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Topic: Best way to build dexterity?  (Read 2677 times)

Offline musicsdarkangel

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Best way to build dexterity?
on: March 15, 2005, 12:22:46 AM
What are the best ways to building finger dexterity?

I especially want to be able to do a 4-5 trill with both hands.

There is a section in La Campanella where the trill is too much for me to handle because the thumb is playing at the same time, and I am trying to find some way around this.

Offline pianonut

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Re: Best way to build dexterity?
Reply #1 on: March 15, 2005, 12:32:38 AM
i've never played 'la campanella' but was wondering what would happen if you switched hands? (or are there trills that are uncomfortable in both hands?)
do you know why benches fall apart?  it is because they have lids with little tiny hinges so you can store music inside them.  hint:  buy a bench that does not hinge.  buy it for sturdiness.

Offline Steve T

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Re: Best way to build dexterity?
Reply #2 on: March 15, 2005, 12:39:57 AM
There's an exercise which was allegedly devised by Mozart where you trill with successive finger pairs in a way which 'transfers' the ease of trilling from the stronger fingers to the weaker ones.
I think it's covered in Hanon's 'virtuoso pianist in 60 exercises' but it's definitely in Alfreds book called (something like) Finger exercises.
Hope that helps.
Steve T

Offline steinwayguy

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Re: Best way to build dexterity?
Reply #3 on: March 15, 2005, 05:14:04 AM
I don't really know the piece extremely well, but a great piano student devises his own exercises to apply to his repertoire...

Offline pianowelsh

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Re: Best way to build dexterity?
Reply #4 on: March 15, 2005, 03:14:51 PM
simply start by trying and analyse yourself ie play 4-5 trill OK what were the problems - maybe a bit bumpy maybe a collapsed joint -reducing  speed etc and then you  will know what YOU have to do in order to fix the problem. Hanon and beringer are excellent books of exersizes (beringer is better) but they are best done under the specific guidence of a teacher who can help you observe precise movements (really they ought to be done at intermediate stage at latest and only a few retained as warm ups) but if youve never worked in this analytical way before they will help you to focus on a specific task to be tackled (thats really there only purpose) playing them over will not do anything magically for your fingers its only a means of isolating a technical difficulty and showing you how to efficiently master it! having said that because people dont understand that its how you play them that makes the difference (though processes and analysis) many people use them in horrifically inefficient way! - Please Dont - you'll waste litterally years of your life. Be analytical and practice them only as long as you need to to get the job done! ;D

Offline pigscanfly

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Re: Best way to build dexterity?
Reply #5 on: March 16, 2005, 05:55:09 AM
Hey I have the same problem at that part.

I pretty much walked away from the piece when I saw that 4-5 finger trill.
I figure everyday I'll spent a few minutes building up these fingers by doing trills and eventually when I can do it then I'll come back to La Campanella.

Offline dinosaurtales

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Re: Best way to build dexterity?
Reply #6 on: March 16, 2005, 06:52:53 AM
I know the section you are talking about.  And yes, pigscanfly, that's exactly how I learned to do 4-5 trills for two tiny bits in Beethoven's Appassionata (not nearly as long as La Campanella, but still required 4-5 nonetheless).  I assigned 10 big minutes a day to doing those two little bits slowly slowly over and over.  (just like the ab machine ads on tv - "in less than 10 minutes a day you too could have abs like these!") .  It eventually came just fine.

I used the same technique to get the finger switching in the opener smooth and the various trills.
So much music, so little time........

Offline musicsdarkangel

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Re: Best way to build dexterity?
Reply #7 on: March 16, 2005, 07:27:18 PM
You know what I've found helps immensely?

1.  Liszt technical exersizes....at the beginning, he has exersizes for finger independance, and I have spent an hour a day just the last two days playing these and many other exersizes which I find relevant, and I already notice a huge difference.

I never thought that I would believe in exersizes, but these are real jems.  Of course, it is all about following the directions in the book as well.

2.  Watching a very good performance of it (Yundi Li of course), and observing his movement.

oh, and also

3.  Of course, practicing correctly, for a while, I thought that just starting at a low tempo marking and building my way up notch by notch would make me invincible.  Now I have noticed that it takes multiple practice techniques and incorporating them with eachother. 

The ones I have found most useful and collaborative are

1.  Breaks/stops in between small passages
2.  Slow/Soft practice/minimal movement
3.  Slow/Loud practice/maximal movement
4.  A tempo practice
5.  Alternating rhythms, and building up tempo, performing with both #2 and #3

this has helped me conquer La Campanella, of course, the war has just begun.

Offline nikodr

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Re: Best way to build dexterity?
Reply #8 on: March 17, 2005, 12:00:49 AM
There is only one place i have seen 4-5 trill being difficult.That is on the end of the last movement of beethoven-liszt 5th symphony piano transcription.It has a passage near the end where you have to play a trill 4-5 with right hand and with the thumb of same hand plays the melody.It is difficult but can be done.Dont worry about the campanella it can be done.Slow and good practice with full concentration and relaxation will do it.

Offline m

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Re: Best way to build dexterity?
Reply #9 on: March 17, 2005, 01:11:41 AM
What are the best ways to building finger dexterity?

I especially want to be able to do a 4-5 trill with both hands.

There is a section in La Campanella where the trill is too much for me to handle because the thumb is playing at the same time, and I am trying to find some way around this.



Try the trill with 3-5. The hand should feel very flexible. Don't hold the hand stretched--after the thumb plays, return it into comfortable position. The hand should make slight rotation in horizontal plane around its center. Make a lot of experiments and try to find the most comfortable feeling.

Offline ramseytheii

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Re: Best way to build dexterity?
Reply #10 on: April 02, 2005, 02:35:32 AM
I don't really know the piece extremely well, but a great piano student devises his own exercises to apply to his repertoire...

That must be quite easy to say.  Or type.  We can begin to devise exercises, when we know the fundamental problems at work.  The fundamental issues.  Until then, we are working in the dark, groping at every possible thing.  Well, people succeed at that.  Usually after about thirty years of growth and maturity.  But knowing a few fundamental things can help turn on a few lights, and we can benefit from the knowledge and experience of others before groping around, and possible breaking or harming things.  Like ourselves.
The first fundamental thing to know, from which all else derives, is, how to touch the piano?  Like Godowsky said, a "pulling" touch, or like stroking the cat, or perhaps like the sensation of erasing pencil marks.  It is actually a subtle thing that can be learned through exaggeration.  All the fingers touch the piano like that.  Yes there are variations.  But those are just that - variations.  Variations on what?  On the fundamental.
Once we do that, we are free to feel the most important muscles at work.  Trilling with 4-5, we will feel that fleshy side of the hand, the far side from the thumb, working, and it will feel good.  The hand will feel thick, or hot, like blood is flowing through it, like an intensity.  The speed will come, with the ability to connect with the true use of the muscles, and let them go, or use them, whatever we see fit.

Walter Ramsey
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