Play Piano The Nature's Way...

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The Technique 

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.

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
"Technic 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 analogous:

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. [read more...]

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. [ read more...]

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 more...]

Brain and Ear
Upper Arm
Hand & Wrist

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October 2013