4th section. Chapter I. –with some elaboration by J. Rezzuto-
When we have successfully achieved the position explained before, in our piano lessons, –holding the weight of the arms on the fingertips- then we will try and work on Scaramuzza’s “Tabla Tematica”; this is a very pragmatic piano exercise, in the shape of a numeric chart, meant to help piano students to explore the “finger action” without the distraction of having to play and identify note names.
The concept behind using the same weight and applying it to all the different fingers constitutes the basis for the production of an equal tone. Only if we transfer the same weight from finger to finger is that we will be able to get the same sonority out of the 4th and the 2nd fingers for example, when we play the piano.
Piano lesson note: The so called use of the “arm weight” in the pianistic execution is based on the fact that every time a body is set in motion, it reacts according to the concepts of potential, resistance and support. In our specific study case: a. the fingers develop the potential; b. the keys offer resistance and; c. the forearm end that touches the wrist, the support.
After we have achieved this objective we are ready to face the most difficult challenge in our piano tuition: to calibrate the right and specific weight needed to produce the desired dynamics. This difficulty will be firstly addressed when we analyse the finger and wrist movements. The entire calibration will be related particularly with the distance we place the fingers from the keys. The farer the louder and the closer the softer sound feedback we will obtain from the piano.
The support point will change depending on the movement we are working on; for example, in the case of the wrist/palm movement, the forearm will become it. Relaxing the arm is mainly meant to provide a constant pull that fuels the finger grip particularly at the tips every time they are in contact with the piano keyboard.
In terms of the weight regulation, Scaramuzza, one of the best piano teachers in history, used to say that the right weight was going to be determined by the ear itself and our judgement of the tone quality when we learn how to play the piano properly. The paradox –we need to clear up on our piano lessons in London- is that this technical approach starts from stating we direct the full arm weight to the tip of our fingers, so removing some of it goes in direct opposition to this idea! In fact there are many natural factors that will help with the weight management. One being synergy, and musical accentuation (we will develop these concepts in further sections about how our Piano Lessons in London are)
The total relaxation of the arm muscles guarantees that the emotional stress of performance doesn’t become a reflective obstacle. This process is intrinsically challenging mainly because it goes against our most natural reactions. Basically, we are naturally conditioned to contract our muscles when getting ready to perform a demanding physical activity and it is this specific tendency the one we need to go against in order to be ready to perform professionally. For this reason we need to work intellectually so we work out alternative automatic reactions that enable us to get around these natural settings.