I was watching my friend Justin Jefferys play organ a few days ago. I noticed that his hands were curved and relaxed, with every finger poised and in contact with the keyboard. His hand movements were fluid and coordinated. In contrast, I have a tendency to curl my pinkies up and backwards as I play, introducing tension into my hands.
As I sat down to practice the next day and unravel the problem in my keyboard technique, I realized that the problem is more grave than I thought. My tendency to pull my 5th fingers back and away from the keyboard is also part and parcel of a much larger systematic problem: The stiffness from that tension pulls up through the outside of my arms and into my neck and temples.
This both causes me to tend to pull my hands away from the keyboard, and squishes my head down onto my neck. Which, among other things, causes a lot of tension in my head and neck and makes my hands tense and clumsy.
I worked carefully on inhibiting that tension in my hand. It felt really strange for my pinky fingers to finally come into contact with the keys- my finger pads were actually sore for the first couple of days!
The release in tension also allows me to sit more naturally and frees my head up to float on the Atlanto-occipital joint nicely. At the same time, my tone changed to a nice even legato tone, and if I could inhibit the habitual tension, I was able to play a lot faster and evenly.
Great discovery! Thanks Justin!