Korean figure skating champion, Kim Yu Na is inspirational. She won the gold medal at the winter olympics in Canada. I must have watched her skate for that win on YouTube a hundred times.
The similarity between her (an olympic gold medallist who also happens to be knockout) and me ( lowly student taking piano lessons for beginners ) is the need to have flexible body parts.
In the early stages of piano lessons for beginners, most of us are cursed with stiff wrists and arms. It was worse for me when I started because I was nearing thirty. Someone who started lessons at 4 probably would not have this problem.
Fortunately the human mind and body are adaptive in nature. With regular practice the wrists will adjust itself to loosen up. Being conscious of the need to relax the arms and hands for the wrists to be able to loosen up hastens the process.
The breakthrough comes in the form of weight playing. It means to let gravity do the work of bringing the arms and hands down towards the keyboard. Your job is to relax all muscles starting from the shoulders, elbows, arms and hands.
Let them drop - like a skydiver jumping off a plane, he has no control over his fall as he descends towards the ground. It calls for forfeiting control over the arms for a few seconds while they drop. You shall have to be able to relax to achieve this.
Here ‘relax’ is actually work, because it takes lots effort to master relaxation in piano playing. While the arm is in midair, loosen its muscles (thus relaxing the arms). Gravity will do its job to pull the arm down.
At the end of the drop you will have to stop the fall by tensing the fingers for an instant and halt the hand for it to rest on the piano. Quickly afterwards relax all muscles again leaving only a small amount of force from the fingers to support the weight of the arm. There you have it – weight playing explained.
Piano Lessons For Beginners – Maintain curved hands
Rafael Nadal just won the French Open for the seventh time, becoming the first man ever to accomplish the feat.
There is something he can teach us about playing the piano. No, I am not about to go into a long lecture about working hard, practising for hours on end or having the passion to pursue your dreams.
I am referring to the way he holds the tennis ball when he is about to serve. He holds the tennis ball with his hands curved.
It forms a dome like shape and the fingers curl to wrap themselves around the ball.
The hand’s shape and form while holding a tennis ball, is the form one should take when about to start playing on the piano.
Sit at the piano, position your hands above the keys and imagine you have a tennis ball in your palms with your fingers wrap around it.
Now play a scale or a phrase from your favourite song and compare it to the sound you produce when the hands are not curved this way. Piano lessons for beginners always include playing scales. The difference is obvious. Continue reading part 4 of 'Piano Lessons For Beginners – Curve Your Hands To Play Well'.