This brilliant video clip of a cat jumping in X-ray aptly and very clearly demonstrates a technique I was discussing and practising with my teacher today: keeping the wrists springy and the forearms soft and free of tension when our fingers make contact with the piano keyboard. Watch how supple and springy the cat’s skeleton is, with that “extra bounce”, which gives it the momentum to launch effortlessly into its next movement. Try translating this movement to the keyboard: practice on the fall first, allowing the arms to drop down without any tension so that the hand naturally “bounces back” as it hits the surface. As you allow the arm to fall, picture the long tendons in the shoulder stretching like rubber bands, allowing resistance-free movement through the whole arm.
What is so interesting about a technique like this is the difference it can make to the sound we produce, as well as enabling us to play in a more fluid, tension-free manner.
This exercise is not easy to explain, so while you are enjoying this video clip, I will be filming myself doing the arm exercises. Further video clips to follow….