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Straight 5th fingers

Posted By: Ilay

Straight 5th fingers - 08/13/19 09:44 PM

Hi there,

I'm an adult beginner playing for about 3.5 months and I can't solve flying / straightening 5th finger problems.

Been researching it for about a month now. Read about rotation / isolated fingers / tension topics and tried various pieces of advice, but still have this problem.

Recording of my problem

It straightens the most and "flies" (a little) when I play scales and play black key with my 4th fingers (LH ascending || RH descending)

Any advice?

Thanks.
Posted By: Moo :)

Re: Straight 5th fingers - 08/13/19 10:02 PM

I do this smile. I actually only noticed when I started to record myself. I have been taught about technique by many different teachers over the years and whilst many many things were mentioned and some still are this was never mentioned. I therefore have concluded it is not a problem. Why is it a problem ? Unless your teacher thinks it is a problem and you have a reason from them as to why it is a problem I would not worry about it. Please check with your teacher. You appear to be playing very well. We have some very bizarre advice online so please check with your teacher rather than pianoworldforum. sorry people :0. good luck !
Posted By: Ilay

Re: Straight 5th fingers - 08/13/19 10:13 PM

Thanks!
Well it does make sense and I will check with the teacher later (shes away), but watching videos of different level pianists play, I noticed only beginner / early intermediate have it. So I'd rather fix it earlier.
Posted By: Moo :)

Re: Straight 5th fingers - 08/13/19 10:21 PM

Am I a beginner / early intermediate ? I dont think so now. Similarly I have seen a lot of 'advanced' pianist dancing around and doing all sorts of unnecessary movements in the piano. I also noticed there were many difference in their techniques. I have also had many threads with strangers advising on technique online. Some of them here know what they are talking about and some do not. If you have a teacher go to them.
Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: Straight 5th fingers - 08/13/19 10:45 PM

I didn't see anything particularly serious or extreme in the video.
Posted By: John305

Re: Straight 5th fingers - 08/14/19 01:43 AM

It doesn’t seem like a problem to me but at the beginning of your video your legs are moving so much it looks like you’re playing an old fashioned player piano.
Posted By: Ilay

Re: Straight 5th fingers - 08/14/19 02:51 AM

I noticed it as well. It's a little subconscious dance smile
Posted By: Iaroslav Vasiliev

Re: Straight 5th fingers - 08/14/19 09:18 AM

Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I didn't see anything particularly serious or extreme in the video.

+1, I agree. Don't hurry. Training of 5th finger takes time. It will become more relaxed and dexterous as you play more with it.
Posted By: bennevis

Re: Straight 5th fingers - 08/14/19 12:54 PM

I remember when I was a ten-year-old kid starting lessons.

All my non-playing fingers stuck out like spikes even just playing one note (I only discovered that when I saw a photo my uncle took of me playing Twinkle, Twinkle on his piano - which he only showed to me when I visited him in Sydney a few years ago: he'd emigrated as I was growing up on the other side of the world). Gradually - perhaps within a year - things 'settled down' as I gained better control of my individual fingers. However long it took, my teacher certainly never made an issue of it, though I did remember her mentioning that I could try playing with more curved fingers, about the time when I started on Mozart's kiddie pieces. (Presumably, up till then, I was playing with straight fingers.)

Of course, being a kid, it was my mission not to worry about these things. I left the worrying to my teacher. My job was just to do what I was told cool. (It got me to where I am now, a mediocre advanced pianist wink ).

In other words, my advice is - you're at the beginning stage. You obviously have a good teacher. Finger control develops very slowly (over years). Rome wasn't built in a day. Patience is key, not worrying. Worrying about "tension" or "rotation" causes more tension......therefore listen to your teacher and don't jump the gun by looking up all sorts of stuff on the internet, or comparing yourself with others.
Posted By: johnstaf

Re: Straight 5th fingers - 08/14/19 01:10 PM

There isn't anything wrong with your fifth finger. Sometimes people have problems that might give them trouble later on, but you don't. The way you use your hands is remarkably good for the amount of time you've been playing. Maybe you could work on the dancing legs, as that could be a difficult habit to break later on.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Straight 5th fingers - 08/14/19 01:25 PM

Originally Posted by Ilay
Hi there,

I'm an adult beginner playing for about 3.5 months and I can't solve flying / straightening 5th finger problems.

Been researching it for about a month now. Read about rotation / isolated fingers / tension topics and tried various pieces of advice, but still have this problem.

Recording of my problem

It straightens the most and "flies" (a little) when I play scales and play black key with my 4th fingers (LH ascending || RH descending)

Any advice?

Thanks.

Wow. After 18 months of piano, I can only wish that I could have pinkies that are as well behaved as yours! frown
Posted By: MichaelJK

Re: Straight 5th fingers - 08/14/19 06:27 PM

I can see the issue you are referring to. Yes, it's indicative of a problem. No, it won't necessarily go away with more experience. I had that kind of problem for years and years. (Let me emphasize that this sort of thing is extremely common...you're not doing anything wrong...it is a normal part of learning...but it may take time to learn it).

I presume that the problem sticks out to you not because of how it looks, but rather because of how it feels. Specifically, I imagine that it bothers you that the 5th finger seems to have a mind of its own, and that you probably feel some kind of lack of control over your hands. Am I correct?

Now, I'm going to tell you something that might be frustrating. This problem does not exist in isolation. It's not just that "you're doing something wrong with your 5th finger". You should understand that every part in the body is connected to every other part. And, it's all connected to your brain. This is actually good news, because it means that as you improve the functioning of any part of it, the whole rest of it will improve along with it.

However, it's often the case that trying to fix problems in isolation simply makes them worse. The stuff you're reading about (rotation/isolated fingers/tension) is not necessarily wrong, but you should be aware that just knowing about something like that intellectually will not guarantee that your body understands it on a deep level. Try to become aware of your body as a whole. This will make everything work better for you.

I'm curious about your legs, too. When I watched the video, I assumed it was something you were doing deliberately, maybe as an exercise from your teacher. However, after reading your comment, I'm now wondering if you were aware of them while you were playing. If you weren't, then that is great news, because that's a good opportunity to notice how the parts of the body are working together.

To summarize:

- Do not concern yourself with how your hands look, but rather how they feel on the inside.
- Try to be aware of your whole body at once, whenever possible.
- You need to train your body, not just your intellect.
Posted By: Ilay

Re: Straight 5th fingers - 08/16/19 08:40 PM

Thank you, everyone, for sharing your advice.

To answer your questions:

1) Dancing legs part: no, I don't do it deliberately. I guess I just really like this minuet? Happened maybe 2-3 times in this 3.5 months.
2) About looks vs feels. It actually looks of it what bothers me. Looks so unnatural. Everything is ok with feel but when I concentrate on pinky while playing I feel how tense it is when it straightens like this.
3) Quite often I accumulate a lot of tension in my shoulders (lifting them up). The teacher than shakes me to make me aware of this tension.

To sum up:
I don't particularly see this a huge problem. But as I mentioned, I would rather solve it earlier than later when everything becomes automatic. I had a similar situation where my joints were collapsing on every keypress in my first weeks. I still notice it time to time, but mainly when I have to switch fingers while pressing the key or in situations like in measure 5 in Beethoven's Sonata in C sharp minor op.27 no.2 1st movement -> when right-hand goes Mi Sol Do and while holding Do with 4th thumb goes to play Sol, 4th finger joint collapses because then thumb travels shorter distance I guess? At least that's how I feel it.
Posted By: MichaelJK

Re: Straight 5th fingers - 08/16/19 09:05 PM

Originally Posted by Ilay

2) About looks vs feels. It actually looks of it what bothers me. Looks so unnatural. Everything is ok with feel but when I concentrate on pinky while playing I feel how tense it is when it straightens like this.


Why do you say everything is ok with feel, if you can feel how tense it is when you concentrate on it?

Quote

To sum up:
I don't particularly see this a huge problem.


I don't think it's a huge problem, either. I'm saying that because you're a beginner and you're still trying to figure things out. So yeah, have fun with it!

Quote

I had a similar situation where my joints were collapsing on every keypress in my first weeks. I still notice it time to time, but mainly when I have to switch fingers while pressing the key or in situations like in measure 5 in Beethoven's Sonata in C sharp minor op.27 no.2 1st movement -> when right-hand goes Mi Sol Do and while holding Do with 4th thumb goes to play Sol, 4th finger joint collapses because then thumb travels shorter distance I guess? At least that's how I feel it.


I looked at the measure you are referring to, and I have two questions:

1) Why are you holding the 4th finger?
2) Why is it a problem that the 4th finger joint collapses? Mine does too. Especially because it's playing on a black key.
Posted By: Ilay

Re: Straight 5th fingers - 08/16/19 09:19 PM

Originally Posted by MichaelJK

Why do you say everything is ok with feel, if you can feel how tense it is when you concentrate on it?


I guess because so far it didn't cause me any troubles.

Originally Posted by MichaelJK

Why are you holding the 4th finger?

Legato I guess. I didn't mean I hold it for longer than it should be played, but this fraction of time before thumb plays Sol.

Originally Posted by MichaelJK

Why is it a problem that the 4th finger joint collapses? Mine does too. Especially because it's playing on a black key.

I think because if joints collapse, it gives you less control over voicing. From the physics point of view if joint collapses at the moment you play a key

I think I'm just overthinking all of it
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