Finger Hiccups

I’ve also heard this called a musical “stutter” and “backtracking”. These students play the same note at least a few times to correct it, before continuing.

Finger Hiccups: Cover Up

Shifting her gaze forward can help your student to better prepare as she plays. When she’s more prepared, she’s less likely to resort to Finger Hiccups.


  • Grab a small piece of paper, about 5cm x 10cm (2in x 4in) should work for most method book pieces.
  • Ask your student to start playing.
  • As she plays, cover the bar (measure) she is currently playing so she can only see the next bar.
  • Repeat this several times so your student can get used to moving her eyes forward.
  • Ask her to imagine the paper covering her music as she plays at home and repeat the Cover Up next week at the lesson.

Finger Hiccups: Super Slow Motion

Make sure to say the super! Go at this ultra slow pace will mean your student has time to look ahead and prepare, and if you sell the Super Slow Motion idea, they will play very slowly indeed.


  • Tell your student the rules for playing in Super Slow Motion:
    • You must play everything exactly as you would at full tempo including dynamics, articulation and accurate rhythms.
    • You must play as slowly as possible – the slower the better.
    • You cannot go back at any point, only forward.
  • If she is not playing slowly enough, demonstrate, playing as dramatically slowly as you can.
  • Tell your student to alternate her practice between Super Slow Motion, and regular practice tempo this week.