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#27320 - 08/29/01 10:31 AM Injuries from Electronic Keyboards
Jalapeño Offline
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Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
Softer Equals Faster

Many injuries lately are specific to people who play electronic keyboards. One would think that these lighter-action keyboards would be easier to play, but in fact, they are harder. This is because most people have a tendency to press harder than they would on a naturally-weighted keyboard to overcompensate for the lack of resistance. Also, we get fooled by the artificial sound levels. Because of the electronic aspect of the instrument, we become reliant on the actual volume versus the perceived volume. If we are recording, for example, the ultimate dynamic level may be very loud, but to us as performers, in our monitor, it may seem very soft. So we instinctively try to play harder to create a louder sound, when it really doesn’t help. Meanwhile, the louder we play, the stiffer our fingers become. The stiffer our fingers become, the slower we play and the more we push. The more we push, the more pain and damage we inflict on ourselves. The solution here is to keep mentally reminding ourselves as we play that “softer equals faster.” This keeps the muscle system very relaxed. Let them set the levels in the mix.

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#27321 - 08/29/01 04:05 PM Re: Injuries from Electronic Keyboards
Rhapsody Offline
Star Member

Registered: 11/19/00
Posts: 2329
Thanks, Jalapeno. I actually ran across that site only last night when I was in the midst of following links and organizing my bookmarks but I didn't take the time to read anything. I might not have gotten back to it for a while, if ever. \:o

I've tried several inexpensive keyboards (and some not so inexpensive) and some were unbelievably bad. :p I remember more than one keyboard where the black keys were virtually unplayable. I suppose the manufacturers think no one who plays anything other than in the Key of C will be using their keyboards. :rolleyes: A couple of those were in the $500-$600 range and had all sorts of extras but where missing the most important essential -- a good touch. They were supposedly touch sensitive and the dynamics did vary but to get the same volume level from the black keys as from the white would have required pounding.

I used to work temporary office jobs off & on when I was in college and afterwards. I remember that one person I was temporarily replacing was having shoulder and wrist problems which started after the company got new keyboards for data entry. I didn't learn this information until I had worked there a couple of days and complained about the lousy touch on the keyboard. It had absolutely no resistance and was causing me problems within hours. Back in the dark ages when people used manual or even electric typewriters, there was some resistance to the fingers as the keys were struck and there were many fewer problems. I also think that people are less conscientious about positioning the keyboards at the proper height, etc. People get lazy, drop their wrists and then their poor carpal tunnel nerve starts having a conniption.

I was horrified to learn that one of my sisters (not my favorite one, thank heavens!) recently had surgery on both her hands for carpal tunnel problems. She still has some numbness in some fingers and the doctors say that may not go away.

Of course, mouse use and overuse has only multiplied the problems people are having with their hands. Most computers come with a really sluggish and awkward-to-use mouse. :p The best thing to do is unplug it, give it a decent but quick burial (a wastebasket makes a nice mouse cemetery), and buy a better one. It may be the best money you ever spend. \:\)

[ 08-29-2001: Message edited by: Rhapsody ]
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