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#27742 - 08/19/03 03:28 PM Re: Firm Fingers/Playing on Fingertips
Jalapeņa Offline
Star Member

Registered: 02/20/03
Posts: 1143
Loc: New Mexico
 Quote:
Originally posted by Lisa Kalmar:
Getting back to your original post, I would say that Jason is correct about the harping, but if you harp from the beginning about the ends of fingers, etc. you are setting the Poor Child up for a lifetime of tension and rigidity, not to mention the agony & anxiety of not being able to do what you're asking because they are physically incapable due to undeveloped little muscles and thangs.


All the more reason not to enroll preschoolers in traditional piano lessons. Wait 'til they're developmentally ready to play; in the meantime, do music readiness activities with them to prepare them for traditional piano lessons.

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#27743 - 08/20/03 07:36 PM Re: Firm Fingers/Playing on Fingertips
ruth-c Offline
Contributing Member

Registered: 05/30/03
Posts: 27
Loc: Idaho Falls, ID
Has anyone seen the new books by Catherine Rollin?---Pathways to Artistry, Technique I and Pathways to Artistry, Repertoire I. I think Catherine Rollin is Alfred's answer to the FJH Technique and Artistry books (which I also LOVE).

In the Rollin Technique I, there is an excellent page about "strong fingers", and it is explained in a little different way. This is on page 7 of this book. Catherine Rollin gave a workshop here about 2 weeks ago, and I was very impressed with her methods of teaching technique.

She starts with preparation before playing---such as, Place r.h. on fallboard, curve fingers in natural position. With l.h. gently exert pressure on the first segment of finger 2 (then 3, 4, 5). To prevent the first joint from caving in, keep the weight of the arm focused on the playing surface of the fingertip (broad fingertip cushion, and with the finger a little less than a 90" angle to the white keys). Etc, etc., but really good information and examples of how to present these to the student.

There are many other useful hints on teaching technique, and the repertoire book reinforces these things, and also teaches a bit about various musical periods and styles.

I plan to use these books with a few of my students who are in need of technical improvement!!

Ruth-c \:\) ;\)

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#27744 - 08/20/03 10:30 PM Re: Firm Fingers/Playing on Fingertips
NancyK Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 03/27/03
Posts: 644
Loc: North Dakota
I just got these and though I sort of like the technique book I wasn't vey impressed with the rep book at all.

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#27745 - 08/21/03 08:25 AM Re: Firm Fingers/Playing on Fingertips
CR Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 03/18/01
Posts: 289
Loc: Idaho
I do use the PA series, and that would include the T & A book. I walk the kids through the natural hand position deal... show them how to drop their hands at their sides [relaxed], then I take their hand and place it on the keys, telling them to stay relaxed. There's our natural hand position! they're excited. "That's what we want when we play..." I tell them. they then begin the song and play with nice h.p. but eventually it soon flattens. I suppose now that I have "permission" to harp, I'll continue - nicely, of course, like I always do. I liked the rest of the comments, too. Especially about keeping a nail clipper at the piano for girls/women who like their nails long....

ruth-c!! I attended Catherine Rollin's workshop she gave on the 5th! I, too, was impressed with her technique ideas. She demonstrated Pathways to Artistry last, and being that we were nearing the time to be finished, it seemed sort of rushed through. Still, it was very insightful.

[ 08-21-2003: Message edited by: CR ]
_________________________
It goes without saying that technical proficiency should be the first acquisition of a student who would be a fine pianist.
~S.Rachmaninoff~

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#27746 - 08/21/03 08:27 AM Re: Firm Fingers/Playing on Fingertips
CR Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 03/18/01
Posts: 289
Loc: Idaho
[ 08-21-2003: Message edited by: CR ]
_________________________
It goes without saying that technical proficiency should be the first acquisition of a student who would be a fine pianist.
~S.Rachmaninoff~

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#27747 - 08/21/03 11:09 AM Re: Firm Fingers/Playing on Fingertips
Lisa Kalmar Offline
Star Member

Registered: 04/10/00
Posts: 4277
Loc: KC
CR, If that's the case then you might want to have them work with soft plastic hand-sized footballs that you can find for a song at discount stores. They help develop the shape, arch and the ridge joints. I'm pressed for time right now - maybe Jala can chime in with what's she's done with 'em since I know she's used them too.

What I got out of the latest Faber workshop/video peek was the way they stress the importance of spending a lot of time on the building exercises at the very beginning. I wonder if often teachers introduce it really quick at the first lesson or two and then it gets kinda dropped (in the kids' heads, at any rate!) because they feel the pressure to have the kid start churning out songs so the parents feel they're getting their money's worth. I'm revamping my beginner lesson plans for fall. They will probably have no songs assigned until the 3rd lesson or so.

Man, am I jealous you guys got to see Catherine ROlling! I saw those books listed in a flyer and was enticed by them. Can you give more details? Nancy, what didn't you like exactly about the repertoire books?

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#27748 - 08/21/03 12:04 PM Re: Firm Fingers/Playing on Fingertips
ruth-c Offline
Contributing Member

Registered: 05/30/03
Posts: 27
Loc: Idaho Falls, ID
Lisa Kalmar--
I always notice your posts because of the Overland Park address; I have many friends and relatives in that area. Graduated from Baker University many years ago, and was back in K.C. area in 2000.

Yes, it was terrific to see and hear Catherine Rollin. I agree that the Technique I book of the Piano Artistry series is the more useful of the two. I think it's especially great for teachers because it consolidates all those wonderful ideas that we are trying to impart to "The Young and the Restless!!!!"

This way all the technical ideas are in one book, and you can use any appropriate repertoire to have students work on these things.

How is the K.C. weather this summer? Idaho is generally cool, gorgeous, and fantastic in the summer, but we just endured the hottest July on record, and August has not been much better.

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#27749 - 08/21/03 02:24 PM Re: Firm Fingers/Playing on Fingertips
Jalapeņa Offline
Star Member

Registered: 02/20/03
Posts: 1143
Loc: New Mexico
The football helps, but it has to be a certain size & type of football; not just any kind. When I get back from picking up Piano Kid from school, I'll post more info.

Meanwhile, permit me to mention some success I had in dealing with a child who was dropping her wrists below keyboard level & playing with completely flat fingers (she must have tried hard to get her fingers that flat). At one of her lessons, out of desperation, I found a shower curtain rod & held it under her forearms--close to the keys--as she played. Every time her wrist dropped too low, she felt the rod & corrected her hand position herself, without me having to say anything to her. \:\) This was great, because when she raised her wrists, her fingers also rose to the proper playing position (anatomically neutral or natural position).

More later... TTFN!

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#27750 - 08/21/03 02:29 PM Re: Firm Fingers/Playing on Fingertips
Carole Offline
Star Member

Registered: 06/08/00
Posts: 2229
Loc: southern California
Necessity is the mother of invention! \:D Love it!

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#27751 - 08/21/03 02:46 PM Re: Firm Fingers/Playing on Fingertips
NancyK Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 03/27/03
Posts: 644
Loc: North Dakota
Lisa...when I saw Catherine Rollin, she mentioned these books as a possible "method" for those intermediate students moving on and out of their previous standard method books. That's what I understood anyway. So, I was very interested because I have a few needing a transition right now and thought these books might be good for them to use as we move into more standard literature as well. I was thinking I would use the Technique and Rep. book together sort of page by page..all neat and tidy you know! But I can't seem to figure out how I would do that. Each piece in the rep book has written in which technique is being used in that piece...usually several to many. So the student would have to be working on several to many of the technique at one time for any given piece. So then I thought well I would just use the technique book as a guide in my studio to focus on one at a time..one a week or something and then after doing some let them begin the pieces. Much of the technique is what we have already been teaching from the beginning but it never hurts to go over them again with exercises and if the student had their own copy could read and play the exercises at home. I then got to looking at the Rep. book and played through it. I only have book 1 of each, and though I liked the idea of pinpointing which era the music applied to, I found the pieces very dull and not very difficult or interesting for the intermediate students I was thinking of. They would have to be used strictly on the side, along with other core music, maybe just as etudes to utilize the technique they worked on. I guess I was trying to see it as a main, core method for intermediates but I can't see it being used that way. So, I guess if I were to use it I would use it on the side as extra technique application and also maybe for explanation on the differences of the eras. Maybe the books just didn't fit what I had in mind, but they may still be beneficial. Anyone else have comments on these books?

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