For some reason I don't know, I can't trill fast with my right hand, but I can with my left even though I am right-handed. Why this? How I can improve my right hand trills? What should I do?


Of course I've no idea why you can't trill fast with your dominant hand.

There are 3 basic rules for trilling on piano:

  • No arm weight, the action is solely in the fingers, don't make everything stiff, though.
  • Fingers as close to the keys as possible, there's rarely time for your fingers to leave the key.
  • Fingers rounded, it's more difficult to trill with flat/straight fingers.

If you are still struggling to perform fast trills with your dominant hand, I dunno, that might be a sign there's a physical problem??


You are probably trying to play from the flexor muscles (the fingers have no muscle) and abductors simultaneously. The flexors are in your forearm. Trills and tremolos come from the pronator and supinator muscles surrounding the elbow. Hold your arm in front of your chest and rotate it FROM THE ELBOW not your wrist, left and right. Do you see how fast you can move your hand (fingers) and how effortless and indefatigable that is? Trills come from your elbow. Your P&S muscles are designed for speed, power and endurance. Your flexors are designed for holding and gripping.

There should also be a slight in/out and up/down motion combined with using only the weight of your arm to depress the keys. You should have a sensation of "resting up." Don't press into the keys beyond the point of sound. Don't isolate or extend (abduct) any unused fingers. If you use the pronator and supinator muscles, you will not use any other muscle and your hand will operate effortlessly and your fingers will be able to go with the motion without fatigue. Our flexors were not designed for piano playing and ironically, those are the muscles most pianists use for playing. To make matters worse, they use the abductors at the same time and whenever you use two muscles to move one bone simultaneously you will run into fatigue and strain because you are pulling your muscles in two directions at the same time. These are called vector forces (HS physics). That is why we have an epidemic of median nerve entrapment (CTS). 300 years of errant pedagogy.

When we play from our built in fulcrums and the gravity and fluidity of the arms, the fingers actually do very little. The fingers should only be used for subtle adjustments to play a note.

If you were to flick a fishing pole from the wrist, the wrist moves very little but the tip of the pole goes far. If you flick from the elbow, it goes further. If you swing it from the shoulder, it goes very far. Use your big indefatigable muscles to place the fingers and save the tiny muscles of the forearm for caressing your dog's nose.

Also, playing is more about moving UP. All our up muscles are strong (quads, biceps) because they defy gravity and all our down muscles are weak (triceps, hammies) because gravity lets us move down effortlessly. In playing trills, you need to find that hover spot where you are only using gravity and rotation to play with a constant adjustment of in/out and up/down to play the keys. Then your hand (fingers) will be completely free and relaxed. Every motion has an equal and opposite motion. In order to play down you must first move up. Kick a ball, you will first back kick. Swing a racquet, back swing. Punch someone, backswing. Piano playing also has equal and opposite motions but we minimize them giving the illusion of a "still and quiet hand." Like toes, they are extremely important for walking and balance but we walk from the shoulders, arms and hips. The toes just go along for the ride. If you try to play from the fingers with brute force, the piano will beat you. Finger exercises are a waste of time IF you use your muscles ergonomically and properly. I mean, you are not going to spend an hour practicing walking, right? This is because you instinctively use the correct muscles. To walk forward, for instance, you are actually pushing backward with the opposite foot.

Piano playing is 99% arm and 1% flexor. Other pianists may have been taught otherwise and that is their truth, this is mine.

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