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Author Topic: piano posture and form  (Read 7785 times)
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« on: January 21, 2014, 09:21:51 PM »

My daughter is taking piano lessons - 30 minutes once per week for a very economical price of $26 per lesson.  My goal is really music enjoyment and brain development.  I'm not expecting her to become a concert pianist.  Anyway I have a neighbor who had master's in music and grew up and was trained in Russia. She watched Sarah play piano today.  She says that Sarah is learning bad habits and is being trained incorrectly.  Sarah just started 6 months ago. She was very helpful in showing me the proper posture.  I need to buy an adjustable height piano bench because the one we have is too low and a foot rest.  Also she says that Sarah is not holding her hands in the correct curved position.  Also she is concerned that Sarah is learning songs and is reading music before mastering scales and proper position.  We don't do scales at all.  She says in Russia that they start with just one finger and the proper curved position then very slowly add fingers and scales.  It sounds tedious.  She also called Sarah a "wunderkind" due to her academic accomplishments which makes me nervous.  Sarah doesn't practice piano daily and I don't pressure her to over achieve in academics.  She got an early start in academics with this forum and the benefits just multiply now with little effort.  Anyway she is volunteering to take over her music studies for a reduced price so that I would just be paying a small amount more.  Anyway I don't really like to mix friends and business so I probably won't take her up on the offer.  However now I'm feeling concerned about the bad habits and poor posture.  She says Sarah will not be able to reach her musical potential with bad posture and habits.  Is anyone else concerned about fluidity and posture?  I know many are using soft mozart.  Is there any focus on posture and scales?  What does everyone else think?  We started with playing songs immediately.  We are playing on the bass and treble cleft already.  Is this common?  What is everyone else doing with their young learners.  We are in USA and Sarah goes to Music University for her lessons which is a popular music school around here.  Sarah is 6 yrs old.

Hellene Hiner
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« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2014, 01:01:13 AM »

Hi, Akalory!

As a Russian classically trained musician and the author of Soft Mozart I have an answer for you: the truth about good curled fingers and proper posture is an old myth of many music schools, including Russian.

I wrote an entire book about the subject and you are welcome to download and read it for free. The link is here:

But in short I would like to reason with your based on common sense that all of us (I hope) developed to this age  tongue

What is piano playing? It is placing fingers on ground (piano keys). It is very similar to walking, jumping, running initially before dancing and doing mord advanced tricks.

When we or our babies learn how to walk, they first learn to keep their balance, they 'try the floor' by looking at it with eyes and developing eye/body coordination. No one in the right mind would tell the babies how to fix their posture and provide some pa-de -deux, No one, but 'traditional' piano teachers.

They forse children to keep curved fingers and 'correct position' before they let them to crowl and develop fingers awareness and balance. This is insaine!

No wonder that NONE of Soft Mozart students ever develop bad posture or technique. They develop gradually with visual help.

A picture worth 1000 words and I want you to watch couple of short videos about this exact problem.
These videos were BOMBARDED by piano teachers who place a car in front of a horse and charge you $$$ for no effective and hurmful way that they provide to teach children.

They are doing it fo centuries and how many REALLY GOOD piano players they raised? Just few with inborn talent. How many did they destroy? Majority of population....

So, here is my rebuttle, since they almost destroyed a musician in me with these not so good tricks....

Hellene Hiner
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« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2014, 01:08:28 AM »

Most controversial video:
muscle can be 'relaxed' in slippery road or in darkness.
Try to drive a car in a fog and you would understand that such relaxation is nonsense, because stress keeps muscles strained:
<a href="" target="_blank"></a>

« Last Edit: July 22, 2014, 02:42:10 AM by Lappy » Logged
Hellene Hiner
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« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2014, 01:18:12 AM »

If a student develops eye/hand coordination, fingers awareness and perfect feeling of each key, he/she can play by sitting uoside down and backwards. The result is going to be the same. 'Perfect posture' is another myth do get your $$$ by teaching something worthless

<a href="" target="_blank"></a>

Hellene Hiner
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« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2014, 01:21:06 AM »

Here is another one about 'curved fingers' and 'an apple' theory :

<a href="" target="_blank"></a>

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« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2014, 01:57:04 PM »

Thank you for taking the time to post all of those videos.  They were very helpful.  I won't worry about posture, relaxed muscles, or curved hands anymore.  My daughter wasn't having it anyway.  She didn't want to be bothered with little details.  She just wants play piano and get more challenging pieces each week.  it does seem silly to slow her down when she is having fun learning.  That same neighbor (who was endorsing old traditional russian methods) teaches her own granddaughter and that child is not enjoying it and equates learning with hard work.  In our house learning is fun.
thanks,  Lori

Hellene Hiner
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« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2014, 06:01:55 PM »

I have to clarify something about Russian School of Music. The only difference between musicians from Russia and USA is years of being in school and quality of education.
For example,  you can get Master degree of music education only after 7 years of music school + 4 years of music college and 5 years of Conservatory. Our conservatories are not even close to universities here (colleges also the case!) We have ONLY music subjects and in schools, and in higher education. 16 years of very strict music training!
I wrote this to justify music education in Russia that is well rounded and has outstanding quality. 

The problem of such 'traditional' approach is out of the scope of being Russian or English or French or *you name it * teacher.

The problem is how teachers body treat music notation,

If we all got use to the fact, that words can be enlarged, bold and explained with pictures for young children, it means that we adjust our English - Russian - French *any other* text to beginners eyes. Then we gradually adjust the text, adding more lines and getting less pictures until the original print.

Most music teachers whether they Russians  or not try to adjust your children’s perception to the rigid music text. Even if they make it bold and large - it is the same minimum 5 lines and more than 5 spaces.

This is where the problem with teaching music is embedded in the very core of music notation.

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