Piano injuries

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I always seem to know a few people that are dealing with hand pain from playing the piano. I am not talking about arthritis issues that might affect older people; I am rather talking about people who have injured themselves because of the way they play.

It has always been interesting to me that almost everyone I have known with that kind of injury has had a particular profile:
1) Young (still in school/college)
2) Female
3) A good musician (overachiever)
I have theories about that. I am hardly an expert but I don’t know that there are any physiological differences between male and female hands. But I suspect that girls are more driven then boys at that age in music and they sometimes push too hard. I also think they may sometimes feel pressure to play powerfully and try too hard to get big sound out of a piano.
LIke I said, I am no expert on how to fix the problem and if asked, I refer pianists to someone well versed in the Taubman approach to curing those kinds of issues.
Here is a video I did today about this problem though and it demonstrates how gravity is really all you need to get a big sound out of a piano and how to check yourself for dangerous tension.
If you don’t see the video below, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTD_Phd6LfU

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Latest Comments

  • Daniel L

    Spot on analysis Greg! The Taubman approach is very effective, especially the concepts of alignment and movement.

  • Daniel

    Thanks for addressing this. I know so many people who have hurt themselves because of the way that they play.after I leave college I want to make sure my students play without tension.

  • Rachel Delanoy

    It has now been a couple of weeks since you posted this, and it has made a huge difference in how I play! Don’t get me wrong – I have never been and never will be a competitive pianist, have never suffered an injury from the piano, and at 34, I’m not exactly young. :-) But I am an overachieving female, and in 28 years of playing, I had never realized how rigidly I hold my hands and arms. Since reading the post and watching your video, I have been making a very conscious effort to loosen up, and while I have a long way to go, I can already tell that it’s actually improving my overall performance. Not to mention that I feel, if not more natural (yet), at least more relaxed. So thank you VERY much for taking the time to address and demonstrate this topic!!!

  • samson

    Ive been playing for most of my life. Im 33 now and I just recently injured my wrist from incorrect playing. Because of the injury (my right dominant hand) I have thought and thought about what I have been doing wrong. I have come to the conclusion that certain are basically only 2 hand positions. One with the wrist higher than the keyboard and the other with the wrist relatively lower than the keyboard. When the wrist is higher than the keyboard the wrist is strained but when the wrist/lower palm is lower than the keys the wrist is relaxed (the arm and elbow should naturally follow). Playing the piano will require BOTH positions. However, it is important to mix the two and to keep the palm close to the keyboard as much as possible. Check out Horowitz style for reference even though his wrist is extremely low sometimes.

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