[Menvi-discuss] Weak Knuckles

Karen Gearreald karen118 at cox.net
Wed Apr 17 23:06:25 EDT 2019

Actually, people can learn to play the piano remarkably well with weak
knuckles, as my favorite piano teacher did during his very young years.
Eventually, though, he had to take time out to reform his technique under
the instruction of a capable and persistent teacher.  He has gone on to
become a fabulous pianist and vocal coach, able to play beautifully and
comfortably for many hours a day.  

If we become aware of a major technical problem, whether as singers or
instrumentalists, we need to solve it, even if the solution requires us to
stop performing for a while.  Many singers have to do this sort of thing, as
the great mezzosoprano Marilyn Horne observed.  "Take two years to get your
technique right," she counseled, "and the world will be your oyster."  I had
to do that sort of thing when, on the advice of the best coaches, I was
changing from a mezzosoprano to a high soprano.  This was the right change
for me, but I couldn't accomplish it in a choir where various demands were
distracting me.  So I prayerfully dropped out of the choir for a couple of
years.  I still have all those low notes, but I don't rely on them heavily
and tensely as I did in my mezzo days.  Oh yes, as I approach age
seventy-five I still have the high C, too.  

After seeking and considering the best counsel we can find, we have to be
brave about making our decisions.  The important thing is to make the
necessary changes while we are not under the pressure of performing.  
At least that is my experience.  

Best wishes to everyone who is diligently working to explore and develop
God-given talents.  Each of us needs to find the right way according to the
capacities that have been given to us, physically and mentally and
spiritually.  These answers don't come overnight, but they do come.  As one
long-lived singer observed, vocal study should be continued "until the voice
is unlocked."  The same idea can apply to instrumentalists, I'm sure.  If
the potential is there, a good teacher will encourage development; if the
potential is not there, a good and wise teacher will direct us to find
another instrument or endeavor that will satisfy.
						Karen Gearreald

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