The importance of correct fingering

October 31st, 2008

Oh, not another day of bad practicing,…. In my Studio.

When are my students going to learn?

How many more grey hairs should I get from bad practice habits?

I often feel like being the bad witch badgering my students: “You must write in the finger numbers! Each note needs to be exactly defined! You must make a definite decision which finger plays which key!”

Mind boggling, that there are teachers who preach that you should NEVER write ANYTHING into the music book. Maybe, I should refer to Alfred Cortot’s study series of Chopin’s Op 10 and 25 with sets and sets of fingering advice and rhythmic exercises.

Maybe I should refer to Arthurs Schnabels’ edition of the Beethoven Sonatas with fingering and practice advice.

It is so simple and clear, if you do not define the fingering pattern, how can you train your muscles to follow the necessary extension / contraction patterns? How can you leave all this work to the spur of the moment? No wonder, the piece is NEVER FLAWLESS! No wonder, there are memory glitches like you know no tomorrow!!!

If we understand that practicing piano is a physical action that requires to place the correct finger on the correct key to play the correct note – now doesn’t that logically require a decision of which finger goes where? Correctly!

Maybe I should bring up some comparisons to gymnastics: in each routine every single detail is mapped out, each step, each hand movement; no detail, movement or step is left to the spur of the moment. Why would piano, being a physical, artistic activity be any different?

Excuse me, I just would like to hear great music making in my studio. Not mess up after mess up; maybe I am allergic to wrong notes – or better yet, bad decisions bringing about wrong notes as a logic consequence.

This post was inspired by one of my students leaving her Lecuona book in the Studio – I love Lecuona and started practicing the piece, myself. Needless to say not one single finger number was written in the book. First thing, I started defining the melody laying out the fingering strategy, writing my fingering choices and options into the book. Well, if it could be done, I would practice for my students, but I had already years of practicing 8 hours a day, now it’s about sharing the conclusions of my dedication.

Happy Halloween!

Eva Martin Hollaus

http://www.classicalpianolessons.com/

 

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