Joe's Blog

PLAYING WITHOUT ANY PAIN OR DISCOMFORT: part one

March 17, 2017

Ester’s First Lesson concerning playing without discomfort or pain

My student Ester is probably in her seventies.  Playing piano is painful for her.  However, she loves music and does not want to stop playing.

I said that “we will search for a way to play piano that avoids pain and discomfort.

As we proceed with our first explorations today, monitor you pain level.  As soon as there is a hint of pain, stop.

First experiment:

Join your two hands together.  You can for instance interlace the fingers of both hands.

Now move around the ‘combined’ hands.  Up, down, left, right, oscillating.  Any motion whatsoever.

The first thing you will notice is that while moving this conjoined arm, there is little awareness of what your right (or left) arm is doing versus the other arm.  They are fused  a single ‘super arm’.

This single, super-arm, is shaped basically like a circle.  If you start where your right hand is, you can follow the ‘circumference’ of this circle by going up your right arm to your shoulder, then pass along the bone that connects the shoulder to the spine, and then from the spine to the other shoulder.  Then come down the left arm until you reach the point where you began.  As long as the hands are joined, and make any motion whatsoever, you are moving the circle-shaped fusion of the arms through space.

You can even move this ‘circle’ downwards until meeting the keyboard.  If you want you can produce random sounds that way at the keyboard.

With the use of this extended entity – the circle of the arms – there is little that could happen that would produce strain or discomfort in any muscle within this circle when making sounds with the entire structure.

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