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Are there any finger exercises I can perform even when I am not near a piano to improve my dexterity and strength of my fingers?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

An exercise that I was taught, have seen many times, and also have used with others. It can be done anywhere. Instead of tapping my fingers, I do this exercise.

Place your hand on the table (or whatever surface) as though you were resting your fingers on the keys. "Play" the sequence 1-3-5-2-4, repeating it over and over. Things to work on are your rhythm, make sure that each "note" you play is even. (For instance, 1-3--2 are more dominant fingers, but make sure ---2-4 are doing their share of the work!) Work on being able to keep that up for several minutes, keeping the 1-3-5-2-4 progression intact. I find myself lapsing into 1-3-5-43-5-1 or something equally funky if I'm not careful.

The temptation here is to do this with your dominant hand, but make sure you also do it with the other hand. The tempo will be much (much, much, much...for me) slower, so spend more timing working with that hand.

This should also be done with both hands, keeping each note in sync. For me, it usually ends in disaster. (:

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There are many useful variants. I like this one: 1-3-2-4-3-5-4-1-5-2=3-1-4-2-5-3-1-4-2-5 : this is composed of circular permutations of the same pattern exploring some unusual combinations. I recommend using it one hand while doing a straight and even 1-2-3-4-5 on the other. It is better if slightly accentuated every two notes. –  ogerard Apr 27 '11 at 16:10
@ogerard, that sequence gives me a headache thinking about it. (; –  Rebecca Chernoff Apr 27 '11 at 16:28

Book+video: Seymore Fink, Mastering Piano Technique (search)

It has good full arm exercises, to practise both with and away from the piano. The idea is to work out the muscles involved in playing piano - from shoulder to finger tips, and groove the patterns involved in playing, like the circular motion while playing an arpeggio.

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