Wrist Lockdown

This seemingly small detail can make a student’s playing lacklustre. Without wrist movements at the ends of phrases and slurs, they won’t be able to make the piano “sing”.

Wrist Lockdown Imaginary String

Do you sometimes wish your students were your puppets? Well, with this prescription you will finally become the puppeteer.


  • Attach imaginary strings to your student’s wrists.
  • Tell her that she is a puppet, and you are the puppeteer, holding the other ends of those strings.
  • Stand behind your student and hold your hands out so that your student will be able to see them in her peripheral vision.
  • Experiment moving her wrists up and down with your imaginary strings.
  • Ask her to start playing – paying careful attention to your hands for when you move the strings. Shape the phrase and slur endings by lifting the strings up as needed.
  • Tell her to imagine the puppeteer when she is practicing at home, and the strings lifting her wrists at the phrase and slur endings.

Wrist Lockdown: Forceful Fingering

Using carefully chosen fingerings, we can actually force our students to lift and move at the end of a phrase. Once the movement is there, we can begin to shape it and make it sing.


  • Choose fingerings that will make your student lift where you want her to. For example, if she has to play C with finger two and then A with finger two also, she has no choice but to move.
  • Make sure she follows these fingerings.
  • Once the movements are in place, help her to shape the endings and taper the sound using her wrists.