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Rolling and Hairflips

in Music, Video


What’s rolling? It’s when you do this fancy smancy stuff with your hands. You wave it around like you’re a butterfly or some drunken bird. Like you’re about to flap into the heaven and outer space. Your teachers tell you to do it at the end of chords, phrases, or whatever. I don’t even know. Maybe everywhere.

So one day I show up for my lesson. I got all the notes down and I’m feeling great. I give my teacher this grin. It’s one heck of a grin. Time to show her what I’ve got. So I start playing you see…and I keep playing and I’m on fire! I’m smoking this piano! I keep going, but slowly I begin to hear her. She’s saying something. I guess listening to her praises couldn’t hurt that much…


I stop and I look at her. She gives me this look like I lit a cat on fire instead of the piano.
I don’t remember what happens afterwards.

Well I don’t wanna either. It was a few years ago. I think I kind of get of it now. Apparently it has to do with dynamic shaping. If you don’t move/roll your hands while you play like an expressionless robot, you won’t be able to get much out of it.

Check out this guy. He doesn’t roll like a butterfly but he knows how to rotate his wrists in areas of repetition. When stuff repeats, it asks for movement. So you want to give it movement with your hands. His articulation is pretty great too. Clean staccatos when the piece is exciting and quick. Observe how though, at the more emotional parts his hands slows down and he seems to caress the keys. It’s completely different, so his hands adapt.

So next time you play, ask yourself. What is the piece asking for? What does the composer want? When you figure this out, match it to the movement of your hands until your ears are satisfied. Listen to yourself.

If the piece is Chopin’s revolutionary etude, get angry! I don’t care if you have a date with your hot girlfriend/boyfriend that day, get MAD. RIP across those keys. DO your hair flip. Watch this guy. He’s great.

And that’s all! Happy Thursday!