Pianists and typing.. - Hmm. another cooky thought.

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Postby InspiredPianist » Sat Feb 24, 2007 8:56 am

After replying to the small-handed topic, another silly thought came up in my mind.

Can most pianists type fast on the computer????
Or do most have to use the "search and peck" system??
Do they learn the computer keyboard faster?
Hmmm. I do not know.
Are these just silly questions?
Or is there really a theory behind them?

These are the things that haunt me. :)
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Postby Glissando88keys » Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:57 pm

I hope to answer your question by speaking from personal experience. I recently took a PC keyboarding class to increase my typing speed, and within a couple of weeks was accurately typing @ 92 wpm, which is actually pretty fast for that short of a time. I think this outcome resulted from a combination of my piano experience, my previous experience typing, and the fact that this course taught a particularly effective touch typing system. I always practiced my piano exercises and pieces in varying speeds, both hands separately and hands together, as I find this helps me learn and increase speed and focuses my attention on the pace.

When the instructor learned that I play piano she commented that in her experience, pianists are usually capable of very fast and accurate typing speeds.

There may be several reasons for a link between typing and playing piano. One reason could be that a pianist usually learns effective practice methods. As in anything else, practice is necessary to increase speed and accuracy, especially for playing piano or typing. Another reason is that a pianists fingers are pretty sensitive and limber, and limber fingers are trained to move faster, more smoothly and more accurately than stiff fingers. Finger and hand dexterity are necessary for both the piano and typing. A third reason, is that a pianist, especially one trained in sight reading, will read the notes in advance while playing, and good typists will usually read in advance of the words typed, as they are typing, to increase speed. Reading skills are also augmented by practice, which would further increas piano and typing skills.


Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus 10,000 times is skill. ~Shinichi Suzuki


There may be other explanations, and it would be interesting to see whether any research has been done comparing the capabilites of pianists in typing, or vice versa, the capabilites of typists to play piano.




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Postby Stretto » Tue Feb 27, 2007 2:51 pm

I had a teacher last year working with me to improve my technique in playing as it relates to playing without undue tension. I think replacing bad habits with good ones carries over to a lot of different tasks as since I learned to play the piano in a more relaxed manner adding less unnecessary tension, I noticed I am unconciously carrying that over to typing on the computer and my hands don't start hurting with either computer or piano whereas they had been before. Also, ideas as it relates to "relaxation" in playing the piano can be carried over not just to typing but to driving a car, washing dishes, gardening, painting, just about any everyday task. If a person asks yourself, "Am I putting more effort into this than necessary?", one may be suprised to find how many "extra" muscles and movements are getting involved than really needed to carry out the task just to hold a steering wheel, a phone or type on a computer keyboard. Does anyone every find themselves really gripping a steering wheel tighter than necessary to control the car?? - Why? That's kind of what I'm getting at.

I know you were talking about speed and accuracy. In your keyboarding class, I was just curious mostly for curiosity's sake - in learning speed and accuracy and in general typing at the keyboard, did they include tips on how to properly sit at a keyboard, how to hold one's hands, arms, wrists to avoid extra strain? How did they have you build speed and accuracy and do you think those same ideas could be used to help in playing the piano?

You must have an analytical mind that you like to "ponder" such thoughts. I also like to think about or raise those types of questions too so post away. :D




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Postby Glissando88keys » Mon May 07, 2007 12:37 am

Stretto wrote:I know you were talking about speed and accuracy. In your keyboarding class, I was just curious mostly for curiosity's sake - in learning speed and accuracy and in general typing at the keyboard, did they include tips on how to properly sit at a keyboard, how to hold one's hands, arms, wrists to avoid extra strain? How did they have you build speed and accuracy and do you think those same ideas could be used to help in playing the piano?

This keyboarding class covered everything, from how to hold your hands and fingers, sitting in a comfortable position, even how to bring the keyboard to the edge of the surface on which it rests so that your wrists would not lean on the surface, and you would avoid wrist strain, and possible carpal tunnel sydrome. Everything grouped under the term, "ergonomics" was covered, which is an increasingly necessary practice to help ensure physical well-being in the work place, and beyond.

Building speed and accuracy was a bit easier for me, and for another typist who ranked in speed and accuracy in my class, who also happened to be a pianist. I do feel, however, that this course increased everyone's speed, and those new to typing were typing well in a comparatively short time. It focused on a system for typing using the alphabet. We had daily alphabet practice which consisted of typing out the alphabet and recording the time it took to do so twice a day, noting improvements in speed and accuracy. Other practice tips were to repeatedly type the most common letter combination found in words, double letter combinations in words, pretty standard stuff as far as typing classes go.

One useful thing we did was to tape a blank piece of paper over the keyboard which prevented us from peeking to see the keys when we typed, which actually "forced" us to learn to touch-type. At the music store I've seen something that is actually a paper form which, when placed over a piano keyboard will serve the same purpose, to prevent students from constantly looking at the piano keys, as many are in the habit of doing. Perhaps this could help increase speed and accuracy, as well as improve sight reading on the piano.




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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Mon May 07, 2007 6:31 pm

I had a faculty colleague once--a conductor--who was a good sight reader at the piano and never looked down at the keys. He told me that his teacher used to tie an apron around his neck and then tack the two corners to the end blocks so that his hands and the entire keyboard were hidden underneath while he read from the score.

My wife used to use a piece of cardboard that hooked under the music rack of the digital pianos in her Functional Piano classes.

Bill L.
Technique is 90 per cent from the neck up.
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Postby 108-1121887355 » Mon May 07, 2007 6:51 pm

While playing rote songs, I ask the student to close his eyes to play his pieces. When he first reads from the music , if he has trouble watching the music, I will ask him to think of something blocking the keys or hold a music book there until he gets the idea.
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Postby Stretto » Tue May 08, 2007 5:55 pm

Pianists may make better typers as they already have developed the skill of being able to find "the keys" without looking.


I just wondered as one of my questions implied earlier, if not having played a piano before and deciding to learn, would a good typist make a better pianist? ???
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Postby Tranquillo » Sun Sep 09, 2007 2:17 am

Hmmm how interesting... a music teacher in my school that plays piano uses her index fingers to type... she does do so to play ... but I am an ok typer I can touch type ... my speed is fast not REALLY fast though just ok fast
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