Straight, stick-like fingers can be very frustrating as a teacher. This is a practice ailment that needs curing once and for all, so we can all stop nagging about it!
Fused Phalanges: Spider Safety
Keep those spiders (or another creature if you prefer!) safe by lifting the bridge of your hands! This is a great way to capture your student’s imagination when it comes to hand shape.
- Close the piano lid or move to a table.
- Ask your student to make her best piano hand shape.
- Encourage her to lift the bridge by explaining that a spider needs to live under there, and if she lets her hand collapse, the spider isn’t safe anymore.
- Move back to the piano and ask your student to play her piece. Any time her hand shape is lacking, remind her that the spider needs to live under there and tell her to start again.
- Draw little spiders on your student’s music to remind her to practice this way at home.
Fused Phalanges: X Marks the Spot
Taking the focus away from curving the fingers, and placing it on playing on a certain part of the key can allow your student to discover for herself the best handshape to play with.
- Get some sticky tabs, small post-its or moveable stickers. (Make sure they won’t mark your keys!)
- Place a tab on each key that your student will be using in her piece. Place them about halfway between the black keys and the edge, in the sweet spot.
- Ask your student to play her piece, only playing on the X spots. If she has trouble, help her to find a hand position so she can hold her fingers over these spots more easily.
- Take the target tabs off the keys and have your student practice positioning them on the keys herself.
- Stick the target tabs on her music book and assign practice using the X marks the spot steps at home.