How strong are your fingers? This piano finger exercise is designed to challenge and strengthen the 4th and 5th fingers. It's a physical and mental challenge with the potential to transform your playing. This is a beginner piano exercise, but it's a still a challenge for pianists at any level of proficiency.
This exercise will help you gain full control over your fingers and give you access and control over the full dynamic range of the piano.
When you start playing piano your 4th and 5th fingers are weaker than the first three. That’s completely normal and the reason I give this to all my new students.
This is designed as a temporary add on to your regular practise regimen. This is not meant to replace any of your current exercises, rather added to for 4 weeks as a strength booster.
This exercise is done at a diabolically slow 40 beats per minute (BPM). Each note will be held for 4 beats, which in this case equals about 5 seconds. If you do not have a metronome, you can Google ‘metronome’ and one will come up.
Strength building requires resistance. Use a weighted keyboard or acoustic piano for this exercise. Just like in any other strength training exercise, your muscles will tire. Be sure not to overdo it. 15 minutes should do the trick.
Unlike other basic piano exercises, this exercise involves the mind as an equal partner in training. Mindfulness is one of the best ways to learn piano scales, arpeggios and just about anything. Seriously, put your mind to it, as they say.
Nowadays in athletics this is called Neuromuscular Training although musicians have been doing this ever since well... the very first musician learned to play the very first instrument!
Even though this is a piano finger exercise, there are important and specific mental tasks to execute while your finger muscles are being worked. These mental tasks help to:
1. Reinforce note names and their location on the keyboard
2. Release hand and body tension
3. Train the brain to recognise these new physical positions and adapt to this new technique
4. Develop the mental focus required to play at your best.
The technical benefits of piano exercises like this cannot be overstated. The long term benefits include:
1. Increased finger strength
2. Increased accuracy
3. Increased speed (It seems counterintuitive, but mastering exercises like this slowly, allows you to play quickly when you need to)
5. Touch sensitivity. This is really the ultimate demonstration of control that separates the players from the wanna-be's. Your unique and nuanced thoughts and feelings are expressed through how you touch the piano.
You can see benefits after 4 weeks. Add this exercise to your practice routine for 10 - 15 minutes, 4 times per week.
Do the exercise with each hand separately, then with both hands together.
After completing the cycle 3 times, rest your hands for a at least one full minute before moving on to anything else.
After doing this exercise 4 times a week for 4-6 weeks, you’ll find that you have more control over your fingers and more control over the piano.
Give it a go and let me know how you make out in the comments below.
BONUS: You can get a FREE downloadable format of this lesson (with video demonstrations) by clicking the button below.