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When I hit a piano key should I be grabbing the piano key with a slight inward tug kind of like a brushing motion? Or should I be pressing down with no inward motion?

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To develop your technique, you should work on the simple downward motion. Your fingers should be more curved than straight, so that pressing the key is an actuation of your primary knuckle joint that pushes the rest of your finger directly down to press the key.

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The vast majority of the time you just want to move downwards, with no tugging or pulling on the key - work on honing this technique.

There are other particular techniques used in certain cases that do have elements of this, but save those until later. (A case of you can only break the rule, sometimes, when you know you can keep it!)

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if you're hitting the same chord in quick succession, the tips of your fingers should gradually move a little closer to you with each hit. For a single new hit, they may move slightly toward you as you raise your hand back off the key, but you don't actively grab. At least that's how I heard it...

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Is there any reasoning behind this? – Matthew Read Feb 20 '13 at 19:20
Well, you definitely don't want your hands spreading out as you hit the same notes in (very fast) succession as that causes tension. I think it's just a result of leaving your fingers "un-tensed" (i don't think that's a word). Where I came across this is in one of this guy's videos about technique. He has a LOT of videos though and I forget exactly which one it is - (but I do recommend watching them) – Stephen Hazel Feb 20 '13 at 19:27

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