3 Secret techniques for stronger fingers on the Piano
Improve your finger strength for piano playing - with Baker
I started learning piano when I was 6 years old. I’ll admit outright that I’m no prodigy and from that age until I was 28, I really sucked at it. I hardly ever practiced, I barely passed any exams I took and when I sat down at the piano to play I never felt like I was in control of my fingers, like I wasn’t really confident being there.
Then I found the right teacher who changed everything for me.
My new teacher, the international concert pianist Phillip Dyson, re-ignited my love for the piano and in just two years has helped me achieve what I never was able to in the previous 22.
I want to pass on what he taught me in the hopes of inspiring others as he inspired me. In this series of blog posts I will share with you the core lessons and practices that helped me improve so quickly.
The first thing he got me to do was to strengthen my fingers through three exercises. As with all exercises, the more regularly you do these, the more improvement you will see.
1. 5 finger pattern practice
This is a fantastic little exercise that when practiced regularly will automatically teach you several things in one go:
- The first five notes of all major & minor scales (great for melody writing)
- The triad chords of all major and minor scales
- Automatic finger placements to increase your speed of playing
- Finger strength and fluidity
Start on the note C with you thumb of your right hand and play the next 4 white notes with each subsequent finger, and back down. Next move your whole hand up one half note, to start on the black note above C (C sharp). Repeat the same pattern you just played.
Clue: if you consider every key on the piano to have a value of one, then once you place your thumb on a note, just count up between each the finger the following pattern: 2-2-1-2
Here is the exercise video:
2. Finger separation exercise
This exercise will cement finger independence, it will also increase the range of notes your fingers can play in any given position on the piano.
My main tip is to really focus on keeping all fingers engaged and pressed down on the keys as you move the individual finger. Try to keep your fingers at the very end of the keys – if you let them move up towards the body of the piano this will make the exercise very difficult. Also note that this is a STRETCH exercise, therefore the slower you do it, the more benefit you get from it.
Here is the exercise video:
3. Raised fingers exercise
I will demonstrate this exercise on the piano, however you can do this anywhere, anytime, on any surface, its one of the most addictive exercises I’ve practised. The most important thing is to focus on the hight that you can raise each finger. As with exercise two, ensure you engage all other fingers on the keyboard, and do not raise them off at all.
You will find it particularly difficult to raise the ring finger because the hand has closely interconnected branches of nerves there that hamper its completely independent movement (the bands running off either side of the ring finger as shown in the below diagram)
Isolating and practicing moving your ring finger will help in strengthening the tendons and nerves and improve its free motion. The ring finger moves more freely along with the fingers either side of it, but do not be tempted to allow this during your practice, as it will not strengthen the independence of this finger as much.
I really hope you have enjoyed learning these exercises, keep practicing and you will soon see the improvements!
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