My piano teacher has told me that my fingers bend in an unnatural way and this will be detrimental to my long term piano success. What are some good excersizes from prevent the tips of my fingers from laying flat on the piano and instead having arc. Here is my attempt to show you how my fingers hit the keys vs how they should hit the keys.

How they should hit the keys (at an angle)


How they hit the keys right now

   _ /

the first joint in my finger goes flat to the piano which I have been told is bad for my form and sometimes can hurt to play. I don't have this issue EVERY time I hit a key but sometimes I end up hitting the keys this way and I want to not have issues in the longer term of playing the piano.

Any advice will help me greatly, thank you for taking the time to read this post. EDIT: any specific practice routines specifically will help me so much if anyone has resources for this issue, thanks again.

(ALSO, they angle is obviously pretty dramatic in the slashes but I hope you get what I am saying)

  • 1
    Does it hurt when your fingers touch the keys and go flat? – Dekkadeci Jul 29 '18 at 6:50

Sounds like you may be pressing the keys too hard. Remember, it's the speed with which the key travels that makes the note soft or loud, once it hits the bottom the job's done, no point in pressing. (OK, some electric instruments have Aftertouch, but this is piano, right?)

You've noticed you're doing it. Good, that's half the battle won already. 'Don't do that then'.

  • this is great advice! will apply this to my playing, thank you. – Cooper Lappenbusch Jul 29 '18 at 2:44

You need to look at the shape of your hand (and the position of your arm) as you address the keyboard. Fingers are not expected to be flat but in an arc coming down from your hand. Your elbows need to be raised slightly to allow you to use the weight of your forearms when striking the notes.

Your teacher should be able to help you with this and I'm sure you could find some images on the internet, possibly even as answers to other questions on this site.

As always, when you know what you need to do you will have to practise!

Good luck


Make sure your elbows are situated properly, which should be to the side, but slightly in front of your body. If your fingertips are collapsing down, try pushing your elbows and forearms slightly more forward so that the upper part of your hands moves closer to the back of the keys. This should raise your fingers so they are on the fingertips. Make sure your palm has a bit of a cup shape to it. Also pay close attention to how the tops of your hands feel. They should not feel strained or "pulled on", but relaxed. Also make sure you are sitting properly. You should be far enough away from the piano so that your elbows are slightly in front of your body. Do not sit straight up, but keep your back straight and lean slightly forward from the hips. Being too "straight up" actually encourages pulling away from the keys, which could lead to the arms pulling down on the hands, which could lead to your fingertips collapsing. It is all connected!


That end fulcrum is called a phalanx. People break that phalanx when they press too hard into the keybed, they are playing from the fingers and not the arm, or they are sitting too high.

There are no exercises to stop doing it. You need to make a concentrated effort to just stop doing it. You need to retrain your arm.

I'll be so bold as to say that you need a new teacher. First, if they didn't know that that was a phalanx, second, if they didn't correct it the first day they saw it, third, if they think you need a magical exercise to eradicate it and fourth, if they don't know that it is the arm that plays the piano and not the fingers . . . you've got a teacher who will cripple you with their ignorance. Well, they will allow you to cripple yourself.

Barbara Lister-Sink created a video called "Freeing The Caged Bird" and there is a floor example she uses to help students find the weight of the arm and alignment of each fulcrum and the arm behind the finger. You can do this yourself sitting at the piano but her example is very good. I beleive much of her video is on Youtube.

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