Muscle Flexibility is important to playing an instrument such as the piano. This allows a student to play easily, with finger spring, wrist flexibility and control. But surprisingly this important element of playing doesn’t begin with the fingertips. It starts in the large muscles of the back, shoulder and upper arms.
Think back to your science or anatomy class. Remember that skeleton guy standing next to your teacher’s desk, waiting to be used as an example? Well it’s time to pay attention in class, because this boney guy has some valuable tips for piano students. All of the parts that make up your collar bone, shoulder blade, upper arm, forearm, wrist, hand and fingers are connected and operate as one skeletal and muscular system. You remember how that tune goes: “The head bone’s connected to the neck bone, the neck bones’ connected to the collar bone…" Well it’s true. So use this important lesson from your science class to get some bounce your piano step. Begin by using your large muscles at the top of this system so your fingers can do the walking with a spring in their step!
Follow the steps below to begin using your muscles correctly for piano.
Step1 - Sit up tall on the piano bench and imagine that your neck is stretching up to the ceiling from the top of your head. You should feel a sense of buoyancy in your posture. Arch your lower back.
Step 2 - Swing your upper arms out from your sides until your hands are flat (kind of like a birdie getting ready to flap its wings. )
Step 3 - With your forearms above the keyboard, reach out to the piano until you can feel stretch in your muscles all the way back from your shoulder blade.
Step 4 - Keeping your hands in a rounded position, stretching each finger tip down to the keys. Play G, F, E, D, C. Shifting the weight from one finger to the next with a little “spring in your step. "
Step 5 - To get from one hand position to another or from one octave to another, bounce and land. Allow your finger to jump out of the first position by lifting at the elbow to bounce and land in the new position.
Step 6 - When playing a scale or run of notes, play the first note lightly, then spring out of the second note into the next one. This transfers energy and weight from one key to the next easily.
Keep following these simple steps and you’ll soon see how easy it is to get around the keyboard with a spring in your step. Then you’ll get an A in science – and piano!
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