The Correlation Between Typing and Playing Piano
I have played piano since I was 10 years old (at least I think that was when I began). I practiced as much or as little as I wanted, to the chagrin of my teacher, who constantly got upset with me for not practicing my scales. Then the computer became popular, and everyone was suddenly typing. We bought the Mavis Beacon Typing program, and who cares about technique when you could play typing games on the computer?
People suddenly started worrying about ergonomics. Were keyboards created for our hands, or were we trying to contort our hands to fit the keyboard? My dad bought a ergonomic keyboard that was guaranteed to fit the natural flow from wrist to fingertip. I remember the first time I tried typing on it. It felt strange at first, but then I became comfortable, and even started to enjoy the slightly waved keyboard.
Then we bought my first laptop on E-bay, just before I went away to college. If anything was not ergonomic, it was this laptop. At least one inch thick, it already raised my arms at an incredibly unhealthy angle, not to mention the keyboard was small. However, I could not escape the typing. I was doing it constantly, writing essays, papers, assignments, questions....you name it.
There is a distinct difference between typing and playing piano, but there are similarities as well. Let's look at the similarities first.
While playing piano and typing, one tends to move his/her fingers at a rapid pace, causing them to either play notes or type letters. I maintain that piano players can type faster than non-piano players, simply because their fingers have been trained to move rapidly since childhood, or whenever they began playing piano.
Now, let's look at the differences. While playing piano, I sit up straight. I keep my elbows away from my body, my elbows are parallel to the keys and I move my hands with my fingers while they run over the ivories and ebonies. I am very alert, and I pay attention to any tension in my body, working to keep myself relaxed.
However, when I type, I tend to slouch. My hands are elevated above my elbows at an odd angle for long periods of time, and they stay static, seeming to be frozen in time. My wrists take the brunt of my weight, resting on the smooth, silver surface of my laptop. Only my fingers move, jabbing and piercing through letters my brain has subconsciously memorized through months of Mavis Beacon training, forming words that hopefully make sense to the outside world. My eyes form a glaze that only goes away after I tear my gaze from the screen for a time. I am in a catatonic state.
Perhaps it is my great sense of musicianship(tongue-in-cheek only), and my infinite lack of nerd-dom which causes me to see that computers are taking a toll on everyone, not only the piano players and musicians out there. Having said that, I am not going to ditch my newly purchased laptop simply for the ergonomic aspect. However, I believe that I should watch how long I spend on my computer. I may be ruining my posture and my wrists, causing permanent health problems for later on.
I don't want to stop playing the piano, and I certainly do not want to ruin my chances of being able to pick up my own children for fear of dropping them due to weak wrists.
I need to play piano more, to enjoy the music that others have created, or discover the music that God has created in me.