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#930219 - 04/07/08 01:14 PM "Good" Fingers defined?
HappyGoLucky Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/07/03
Posts: 295
Loc: Arlington, VA
This issue has been bugging me for years, so I finally decided to ask the Piano Teachers who post here.

Every piano teacher I've ever had has said to me matter-of-factly:
"You have good fingers."

I have always silently accepted this statement but have also wondered what they mean by this.

I have small hands, short stubby fingers (can barely reach an octave) ...so this topic is not about finger length or even finger agility as that topic has been covered at length on other posts here.

If you look at one of your student's hands and think "This student has good fingers" or if you actually say to the student "You have good fingers" -- what do you mean?

When you get a new student who sits down and plays for you -- can you instantly tell if that student has "good fingers"?

Could it be that a piano teacher just "knows" what it means to have "good fingers" -- kind of like "knowing" or appreciating good art when you see it?

I'd very much appreciate your thoughts on the subject of "good fingers".

Virginia (from Virginia)

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#930220 - 04/08/08 09:15 AM Re: "Good" Fingers defined?
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 13733
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I have never used this term with a student. Sometimes I will comment on the size of a student's hand, but I do not associate good or bad with that, just a fact that must be considered when tacking some issues with fingering and such. I can only guess that the teacher means that your fingers are strong, or that they are dexterous, or something like that. Or perhaps they "learn" quickly?
private piano/voice teacher FT

#930221 - 04/08/08 09:53 AM Re: "Good" Fingers defined?
HappyGoLucky Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/07/03
Posts: 295
Loc: Arlington, VA
Thanks for your thoughts on this, Morodiene.

My teachers have been Asian -- my current teacher is Japanese -- so "good" may have lost something in the translation and it may not have the same connotation as we use the term "good" and "bad" in western culture. I did ask her one time what she meant by "good fingers" -- but she had difficulty trying to explain what she meant.

I think you are right in not using that term with your students.


#930222 - 04/08/08 10:54 AM Re: "Good" Fingers defined?
miaeih Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/06/08
Posts: 267
Loc: SF Bay Area, CA
Maybe good control of your fingers?

#930223 - 04/08/08 11:05 AM Re: "Good" Fingers defined?
Akira Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/27/07
Posts: 1645
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
I think she means you have good finger control.

Good fingers are the ones that listen. All others are are bad (I call them retarted). I punish the bad fingers by making them do more exercise. \:\)

#930224 - 04/08/08 01:24 PM Re: "Good" Fingers defined?
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7639
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Usually when I hear that, the student in question has a high innate level of mechanical ability. That is, fast response, good articulation, etc. They can play passage work evenly at high tempo, without outward signs of any effort.
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

#930225 - 04/08/08 01:55 PM Re: "Good" Fingers defined?
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Good fingers could mean.....

Thinking fingers
Listening fingers
Musical fingers
Responsive fingers
Capable fingers
Quick to learn fingers
Confident fingers

of course, all connected to a "good brain".

#930226 - 04/11/08 12:35 PM Re: "Good" Fingers defined?
Ashdyre Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/11/08
Posts: 83
Loc: Windsor, Ontario, Canada
when i use the terms good fingers i'm usually refering to long skinny agile fingers.
Love is a friendship set to music.

#930227 - 04/11/08 01:24 PM Re: "Good" Fingers defined?
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
I often see students who have ideal fingers. They are not slender, sometimes they seem a little chunky but most importantly the joints don't break in and are used with a graceful, minimal movement.
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.

#930228 - 04/11/08 01:30 PM Re: "Good" Fingers defined?
eromlignod Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/04/04
Posts: 379
Loc: Kansas City
(cast of Chopin's hand)


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