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General hand technique game

Posted last March 26, 2010, 12:43 pm for Grade Music Tutors in Business report article

Since I was young, I always wanted to make my fingers 4 and 5 as strong as fingers 1, 2 and 3. I thought if I went hard on these fingers, they would come up to speed with the others so I would do lots of exercises on 4 and 5, almost to the point of straining them. It was even said that the composer Robert Schumann devised a scales-like machine from which on one side was a weight and on the other, (hung from a lever) 2 small ‘slings’ designed to hold the fingers in question and work them each time they played a note. In my case, unfortunately, I was wrong and soon realised what many beginners do – that 4 and 5 will never be as strong as the rest.
However, there are other ways to improve your technique. Here’s one:

Balance a pen (pencil is even better later on as it is smoother and cylindrical) on the back of your hand. Start by playing: C, D, E, F, G, F, E, D, C up to 5 times, getting louder each time to repeat the sequence. The aim should be to keep the pen from falling off the back of your hand as you play louder, keeping your hand still, while increasing the finger movement due to greater force on the keys. Use these rules to make it more interesting:

  1. Once the pen/pencil falls off, you have to start over from the beginning
  2. You cannot speed up to get to your goal
  3. You must get louder each time, thus risking more finger (and hand) movement and the chance of the pen falling off
Have fun with this and let me know how long you can do it for.