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Learning chords and piano these days has been taking a toll on my wrists. I had to figure out why. Self-deprecatingly, I assumed I was either weak-wristed or doing something wrong. So I asked the internet, and so did Bradd Szonye, and his quote and question was similar to mine: “Do I need to do something different, or do I just need to build more strength?” It was the first… although after digging into comments, his problems ended up not being exactly similar to mine.

My search for the causes took me to PianoMap.com and it identified the possible causes of my pain, whether it was muscle or tendon-based, or both:

  1. Co=contraction – two muscles working simulatneously against one another.
  2. Awkward positions – this one is a no brainer. I’m the king of awkward positions, situations, and comments.
  3. Static muscular activity – repeating a similar motion of contraction can cause pain.
  4. Excessive force – playing piano doesn’t require much force, but “it is easy to fall into the habit of using more force than needed”. Yeah, I did that.

Solution to my pain?

“The person must learn to play the piano using non-stressful movements to perform the tasks that were formerly performed with stressful movements” – PianoMap.com

Summarized? Relax and stay in a position that keeps you relaxed. I need to “retrain” my “movement”, but how do I learn the right movement online? Is there a free online instructor? Hello, Youtube.

Alright Alison M Sparrow, what are some common mistakes, and what is proper movement and posture?

Knuckles, wrists, elbows in a line. Deal.I decided to confirm her credentials. She’s got ’em. I trust her and her 200,000 subscribers. She even offers a Skype lesson component for $40! AND AND AND! TWITTER AND A BBC SHERLOCK HOLMES PIANO TUTORIAL!

So, moving forward, found some more resources, addressed my issue of wrist soreness, hopefully I can work on my movements!


Corner Gas short-cut?

I could’ve avoided all this research had I just listened to Davis Quinton (Lorne Cardinal) of Corner Gas’ advice: “When you play piano you have to keep your fingers loose, like bear paws”. Yes, I’m aware that Corner Gas isn’t a solution for everything (but show me evidence that tells me it isn’t). Shout out to humour for health to laugh at even tough situations, like me struggling to learn piano.


One_Piano_Four_Hands_Part_2 (1)

“Bear Paws” via MakeaGIF.com


SIDE NOTE: I once mentioned looking into how to do looping with my piano, and I don’t have a good enough piano for it or I need to buy a Boss RC-2 or RC-20 loop station… around $200. Unfortunate, but perhaps an investment to make in the future if I want to get more serious about this.
Tips, comments, feedback? Let me know!

Logan Petlak

Ps. Oh yeah, and: Bear Paws.

davis bear paws

“Bear Paws” from Corner Gas: One Piano, Four Hands via Youtube