For years, I’ve tried quite a few illustrations, visual aids, approaches, and stories to demonstrate the idea that tension we carry through our shoulders, arms, and hands show in exaggerated ways when we play piano – in the form of fingers flying, and unsupported collapsing knuckles, as well as pain radiating through the wrist… and in my case, a couple years of carpal tunnel. Two of my amazing teachers, Chantal & Monica, introduced me to the research done on properly playing our beautiful instrument without tension, thus preventing injury.
Several weeks ago, a student and I were discussing what her hand looked like when she forgot to think about her proper technique… and we came up with the idea that her hand positioning (proper & improper) both resembled that of a tarantula. Several students have tarantulas as pets, and we thought it was a great visual & mental image of what should and shouldn’t be seen while we play. One is of a tarantula in the grip of fear, anxiety, and stiff curiosity. Another is of a tarantula just going about it’s day, enjoying all life has for it, perhaps searching for food in a carefree way. Which do you think is best?