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  1. #1

    Default Piano - Wrist Pain?


    I've played piano for 6 months now, and I don't know what came over me yesterday, but I decided to sightread Chopin's "Revolutionary" Etude. I actually, quite surprisingly, found the fingerings for the first few sixteenth note runs to be quite easy (on the first page; I didn't get to the main octave melody yesterday). I was also practicing the c minor Prelude by Chopin (I think it's titled "Funeral March") along with #1 in Czerny's School of Velocity.

    I woke up today and felt some wrist pain in my left hand - is this a sign that I didn't practice that Etude correctly (or, at least, I'm assuming there's a reason why I'm not ready for that kind of repertoire yet )?

    Thanks, Eternal for the set!
    For any Finale questions, please look here before posting.
    I am no longer dealing with MIDI transcriptions due to lack of time.

  2. #2
    Right Here, With You Member
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    Mar 2004


    Most likely it's your posture.

    Like keyboard & mouse, your hands/wrists/forearms should be straight and not bending at an angle, and they especially shouldn't be applied pressure while being bent at an angle.

    You can play any song if you have a good posture.
    If you don't have a good posture, you can end up with wrists that hurt so bad that you can't even play a single note without hurting.

  3. #3
    Ichigos Sand Bag Member HopelessComposer's Avatar
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    Aug 2004


    Like Zero says, your bench is probably just too high or too low.

  4. #4
    Dildoman Member Thorn's Avatar
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    Sep 2004
    London, UK


    Sounds like strain to me- even if you're playing something like a Chopin etude there should never be any tension in any part of your body.

    I can't tell you off for playing pieces like that after 6 months of piano playing because I was the same. With stuff like that on one hand the whole point of learning an instrument is to get enjoyment playing the pieces you like. On the other, we often aren't technically up to the demands of the piece and get so swamped with having to play all of those notes that we forget basic relaxation and our hands become shaped like a cat desperately clinging to a curtain. I've done it millions of times and am guessing that is why your wrists hurt.

    I have encountered pain in lots of other places due to crap posture, but the only time my wrists ever hurt is when I've been hacking through something that's too difficult for me and basic technique and relaxation has gone out of the window. Although I'm sure someone who knows more about that area would tell you it's all interlinked.

    Another (might sound stupid) thing is warm up before you play. I mean physically warm up as if you're doing exercise. When you play piano you're doing all sorts of things with your muscles you're not even aware of so it makes sense to do a handful of basic stretches before and after every practise. Most people (wrongly) think it's just the fingers you need to warm up by playing a few scales or something, but you use a lot more than just fingers.
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  5. #5


    definitely warm up, and make sure you have good posture. if the pain persists, be careful. years ago, my wrist would always hurt when i was playing piano, or doing a similar motion, like typing on a computer, eventually, a lump formed in my wrist, my mom thought it was carpal (sp?) tunnel, i said that doesnt cause lumps. i saw a doctor, turns out, the motion combined with my body type/bone structure/previous wrist injury had formed a nice big ganglion (sp?) cyst, and i had to have surgery. about two and a half years years ago, in my senior year of high school, it came back, bigger, but now, i know what it is, and have learned to cope. sometimes, you can do everything right, and have severer pain, so if it persists, be warned, and be careful.

  6. #6
    Right Here, With You Member
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    Mar 2004


    Oh, and relax your wrists - that's a big one.

    I've played piano for so long that I don't have to think about it, but since learning guitar I noticed wrist pain in my picking hand from keeping the wrist too rigid, so that might be another one.

  7. #7
    Please support Ichigo's Ichigo's Supporter Ichigo's Supporting Member Solaphar's Avatar
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    Mar 2009


    Quote Originally Posted by Thorn
    there should never be any tension in any part of your body
    Quote Originally Posted by Zero
    relax your wrists
    This pretty much says it all.

    clarinetist, just make sure you're relaxed, especially in your wrist and forearms. Use the very minimum amount of muscle energy needed to achieve the desired dynamics. Even triple forte shouldn't require hand-pounding or death grips. lolz =P

    The faster you play, the more you have to make sure you're relaxing, since the human tendency is more tension in response to greater speed requirements. Your task is to fight that urge and focus on doing the opposite. Since you're already an experienced clarinetist, I may just be emphasizing stuff you already know.

  8. #8


    Thanks everyone - I've learned a lot from my professor during the last two lessons. I sent him an e-mail after that morning, and I had a lesson with him the day after which consisted of a 15-minute lecture from him about how he has seen similar experiences. I was practicing the etude at quarter note = 40 and it still messed up my wrist (I couldn't get it up to 160 right now if I even tried).

    Just yesterday, I had a lesson with him - and I learned that my finger positioning was incorrect along with pedaling (for the Chopin etude). He went through the whole tension deal with me yesterday, and it's all a matter of me just practicing and of time.

    But, yeah, I'm really enjoying these piano lessons. I'm considering asking him if I could learn the Pathetique Sonata (Beethoven) soon, as I really need work on chordal playing (something like that Chopin piece I mentioned).
    Last edited by clarinetist; March 2nd, 2011 at 09:16 pm.

    Thanks, Eternal for the set!
    For any Finale questions, please look here before posting.
    I am no longer dealing with MIDI transcriptions due to lack of time.

  9. #9


    I have had some issues with wrist and elbow pain whilst practising. I think the key principle is to not over practice - sounds really obvious, but we can get a bit carried away with practising when really into it. I rested for a bit and then it seems to be clearing up. Hope the lessons are going well.

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