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Topic: What are your favorite finger exercises?  (Read 3635 times)

Offline kevingreiner

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What are your favorite finger exercises?
on: July 26, 2016, 02:18:26 PM
Hello,

I was wondering what finger exercises I can practice other than Hanon? I've been doing these exercises for about 9 weeks now, and I'm honestly getting bored with them. I want to move on to some other exercises. Anyone have any suggestions? Thanks in advance.

Offline visitor

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Re: What are your favorite finger exercises?
Reply #1 on: July 26, 2016, 03:27:50 PM
https://archive.org/details/masterschoolofmo01jona

Alberto Jonas Master School of Playing and Virtuosity (I believe there are 7 books/volumes in total, all should be avialbe on the internet archives, imslp and walter consadn's site). orders of magnitude batter than Hanon. 
https://imslp.org/wiki/Master_School_of_Piano_Playing_and_Virtuosity_(Jon%C3%A1s,_Alberto)
https://archive.org/details/masterschoolofmo01jona

Master School of Modern Piano Playing and Virtuosity[edit]
It is during his period in New York when Jonás had the unprecedented idea of starting a correspondence with all of the great musicians and pianists he had met throughout his life as a wandering musician, asking them personally to collaborate with their own ideas on pianism towards the publication of a treatise on piano playing that would include the main currents in modern virtuosity. The pianists even agreed to write their own technical exercises specifically for Jonás book, as well as sharing their own ideas on technique, pedalling, fingering, practicing methods, phrasing, memorizing, etc., and also taking exclusive photographs of themselves and their hands playing in order to illustrate some points.

In the early 1920s he started putting together all the material he had amassed from the correspondence and began writing what he would later title Master School of Modern Piano Playing and Virtuosity, in seven volumes. It took him seven years to complete the vast undertaking (1922–1929), which in its final formed featured the unique distinction of having the collaboration of practically all the greatest living piano virtuosi. The final contributors were Arthur Friedheim, Ignaz Friedman, Vasily Safonov, Ferruccio Busoni, Katharine Goodson, Leopold Godowsky, Alfred Cortot, Rudolph Ganz, Wilhelm Backhaus, Fannie Bloomfield Zeisler, Ernő Dohnányi, Ossip Gabrilowitsch, Josef Lhévinne, Isidor Philipp, Moriz Rosenthal, Emil von Sauer, Leopold Schmidt, and Zygmunt Stojowski, and included excerpts from more than one thousand examples drawn from the entire piano literature in order to illustrate specific points.

In breadth of scope, originality, and clearness of execution, the book is unprecedented. It was finally published in 1929 by Carl Fischer Music in New York. Busoni considered it "the most monumental work ever written on piano playing" in seven volumes:

Book I: Finger Exercises Book II: Scales Book III: Arpeggios Book IV: Complete School of Double Notes Book V: Octaves, Staccato, and Chords Book VI: The Artistic Employment of the Piano Pedals Book VII: Exercises for Fingers, Wrists, and Arms Away From the Piano, Phrasing, Embellishments in Music

Offline marijn1999

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Re: What are your favorite finger exercises?
Reply #2 on: July 26, 2016, 05:56:41 PM
None, finger exercises are a waste of time, unless you're planning on performing them in public. 8)

BW,
Marijn
Composing and revising old pieces.
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Offline keypeg

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Re: What are your favorite finger exercises?
Reply #3 on: July 27, 2016, 05:24:19 AM
Does one still do "finger" exercises at all?

Offline chopinlover01

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Re: What are your favorite finger exercises?
Reply #4 on: July 27, 2016, 06:27:30 AM
I don't. I do this radical thing called "improvising".

Offline ted

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Re: What are your favorite finger exercises?
Reply #5 on: July 27, 2016, 07:08:39 AM
I do about fifteen minutes night and morning on the Virgil Practice Clavier, inventing new exercises for myself each day. These days I only work on movements I find difficult, as repeating the same old things I can already execute well seems to me a waste of time. I also try to invent movements which are likely to bring about musical interest in my improvisation later on. For example, practising fast, continuous groups, as in traditional exercises, is pointless for me because I find continuous, smooth movement musically dull and rarely use it. In short, I want my technique to evolve along with my music and not stand still and isolated. I try to make sound and technique a syncretic whole.
"Mistakes are the portals of discovery." - James Joyce

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: What are your favorite finger exercises?
Reply #6 on: July 28, 2016, 10:54:06 AM
https://archive.org/details/masterschoolofmo01jona
Alberto Jonas Master School of Playing and Virtuosity
Thanks for sharing this I've never come across it what a gem.
"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
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Offline louispodesta

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Re: What are your favorite finger exercises?
Reply #7 on: July 28, 2016, 11:27:45 PM
Hello,

I was wondering what finger exercises I can practice other than Hanon? I've been doing these exercises for about 9 weeks now, and I'm honestly getting bored with them. I want to move on to some other exercises. Anyone have any suggestions? Thanks in advance.
When you exercise, the common accepted logic is that you are exercising a muscle.  There are no muscles in your fingers, period!  Go ahead and find me one physiologist/doctor who can.

Therefore, according to this and other websites, our ancestors are going to access a piano related website in "Star Date ?"  And, they will still be talking about Hanon and other phony exercises.

That is due to fact that one should never question or correct their piano teacher.  No one certainly has never had the guts to do so for the last 200 years!

Please contact me by PM, if you truly want to improve your technique, which does not require years of practice.

Thank you for your OP.

Offline visitor

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Re: What are your favorite finger exercises?
Reply #8 on: July 29, 2016, 10:33:09 AM
Muscles are needed to initiate movement , however people call them finger excises and they are a bit of a misnomer, the digital structure does contain some minor muscular tissue, however mainly to aid with flexing of the 2nd to last and last joints most lateral to the body's mid-line.

the motion we would most associate with depressing keys  louispodesta is somewhat correct , muscular structures more medial are primary movers, but the assisting muscles are vital to helping shape of the finger (think helping curl or flatten finger which we manipulate for tone in some instances).

what "finger" exercises are primarily doing is usually 3 main things
1. Strengthening muscles and assisting muscles [ie in hand, forearm etc and to less degree some in small part of upper digit area]
2
 Stretch connective
tissue to aid flexibility and reduce static or residual strain and tension throughout various structures
3
probably the biggest impact i see is training of motor patterns and ingraining fine patterns and responses by training the nervous system.  At high speed and fine detailed coordination a different part of the brain is involved, usually cerebellar area. Some patterns are so quick one really would not consciously try ro coordinate them but drill them via "finger exercises" or more appropriate technique patterns like scales and arpeggios. But some finger exercises can be helpful in improving Independence or  ingraining weak motor patterns for more effective activation. Of sluggish fingers.

louise podesta is somewhat correct in stating they are not exercises like we think with gross motor patterns like hip extension, arm abduction, knee flexion or wrist adduction, but they are more like fine agility drills which can be helpful.

however like special tools, they really and should be utilized by a coach or teacher for specific tasks i  addressing a defined issue to be most effective.  That's where the statement of mindless czerny or endless hannon are not terribly useful when not utilized more specifically.

so generally they are more like wire strippers or needle nose pliers than a big hammer or std screwdriver or adjustable wrench
 Those more widely applicable tools w broad benefits  are more analogous to scales, arpeggios, broken chords and their variants.

one reason the Jonas volumes are. Cool is that they are organized by topic or area they address which helps in selecting appropriate exercises, but i think more correct is to call them drills.



Offline rmbarbosa

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Re: What are your favorite finger exercises?
Reply #9 on: July 29, 2016, 05:37:20 PM
Exercises are not to finger muscular devellopment but to coordination, eveness, agility, etc...
It`s very interesting that I never saw the ancien Schmall method (or Schmoll?) be presented here in piano forum. But it was my first book, when I was 4 years old. Schmoll doesn`t present exercises. He presents little pieces of music, each one of them a little more difficult, allways with musical theory. So I grow up playing music, since the beggining. But allways I`ve been told by my teachers to exercise Scales, harps, thirds, octaves, polyrithms, etc... in an artistic way, paying attention to the musicality...
A clever and carefull mixing of exercises and true Music is the best way IMO. In my country we have an popular expression: not only in the sea, not only in the land...
You may wish to have a look in the old Schmoll...
Best wishes
Rui

Offline keypeg

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Re: What are your favorite finger exercises?
Reply #10 on: July 29, 2016, 08:03:41 PM
When you exercise, the common accepted logic is that you are exercising a muscle.  There are no muscles in your fingers, period!  Go ahead and find me one physiologist/doctor who can.

Therefore, according to this and other websites, our ancestors are going to access a piano related website in "Star Date ?"  ...
That is what I was getting at in my cryptic post a while back.
Does one still do "finger" exercises at all?
but this
Quote
That is due to fact that one should never question or correct their piano teacher.
again makes the assumption that all piano teachers still teach that way.  They don't all.  Some of us have good enlightened intelligent thinking teachers, and some teachers here probably are so likewise.  They may not be the most vocal, however.

Offline louispodesta

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Re: What are your favorite finger exercises?
Reply #11 on: July 29, 2016, 11:38:25 PM
Muscles are needed to initiate movement , however people call them finger excises and they are a bit of a misnomer, the digital structure does contain some minor muscular tissue, however mainly to aid with flexing of the 2nd to last and last joints most lateral to the body's mid-line.

the motion we would most associate with depressing keys  louispodesta is somewhat correct , muscular structures more medial are primary movers, but the assisting muscles are vital to helping shape of the finger (think helping curl or flatten finger which we manipulate for tone in some instances).

what "finger" exercises are primarily doing is usually 3 main things
1. Strengthening muscles and assisting muscles [ie in hand, forearm etc and to less degree some in small part of upper digit area]
2
 Stretch connective
tissue to aid flexibility and reduce static or residual strain and tension throughout various structures
3
probably the biggest impact i see is training of motor patterns and ingraining fine patterns and responses by training the nervous system.  At high speed and fine detailed coordination a different part of the brain is involved, usually cerebellar area. Some patterns are so quick one really would not consciously try ro coordinate them but drill them via "finger exercises" or more appropriate technique patterns like scales and arpeggios. But some finger exercises can be helpful in improving Independence or  ingraining weak motor patterns for more effective activation. Of sluggish fingers.

louise podesta is somewhat correct in stating they are not exercises like we think with gross motor patterns like hip extension, arm abduction, knee flexion or wrist adduction, but they are more like fine agility drills which can be helpful.

however like special tools, they really and should be utilized by a coach or teacher for specific tasks i  addressing a defined issue to be most effective.  That's where the statement of mindless czerny or endless hannon are not terribly useful when not utilized more specifically.

so generally they are more like wire strippers or needle nose pliers than a big hammer or std screwdriver or adjustable wrench
 Those more widely applicable tools w broad benefits  are more analogous to scales, arpeggios, broken chords and their variants.

one reason the Jonas volumes are. Cool is that they are organized by topic or area they address which helps in selecting appropriate exercises, but i think more correct is to call them drills.




Once and for all, and not today, I am going to put this (centuries old) half-baked pseudo-kinesiology to bed.  Evidenced today, I did my new chest expander exercises (at the age of 64) while grabbing the device with only my fingers 3,4 and 5. 

You have no idea what a two minute exercise, once a day, can do in said circumstances.  That is due to the actual stress and its accompanied rest of a true physical true muscle (ligament, tendon, and bone) exercise.  This is something that can NEVER!!! be accomplished by ANY finger exercise at the keyboard with its (in terms of kinesiology) static and no adjustable resistance modality.

Offline visitor

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Re: What are your favorite finger exercises?
Reply #12 on: August 03, 2016, 06:03:54 PM
here's a neat one that can help with general strength and endurance (note i didn't say 'for the fingers') just general conditioning for physical structures involved in playing. Also the act of transposing can help w those weaker in theory and chord structure modulations.
big fan of Robert and he does a nice job of explaining it, his students i hear tend to do pretty well when auditioning and competing

Video Transcription
Hi, I'm Robert Estrin. Welcome to virtualsheetmusic.com. Today is the best exercise to develop strength in your piano playing. This is a really tough exercise to go through. If you go through this entire exercise, I guarantee you, you will gain strength, if you do it once a day, will be plenty on this one.

To explain what it is, it's basically broken 7th chords. I'm going to explain the theory behind it so you can easily figure it out for yourself. It starts with a Major 7th chord then the dominant, so the 7th goes down a half step. Then a Minor 7th chord, the 3rd goes down a half step. And then finally, half diminished with 5th goes down a half step. And then, the 7th goes down a half step. So once again, Major, dominant, Minor, half diminished, diminished.

But that's just the beginning of what we're doing here because you're playing in both hands, broken chords, so those are all the notes you're gonna play. But you only play every other note and then you skip. See, I'm just playing this chord but now I just played the C and the G. And in the left hand, you do exactly the opposite. You just play from the bottom, skipping the middle note. Then you play hands together in contrary motion, the Major 7th chord, then the dominant 7th chord, the Minor.

Here, you'll see how it works.

And is that the end? No, that's just the beginning because you're gonna through all 12 keys. You go right up to the half step higher doing the same exact chords transposed half step by half step. So now, we do the same thing on D-flat.

And you can see, I just went right through to D. If you go through all 12 keys like that, it is an incredible workout. Now, you can start off slowly because you might have difficulty. It's a very hard exercise to do. It's particularly hard for small hands, by the way. But it's a great strength builder for you.

So I hope that this has been helpful for you. I have exercises you can check out as well. Thanks once again for joining me. Robert Estrin, here at virtualsheetmusic.com.

Offline stevensk

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Re: What are your favorite finger exercises?
Reply #13 on: August 03, 2016, 06:51:53 PM

-If you must do finger exercises, I would suggest Brahms exercises

https://imslp.org/wiki/51_Exercises,_WoO_6_(Brahms,_Johannes)

If you want something more musically, try WTC , or something like this:





Offline visitor

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Re: What are your favorite finger exercises?
Reply #14 on: August 03, 2016, 07:00:18 PM
-If you must do finger exercises, I would suggest Brahms exercises

https://imslp.org/wiki/51_Exercises,_WoO_6_(Brahms,_Johannes)

If you want something more musically, try WTC , or something like this:





+1 on the 51, though they are best done as assigned by a good teacher, my teacher recently assigned a handful to me to get started and address a few issues. Generally I believe these are better suited to more experienced players that know how to think about hand shape, arm movement, etc and /or as guided to prevent incorrect practicing of them can can lead to strain/injury.

Also, as they are being assigned to me, it's not a chronological order, my teacher knows  them  so well that just picked specific ones from throughout the set and gave me those to start, so if OP is not undertaking formal study w/ an experienced coach,  it may help to pay for lessons while doing them. they feel, to me at least as i work through and struggle to learn my assignment, more specific/specialized.  They feel more difficult than they should at first, but like etudes, you have to think about the pattern and motion that gets you through it with ease and no strain/tension, vs just powering through them band hand shape or finger mechanics and all, that could be disastrous to some people, and I'm making sure I don't practice them a ton until after I have presented my initial approach to my teacher to make sure i'm not doing something wrong, ie that i 'get the point of the exercise'.  

Offline anamnesis

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Re: What are your favorite finger exercises?
Reply #15 on: August 03, 2016, 07:10:55 PM
here's a neat one that can help with general strength and endurance (note i didn't say 'for the fingers') just general conditioning for physical structures involved in playing. Also the act of transposing can help w those weaker in theory and chord structure modulations.
big fan of Robert and he does a nice job of explaining it, his students i hear tend to do pretty well when auditioning and competing

Video Transcription
Hi, I'm Robert Estrin. Welcome to virtualsheetmusic.com. Today is the best exercise to develop strength in your piano playing. This is a really tough exercise to go through. If you go through this entire exercise, I guarantee you, you will gain strength, if you do it once a day, will be plenty on this one.

To explain what it is, it's basically broken 7th chords. I'm going to explain the theory behind it so you can easily figure it out for yourself. It starts with a Major 7th chord then the dominant, so the 7th goes down a half step. Then a Minor 7th chord, the 3rd goes down a half step. And then finally, half diminished with 5th goes down a half step. And then, the 7th goes down a half step. So once again, Major, dominant, Minor, half diminished, diminished.

But that's just the beginning of what we're doing here because you're playing in both hands, broken chords, so those are all the notes you're gonna play. But you only play every other note and then you skip. See, I'm just playing this chord but now I just played the C and the G. And in the left hand, you do exactly the opposite. You just play from the bottom, skipping the middle note. Then you play hands together in contrary motion, the Major 7th chord, then the dominant 7th chord, the Minor.

Here, you'll see how it works.

And is that the end? No, that's just the beginning because you're gonna through all 12 keys. You go right up to the half step higher doing the same exact chords transposed half step by half step. So now, we do the same thing on D-flat.

And you can see, I just went right through to D. If you go through all 12 keys like that, it is an incredible workout. Now, you can start off slowly because you might have difficulty. It's a very hard exercise to do. It's particularly hard for small hands, by the way. But it's a great strength builder for you.

So I hope that this has been helpful for you. I have exercises you can check out as well. Thanks once again for joining me. Robert Estrin, here at virtualsheetmusic.com.

Assuming one has been playing chords, no serious degree of strengthening and conditioning is actually needed to that type of exercise.  It still comes down to motor control and coordination.  Double notes technique in general requires the most use of the "alternating action" technique described in Whiteside's book (particularly on Chopin's Op 10 no 7 and 25 no 10).    

Offline adamtt99

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Re: What are your favorite finger exercises?
Reply #16 on: August 08, 2016, 01:27:19 PM
Most people on the forum seem to believe(including myself) that the Dohnanyi exercises are best. Hanon is boring yet these exercises truly promote finger independence and a sure technique in a challenging way. Although at times it may seem that your fingers won't do as they are told it is worth it.
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