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I'm a beginner to Piano and when I'm playing the C chord, I'm placing my thumb on C, middle finger on E, and my pinky on G. Only thing is, whenever I bring my pinky down, my ring finger comes down with it on F.

Will this just improve with practice or am I just putting my fingers on the wrong keys.

Thank in advance!

marked as duplicate by Tim H, user45266, Richard, ttw, Todd Wilcox Mar 14 at 13:21

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    you can practice this exercices (s. my answer) also on your knees or on your your left hand, (or on your head) someone may think your crazy or tell you: "stop beeing nervous!" - that's what my wife tells me when we are in the train or when going to see friends and waiting for the dessert when I use the time to do my exercises. – Albrecht Hügli Feb 27 at 9:24
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The motion of pressing a piano key is driven by the flexor tendon on the inside of the finger. The flexor tendons for the ring and little fingers join together in the palm of the hand, which makes it harder to move these fingers independently.

But independence is certainly possible. As an exercise, place your hand on a flat surface with your fingers curled in playing position, and try lifting just your ring finger off the surface. Over time you'll get better at it.

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    I would add "do it very slowly and with complete control" to this otherwise fine answer. Its also something to conquer in bass playing. Do it slowly and you will get better results long term. Do it fast and you will not learn control, only mask your lack of control. – bigbadmouse Feb 27 at 10:10
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This is a hand anatomy issue as @TomSerb described.

Read up on finger independence exercises. They are an important part of piano training.

Also, playing in C major - all white keys - is very common for beginner lessons, but sometimes it is more difficult than playing with some black keys. Try also playing other simple chords like D, A, or E major, or Cm, Gm, or Fm. With those chords you can put your finger 3 (middle finger) on the black key in the middle of the chord. You may find this fits the hand better and helps you get the feel of playing the chord without finger 4 (ring finger) pressing down the other key.

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This is absolutely normal and a question of isolation.

You can practice this independency of fingers everywhere you are:

  • Hold all fingers on the table and lift each single and tip it down many times: first the pinky finger, then the 4th etc. trying to lift the finger always higher
  • Then tip the fingers by changing (like a triller or a tremolo454545. 34343434. 353535, 2525252, 242424 etc, the other fingers are set fixed on the table
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With all due respect to my colleagues, I'm going to try to clarify the other answers here. As they've rightly identified, you're experiencing simple anatomy -- the muscles that move those two fingers are joined.

However, seeing as this is human anatomy, you should not try to fight it. In my opinion, performing the above exercises as described, especially as a beginner, will lead to tension, which is something pianists should avoid at all costs.

Tension is caused when muscles are fighting against one another -- pulling in opposite directions. Doing the exercises above without a proper understanding will simply exacerbate this. They can definitely be a help, but the way they are worded and described above may lead to some erroneous ideas which I address below.

That being said, your problem CAN be solved -- however, in my opinion it's not a matter of finger independence, but instead a matter of position and attack.

By position, I mean that you should rest your hands on the keys so that the fingers are relaxed and naturally curled downward, pointing at the keys.

Here's a crucial point on attack: whenever a finger is not currently depressing a key, it should be comfortably relaxed. The exercises above, though not entirely wrong, may lead to the erroneous idea that when you play with your pinky, you must force your ring finger to stay up. This is not correct.

Instead, when you play with your pinky, your ring finger should be completely relaxed. So if you do the exercises above, don't try to force the other fingers not to move -- instead, focus on simply moving that one finger and completely relaxing the others. It's OK if they move together -- as long as the other is relaxed, it should not move with enough force to depress an extra key.

Also, pressing the keys should not be a fingers-only action. The above exercises also may lead to the erroneous concept that you need to "freeze" your hand and only move the finger muscles. This is also false. Allow the wrist and hand to have full range of motion when playing, but simply extend the fingers being used and relax the others.

I could go on, but hopefully this is a help.

  • I think I see your point. My advice was to_not push down the key with finger 4_. When I play that is accomplished with a kind of relaxed slackness in fingers 2 and 4 and not from actively lifting those finger up and away from the keys. – Michael Curtis Feb 28 at 20:25
  • I still think 5 finger type independence exercises should help develop the sense of controlling that firmness/relaxed touch in each finger, but it really needs to be done at the piano rather than any flat surface. – Michael Curtis Feb 28 at 20:28
  • @MichaelCurtis I see your point. If done with a focus on just that finger while keeping the others relaxed, and done at the piano, they can indeed be beneficial. I just wanted to make sure OP understood that distinction. The term "finger independence" could be misleading. Good insights! – Kevin H Feb 28 at 20:36
  • I posting a new spin-off question about gravity drop and scales to delve a little deeper. I think I understand the principle 'don't play from the fingers' but then it seems counter-intuitive for scales. – Michael Curtis Feb 28 at 20:44
  • Just read your other question. You're correct that my explanation doesn't hold true in every scenario. I hadn't thought through that aspect. I would qualify, however, by saying that for the scenario OP is asking about here, gravity drop definitely applies, and also by saying that even fast tempo scales should be full arm movements where the hands and fingers are kept loose and relaxed. But yes, you make a valid point, thanks for your correction! – Kevin H Feb 28 at 23:09

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