Welcome to LivingPianos.com, I’m Robert Estrin. Today’s question is: How do you get back in shape on the piano? If you have ever gone on vacation and returned to find your fingers out of shape, you may have wondered how to get them back into shape without hurting yourself. I personally have experienced pain in the joint of my right thumb when I play big chords and octaves after taking a break from playing the piano. However, I have found that building up the muscles in my hand helps me overcome this issue.
If you take a break from playing the piano, it is important to be cautious when getting back into it.
The most taxing pieces to play on the piano are those that involve big chords and octaves. Music like this puts a lot of stress on your fingers. Pieces that are right under your fingers and do not require reaching far are much less taxing on your hands. The ideal music for getting back into shape on the piano are Bach’s two-part Inventions. These pieces have clarity, musical lines, and rarely have more than one note at a time in each hand. This makes them perfect for gradually building up your finger strength. I will demonstrate this with the very first Bach invention in C Major in the accompanying video. It is ergonomic and falls right under the fingers.
Bach’s music is great for getting back into shape because it rarely involves massive chords.
Even the Italian concerto, which does have a number of chords, never exceeds an octave. By playing pieces that have no more than one note in each hand, you can gradually build up your finger strength so that you can handle more taxing music. Playing slow movements of Mozart Sonatas is another great option since the music lies under the hands very nicely. This is the best way I have found to get back into shape on the piano! Share your ideas on how to build back strength here on LivingPianos.com and YouTube. Thanks again for joining me, Robert Estrin here at LivingPianos.com, Your Online Piano Resource.
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4 thoughts on “How Do You Get Back in Shape on the Piano?”
This may sound odd, but my favorite way to get back in shape is to practice the first 5 studies of Hanon! I feel the benefit of regaining equal strength in all the fingers. And then I love all the study books of Czerny!
Hanon exercises will work! The hands never play more than one note at a time.
In my case, it’s not just the fingers, but also the brain. If anything, at my age the brain goes downhill faster than the fingers. So, I get out the charts for things I usually play from memory, look through them to remind me of the hard places, and then have them up and read along as I try to play them again.
There is no better way to get pieces back into shape than by playing slowly, with the score and the metronome. Play deliberately, exaggerating articulations. It reinforces your performance!