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Help - my left hand pinky sticks out when practicing, etc. #950392 05/11/08 12:41 PM
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Cyborg Offline OP
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I've been taking lessons for about 18 months and I have a problem with my left hand pinky finger (#5) sticking out when I practice, etc. when not in use. When I first started taking piano lessons I asked my first teacher what she thought about it and she believed it was because my finger muscles weren't developed and it would improve with time. Time went on and it hasn't improved as far as I can tell. I notice it every now when I look at my hands and I can see my finger sticking out. I asked my current teacher about and she didn't appear to be too concerned about it and told me not to worry about it.

I guess it irritates me mentally more than anything. Is there anything wrong with my finger sticking out? I figure it's improper technique and would prefer to correct it if possible. Are there any exercises etc. that I could do to correct this? Any other advice?

Thanks!


I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.
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Re: Help - my left hand pinky sticks out when practicing, etc. #950393 05/11/08 12:57 PM
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keyboardklutz Offline
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Does it always stick out?

Re: Help - my left hand pinky sticks out when practicing, etc. #950394 05/11/08 03:15 PM
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SAMoore Offline
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Oh I know this problem very well. My teacher has me do exercises very slowly relaxing the hand between notes or groups of notes and it really helps. During these exercises he is reminds me to not 'prepare' the finger for the next note but to approach it in isolation. It's difficult to play that slowly sometimes but it does work.


It's the journey not the destination..
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Re: Help - my left hand pinky sticks out when practicing, etc. #950395 05/11/08 08:25 PM
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Cyborg Offline OP
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Quote
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
Does it always stick out?
Most of the time it does stick out.


I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.
Re: Help - my left hand pinky sticks out when practicing, etc. #950396 05/12/08 01:29 AM
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keyboardklutz Offline
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Home boy's advice is good. I also teach all my students to relax between every note. Freeze in the middle of playing. Are you perfectly at rest? You should be.

Re: Help - my left hand pinky sticks out when practicing, etc. #950397 05/12/08 01:57 AM
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mcsmdm Offline
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maybe it's psychological... just relax and feel every song you play on your piano......if you always think that your #5 left finger would stick everytime you play the piano...hmmm it would stick for the rest of your life! well........... a powder might help.

Re: Help - my left hand pinky sticks out when practicing, etc. #950398 05/12/08 09:43 AM
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Morodiene Offline
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I second I'm playing better at home now's advice. Try doing a 5 finger pattern in C major, playing only one note at a time with a long pause in between. During each pause, do whatever it takes or however long it takes to relax that pinky while holding down that first note. Then do the same with the 2nd. Gradually, you should be able to lessen the amount of time in between notes while maintaining the relaxed pinky. If you ever find the pinky starting to stick out again, take it slower. It may take some time, because you have this muscle memory so ingrained in your playing, but after some time and concentration, you will be able to eliminate it. You may need to do this same process with any songs you're working on as well.


private piano/voice teacher FT

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Re: Help - my left hand pinky sticks out when practicing, etc. #950399 05/12/08 10:13 AM
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knotty Offline
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Cyborg,

Check out this thread,
http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?/topic/37/1166.html

consider investing in Kenny's Effortless Mastery. It's pure pleasure to read.

Re: Help - my left hand pinky sticks out when practicing, etc. #950400 05/13/08 06:30 AM
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Sal_ Offline
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I've noticed that my students tend to lift the fingers they're not using when their hand is tilted. For instance, if you turn your right hand about 45 degrees clockwise and try playing, fingers 1, 2, and even 3 will naturally lift when playing 4 and 5 (since, at such an angle you're forced to play more on the side of the finger rather than the tip.) Perhaps your left hand is angled a little towards the thumb while you play.

Re: Help - my left hand pinky sticks out when practicing, etc. #950401 05/13/08 06:44 AM
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When I play with my left hand I make a concious effort to claw my fingers as if I holding a tennis ball and move them only as much as is needed. Before they were all over the place but are now slowly improving.


We are the melodies and the notes of your opus. We are the music of your life.
Re: Help - my left hand pinky sticks out when practicing, etc. #950402 05/13/08 06:49 AM
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keyboardklutz Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Jamie147:
When I play with my left hand I make a concious effort to claw my fingers as if I holding a tennis ball and move them only as much as is needed. Before they were all over the place but are now slowly improving.
Do not 'hold' the claw. Make sure between every note you allow you hand to return to its natural shape.

Re: Help - my left hand pinky sticks out when practicing, etc. #950403 05/13/08 07:03 AM
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My 5th finger moves awkwardly too when playing fast passage runs, specially the ones that include 3rd and 4th finger movements. I think the origin of the problem is the connection between the 4th and the 5th fingers, you can't move either of them independently. But it hasn't affected my playing and I haven't worried about it much.


Currently Working on:
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Re: Help - my left hand pinky sticks out when practicing, etc. #950404 05/13/08 08:08 AM
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keystring Offline
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eek eek eek
Speechless for once. There's some powerful stuff in there.

KS

Re: Help - my left hand pinky sticks out when practicing, etc. #950405 05/13/08 12:49 PM
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i have the same problem... with both my pinkies... they start out nice and curved... then slowly stick out... and i've been playing piano for 21 years. HOnnestly, who cares? As long as you can still play well, i disagree with people who say paying an instrument is about form and how you look. It's clearly about the sound.


Love is a friendship set to music.
Re: Help - my left hand pinky sticks out when practicing, etc. #950406 05/13/08 02:29 PM
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keyboardklutz Offline
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Ashdyre, beautiful hands make beautiful music. There is no other way.

Re: Help - my left hand pinky sticks out when practicing, etc. #950407 05/13/08 02:38 PM
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Cyborg Offline OP
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WOW, thanks for all of the responses!!! I definitely appreciate it.

Although I don't think that I'm too tense, I think I'm not totally relaxed either because I can type without the pinky sticking out. It seems with some work I can "fix" it.


I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.
Re: Help - my left hand pinky sticks out when practicing, etc. #950408 05/13/08 08:14 PM
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Akira Offline
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I think its tension. Step away from the piano. Now lift your hands slowly, completely relaxing. All your fingers should be limp and lifeless. Now, in that same position, extend your pinkies. I'll be willing you bet you can feel some tension. I did.

Try to relax.

Re: Help - my left hand pinky sticks out when practicing, etc. #950409 05/22/08 07:55 PM
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The pinky sticking out is almost certainly a sign of excess tension in the hand (particularly the pinky). Sure, for some playing you might still be able to get a decent sound but if you progress to the point of playing more challenging/technical things that require a bit more athleticism then this tension could easily lead to tendonitis and worse. If the student finds it is a problem then it should be addressed. The relaxation exercises everyone here has recommended are a great start.

The tension, Cyborg, could be something you are completely unaware of. My own teacher at the university needed YEARS to get the tension out of my hands - I didn't feel tense but clearly I was, based on the limitations of my agility in playing, and the ache/exhaustion after some really technical pieces. He had me work on relaxation exercises (even with Hanon) where the focus was REALLY to be a wet noodle, at the expense of accuracy. I hated for anyone to overhear my practicing for awhile becasue it was....well....inaccurate, but this was so helpful!


SantaFe_Player
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