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I have been playing piano approximately one year. The music genre that I play (merengue) has the right hand almost exclusively playing in the octave position. Below is a short clip of me playing along a relatively easy song (120 bpm, where some track surpass 180, with much more complicated rhythmic patterns). To get the sound that I want I also need to play with some force to make the playing sound percussive.

After playing for 30 minutes or so, I always feel a burning sensation on my right forearm. The feeling is on the meat of the forearm muscle, the area gets warm to the touch. Looking for any tips or suggestions to ensure that I prevent injury and also surpass this 30-min threshold before I feel pain.

Edit: I read the posts right hand wrist & forearm soreness and Technique for octaves on piano without pain. My situation is a bit different from those because their issues were more related to the wrist/hands as opposed to forearm muscle for me, and my playing style is different because I have to play fast octaves every song, all the time.

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  • Have you read the answers to Right hand wrist & forearm soreness and Technique for octaves on piano without pain?, which address forearm pain. If yes, and your question still isn't answered, then please update your post to describe where those other solutions fall short.
    – Aaron
    Commented Mar 26 at 2:56
  • More a stopgap than a fix, but it's always helpful to have a song or two in your pocket that contrast with the main thing you're practicing so you can give yourself a break. Especially if you're having any trouble training yourself to relax, prioritize damage control above everything. Commented Apr 25 at 16:22

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The number one issue is that your hand never relaxes. Each chord repeats three times in quick succession, then there's a small break before the next chord. That break is your opportunity to "let go" of the chord you were just playing. That is, one must not only release the keys themselves, but also release the hand's "memory" of ever having played those keys. This moment of relaxation happens when moving between chords, and will take a great deal of stress off your forearm.

Another issue is that to achieve the speed needed for the chord repetitions, your hand is held rigid, and your forearm/elbow is entirely responsible for the movement. Add some "finger action" to your chords. That will help keep your hand loose and also relieve some of the stress on your forearm.

I also suggest, when playing the non-octave chords, keeping your fingers flatter, as with the octaves. The curling of the inner fingers causes your forearm muscles to work against each other, which is a primary precursor to injury.

To achieve both of these things, practice very slowly so that your full attention can be on the relaxation, not on the notes, chords, movements from one chord to the other, rhythm, tempo, etc.

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  • Thank you, this is exactly the kind of answer I was looking for. I thought my situation was different from the two other posts because their issues were more related to the wrist/hands as opposed to forearm muscle for me, and my playing is different because I have to play fast octaves every song, all the time. I will definitely take into account your suggestions to try to relax my hands between chords. I try to do this now, if you notice I try to release the octave position when I'm playing the thirds in between the octaves. I will try to relax the entire hand in the time between chord changes
    – SmartPower
    Commented Mar 26 at 3:23
  • @SmartPower Glad this was helpful. You should edit your post along the lines of your comment, as it is very clear about your forearms and doesn't mention your hands or wrists. Also include the difference with the other posts so your isn't closed as a duplicate of one of those.
    – Aaron
    Commented Mar 26 at 3:28

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