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.
- 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.
- 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.