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#3181071 12/30/21 05:38 AM
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BluNyte Offline OP
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Hi, I started learning piano 5 years ago when I first received a piano from my parents as a gift. We couldn't hire a tutor because there was not a single piano tutor in my area. So I started learning songs on my own.

I practiced scales in the beginning but got bored and started learning songs.

Now 5 years later, I am pretty disappointed in my performance as people who have played for 5 years can play much much better than me. I can't hit notes right, my speed and accuracy is terrible.

So on a whim, I started playing scales and found out that my pinky and ring finger on my "left hand" is very weak. And its only in the left hand. My right hand is pretty good (according to me). I can play the right hand part of K.545 perfectly.

Its only the problem for the fingers. I can sight-read(to some extent), play by ear, etc.

As I didn't have any tutor, I searched on internet and found out about Hanon.

So can someone guide me? I don't want to quit playing but if things go as they are I am afraid I will lose interest.
Online tutors are not possible too as I don't have fast internet connection.

Last edited by BluNyte; 12/30/21 05:48 AM.
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BluNyte #3181078 12/30/21 05:59 AM
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Hanon is okay in moderation but I think you'd find more enjoyment continuing to tackle pieces. I tend to avoid terms like 'finger strength' as it suggests you need to need to do strengthening exercises to combat the problem - which you don't. Look at finding more pieces which are left-hand driven and enjoy making the music (which Hanon doesn't necessarily encourage).

BluNyte #3181083 12/30/21 07:04 AM
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Practising scales is a common mistake with beginners. Some get over it and some don't.

Have the people who play better than you practised playing, better than you did, or were they better at the beginning? Does it matter?

If you cannot hit the notes right, have you practised hitting the notes right? Have you drilled hitting the notes right such that the muscle memory has developed for fast and accurate playing?

Since there's hardly any call for using the pinky in scale playing (scales are NOT finger exercises) it would be difficult to discover a weakness in it using scales.

Everybody that evolved over the last two and a half million years has a weakness in the fourth and fifth fingers. Our hands evolved such that the index finger works in opposition to the thumb and the other three fingers work in unison against the heel of the hand.

Now you can try the Hanon idea and see if you can defeat two and a half million years of evolution and make your fingers equally strong and independent or you can try the Chopin idea and try to work with what you've got, human anatomy, not that of the Terminator.

The piano keyboard is wider than the span of out hands and the means we use to overcome this is to pivot with or around the thumb. This is the fundamental idea of scales; using the thumb, which we tend to use sideways (anatomically), more than about using the fingers.

Good piano playing, as any good musicianship, voice or instrument, comes from good phrasing. That's it.

If you want to play better, play better music and LISTEN to what you're playing and how you're sounding. Only by practising playing better will you manage to play better. It's not by practising finger exercises - these are only a supplement to piano playing and best used under the guidance of a good tutor. They are not ideally suited to self learning until you know and understand what you're trying to teach yourself and how to go about it.

For self learning stick with the basics, Schumann and Tchaikovsky's Albums for the Young, Burgmuller's progressive etudes, Bach's Little Preludes and his wife's Notebook. Try to make these sound good and you'll develop good playing skills.

You can practise scales until you're blue in the face - it won't make you a better pianist. You have to be a better pianist first.


Richard
BluNyte #3181084 12/30/21 07:09 AM
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Very often, the issue isn't literal finger strength. It's about aligning your ring and pinky fingers properly with your arm. Some people will talk about lifting the 4 and 5 high, above the knuckle joint. Avoid this. Repetitive Hanon and so on isn't useful as well. It can help with consolidating control imo, but not with that feeling of stability on the keys.



Last edited by ranjit; 12/30/21 07:10 AM.
zrtf90 #3181087 12/30/21 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by zrtf90
Practising scales is a common mistake with beginners. Some get over it and some don't.

Have the people who play better than you practised playing, better than you did, or were they better at the beginning? Does it matter?

If you cannot hit the notes right, have you practised hitting the notes right? Have you drilled hitting the notes right such that the muscle memory has developed for fast and accurate playing?

Since there's hardly any call for using the pinky in scale playing (scales are NOT finger exercises) it would be difficult to discover a weakness in it using scales.

Everybody that evolved over the last two and a half million years has a weakness in the fourth and fifth fingers. Our hands evolved such that the index finger works in opposition to the thumb and the other three fingers work in unison against the heel of the hand.

Now you can try the Hanon idea and see if you can defeat two and a half million years of evolution and make your fingers equally strong and independent or you can try the Chopin idea and try to work with what you've got, human anatomy, not that of the Terminator.

The piano keyboard is wider than the span of out hands and the means we use to overcome this is to pivot with or around the thumb. This is the fundamental idea of scales; using the thumb, which we tend to use sideways (anatomically), more than about using the fingers.

Good piano playing, as any good musicianship, voice or instrument, comes from good phrasing. That's it.

If you want to play better, play better music and LISTEN to what you're playing and how you're sounding. Only by practising playing better will you manage to play better. It's not by practising finger exercises - these are only a supplement to piano playing and best used under the guidance of a good tutor. They are not ideally suited to self learning until you know and understand what you're trying to teach yourself and how to go about it.

For self learning stick with the basics, Schumann and Tchaikovsky's Albums for the Young, Burgmuller's progressive etudes, Bach's Little Preludes and his wife's Notebook. Try to make these sound good and you'll develop good playing skills.

You can practise scales until you're blue in the face - it won't make you a better pianist. You have to be a better pianist first.
This is the best advice. 👍

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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Originally Posted by zrtf90
Practising scales is a common mistake with beginners. Some get over it and some don't.

Have the people who play better than you practised playing, better than you did, or were they better at the beginning? Does it matter?

If you cannot hit the notes right, have you practised hitting the notes right? Have you drilled hitting the notes right such that the muscle memory has developed for fast and accurate playing?

Since there's hardly any call for using the pinky in scale playing (scales are NOT finger exercises) it would be difficult to discover a weakness in it using scales.

Everybody that evolved over the last two and a half million years has a weakness in the fourth and fifth fingers. Our hands evolved such that the index finger works in opposition to the thumb and the other three fingers work in unison against the heel of the hand.

Now you can try the Hanon idea and see if you can defeat two and a half million years of evolution and make your fingers equally strong and independent or you can try the Chopin idea and try to work with what you've got, human anatomy, not that of the Terminator.

The piano keyboard is wider than the span of out hands and the means we use to overcome this is to pivot with or around the thumb. This is the fundamental idea of scales; using the thumb, which we tend to use sideways (anatomically), more than about using the fingers.

Good piano playing, as any good musicianship, voice or instrument, comes from good phrasing. That's it.

If you want to play better, play better music and LISTEN to what you're playing and how you're sounding. Only by practising playing better will you manage to play better. It's not by practising finger exercises - these are only a supplement to piano playing and best used under the guidance of a good tutor. They are not ideally suited to self learning until you know and understand what you're trying to teach yourself and how to go about it.

For self learning stick with the basics, Schumann and Tchaikovsky's Albums for the Young, Burgmuller's progressive etudes, Bach's Little Preludes and his wife's Notebook. Try to make these sound good and you'll develop good playing skills.

You can practise scales until you're blue in the face - it won't make you a better pianist. You have to be a better pianist first.
This is the best advice. 👍
Unfortunately, I don't think it's correct. If you learn to properly use arm weight, there is very little difference between the strength of the fingers. And a beginner at the piano should be learning how to do that, although there is a place for finger strength somewhere, if is certainly not in the initial stages of playing and can only be developed once all the basics are in place and there is established tension-free playing. Also, practicing scales can be very useful. But you need to know what you're doing -- playing scales well is one of the harder aspects of piano playing.

BluNyte #3181253 12/30/21 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by ranjit
Unfortunately, I don't think it's correct.
That's because you misread it or misunderstood it. None of your points contradict what I said.


Richard
BluNyte #3181258 12/30/21 07:25 PM
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I think it's a complicated problem. There is no easy solution and therefore random suggestion on internet forum may not help. This is why teachers are essential to get to a higher level with piano. Without this, I would suggest to avoid technical exercises even scales but especially hanon exercises, as you are likely to just ingrain a bad technique. I think you'd be better of including some songs which has more focus on the left hand. I'm also going back to baroque musics to help the left hand ✋. Good luck my friend. I hope you can get a faster internet and help for this but I have put a link to some little preludes which was suggested by another poster I think are great and may be more doable than the k545 with its rapid lh scale passages


Last edited by Moo :); 12/30/21 07:28 PM.
BluNyte #3181313 12/31/21 02:05 AM
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I started playing the piano with little background a few years ago (no teacher). I thought I played reasonably well. At some point I decided to start taking lessons. And… the point is : you don’t know what you don’t know. I learned so much from lessons. Practically changing the way I play the piano. I am now playing technically correct , musically (well there is always room for improvement ) and i couldn’t do it without a teacher. I’m still learning a lot!
If you can afford it , my advice is to get a teacher. With the pandemic you may find someone to teach you online.
Wishing you good luck !

BluNyte #3181484 12/31/21 06:26 PM
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Your two weak fingers. Everybody experiences this.
They're not weak. They're bound by muscle and tendons. Literally. If you look inside your hand, you'll find that those two fingers are physically joined by muscles and tendons. Google a muscle schematic of you hand. So that means that naturally, the design of your hand inherently makes those two fingers move less independently than the others. Which means you have to teach them independence.
If you're playing scales correctly, that it one way to do that.
The fact that you got bored playing scales, means you either were doing it wrong, not following a curriculum / lesson plan / some sort of structure...
Moving on from here, slippery slope. There is a fine balance between working it, and over-working it i.e. Hanon.
You have to teach your fingers to play, the right way. If you're doing something wrong, Hanon will not teach you the right way; Hanon will make it infinitely worse.
Playing songs will only keep your interest for so long. You will never get to play anything more than at a mediocre level and you'll give up entirely.
So either give up now, or realize that you absolutely need to play scales, and you absolutely need some soft of learning structure / plan.
My guess is you'll benefit from an instructor...but that's a whole different can of worms....
Good luck.

BluNyte #3181788 01/02/22 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by BluNyte
I can't hit notes right, my speed and accuracy is terrible.
I would probably first of all focus on these issues and only then on the others. A big lack of accuracy and speed shows that there is likely something fundamentally wrong with your technique. The lack of accuracy is most probably caused by tension in the upper arm and shoulder area, and the lack of speed is likely caused by tension in the wrist and hand. I would first of all focus on finding and eliminating all this tension, although it's hard to do without a teacher. You may want to search YouTube for videos about playing using arm weight and eliminating tension. Training individual fingers before resolving more general issues may be detrimental.


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Natural sharp sign?
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Such a great piece!
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