How Can I Pin Point My Success, Rather Than Just Accidentally Arrive?

 

As far as I am concerned, very few people who reach great heights in life, in terms of career success, love, business, wealth building, and almost anything else you can think of, arrive by accident. I know that some people fall in love with the idea that they will go where fate leads them, but to me, that is a cop out. In fact, forgive my bluntness, it's just ridiculous. Certainly, the piano is no different, and you are well aware that much effort is required to reach the level of success and professionalism you desire.

I know I am occasionally very direct, but let me tell you, if there is anything that I can convey to you, it's this: Anything worth having is worth working for. I am including the entire gamut of forms of effort to reach your real goals here. I am talking about

  • Aiming high, as you have a greater chance to get there if you're aiming for it
  • Being clear in your desired result
  • Being prepared to persevere, even when you have failed before
  • Persisting, even when everyone else says you can't do that because of…
  • Constantly going over the above list, and being so determined, you continue to persevere.

 

I know that it is very easy to generalise about these things, but in all truth, no matter who you are, where you come from, I have found that these points apply to any serious and long term success. I know you might tell me that if wealth is your dream, you could get there by winning the lottery. Now, as it turns out, the chances of that are somewhat limited. You also have a greater possibility of becoming successful on your own merit, and on top of that, you will be more likely to hold on to your wealth, as your mind will be developed, or trained for success. I have read of many people who have not understood or known how to handle money, and lost it all, and more, after a big lottery win. My point here is to do all you can to develop your mind.

I know that people can have lucky streaks, and so on, and certainly, I advocate working smarter, rather than just harder, but over all, it is still about having steeled determination, and grit to get through all the failures and rejection. To give you another example, I use article marketing for many of my various websites, as this has proven to work for me. However, I can also tell you that I did not get the hang of it on my first attempt. On a number of occasions, I had difficulty coming up with titles that worked, or even, developing my writing style. That took time, with trial and error. If I allowed the first rejection to get me down, I may have given up, and not seem the results I now have. Hence, this is another example. Be determined and treat each failure as a step to something bigger. When I was looking for work, I also went through countless numbers of rejections. However, I knew it was just preparation for a better, and more rewarding and meaningful position elsewhere.

I know that most of us want the results of our efforts today, if not even the results without the effort. However, there are a few proven strategies, that do take time, that will however, help you reach your desired destinations more quickly, and surely.

There are methods of thinking to substantially help you focus, and reach the life success, you would like to see. It is about the way that you think, and train your mind to solve problems, and face challenges.

Piano Basics- Scales and Arpeggios

I am well aware that for many people, the idea of playing scales, and other warm up exercises is about as exciting as watching paint dry. However, there can be no substitute for technique and good playing basics, like ensuring that scales and arpeggios are played correctly, and in a suitable manner as to ensure correct warm up of the hands, fingers, and joints. Many pianists have come to grief, by simply sitting down at the piano, and getting straight into a full routine to play a complex work, without the former warm ups suggested.


Now, the pianist may well get away with this for quite some time, even possibly years. although more likely than not, they will experience quite debilitating injuries in due course.


The tendons of the hands are placed under considerable strain when complex works are played, and the problem is exacerbated by people with small hand spans, as they need to stretch more to play the more complex works.

Particularly with beginners, by laying a solid foundation, and understanding the scale and note patterns, the student will be able to appreciate the more complex playing techniques in later years, and tackle them with greater ease as well.  Many great piano teachers have spoken about the piano being about simplicity, in that even complex processes are made up of simple steps, often joined together by rapid playing. Whilst this is simple in its own right, it will become even simpler when attempted and done after a suitable warm up, every time.

 

Scales and Arpeggios are also mentioned in Wallace Tate's Magic Touch Piano Manual, describing the Bowman Method.


Tendonitis and Piano Playing – How Can Tendonitis For Pianists Be Resolved or Dealt With Appropriately?

 

It is no secret to just about any long term pianist that occasional pain and muscular discomfort may occur from time to time, during their playing careers. Effectively, this is the result of repetitive strain injury. Many serious or professional pianists will typically practice for around seven hours a day, and over a period of a number of years, will add up to a long term pressure on the joints and muscles of the arm, hand and wrist.

 

 

As with any sporting activity, it is encouraged to ensure that a thorough warm up session be undertaken first, and then too, a cool down session, to slowly relax the body prior to the cessation of exercise. The same can be applied for pianists, as this will contribute to less chance of injury. Now, I am not going to suggest that playing scales and arpeggios before you launch into the Beethoven Pathétique Sonata is going to cover you against all and sundry injuries. However, it certainly is an important part of your playing regimen.

However, let's consider the actual forces and strain that are going on with the arm, and hands, let alone the wrist and fingers. As far as the arm is concerned, many pianists extend the arm in such a way as to apply considerable force to the wrists ad tendons, as they play, and this can certainly be sustained for a period of time,. However, given the nature of the work in question, some pianists will start to notice pain if they are stretching their fingers considerably (when the hands are small, and the notes spread widely over the keyboard). The preceding example is by no means the only possible scenario, but certainly a common one, amongst others.

There are a number of possibilities to undertake to resolve the problem, and for some, that includes attending physiotherapy clinics. They certainly have their place, and some are undoubtedly very good. In fact, some have an excellent reputation. A question that I would ask however, is to perhaps see if we can find a way to eliminate the problem form developing in the first place. Is such an option available to pianists? The short answer is yes, although it is dependent on the teacher, and student adopting a different method of playing, which like any new endeavour, will take time to master, but ultimately, bring forth greater rewards to the pianist, as well as the pleasure of an improved sound. You might well ask, "How can dealing with tendonitis improve the sound?"

The sound itself, is the result of the quality of the playing. When a pianist is able to play with less fear due to a greater relaxation at the keyboard, and a technique that allows a greater freedom of movement in the hand and fingers, as well as positioning relative to the keyboard, the strain can be greatly minimised on the tendons. Whilst some people may try to convince you that you can cure the problem in a few days, I personally believe that to be irresponsible, and dangerous. If you play on through a damaged tendon, you will likely do more damage. You are better off resting the injury till it heals, and then applying a technique that has been proven, like the Bowman method.

Next, are you experiencing or dealing with overcoming piano injury, for the long term?

You will also gain an enhanced comfort and improvement in your playing, with less stress and injury. To learn more, see the therapeutic techniques that are possible for classical pianists.

How Can the Bowman Piano Playing Method Help Me Play Better As a Classical Pianist?

How Can the Bowman Piano Playing Method Help Me Play Better As a Classical Pianist?
By Marty A Cohn

Strictly speaking, the method that I want to explain below, can apply equally to pianists of all musical styles, but the Bowman method, which is the primary method I wish to write about has been created by a classical pianist who was experiencing many problems, due to muscular injury and tendonitis. I am including a brief history, to impress upon you the tremendous change that this style of playing can have on your ability to not only play, but also on the resulting sound.

It is almost inevitable that any serious pianist, who is practicing around seven hours a day, with complex musical scores, like the Brahms B Flat, or the Rachmaninov Concerto Number 3, is going to experience some degree of muscular problem in their career, as the time spent at the piano is time that the arms are supporting the hands, and the hands and wrists are regularly moving across the keyboard to play the notes. Now, while most of that is obvious, not so obvious is the state of play in the wrists, and hands.

Given that the keyboard spans multiple octaves, and the pianist normally remains seated on one spot on the piano stool, there is going to be a bit of movement, either from the hips to place the body closer to the section of the piano where the hands are meant to be, or there will be a case where the hands are not always at right angles to the piano. This is the first downfall for many pianists. While they are attempting to play across the keyboard, they will need to be sitting left or right, through the loosened movement of their hips, or otherwise, the strain that will come to the hand muscles will catch up at some point.

In the case of Professor Lionel Bowman, it was around his late thirties that the problem developed to a point where he could no longer play. For a serious or professional pianist, that can be a disastrous state of affairs, much like when a footballer needs to have a knee reconstruction. They would be out of the game for the best part of a season. In Lionel's case, it was several months at the least away from the piano.

Naturally, it is far better to avoid a playing style that will lead to this problem in the first place, so it is best to do something about it sooner, rather than later. This is where it becomes a good idea to adopt a new playing technique. In the case of Professor Bowman, the technique evolved out of necessity, sometimes the best teacher. He took the time to really study the anatomy, and realised that he had to modify his style of playing, as the body's anatomical design is not directly compatible with playing the piano. Essentially, part of the problem was the issue of muscle tone, but also, a large part was the problem with the relative angle of the keyboard, needing to be at right angles to the hand at all times. (or at least, as often as possible).

He also found that by strengthening the muscles in the fingers, he was able to deliver the power to play at higher volumes from the fingers, rather than use alternative muscles that allowed the possibility of other muscular injury. He also found the best way to condition his fingers was by practicing on a flat, wooden surface, which required more force to develop the volume required to hear the 'music'.

Whilst this all helped to a degree, there were still numerous exercises that he developed, to actually aid the spacing to grow a little larger between the ulna and radius bones of the forearm. Whilst the difference was subtle, it was the 'window' that allowed him to play more successfully, through the complex passages. He also had smaller hands, which again, made playing the piano more difficult. However, the bonus with his method was that he was able to overcome these seemingly impossible problems, and was able to relax more, and thus concentrate on producing a richer sound, that left him pain free.

That can only be a bonus for all pianists. The method is regarded as a little more complex at first, to get the hang of, but has been reported by many students to make learning, and playing new material easier, in the long run. One reason for this is that the mind subconsciously takes over, on some of the routines. It is rather like driving a regular route home. Have you ever arrived home, after a long day, and realised you did not actually remember the drive. You actually did so on a kind of auto pilot. The same can apply to this technique while playing, once mastered.

Are you interested in overcoming piano injury, for the long term?

You will also gain an enhanced comfort and improvement in your playing, with less stress and injury. To learn more, see the therapeutic techniques that are possible for classical pianists.

 

Can I Overcome Difficult Injuries, and Still Play the Piano at Concert level?

The short answer, in many cases is, Yes. I say this, as many pianists have suffered numerous injuries in the past, typically in the areas of tendonitis or muscular injuries.

However, with the right information, and methodical approach, you can overcome your limitations.4

I know this is a big statement to make, but let me explain it this way…


I was fortunate to have met Professor Lionel Bowman, before he passed away, and also have come in contact with Mr Wallace Tate, a man who studied the methods of Professor Bowman in great detail.

Mr Tate, over a period of several years. monitored the methods that Professor Bowman had created, and utilised his talent for translating complex moves into easy to follow steps, in a manual with fantastic illustration, and example material, to help both the student and teacher, maximise their comprehension, understanding and application of the Bowman playing method.

 

Mr Bowman experienced great difficulty in his late thirties as a concert pianist, in terms of repetitive bouts of tendonitis and other muscular problems. However, after being unable to play for some months, he took the time to learn the anatomy of the arm, hand, wrist and fingers, and really study, by process, trial and error, the methods that would not only allow him to play again, but to do so pain free. The results were nothing less than astonishing, to say the least.


Whilst the initial point was to be able to play the piano again, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise for all Professor Bowman's students as well, as they have reported massive improvement in their playing as well. Now, more people started to take note.


It was well into the process, that Professor Bowman then gave a master class at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and had a DVD recording made of the class, which has become an essential element of The Magic Touch Course, presented here.  It is through these methods, and subsequent teaching that Professor Bowman further refined his technique, and most people who have actively utilised his method have had substantial success, not to mention an improved tonal quality to their playing as well as less discomfort.


The method is based on the increase of strength and tone in the fingers. This is explained in this classical piano article.