Playing piano with relaxed hands – Play piano without tension

Hello everyone, welcome to PianoWell.
This is Emma Leiuman. Loose hands – so this is a topic I will
never stop talking about, because every single student has this issue at some
degree. And in the past I have made a couple of videos about the same topic. You can check it here or in the description below. So how can I describe this feeling? Loose,
light, empty, relaxed, sleepy, lazy hands, hands that don’t exist. This is so crucial
to get this feeling, because this is number 1 reason of any uncomfortable feelings
while playing even in slow tempo that also can lead to some pain and injuries
in the future. This is number 1 reason that prevents students from getting a
sensation of clinging fingertips. And surprisingly this is number 1 thing
that no students no teachers usually aware of, because from the teacher
perspective it’s really hard to say when the students play with loose or stiff
hands, unless the teacher just you know come to the students and touch their
hands. And then probably the teacher could feel if the hand is heavy or light,
but not every teacher does this, especially if we are talking about the higher level of education, like professors would never do this. A professor – he would just
like walk back and forth talking about some art, or sitting on the couch
talking about some art with you, he would never come and touch your hand. And from the student perspective it is also hard to feel, because he simply never got this
feeling – so he has no idea sometimes that he’s playing with stiffness in hands. He
has nothing to compare his sensations to. So the reason of this unnecessary
tension is this energetic stiffness within the body when students try to
play more expressive as again their teacher would probably ask them to do; or
overcoming some technical problems. But because they don’t know how to do this exactly they would naturally start just get more stiff inside, you know trying to
make something better. And unfortunately muscles would get used to this feeling
completely forgetting how it actually feels to play naturally with free energy.
Another reason could be is that students try to control the evenness and
quality of the sound, and because they don’t have clinging fingertips that would just let them you know play with this kind of motion inside the tip of the finger and
simply relax the hand and still hold on to the keyboard, not just fall down, so
they have to just always keep some amount of tension in hands. So what would be the signs that the student is playing with stiff hands. The first sign
might be that even playing slow and simple pieces a student
would lift up his fingers too much. like explaining that well they’re trying to
play expressive, yes they do I believe that, but they’re not really using the
correct way of conveying their ideas. Because if your hand is free and at
ease and loose and relaxed and light and empty it would just simply, beautifully
rest on the keyboard, and you don’t need to lift up your fingers to express
everything you want, what you do – you just applying weight to play anything you want expressive. So you don’t have to make all these motions. And if you notice in my playing mmm whatever I play it seems like it’s
so easy, it’s just like I’m not doing anything, I’m not applying any effort, which is
kind of true, because my hands are always at peace, my hands never over work. Okay
so the next sign is that a student would feel uncomfortable playing in a slow tempo. If they would actually say that they feel it’s hard to play even in slow
tempo. They use so much effort. And that leads to the next sign where students
would complain they cannot really speed up, because their fingers would stop
moving, they feel stiffness in hands, and which is obvious because if they apply
so much effort and energy while playing simple, slow pieces then let’s say they
would keep the same level of energy while playing faster, and this is already
too much energy, the muscles cannot breathe. What is happening – muscles simply stop breathing in and breathing out, they’re suffocating in the stiffness, and that prevents fingers from moving. That’s what happening.
So the point is, my dear friends you don’t have to use a lot of energy to
play simple things, moreover it’s like opposite, you can use very little energy
to make everything you want in front of the piano, that’s how it works. So how to
get this feeling – first and foremost just remember that all you need to do is just
be aware of how your hands feel while practicing every single moment. And yes,
they might not switch to new sensations right away overnight, forgetting all the
bad habits that you got during sometimes decades of wrong playing, and yes you
might not get the sensation of clinging fingertips right away that let you play
with free hands. But it’s okay, because everything in this life takes time,
perseverance and faith. The second thing is – you need to understand that all the
tension we have while playing is only here, in our mind, when we are about to imagine sounds, in our throat when we are connecting and singing distance in between notes, yet our hands don’t exist. So, our hands are just a channel for our intentions to be conveyed to the keyboard. So it´s just like this is our intention here
this is the bridge to the piano. So just a channel.
And if you have any stiffness here I could tell you guys that whatever you
beautifully imagine in your head it will be just stopped here, you will never get any response from the piano. So it’s really crucial to keep your hand at rest and
peace. And the last thing is that you need to also understand that after we
touch the key there is actually no effect on sound anymore, so there is no
need to keep any tension in hands. Because what students usually do that is
the key, they keep tension to the next note, they keep tension. When in
reality – you touch the key and you release any tension right away. You release right away. So basically you imagine sound, you touch the key, you release tension, then you gather again some energy because you are about to sing with resistance and glissando the distance to the next note that requires some kind of energy and tension, yes we touch the key
and we release energy right away. And it’s kinda so natural, but
somehow in our journey of striving and struggling we kind of forget completely
how to make simple and natural things. It´s okay guys, it takes time. So also I
should say that it’s probably wouldn’t be easy if you don’t have clinging
fingertips, because what clinging fingertips let you do is – at this step when you are about to relax your hand after you press the key, they would
just you know make this motion, you just hold on, like the claw, and you just
completely can relax your hand but if you don’t have it you would still have
to keep some kind of amount of tension just to be able to hold on to
the keyboard and not to fall down. So it’s again – it’s alright, keep doing this,
and I promise you that after some months you will get this feeling of clinging
fingertips. And lastly guys I just want to give you the best and the closest
analogy to this feeling that I have while playing with loose hands. Playing with
love, so when we are in love we are gentle, soft, relaxed, at ease, caring, okay – so are you the same towards your piano playing? So make sure
that you have the same attitude while playing and the same feeling about your
hands. And it’s always very natural, it´s always very easy.
Always remember – playing piano is very easy thing, you don’t have to practice
like crazy for 6-8 hours every day, losing completely the sense of why
you’re practicing, probably just because not to fail the exam. You can
practice 1-2 hours 3-4 times a week and make great progress, and still
have time to go outside, to communicate with people, to see the world, to
understand who you are, to get the message – and that would be a true
motivation why you are going on stage and why you are practicing. Because you
want to deliver, you want to say something through your music, and to be
able to say something you need to have it in your mind. So please, do not talk to
the wood 8 hours a day, it’s simply stupid. Besides, you know
after 2 hours your brain would already switch off, you just practicing
your fingers. And then you’re making probably some mistakes which you cannot even notice, and then the next day you will have to practice another 8 hours to just relearn the mistakes that you made another day. Okay, alright
guys. So thank you so much for watching, and see you in my next video

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