Lesson 5, Part 2

Piano Posture & D Journey

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Hello and welcome back. I'm Joseph Hoffman.
Today we're going to learn a song called "D Journey,"
using some of the skills we recently learned for great piano posture.
To get ready to play "D Journey,"
let's go down the piano posture checklist together.

One: is your bench in a good position? Make sure you're not too close, not too far,
and that your bench height allows your forearms to be level with the floor.
You'll also have a footstool if you need it,
so your feet can be resting flat on something solid.
Two: make sure your back is flexibly tall.
Three, check in with your arm weight by picking up your arm,
and dropping it on your lap.
And finally, four: let your fingers find a naturally curved and relaxed shape.

Okay, for starters, let's take your right hand finger 2, pointer finger,
and find any D on your piano. Remember,
D is found in between any two black keys,
which we learned about in a previous lesson.
Now using arm weight, you're just going to let your arm drop into the D.
Watch me a couple of times. I'm taking my pointer finger of right hand
and just letting gravity fall into that key.
You'll notice my other fingers are staying relaxed. They're not sticking up like this,
which means there's some tension there. Just let them kind of dangle
and hang out as your finger 2 does all the work of supporting your arm weight,
which falls into that D. Now, I'd like you to press pause
and practice that a few times on your own.
Just practice using arm weight to fall into D with your pointer finger
while the other fingers just stay really loose. So if a friend came along
and picked up your arm, it would just look limp, like a dead fish.
Okay, sorry for all the morbid aquatic metaphors.
How about like a wet spaghetti noodle. Okay, so maybe a friend will test you
by just picking up; all your fingers should be floppy. Your thumb should be floppy.
Anytime they want to test, but your finger keeps that curved shape,
so it's just firm enough to support the weight of your hand as you drop.
Press pause and practice that a few times,
then press play when you're ready to go on.

Okay, now let's take this to the next level. We're going to add rhythm.
I'd like you to play each D and hold it for 4 beats, like this.
We'll count out loud as we play: 1 2 3 4,
and every time you say 1, you're going to play a D.
1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4
and we'll do that four times, okay? Can you try it with me?
I'll count 4 beats to get ready, and then you'll play D on 1.
Count out loud with me please. Ready, 1 2 3, go:
1 2 3 4,
1 2 3 4,
1 2 3 4,
1 2 3 4.
Good. Now every time that you lift to play the next D,
remember to have that kind of wet spaghetti noodle hand.
Okay, so as you lift up around beat 4 to get ready to drop on the next one,
your forearm is going to lift, and then you're just going to fall back down.
Really relaxed, just enough firmness in that finger to keep that curved shape.
Okay, let's try it one more time. Ready, 1 2 3, go:
1 2 3 4,
1 2 3 4,
1 2 3 4,
1 2 3 4.

All right, let's make this sound even more cool by adding a rock accompaniment.
You're going to hear 4 beats of drums to get ready, and then we'll start.
Let me show you what it will sound like:
1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4,
1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4,
1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4,
1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4.
All right, now you try it along with me. We're going to do it one more time.
Here we go. Get in position.
1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4,
1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4,
1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4,
1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4.
Nice job. Now let's try that same thing with the left hand.
Take your left hand pointer finger, place it on D, keep that same nice shape,
and we're just going to drop on that D, same idea but with the left hand now.
Here we go:
1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4,
1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4,
1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4,
1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4.

Okay, my last challenge for you today on "D Journey,"
and this is actually why it's called "D Journey," is I'm going to start on this middle D
and then I'm going to go on a journey. The next time I play D,
I'm going to come up to this next one, and then go up one more to this one,
and then one more. So I actually need to measure out.
Make sure you've got room on your piano to do four D's.
All right, and then we go back and we do that one more time.
Okay? Let me show you what that will be like once. Here it goes:
1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4,
1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4,
1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4,
1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4.
You'll notice as I was doing that, as I was moving from D to D,
I kind of lift from the forearm, and again my hand kind of goes limp
as I'm getting in position for the next one, and then gravity ...