I realized as I've reviewed past posts that I never specifically showed what proper hand position is at the organ! Today's lesson will cover this important topic.
Proper Positioning at the Organ
First let's review information that was spread out in the first series of lessons.
When sitting at the organ, keep the head, neck and upper torso aligned as if you were standing. Some like to think their head being pulled towards the ceiling by a string.
Stay relaxed and flexible through then neck, shoulders, upper arms, lower arms, and into the wrists. Keep your elbows close to the body.
Proper Hand Position
According to Don Cook:
"The forearm and back of the hand are aligned in a level forward-back plane, with no sharp protrusion of the knuckles. The back of the hand is level from side to side, guiding the fingertips into the keys with no tipping from left to right. The fingers curve naturally, and the fingertips rest naturally on the keys." I could have lifted my wrist a bit more. (I didn't realize how hard it was to take a picture with one hand while holding the other in proper position!)
"Nails must be cut short enough to allow fingertips--not nails--to contact the key."
Additionally, you should play with your fingers in front of the black keys whenever possible.
Here are some incorrect examples:
Playing between the black keys instead of in front of them:
Straight knuckle/collapsed finger joint:
Many (but not all) of the Sunday Songs I have shared demonstrate proper hand positioning. Here are a few that I like. Please note that the techniques used are not necessarily the legato technique that I've been teaching on this blog.
I love watching Clay Christiansen perform:
Watch how Frederick Hohman pulls his hands back in front of the black keys when he isn't playing accidentals:
You can see the curvature of Linda Margett's fingers:
Work to improve your posture at the organ, especially as it pertains to hand position. Have someone take a video of your hands and wrists as you play, then watch it to see what they look like. You might be surprised--I certainly was when I started this blog! Once you know what you're doing wrong, work to fix those things that are incorrect, then repeat the process as you continue to improve.
As I've really focused on my hand position and keeping my arms and wrists still so that my fingers can move more easily, it's become much easier to play and perfect my technique. Proper posture and positioning at the organ really is essential to playing the organ properly.