I have noticed over the years that complicated Beethoven pieces, especially those with sudden dynamic changes, pieces with lots of octaves, and super fast pieces tense up my hands, sometimes to the point that my wrist hurts and I have to stop in the middle of a piece. On the other hand, Mozart is very easy on the hands, even at a fast tempo and with lots of octaves.
Now that to me seems odd. With composers other than Bach or Mozart, I get tension when there are lots of octaves and especially if the piece is fast. With Bach and Mozart, my hands, wrists, and arms naturally relax. Even just looking at a piece by Mozart, I can feel the relaxation. Is this the Mozart effect that's making me relax my muscles when I see a piece by Mozart or is this just a side effect of having played Mozart more frequently more often through my 9 years of piano playing than I played Beethoven or Chopin?
For the past 2 weeks I have been playing mostly Beethoven and Chopin with a little bit of Bach and no Mozart whatsoever. Wrist pain has been occurring more frequently. Today I had a pinched nerve of which the pain lasted 4 hours. Glad it was just a pinched nerve and no actual injury(I was scared for a while that I developed Carpal Tunnel or had a dislocation but when the pain went away on its own, I realized that the tingling fingers and pain in the wrist and arm was all from a pinched nerve). I asked on other message boards whether playing Mozart would prevent pinched nerves and I got a unanimous Yes.
Proposed strategy for piano practice
- Warm up with a Mozart piece before I play anything else(K 545 1st movement for example)
- Practice the pieces I want to learn
- If I develop tension, before it gets painful, stop, relax for a few minutes and play more Mozart
- If I don't develop tension, continue until I finish the piece and play a Mozart piece as a cool down(Piano Concerto no. 21 as an example)
- Stop practice after playing Mozart to relax my hands
I'm thinking that this would be a good strategy for avoiding pinched nerves as well as learning not to tense up just because there are lots of octaves or the tempo is fast or the dynamic change is sudden, using Mozart pieces as studies for relaxation, like how you would use Hanon to study fingering or Czerny to study technique.
But is this a good strategy, getting Mozart pieces into my practice to help not get tense in pieces from other composers and thus not get pinched nerves?