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#65020 - 05/21/14 08:14 PM Atrocious hand position
Joyful Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 02/03/09
Posts: 757
Loc: Southern Ontario, Canada
I have a pre-teen student who has been with me for a few months. Lovely student but terrible hand position. I continue to correct the student each week, and write little notes in the homework binder, but fingers keep flying here and there, wrist sags. We reviewed the technique secrets in the front of the PA books.

Not sure how to correct this issue. I am always fixing/correcting and student doesn't seem to be embarrassed or put off, but I want student to play correctly and enjoy the lessons now and in the future.

Any help/direction to songs/technique is much appreciated - thank you!

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#65022 - 05/22/14 10:59 AM Re: Atrocious hand position [Re: Joyful]
unreal Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 06/23/03
Posts: 945
Loc: CA
Do those "hen pecks" and "rooster pecks" as a warm up, and have her try playing the melody of one of her pieces using the braced finger.

Try Treasures in Technique or Accelerando, or some 5-finger patterns you make up so she can spend a few minutes focusing on hand shape.

Then find a few "shape" spots in each of her pieces, where she can re-shape her hand on a particular note or chord. The rest of each piece you can work on phrasing, dynamics, or whatever, anything except hand shape.

The thing is, she is so used to her current hand shape that she does't really know what it feels like to have good hand shape. That will come gradually. So, rather than fix and correct everything, just find some spots in the music, and hopefully she will start doing it herself more and more.

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#65033 - 05/26/14 01:54 PM Re: Atrocious hand position [Re: unreal]
Joyful Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 02/03/09
Posts: 757
Loc: Southern Ontario, Canada
Thank you unreal - that all sounds helpful and I look forward to trying it out this week!

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#65040 - 05/27/14 12:21 PM Re: Atrocious hand position [Re: Joyful]
SillyString Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 08/03/10
Posts: 277
Loc: Washington State
If you have a smart phone, take a picture of the hand positions you want to correct so the student can see for herself what's wrong. If you can manage a little mirror - large enough for the student to see her hands and small enough to fit on the piano - you can play a variation of "Red Light Green Light" where you ask the student to "freeze" and then check the mirror for hand position. Could be fun!

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#65041 - 05/27/14 09:57 PM Re: Atrocious hand position [Re: SillyString]
Jennifer Online   content
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Registered: 06/05/02
Posts: 1403
Loc: AZ
Fun idea Silly String!
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#65049 - 05/28/14 08:14 PM Re: Atrocious hand position [Re: Jennifer]
Joyful Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 02/03/09
Posts: 757
Loc: Southern Ontario, Canada
Tried the donut fingers tonight and that was a bit helpful. Will keep pressing on towards improvement! smile

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#65052 - 05/29/14 02:56 PM Re: Atrocious hand position [Re: Joyful]
pianojazzgirl Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 07/26/03
Posts: 847
Loc: Montreal
I would look at her posture at the piano as well, as this can have a huge impact on wrists/hands. Is she slouching? Is the bench too close to the piano? Does she need to be sitting a bit higher (assuming she's already sitting with a straight back), and/or have her feet supported on a small foot stool?

Also look to her shoulders for tension. Gently placing a hand on her shoulder(s) can work as a quick reminder to release the tension. When she plays check that her arm hangs freely (you can try gently swinging the elbow to check for tension).

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