Exaggerating the movements

How much do you practice. What interesting have you gone through while practicing. How long can you concentrate. What kind of music do you like to practice and play. How do you practice etc.
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Dennis
Posts: 60
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2017 11:13 am

Exaggerating the movements

Post by Dennis » Tue Jun 20, 2017 3:58 pm

I just remembered something from one of Jaak's videos. We sound exactly as per our movements. Therefore, in order to achieve a desired sound, a legato or a particular phrasing it is sometmes helpful to exaggerate the necessary movement until we become used to it.

I was practicing my scales this morning and was having difficulty with the accuracy and fluidity of my left hand when my thumb moves under the 4th finger. I did not have that difficulty with my right hand, so I observed what I was doing. It is as though my right elbow was pulling my hand up the keyboard, something I was not doing with my left elbow. This is how I realized that I have to lead with my elbow -- as if my left elbow is pulling my forearm and hand on the downward scale. This makes the rotation on the 4th finger more natural and the thumb is almost on the key I need to play.

If I exaggerate this for the next while, this should become much more natural.
Dennis

jaak
Site Admin
Posts: 45
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2014 3:18 am

Re: Exaggerating the movements

Post by jaak » Tue Aug 08, 2017 4:57 pm

Dear Dennis,

I find this concept very helpful. Especially when to add a conscious impulse of relaxation to the 'exaggeration'.

Have you used it in any other situations too?

Best wishes,
Jaak

Dennis
Posts: 60
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2017 11:13 am

Re: Exaggerating the movements

Post by Dennis » Sat Aug 12, 2017 1:17 pm

Hi Jaak,

There is another instance where I am exaggerating the movements. It is when I rotate on the sit bones.

I never fully understood the purpose of having the weight on the sit bones, but now I think I have gained more understanding of the purpose of having the body weight on the sit bones. It is much more than rotating to make it more comfortable for the hand to reach the notes; it is to transfer the body weight to the fingers playing the notes.

I understood this concept just before I left on holidays and I did notice how pianists do not sit rigidly in one place. Though their movements are subtle, they shift from side to side and forward and backward. I am probably moving more than I need to at this point, but maybe it is a way to create the habit.

I always had a problem of some notes not sounding, especially when playing pianissimo. Now I seem to understand that having the weight in the arms is much more than having heavy hands. The intent is to transfer the weight of the body to the actual fingers pressing the keys. As you indicate in one of your videos, the energy vector has to reach the finger tip.

I will review your videos series again on how to use the body to see if my understanding is correct.

It is interesting how theoretical understanding in one thing and practical understanding is another. It is these little revelations or eurekas that make learning to play the piano so fascinating.
Dennis

jaak
Site Admin
Posts: 45
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2014 3:18 am

Re: Exaggerating the movements

Post by jaak » Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:00 am

Dear Dennis,

I agree with a lot what you said and think that you are making a good progress based on your observations.

Just fur fun I searched for definitions for the word 'efficiency'. There are several ones from different meaning angles. I like the following one:
the ratio of the useful work performed by a machine or (human being) in a process to the total energy expended.

So 'useful' could here be energy that is producing music which is in accordance with our will and imagination.

Everything that does not fulfill any musical purpose could be seen as wasted energy from the perspective of piano playing.

Actually a course for beginners (and those who want to go through fundamentals again) which is playful and includes short and easy practical exercises for acquiring the fundamentals of using your body is ready. It is on our new site which will be launched very soon. There I have included all the important information from my previous teaching videos. The goal was to make it as convenient clear and fun and do it through practical actions. I will let you know about it as soon as the new site piano.social is ready for visiting.

Take care!
Jaak

Dennis
Posts: 60
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2017 11:13 am

Re: Exaggerating the movements

Post by Dennis » Wed Aug 16, 2017 7:17 pm

Wow! You are a busy man, Jaak.

Indeed, sometimes we waste energy at the piano. Actually, your response comes at a good time.

This morning I was getting back into my conservatory work in anticipation of my piano lessons starting in September. I was having a lot of trouble playing the dominant 7th of G flat in all its inversions both hands together, solid, 2 octaves up and down. Somehow the finger positions seemed so awkward and unfamiliar. I realize I was trying too hard and wasting energy trying to get it right. I will try again tomorrow after it will have ripened in my mind overnight.

I am having my piano tuned on Friday. First time since it was delivered.
Dennis

jaak
Site Admin
Posts: 45
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2014 3:18 am

Re: Exaggerating the movements

Post by jaak » Thu Aug 17, 2017 9:39 am

Dear Dennis,

Yeah, life is interesting and many inspiring things and processes are going on - thank you for noticing :)

I remember those scales very well from music school and high school times. We had a vast variety of different scales which we were obliged to perform at an exam "technical test".
It was kind of frightening actually. But it is great later when your hand is more naturally adapted to different patterns which are present in classical music in general.
In a way I feel nostalgic about all those years when so many things were still to be explored - you are a lucky man to be in this position.

If there is a video of you practicing scales etc, feel free to share to get feedback.

Take care Dennis!
Jaak

Dennis
Posts: 60
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2017 11:13 am

Re: Exaggerating the movements

Post by Dennis » Thu Aug 17, 2017 1:56 pm

I am practicing my scales this morning. Your response encouraged me to work on them with a renewed energy this morning because you indicate they are hand patterns found in classical music. That dominant 7th will eventually become as easy as other dominant 7th that I am already comfortable with. I am remembering that it is much easier to think in terms of chords and not just individual notes.

What I like about you is that you always manage to communicate "why" we do the things we do. That helps me a lot. :)

Thank you.
Dennis

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