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Re: Can't keep my fingers straight (collapsing joints)
kangarooster #3013130 08/12/20 04:03 PM
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Re: Can't keep my fingers straight (collapsing joints)
kangarooster #3013152 08/12/20 04:52 PM
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Try playing with the last joint of your fingers at around 45 degrees to the keyboard. As I said earlier you may be trying to play with your fingers too curved and/or your wrist too high. Playing with your fingertips does not mean playing the the very last part of your finger before the nail.

Re: Can't keep my fingers straight (collapsing joints)
kangarooster #3013153 08/12/20 04:54 PM
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It doesn’t look your nails are the problem.

Do you do any finger exercises or scales? When I say finger exercises, I don’t mean anything strenuous, just things like going backwards and forwards between C and G (slowly) or Hanon #1 (very slowly) and watching your fingers very closely?

Personally, I think that I learn more about hitting keys correctly from practicing scales than I do from playing music. There’s too many other things going on while playing music to even think about how bent my fingers are.

My practice session will always start with scales, chords, exercises where I will study how my hands are doing and with my main objective being to hit every key absolutely perfectly.

Re: Can't keep my fingers straight (collapsing joints)
kangarooster #3013176 08/12/20 05:30 PM
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Maybe try tapping on a table surface.

I'm definitely in the camp that thinks this is all just practice. Finger and wrist position were some of the main things that required practice when I took lessons as a kid. Even as an adult that haven't played piano for decades, I still find it very natural to use my finger tips whether it's typing or just tapping on a table.

To actually try to get my finger joint to collapse like that, either I have to put my wrist and hand in a very unnatural position or I have to actively change the way I'm applying pressure with my finger but it's certainly doable. So I would think that the reverse would be true for you.

If your hand position doesn't have any major issues, you may just have to relearn how how to press things with your finger and practice until it becomes 2nd nature. It's like with any movement in the body, people don't always move correctly naturally and will need some practice to establish the proper muscle coordination.

Last edited by rkzhao; 08/12/20 05:32 PM.
Re: Can't keep my fingers straight (collapsing joints)
kangarooster #3013476 08/13/20 02:56 PM
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I've actually found a way to solve this recently. I don't think it's a major issue and there are great pianists who have some degree of collapsing. But fixing this can give you more stability, power and control.

The solution is hard to communicate in words but I'll try anyway:

prerequisites:
1. having your hand and arm behind the playing finger. A finger isolated from the hand will have harder time maintaining structure.
2. nails should be somewhat trimmed, not extremely though.
3. the fingers should 'take' the key, not push it (see this for illustration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALDzxU452gA around 34:00) - have your teacher explain it properly.

Now for my 'solution':
Each finger has three places where it can bend and 'take' the key:
1. the one closest to the hand
2. the middle joint
3. the last joint, closest to the tip

When one's finger is collapsing, it means she/he activates only the first two. You need to activate the third, and your finger will not collapse. Think of it as trying to clean some dirt off of the key.

A couple of things to pay attention to:
1. this should be done VERY gently with minimum effort. As soon as you start thinking about this last joint it won't collapse. Don't try to curl your finger, just make sure you send energy to all three points. Stop all effort (or 99% of it) once the sound is produced.
2. this takes some conscious effort at the beginning, so try to isolate it in a specific passage, scale or arpeggio.

You'll see it becomes harder to achieve on black keys, on finger 3 and 4, and closer to the fall board. This is where prerequisite (1) comes into play.

I hope it was somewhat clear.

Re: Can't keep my fingers straight (collapsing joints)
kangarooster #3013518 08/13/20 04:55 PM
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It sounds like you push too hard on the keys, or position your fingers too upright. My fingers also have longer nails then that. You should really discuss this with a teacher or somebody in person.

Re: Can't keep my fingers straight (collapsing joints)
kangarooster #3015245 08/18/20 02:40 PM
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I really appreciate all the answers I've got.

@Ido thanks for a nice explanation, I will give it a try.

It is very much a possibility that I am pressing the keys too hard, curl my hand the wrong way or a combination of both as well as other things. I will discuss this with a piano teacher!

Thanks all, very helpful!

Re: Can't keep my fingers straight (collapsing joints)
kangarooster #3015246 08/18/20 02:42 PM
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This happens to me too, some. I know it's a heresy, but I sometimes play with slightly straighter fingers.

You might also try sitting a bit lower.


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