Introduction: How to Improve Finger Accuracy
It is the most frustrating experience...our fingers keep stumbling...meaning when we try to play with both hands together we can't keep our fingerings consistent and we don't play our notes together at the same time. No matter how much we work on them, they just won't cooperate.
This is a challenge that every single pianist in the world faces.
We can play a passage in our music with each hand separately just fine but when we put both hands together, our fingers start acting like a puppy that is too big for her legs and stumbles all over the place until she grows bigger and more comfortable with her legs.
This lesson is specifically designed to equip you with the necessary tools to overcome this challenge very quickly because these tried and tested techniques work!
If you do them...you will succeed. Let's get started!
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Step 1: Tip #1 - Write Down the Fingerings
Once you have the fingerings picked for a passage that you want to play, whether it is a scale, exercise, or a piece...write them down over the notes.
It is amazing how much the visual reinforcement helps when you are learning new fingerings and trying to play all of them correctly with both hands.
Don't ever hesitate to write in your fingerings no matter what your level is learning is because we will never stop learning. Sometimes we don't want to take that extra few seconds that it takes to put in the fingerings, but do it...it's well worth that extra little bit of time.
Let's find out now why these fingerings are so important when it comes to playing accurately with both hands.
Step 2: Tip #2 - Play the Fingerings Consistently
Now, even more importantly...once you have picked your fingerings and have them written down..don't play something different. Play exactly what you have on your page and do it the same way each and every time.
This is the only way to successfully reinforce and learn the patterns correctly and so well that you eventually won't have to think about them any longer - you'll do them automatically.
It's very important that you repeat only the correct fingerings. You're actually establishing and strengthening neural pathways every time you repeat any type of action. That's why it has to be the right one each time.
So...you know to write in your fingerings and to play them the same way each time - next, let's look at a couple of resources that you can use to put these tips to practice.
Step 3: Tip #3 - Practice Finger Exercises Such As Hanon and Czerny
Finger exercises have been practiced by pianists forever! Why? Because they really help to overcome the challenges that we face when playing with both hands together; such as consistency with our fingering.
Most of these exercises will have some of the fingerings written in for you, especially when you have to cross your fingers over each other. Consider these the hardest finger patterns and work on those first when you start each exercise.
Consecutive notes such as scale passages are so similar to the scales that you should already know, that these fingerings usually won't be notated in the music.
Always though, whatever fingerings you need to write in yourself to help you play them consistently, don't hesitate to do that and remember to play the same fingerings and patterns every time.
The more you practice each exercise, the better your fingers will be at playing and staying together.
Hanon and Czerny are known by most pianists and practiced all throughout a pianist's learning career. I have included links to each of the composers' works so that you can look at them and download them to utilize what we're going over here in this lesson and in the 3 videos in the final step. Save them so you can access them easily in the future.
Next, we're going to look at the best way to practice your fingerings and technical exercises that will ensure your success as long as you really do it...longer than you may want to! That's the hard part about this final tip...ready to find out what it is?
Step 4: Tip #4 and the Ultimate Key to Success - Go Slowly
Just-Two-Words. "Go Slowly".
Every time you stumble...say "Go slowly".
Every note you miss...say "Go slowly".
Every time you sit down to play...say "Go slowly".
Learn it as your piano mantra and repeat it often. :)
That old saying - " you had to learn to walk before you could run" is so simple that it seems meaningless, yet it holds the key to everything right here. This is...the only way.
Learn to let go of immediate results expectations...and watch your growth unfold each day more and more from your consistent, mindful, and SLOW work. Remind yourself that slow is the way to fast...always. (at least a successful "fast"!)
In the final step, I always include a video that goes over everything in the written lesson to help reinforce the lesson and give you an opportunity to practice it all with me at my keyboard and you at your keyboard. Today I've added a couple of extra videos that will give you some more resources for practicing...let's see what they are. Got your keyboard?
Step 5: Come Practice With Me
Finger accuracy is a common challenge for all pianists and it seems that we're always working on it in some fashion - no matter what level of playing we are.
The tips given in this lesson have been used by countless students, including myself...so I know that they work and I continue to use them in my practicing even today.
The first video goes over this lesson here and I'll show you how to do each step on the piano.
The second video gives you a specific practice routine that you can use that includes scales, exercises and pieces, and I go over some of the Hanon and Czerny exercises that were introduced here.
The third video is a playlist of my tutorials on this specific topic that includes all of the challenges we encounter when playing with both hands and I give you tons of opportunity to practice different ways of conquering this with me in each video. (The video itself addresses challenges and the playlist is to the right of the video.)
Make sure to check out additional videos posted in the description section for each video to find more help with this and many other topics.