm and forearm. It has a shorter lever
starting from the wrist. it always forms a natural arch on the keyboard,
to help the upper arm to deliver power to the fingers and help the fingers
to reach play positions. [read more...]
The Fingers are the Soldiers:
they are the frontiers, executors. Fingers have the shortest lever starting from
the knuckle joints and have the weakest muscles. Fingers basically can only move
up-and-down. They are always being helped by the upper arm, forearm, wrist and
hand to reach play position. Fingers need to synchronize and coordinate with the
rest of the playing mechanism. However, fingers made the ultimate contact of the
piano keys and are rich in sensory receptors enabling them to send
feedbacks to the brain making them one of the most sensitive parts of the
playing mechanism. [read