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finger exercises

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finger exercises

Postby SallyEva » 26 Feb 2009, 08:51

My daughter's piano teacher has given her some finger exercises marked as by someone called Leszetiwsky ?? I must be misreading that slightly because a google search doesn't throw up anything relevant. I'm sure someone here knows who they are by

And...........she tells me that the point of the exercise (all fingers on keys, raise one finger and hit one key move on to the next finger) is to raise the fingers as high as possible. Someone else told me that such finger exercises should be done keeping the fingers on the keys and letting the rebound take them up.

I would very much appreciate anyone's help/comments on this

Thanks
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Re: finger exercises

Postby markymark » 26 Feb 2009, 18:41

SallyEva wrote:And...........she tells me that the point of the exercise (all fingers on keys, raise one finger and hit one key move on to the next finger) is to raise the fingers as high as possible.

Thanks


Bear in mind that they are finger exercises. If you've ever seen people power-walking, it's not done to make them walk in a more sophisticated manner but simply for exercise. The exaggerated movements, presumably, are to develop the finger and hand muscles. Hanon does things like this too and teachers have used these exercises to play exaggeratedly in order to make muscles work. Their intention is not always to develop correct playing technique and posture but rather to physically develop the hand.
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Re: finger exercises

Postby Gill the Piano » 26 Feb 2009, 19:20

Did you get a book of the exercises? I've looked for them for years...
They are excellent exercises, and their principle aim is to encourage finger independence. Some of the later ones are bloomin' hard!
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Re: finger exercises

Postby SallyEva » 27 Feb 2009, 12:00

"Did I get a book of the exercises?"

No, I've just got a photocopied page. Is the name right -- if so, I can't find anything on the Web by the same person.

So they are strengthening, flexibility exercises -- to do with improving independence of the fingers?

The teacher said that they should improve her touch which is too heavy.
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Re: finger exercises

Postby markymark » 27 Feb 2009, 17:03

I'm not really sure what you're getting at here...

You need fit hands in order to play well. That INCLUDES touch, finger response, articulation and even eye-to-hand co-ordination to an extent to mention a few. Sloppy, lazy hands tend to overplay notes hence the teacher's decision to use the exercises to develop her touch. Weak finger muscles also lack stamina and can not handle faster phrases of music without having to slow down. It also develops the 4th and 5th fingers that are traditionally the weakest fingers owing to lack of use on a daily basis. The other finger tend to be naturally "fitter".

Your child's teacher is spot on! :|
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Re: finger exercises

Postby Descombes » 27 Feb 2009, 20:32

SallyEva wrote:"Did I get a book of the exercises?"

No, I've just got a photocopied page. Is the name right -- if so, I can't find anything on the Web by the same person.

So they are strengthening, flexibility exercises -- to do with improving independence of the fingers?

The teacher said that they should improve her touch which is too heavy.

The most usual spellings are Leschetizsky or Leszetycki. He was one of the great piano teachers of the 1850-1915 period. Some of the very greatest pianists studied with him, like Paderewski, Schnabel and Moiseiwitsch. I have not come across his exercises, but they are likely to be pretty effective! He was actually taught by Czerny, probably the most famous composer of studies of them all.

I would be interested to know if the exercises are still in print. (I try to avoid photocopies: nasty tatty things, apart from the legal implications.)
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Re: finger exercises

Postby joseph » 01 Mar 2009, 22:46

i say that the fingers must always remain in contact with the keys, over lifting the fingers will cause problems in the long run, especially if your daughter ends up playing like that all the time.

It is quite correct to start with the finger on the key and let the rebound take the finger back up again. This helps train the fingers to feel the action and response of every individual piano.

Also, over lifting encourages tension......
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Re: finger exercises

Postby SallyEva » 02 Mar 2009, 21:02

All that info has enabled me to find the original book on the Web -- though not to buy it because it is only available second-hand at specialist shops.

It is The Groundwork of the Leschetizky Method by Malwine Bree published in German in 1902 and then republished in 1971. I think that the Royal College must have a copy because my daughter's piano teacher is fresh (ish) out of there and the photocopy (illegal I know) is freshly made.

Many thanks to everyone
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Re: finger exercises

Postby joseph » 03 Mar 2009, 00:59

Being an RCM graduate myself, it is surprising that a former student from there would encourage lifting the fingers off the keys and making over exaggerated movements. Still, i guess there are loads of students there, i've heard all sorts.
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Re: finger exercises

Postby SallyEva » 03 Mar 2009, 09:23

Royal Academy of Music not College -- my mistake, I went back and checked. I asked her about leaving the finger on the key and letting the rebound push it up and she said she'd never heard of it "takes all sorts", she said.

Maybe I will do both with my daughter.
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Re: finger exercises

Postby Paul Sparham » 26 Mar 2009, 22:02

“is to raise the fingers as high as possible”

Mechanical exercises should be treated with caution.

Using the fingers like little sledgehammers striking into the key is (I believe) a very bad idea. It causes unnecessary tension in the extrinsic muscles of the forearm and prolonged use can lead to repetitive strain injuries such as tenosinovitis (like De Quervains) and carpal tunnel syndrome - or even the most dreaded symptom of all - focal dystonia.

Such manuals (often written long ago) do not take anatomy into consideration. One the alleged claims of Hanon is that the fourth and fifth fingers are rendered as strong and agile as the other digits. However, mechanical coupling by interosseous ligaments prevents this and that true finger independence is not possible. Such exercises will, in time, also diminish the flexibility of the wrist - indeed Hanon advices that the wrist is kept rigid in Book II - and ultimately stiffen finger movement - in complete contradiction of what is supposed to be the benefit. Use of arms, shoulders, back or even posture is not even mentioned. Proper technique can’t be developed from concentrating on fingers alone.

Finally, practice of mechanical exercises blunts musical sensitivity and ultimately, in my opinion, is a waste of time - as well as being potentially dangerous. Practise of these exercises perfects the exercises and little else. If you wish to perfect a Beethoven piano sonata or a Chopin etude then practise the sonata or etude and don’t waste your time with mechanical exercises. That, for what it is worth, is my opinion.
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Re: finger exercises

Postby Jonathan the 2nd » 10 Feb 2012, 21:23

Let me resusitate the topic for a while. If you want to develop "Finger Muscles" which are actually forearm muscles working the fingers via tendons then you should buy a muscle toner. ( About £10 when I bought mine ) .They will very quickly develop the correct muscles that work the fingers. it`s quite painless and safe and uses small batteries. The muscles that work the small fingers are right back near the elbows. You will learn what moves which by seeing the parts of your hand move as you switch on. It`s a lot of fun too and very safe.
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Re: finger exercises

Postby Nutroast » 11 Feb 2012, 15:54

My daughter has inherited my double-jointedness and is currently working on her hand posture and fingers with the aid of last year's Red-Nose Day nose :P

I must admit, when I came back to practicing the piano daily after a year of neglect, I was surprised how much I could feel it in my hand muscles.

Little and often is the key for me and the littleun.
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Re: finger exercises

Postby Gill the Piano » 11 Feb 2012, 17:55

Hear hear; I did some exercises designed to strengthen the 4th and 5th fingers and could feel those fingers all the way up to my shoulders for some time afterward...
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Re: finger exercises

Postby OurRedPiano » 29 Feb 2012, 01:27

Got to love piano forums.
So, you can check on your piano teacher. :lol:
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Re: finger exercises

Postby Jonathan the 2nd » 07 Mar 2012, 02:20

Piano playing may become easier now that tiny powerful magnets are being used to replace the action of some of the lead weights. Pianos can injure a lot of players according to some reports. I saw a very good piano teacher on youtube advising about trills. He said not to keep raising the fingers any more than you have to.If you want to work the finger muscles get a mechanical typewriter and a set of typing exercises. I learned that way and my forearms really knew I had been working. The repetition exercises develop a rhythm just like a boxer hitting that ball on a spring. They call them speed balls. I had to look that up.
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