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Floppy Finger Predicament

The collapsing top finger joint is very frustrating for piano teachers. The students fingers persistently bend in the wrong direction when pressing the key down.

Floppy Finger Predicament: Tap Drills

Tapping on a table top means your student will be able to focus on just the technique issue without also worrying about notes and everything else on the page.

Steps

  • Close the piano lid or go to a table.
  • Place your student’s music in front of both of you.
  • Hold out one hand, hovering over the surface and ask your student to do the same.
  • Tap the piece out on the table top together, fixing your student’s hand and helping her to form good fingertips.
  • Return to the piano and ask your student to start playing, with this same feeling of strong fingertips.
  • If a finger goes floppy, stop her and ask her to tap it out on the fallboard to “check” it before continuing with her piece.
  • Assign practice of Tap Drills before each piece.

Floopy Finger Predicament: The Bionic Pianist

Does your student need some temporary bionic hands? These techniques will help your student to feel her full arm weight, and keep her fingertips firm.

Steps

  • Give your student a pencil, preferably with an eraser on the end.
  • Ask her to play hands separately and then hands together using the bionic pencil hands.
  • Help her to form a braced hand shape with her thumb supporting the first finger joint.
  • Again, ask her to play hands separately then together, using the braced finger shape.
  • Change the finger used and repeat.
  • Finally, ask her to open out her hand and play normally, keeping the feeling that she had when her thumb was supporting her finger.
  • Write some bionic practice steps for her home practice and repeat the process in the next lesson.

Download a printable version of these steps with illustrations here.