what every pianist needs to know about the body

A Brief Look at What Every Pianist Needs to Know About the Body

When it comes to playing the piano, you will initially find things difficult. It may come as a surprise for you to learn that to be able to play any piece of music on a piano requires strong fingers. 

It may look easy to see a professional pianist’s hands seem to float over the keys without much effort. 

But it isn’t just a pianist’s fingers that play a role in helping them to produce such wonderful music, and it may be somewhat of a surprise to learn that their whole body is involved. 

Luckily for you, there is a book by Thomas Mark, Roberta Gray, and Thom Miles. In it, they look closely at what every pianist needs to know about the body. 

This article will provide you with a brief review of this book. 

So What Is in This Book?

Man pianist playing piano in room

In this eBook, the authors show you techniques that will help you improve your movement fluidity when playing a piano or other keyboard instruments. In turn, this will help you to enjoy playing such a beautiful instrument even more. 

This book gives a much broader understanding of how your whole body is involved when playing the piano. 

They also explain more about the stress and strains that can be placed on your body when playing such an instrument. 

This is done through his focus on body mapping, which helps you become more aware of how your entire body functions, improving the fluidity of movement. 

He also provides information using traditional medical treatments to help prevent or eliminate any possible injuries from playing the piano or other keyboard instruments. So the risk to piano players of developing, say, carpal tunnel syndrome is significantly reduced. 

Who Are the Authors?

  1. Thomas Mark - A teacher from Portland, Oregon, who not only teaches piano but also teaches about body mapping. 
  2. Roberta Gary - The head of the Keyboard Divison of the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio, and also is a university professor teaching students how to play the organ. 
  3. Thom Miles - He is the music director at the Isaac M. Wise Temple in Cincinnati, Ohio, as well as the assistant organist at Christ Church Cathedral in Cincinnati. 

What Every Pianist Needs to Know About the Body

It is made up of several chapters that cover the following:

  • Basic Concepts
  • Finger Orientation
  • The Movement Approach
  • Quality of Movement
  • The Kinesthetic Sense
  • Training Attention
  • The Body Map 
  • The Body Map versus Intellectual Knowledge

What Is Body Mapping?

Body mapping is an idea that has been developed to enable you to be able to align the kinesthetic senses with the actual position and movement of your body. 

This book teaches you how to map all parts of your body that are relevant when playing the piano. 

As a result of having a better understanding of your whole body’s role, you will find you are less likely to make errors. In turn, the risk of you causing harm to yourself as you play, even for long periods, is reduced. 

Furthermore, a section within the book explains more about how the space surrounding you can affect you as you play. 

This Book Isn’t Only Useful for Pianists

Man Playing Piano

As you have seen above, two of this book's co-authors are organists. As a result, there is a whole section within it that is dedicated to helping organists as well. 

It is also a book that many digital keyboard players may find helpful. 

Who Is This Book Suitable for?

This book is for anyone who plays the piano for any length of time or chooses to play more difficult piano compositions

For such players of keyboard instruments, they may find that through this book, they improve their posture. As a result, they may find that any neck or back problems they have currently will disappear over time. 

Also, over time they may find that their arms start to feel a lot freer, as a result, they find playing even some complex musical pieces is no longer a challenge. 

What We Like About This Book

  • If you could understand all the information provided within this book, you may find that you never suffer any injury.
  • Not only does it cover many of the injuries that pianists often experience, but several others that people do not know about.
  • In this book, he looks closely at the movement of every part of the human body that a pianist will use when piano playing.
  • Through this book, you will be provided with an ergonomic technique that will help to prevent the risk of you getting injured when you spend a lot of time practicing or playing the piano. 
  • In the section dedicated to those that play the organ, look closely at the use of arms and hands and the person’s use of their feet, legs, and hips when playing such an instrument. 
  • The great thing about this book is that through its principles, you will have the power to be able to transform the way you play any keyboard instrument due to improved body awareness. It does this by guaranteeing you will be free of pain regardless of how often or long you play. So allowing your piano-playing talent and skills to shine through.

What We Don’t Like About This Book 

  • You may find that some of the descriptions provided are somewhat difficult to understand, so you may need to read through them several times. 
  • The principal author of this book doesn't use layman's terms when it comes to describing different bones in the body. But what he does when he talks about certain bones using their scientific names is he explains more about them. This is great as it provides you with a clearer picture of which part of the body he is talking about. 

Let’s Wrap Things Up 

Through this book, you will be provided with a much better understanding of your whole body’s role when it comes to playing the piano or any keyboard instrument. Hopefully, you will gain an understanding of what every pianist needs to know about the body.

You will also learn a few techniques and principles to ensure that you can play such instruments without the risk of injury due to ease of motion. 

Of course, nothing is a substitute for hands-on training through taking lessons with an experienced teacher. But you will find that this book proves helpful if you are just learning to play such an instrument or have recently suffered an injury. 

You will find that this book has been written clearly and succinctly and that you will not find it tedious. Also included are plenty of detailed illustrations that will prove very informative and helpful to understand better how the efficient movement of your whole body affects how you play. 

So anyone looking to or who is already playing the piano will find this excellent book helpful. Let us know what you think about this article and whether you decided to purchase the book to help you play the piano more efficiently using the body mapping approach. 

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