Spiders & Fingers

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?


stressed-tarantula2 happy-tarantula stressed-fingers happy-fingers

2 thoughts on “Spiders & Fingers

    • I like the wording you use! :) I’ve had the need to use these ideas a few times since writing the post, but I do see great improvement after showing my students. Something about the terrifying spider pics seems to stay in one’s memory. ;)



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