I've been practicing a lot lately and have pain not only in my wrists, but now also in my RH thumb and 4th finger. I do totally agree with what Sandor says about big sounds/no pain. I'm attending a class next month on the Alexander Technique (hey, is that you?
) that supposedly teaches about how to move one's body more efficiently and effectively at the piano. Hope it works! (I should probably read that book you mentioned too)
I like Sandor's book a lot. Though pretty old, it seems to have been the most successful trying on analyzing the piano technique. besides that, Sandor was a great musician. Monica... believe me... I read its chapter about playing octaves, and that made me possible to play Chopin Op. 25 no. 10. I couldn't play it before reading Sandor's explanation.
but does Sandor really say it's not needed to build muscles to play the piano? it sounds like a naïve affirmation. we use muscles to play the piano (as we use muscles to do EVERYTHING!). and an accomplished pianist do an intense physical and mental job. so saying that we don't need to build muscles to play the piano is like saying we don't need to build muscles to play volleyball. of course it's different... it's not like bodybuilding. but we need to build muscles for everything we do, even the simplest things like walk and eat!
I feel that lots of Chopin etudes make you build muscles. I'm studying Op. 10 no. 1, and when I play it lots of times, I feel my fourth and fifth fingers being "exercised", as if I was lifting weights. it's different from tension, but it's a kind of fatigue also. as day goes by, I get less and less tired playing this etude, or it takes me more time to get tired.
anyway, I think we must always be open-minded regarding piano technique, because there is no unique way considered correct or better than the others (yet!). my teacher doesn't believe in any school of technique. I do consider the Czerny technique surpassed, because it's too old, based on irrational reasons, based on an old piano with a different mechanism. but there are lots of contemporary pianists who play really well, and each one does something different than the other. Egon Petri used to say to his students that his advices were merely suggestions. the students should try what he says, but they could also reject them and play the way they find better. hehe