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Right Hand Do's and Don'ts

In November I wrote a blog post on how to pump your bellows – aka, left hand technique (assuming you’re playing right handed).

This blog post offers a few do’s and don’ts for your right hand keyboard technique. If you play left handed, simply reverse the instructions.

For those who play piano, the technique for a harmonium is slightly different.

  1. You want to shape your fingers like typewriter keys. If it’s useful, you can also imagine/visualize your right hand fingers as helicopters, with a vertical take off and landing. You want to avoid shaping your fingers like airplanes (long slow, extended landing).
  2. How do you make this happen? The critical technique for having “helicopters” (and not airplanes) is to make sure your wrist is not below the harmonium keyboard. When your wrist dips below the height of the keyboard your fingers flatten out. If your fingers are long and flat, like airplanes, your wrist is too low, and the remedy is to lift your wrist. How do you do this? Imagine someone has a sharp, pointy pencil and is poking it into the underside of your wrist. However, make sure to lift ONLY your wrist. You want to be sure to leave your shoulder and elbow down and relaxed. Don’t tense or lift either of these. Only lift your wrist.
  3. Playing like “helicopters” will allow you to play your white keys without nudging or clipping the black keys. You want to play on the fat part of the white key.
  4. Finally, don’t press too hard on your keys. The attached picture offers a good example of what not to do. The index finger (aka finger #2) is collapsed at the joint and bowed backwards. The white color of this finger stands out in stark contrast to the pink of the other fingers. This white color indicates pressure and lack of blood flow, which comes from using too much force and pressing too hard. Simply press the key down as much as is minimally needed to play the note. There’s no extra credit for pressing hard. To the contrary… like having “airplane fingers”, over-pressing makes it more difficult to move your fingers with quickly and with agility.

I hope this brief blog post offers useful ways to help improve your right hand technique.


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