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#1505200 - 08/29/10 07:49 AM Uncontrollable fingers
Demian P. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/05/10
Posts: 27
Loc: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Hi everybody.

I'm just starting (without teacher) and I'm using Bartok's Mikrokosmos pieces.
While I play, my left hand fingers always escape up (this is not so pronounced in the right hand, but it also exist), looking horrible.
Look at these video (watch carefully the left hand fingers).


Do you know some exercise to prevent this?
I mean, I can play these little pieces from book 1 of Mikrokosmos (I'm working on Nr. 12 right now), but I think that as soon as the difficulty of the pieces increase, these "flying fingers" will prevent to play them.
I'm doing a tremendous effort trying to get the fingers low, but it's killing me! smile

Thank you

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#1505202 - 08/29/10 08:00 AM Re: Uncontrollable fingers [Re: Demian P.]
Sande Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/01/10
Posts: 91
well that is obvious since your just starting ^^ I don't know if I gave you good advice, so if it isnt somebody will correct me on this.

But I think you should play figure out the best teaching methods. Try to read the Fundamentals of Piano by Chang.. his main principle is that the best way to aquire technique is the play hands seperate at a VERY SLOW SPEED.. wel at least if your beginning. Do you learn this way? And do your problems accor mostly when your playing hands together? (most likely)

If so than you should practise hands seperate more, and play hands together more easier pieces till you can play them without problems faster.

btw, I think it has to do with your brain adepting to piano playing

#1505212 - 08/29/10 08:33 AM Re: Uncontrollable fingers [Re: Sande]
Demian P. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/05/10
Posts: 27
Loc: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Hi Remo.

Well, I always start to learn these Bartok pieces hands separated, and the "flying fingers" appears, mostly, at the left hand (my weak hand) and when it have to play a kind scale.
As soon as I assimilate the song I put both hands and continue learning. And YES, with both hands this is worst, (less controllable).

Maybe there are some specifical exercises to work on this.

But, yes, I will increase the time to work with hands separated.

Thanks for your quick answer.

#1505241 - 08/29/10 09:39 AM Re: Uncontrollable fingers [Re: Demian P.]
apple* Offline

Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
one thing i have done thruout my piano life is a simple exercise away from the piano.

stretch out (splay) your hand and slowly touch the tip of finger five to the tip of your thumb.. then fingers 4, 3 and 2.

it helps a lot to do this often. a good exercise to do when you are locked in conversation or tv.

i also have spent a lot of time on scales and arpeggios. slow practice is good for control.

your hand position needs a little work.. you could raise your wrists a bit hight and pretend there are eyes on the tips of your fingers that need to gracefully look down upon the keys they are touching. curling is not so important. you want a graceful, slightly arched position that enables the fingers to simply press down the keys they happen to be above.

tho Valentina's technique is very sophisticated, you can see how she holds her hand in this simple song.

accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, ├Ľun (apple in Estonian)

#1505465 - 08/29/10 04:55 PM Re: Uncontrollable fingers [Re: apple*]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Never seen anything as bad as that! Interesting. Place your hand relaxed on a table. Wipe a little with each finger one at a time. Concentrate - only move the finger you're wiping with.
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.

#1505517 - 08/29/10 07:24 PM Re: Uncontrollable fingers [Re: keyboardklutz]
Demian P. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/05/10
Posts: 27
Loc: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Today my wife asked me: what are you doing with your fingers? - hehe I was practicing what apple said: "stretch out (splay) your hand and slowly touch the tip of finger five to the tip of your thumb.. then fingers 4, 3 and 2. ".
She will start to think that I'm turning crazy. :p
Now I will add this new exercise at dinner, and see what she say smile
No, really, thank you very much to all of you for these advices.
I'm pretty sure they will help me to control my disobedient left hand fingers.

Thank you to all of you.

#1505524 - 08/29/10 07:47 PM Re: Uncontrollable fingers [Re: Demian P.]
al-mahed Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/09
Posts: 769
Loc: Rio de Janeiro
This used to happen with me at the beginning. That's normal, and means that you don't have control or strenght yet, but doesn't means you have any problem.

You need to do exercises relaxed. Relaxation is mental. You need to focus in relaxation, and always play relaxed. Then, it will be more natural. If you cannot do the simple fingering relaxed this means you need to work on it before anything else IMHO.

You need to do exercises moving each finger relaxing the rest, and don't moving them. The strenght will be poor at the beginning, you will barely move them, but if you do this over and over and over you'll improve faster than you think.
Yamaha P155 Digital Piano
Learning since ~ JUN/JUL-2009

Working on: music

#1505831 - 08/30/10 08:53 AM Re: Uncontrollable fingers [Re: Demian P.]
EJR Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/20/06
Posts: 861
Loc: Bristol, UK

I'd use a metronome, and slow it right down (way below what Bartok indicates for each piece). You need to be down to a level where your left hand is relaxed. Try a speed 20% slower than what Bartok indicates,if that doesn't work lower it again. Once you have it nailed at that speed then crank it up in stages.

Daily ramblings....

#1506531 - 08/31/10 10:00 AM Re: Uncontrollable fingers [Re: EJR]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 10765
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I woudl play the LH alone, and play a simple 5-note pattern like C-D-E-F-G (starting with finger 5). As you hold down the C with finger 5, you will probably see the other fingers raise up. Release them and let them fall to rest lightly on the keys as you hold the C. Do not move onto D until those fingers are back down again. Then proceed to D and do the same.

Something that can help this is to play a little more on the tips of your fingers. The LH seems flatter than your RH, but it's a little hard to see because the RH is in the way.
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

#1506854 - 08/31/10 09:06 PM Re: Uncontrollable fingers [Re: Morodiene]
Mozart79 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/21/10
Posts: 101
Loc: Canada
i had a similar issue, mostly with my right hand, not as high and not as many fingers at once but a similar issue with fingers raising. There is a book called a Dozen a Day, this is great for warm ups, finger movement, and strengthening. While i would warm up with this, my teacher told me to work one hand at a time and focus on the movement. While I would depress a key with my index fingers the other 3 fingers would rise, I then would lower them, and continue on. So everytime I played when my fingers would lift I would make sure I lowered them. I trained them to learn to not lift with the other fingers.
This is natural for our fingers, they are designed to work as a team, one presses down, the others lift to support the hand, you just need to strenghten and train them to not do it.
Do you warm up before playing?
"Music is what feeling's sound like"

Adult Piano Adventures (The F.J.H Music Company)
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RCM Grade 1
RCM Grade 2 (working on)

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#1507321 - 09/01/10 05:20 PM Re: Uncontrollable fingers [Re: Demian P.]
Demian P. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/05/10
Posts: 27
Loc: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Well, I must confess that I don't warm up before playing.
As "warm up" I used to just pick up some of the first Bartok's pieces and play it, just that.
What kind of "warm up" exercises you say?
Right now I'm practicing the kind of things that the guys had already posted here.
(playing with fingers anywhere anytime, left hand alone practice...)
For now the "flying fingers" still there, this is my last video:


But I know, I'm just beginning I have to be patient.
Practice and practice and practice will heal everything. smile

Thank you.

#1507529 - 09/02/10 03:13 AM Re: Uncontrollable fingers [Re: Demian P.]
Mozart79 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/21/10
Posts: 101
Loc: Canada
Yes, you are correct. Patience and practice is the key to learning piano. An important thing I have learned is stretching before I play. I try to loosen up by hanging over to touch my toes, I stretch my arms and back as well. For correct hand position, try cupping your knees and then putting the same curvature of the hand while you play.

For warming up I always do Hanon exercises or the Dozen a Day book. By doing exercises prior to playing pieces it helps warm up the hands.
I have the Dozen a Day book and Hanon book to warm up with. These also help with hand movement, deterity, and strengthening. i used the dozen a day to help with teaching my fingers to stop rising.
"Music is what feeling's sound like"

Adult Piano Adventures (The F.J.H Music Company)
RCM Prepatory
RCM Grade 1
RCM Grade 2 (working on)

RCM Theory

#1507600 - 09/02/10 06:41 AM Re: Uncontrollable fingers [Re: Demian P.]
Benjamin86 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/30/10
Posts: 61

#1507887 - 09/02/10 03:17 PM Re: Uncontrollable fingers [Re: Demian P.]
crogersrx Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/25/08
Posts: 712
Loc: San Francisco, CA
Your left hand fingers are not curving much, you're point of leverage seems to be a the knuckle nearest the palm, IOW... you're using your left fingers like clubs on the keys. I really recommend separate hand practice, watching your right hand fingers, then your left hand and seeing the difference in how they move, not just that they fly up in the air.

Try just your left hand, starting on C or F with finger #5 (little finger) and go up one note at a time L-E-G-A-T-O... no stacatto. The only way to do that is by not letting up on #5 until #4 is pressed, and not letting up on #4 until #3 is pressed and so on.... up, down, up, down #5, #4, #3, #2, #1, #2, #3, #4, #5... watch and assure that you are keepin curve in your fingers, not using them straight and only bending at the knuckle closest to the palm.

Another exercise is to put your palm on the surface of a table and take finger #5 from a lifted but curved position and move it like you are trying to scrape something toward you, then as #5 is near your palm, bring #4 in the same way while lifting #5... and so on, just like going up the keys.

Finally, let me suggest that you get a good teacher. Rarely does anyone have any meaningful success at learning to play just by struggling through some lesson books. Books don't give you feedback, and they can't watch you and see what you're doing wrong, and they cannot demonstrate to you how you might try to remedy the problem that you don't even recognize that you have. And while someone seldom progresses meaningfully without a teacher, one QUITE OFTEN progresses leaps and bounds with a good teacher.
Cary Rogers, PharmD
San Francisco, CA
1887 Knabe 6'4" (Rebuilt)


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