What are you working on in quarantine?

Lyndol’s comment below inspired my question. What are your quarantine songs? What do you seem to keep coming back to these days? I’ve been working on “Soon It’s Gonna Rain,” “You Taught My Heart To Sing,” “Dream a Little Dream,” “The Days of Wine and Roses,” and “Equinox” among others. I have found singing to be a comfort.

This recording of I Loves You Porgy - Nina’s first hit - oh man. It’s been on my mind for weeks now. My quarantine song, if you will:)

Working on Sophisticated Lady again. And gonna get started on Sentimental Mood since Duke is the Jam of the Week on Facebook.

Adam…would love to hear your take on Sentimental Mood!

Hi Tuomo/Hayden

I’m working on the rootless major and minor 2-5 chord voicings. Especially the minor 2 - 5’s are inversions of -6 chords, so I’m also working on the Barry Harris. Also, trying to practice with basic Red Garland comping rhythm. I vary playing the chords on right and left hands.

With all the chord practice, and time available to do so, it really is physically impacting my hands. While they are getting stronger, I also have some aches and pains on the outside of my wrists from contorting my fingers in all these new forms.

Any advice for care of the hands and wrists?

Chris

Hi @chris4, basically while playing you should not feel any pain.

Here’s a list of things you can do:

1. Make sure your fingering is the best possible, then stick to it.

Keep your hand above the wanted voicing’s keys, and use the fingers that are closest to the notes of the voicing, do not stretch if not necessary. Also you can move your whole hand deeper to the piano (Meaning more above the black keys than white), that can help you reduce finger stretches.

2. Make sure you’re sitting in the middle of the piano

Plae yourself in the middle of the piano, then if you need to reach lower/higher notes, lean in with your upper body. Try to keep your fore arm and hand (palm) as straight as possible when playing, meaning:

NO

NO

YES

3. The strength of your fingers is not coming from your fore arm or you palm/fingers, it should be coming from your triseps.

This might be hard to describe, but here we go: Take one finger, and play a note (or tap table like you would be playing) while keeping your wrist totally relaxed. You can hold the wrist with your other hand to make sure there is no tension and no force. Then try to gradually put more power into the note/tapping the table, and try to direct the stregnth from you upper arm to the finger.

Once you start to find the strength this way, first practice it with every finger individually, then with slow melodies, and finally with chords.

Point is that once you direct the strength this way, your hands will never get tired of playing loud or fast. This helped me a lot when I had same kind of issues with my wrists as what you described having.

Thanks, let me know if you have any further questions!

-Tuomo

4 Likes

Thank you. I greatly appreciate it.

Last thing I want with this time I’ve been given from the quarantine is to injure my hands.

Be well.

Chris

1 Like

A couple other questions. Middle of the piano. Meaning centered on the E and F above middle C. (not middle C)?

How far away from the keyboard are you supposed to sit?

Its difficult not to twist the wrist like in image 2, when the playing chords and melody in the middle of the table, unless you move further back from the keyboard.

Thanks,

Chris

I would say, middle C should be on the same line as you belly button.

About how far to sit, my elbow makes about a 135 degree angle. I that distance I can move on the bench easily, not only to the sides as mentioned above, but also lean towards or lean out of the keyboard to make my hand’s positions more ergonomic.

In general, everyone’s physic is different, so in the end you have to find your own way.

Btw, about the left hand voicings (excluding within an octave Barry Harris voicings when harmonizing a solo melody), you should not need to go much higher than D or E above middle C in the melody of the voicing:

Thanks, let me know if any other questions,

-Tuomo

I am working on Georgia and Summertime on piano grooves. I could not find in the Forum the swing version that Hayden transcribed the first 10 lines
If improv. Who played that version and if known, from what record?
Thanks!!!
Harvey

Hi @harvey :wave:t2:

Yes you can find the “Summertime” transcription exercise here.

We also have an ear training and transcription section of the forum that is updated on a bi-weekly basis. Here’s a link to that section:

https://www.pianogroove.com/community/c/improvisation-exercises/30

Spend some time to read through the transcription studies in the forum. There are lots of great tips in there.

Cheers,
Hayden

All wrote Tuomo is perfect.

I would just suggest something about crispations or tension on speed and so on.

This very often comes from mind putting pressure.

I suggest before working a part to move harm, hands around the piano as if you were playing, with the music only in the head, as a kind of dancer.

Fingering is important, but you can also write where to breath, where to relax, where you could have fun and so on. this is a common thing to do in classical music but can be used for anykind of style.

@marc421812, thanks for writing, these all are great advises!

In the end as long as we listen our own bodies, and avoid any pain/ tension when we play, we will find the best way to play relaxed that fits each of us individually.

-T