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I am 49 year old and I started to learn piano five years ago, got for two years and half to a music school aimed mainly at childrens, they also have painting school and the like. Got two piano teachers, the fist one quit because he got engaged to play in a group so started to gig everywhere and stopped to give lessons. A new teacher arrived but I didn't bond and I felt that I was going backward.

I then had to relocate so I stopped to practice. I restarted by myself to practice and this December I found another music school near my workplace, so I started to get some lessons.

The new teacher immediately noticed that especially my left hand has a lot of posture problem. A bit like in Daughter tends to raise index and middle finger whenever she plays the remaining fingers on piano : tend to raise the index finger and put the thumb outside the keyboard towards me when I try to play with 4th and 5th finger, especially the left hand. Also I tend to curl to much the fingers. The fact is unlike a 4 year old i have rather big hands, and with some keyboards index and middle finger I touch both the sides of the black keys when I play near the fallboard, with my digital Casio I feel like the finger is going stuck, also happened with a 1970s DDR made vertical a friend of mine has.

If I play really slowly and hands separate I can control more the behaviour, but when I start to go hand together playing unison all goes haywire especially if I go faster.

This problem of course is degenerating in missing the keys, playing the wrong notes and making all a mess.

Worse thing I can't see any solution to attack the problem.

How I can try to solve this problem?

  • I think it’s always a good idea if someone wants to start with piano playing and it is never too late to start it as a fine hobby. It would be helpful for answering if you left some information what level is your purpose and what style of music you‘d like to play. – Albrecht Hügli Mar 20 at 17:19
  • Are you doing any 'finger independence' exercises? – Michael Curtis Mar 20 at 18:35
  • @AlbrechtHügli I'd like to play both classical music pieces expecially Bach, If I could plat the invention 13 in A minor or the cantata BWV 645 I think I'll feel satisfied. – Michele L'Intenditore Mar 20 at 22:06
  • I also like to play some pop rock pieces like Life on Mars, Perfect Day or Rocket Man or Eric Carmen's All By MySelf (that counts as Rachmaninoff Piano concerto excerpt, I know) – Michele L'Intenditore Mar 20 at 22:28
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  • Don't worry about touching the sides of black keys when you play further up on white keys - your fingers shouldn't get stuck and should make the black keys sound (unless you have extremely thick fingers). Let your fingers rub gently against the black keys as you navigate the notes in your piece. If you close your eyes, this gentle encounter with the black keys is how you know where you are on the keyboard!

    • NOTE: the keys on real pianos are heavy enough to handle this sort of friction without sounding - it may be that your keyboard keys aren't weighted enough to handle this side-finger friction. Even as an experienced piano player, I have trouble making certain keyboards sound good for reasons like this, so I'd suggest getting on a real piano to see if that helps solve the issue.
  • The issue with the 4th and 5th fingers to me mostly has to do with dexterity. Most non-piano-playing people don't have to engage their 4th and 5th fingers independently very often, but it's definitely a motor skill that pianists need. Has your teacher given you exercises like the Hanons? I think that you need something like this to develop these skills in order to make chords, scales, and pieces easier to execute. You want to work towards each of your fingers (excluding thumbs) being able to fire down independently, like a piston.

  • Your fingers (not counting thumbs) should strike the keys with the finger pad or tip. Most people tend to play flat-fingered if they're doing anything wrong, but I supposed you could be too curled too. This is another part of technique that you can focus on with exercises so that you when you're playing a piece you can focus more on melody and timing, letting technique run in the background.

Hanon Exercises

The Hanon Exercises are lots of notes that should play with a metronome and slowly increase the speed. Each exercise is a pattern that you repeat up and down the keyboard designed to work a different finger or combination of fingers. (I have the first 20 memorized and play them for warm-ups before gigs at about 100bpm.)

The way I approach these with students is to essentially memorize the pattern for the exercise that you're working on so that you can focus on technique. The soothing and repetitive nature of the pattern means that once you get it down, you don't need to worry about a pretty melody or counting the time or rests. Instead, you can get your hands going on auto-pilot and focus solely on technique with a rapid-fire note progression that your fingers execute like pistons in a well-oiled machine. If won't take much time for you to notice improvement that you'll be able to apply to the pieces you're learning.

  • I have as exercise a book "La tecnica giornaliera del pianista" written by Pozzoli in 1927, and I have some exercises to do - they are a series of pattern to do. But it's only the third teacher that advised me to take exercises, fact is that an exercises with a speed given to 60 to 120 i can barely arrive at 30. – Michele L'Intenditore Mar 20 at 22:41
  • To be more clear it's not that the friction wlll make the the keys move, it's a feeling maybe due to the key shape. I have also a synthesizer with a 5 octave keyboard that has spring action and I don't have that feel, that also happened with a 1970's German made piano – Michele L'Intenditore Mar 20 at 22:43
  • Ok, that makes sense. I haven't heard of those exercises, but they sound like a good place to start! And by all means begin at 30 if that's where you are - then you can slowly speed it up, perhaps 2bpm every 4 practices. Let us know how it goes! – DriveItLikeYouStoleIt Mar 21 at 2:31
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I don‘t think that you want to start the career of a pianist‘s but just to have some joy developing piano playing I can try to give some advices.

So the main point is: What priority do you have. Do you want to overcome your finger probleme or do you want to play as much music as possible?

My advice is: Try to compensate your handicapped fingers. Play and enjoy as long as you live.

  1. Forget the casio keyboard. The measures are obvious not standards.

  2. Play always in front of the keys as much as possibly. So you can minimize to stick between the black keys.

  3. A lot of pieces are playable. Many popsongs you could even play with only one finger (the bass tone) of the left hand and the chords with the right hand.

  4. There are easy blues and boogie pieces and rock songs playable with not too big difficulties with two or three fingers of the l.h.

  5. Bach‘s inventions and easy preludes are playable, aswell as sonatinas of classical composers.

  6. Also easy pieces of modern writers are available to you as e.g. ludovico einaudi:

https://www.google.com/search?q=ludovico+einaudi+sheet+music&safe=active&rlz=1C9BKJA_enCH812CH813&hl=de&prmd=isvn&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjr66KVq5HhAhWFCuwKHbsOBaUQ_AUoAXoECAsQAQ&biw=1024&bih=653

I could play the whole day piano - but I know I will never reach the level of my grand children. I want to play as much music as I can for the rest of my life even I know I will never be a good pianist. Every piece I hear I want to find out and play it just at my level. And I still believe I make progressions.

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You just have some bad habits hard wired into your brain's muscle memory. They are difficult to eradicate but not impossible. Despite what Hanon or anyone else says, you should never isolate a finger. I mean, that is what you are complaining about. You are extending and flexing multiple fingers simultaneously. These are called vector forces or dual muscular pulls.

Find a teacher who can teach you to play from the weight of the arm or gravity. Whenever you flex and extend simultaneously, abduct and flex or even flex and maintain a rigid position of the other fingers, you are using multiple muscles to act on single bones. So, yes, you CAN flex and extend at the same time but you are pulling your hand in multiple directs. It is what makes us play uneven, feel weak, feel rusty, feel fatigued, cramped, make the keys feel heavy, etcetera.

  • I find myself writing similar points before reading your post! : ) – Aminopterin Mar 21 at 16:45
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Let's denote fingers to be 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 in the usual manner. You say that when 4 and (or) 5 is used, 2 is raised automatically. This is just normal. When you curl 4 and 5, 2 is also curled. Google any photo on hand anatomy, you see 4 is especially weak since muscles are inevitably connected with 3 and 5. How to avoid that? Simply don't curl them. Find the angle, when you strike the keys, that asks of least tension. Use the momentum of the arm movement to strike the key in a natural manner. You find 2 to be relaxed when 4 and 5 are just placed down.

I see the notion, that fingers reach independence after years of training, kind of nonsense. Fingers of accomplished pianists are not "more independent" (by becoming a mutant?), but more efficiently used. Unfortunately, this revelation just comes about after "years of training", with the help of a good instructor (more so for beginners!). And keep in mind that the only key to improvement, though, lies in yourself, and only in yourself. Feel, to the utmost detail as far as you can, how each muscle is stretched, relaxed, comfortable, or fatigued. Take everyone's suggestion with a grain of salt -- when a physical craft is involved, like instrument playing or physical exercise, since people's body differs a lot.

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