Home Forums Piano Related Discussions Practicing Exaggerating the movements

2 replies, 3 voices Last updated by  Dennis Dooley 2 years, 1 month ago
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    Dennis Dooley

    I just remembered something from one of Jaak’s videos. We sound exactly as per our movements. Therefore, in order to achieve a desired sound, a legato or a particular phrasing it is sometmes helpful to exaggerate the necessary movement until we become used to it.

    I was practicing my scales this morning and was having difficulty with the accuracy and fluidity of my left hand when my thumb moves under the 4th finger. I did not have that difficulty with my right hand, so I observed what I was doing. It is as though my right elbow was pulling my hand up the keyboard, something I was not doing with my left elbow. This is how I realized that I have to lead with my elbow — as if my left elbow is pulling my forearm and hand on the downward scale. This makes the rotation on the 4th finger more natural and the thumb is almost on the key I need to play.

    If I exaggerate this for the next while, this should become much more natural.


    Jaak Sikk

    Dear Dennis,

    I find this concept very helpful. Especially when to add a conscious impulse of relaxation to the ‘exaggeration’.

    Have you used it in any other situations too?

    Best wishes,


    Dennis Dooley

    Hi Jaak,

    There is another instance where I am exaggerating the movements. It is when I rotate on the sit bones.

    I never fully understood the purpose of having the weight on the sit bones, but now I think I have gained more understanding of the purpose of having the body weight on the sit bones. It is much more than rotating to make it more comfortable for the hand to reach the notes; it is to transfer the body weight to the fingers playing the notes.

    I understood this concept just before I left on holidays and I did notice how pianists do not sit rigidly in one place. Though their movements are subtle, they shift from side to side and forward and backward. I am probably moving more than I need to at this point, but maybe it is a way to create the habit.

    I always had a problem of some notes not sounding, especially when playing pianissimo. Now I seem to understand that having the weight in the arms is much more than having heavy hands. The intent is to transfer the weight of the body to the actual fingers pressing the keys. As you indicate in one of your videos, the energy vector has to reach the finger tip.

    I will review your videos series again on how to use the body to see if my understanding is correct.

    It is interesting how theoretical understanding in one thing and practical understanding is another. It is these little revelations or eurekas that make learning to play the piano so fascinating.

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