Today I want to talk about the “stiff pinky finger”. While this term would leave most people scratching their heads, if you’ve taught piano for a while you’ll know exactly what I am talking about. I’m betting the stiff pinky finger is something you see pop up again and again! ‘scuze the pun!
But If you are a new teacher (or are wondering what I am talking about), a “stiff 5 finger” looks like this:
Typically, the first four fingers of your students’ hands are shaped correctly, but the 5 finger is not. It either assumes this stiff position immediately or gradually rises to this position as your student plays.
In your quest to help students find natural and relaxed hand shapes on the piano, the “stiff 5 finger” is something you should fix early… before it becomes a habit that causes unnecessary tension in your students’ hands.
The good news? It’s easy to fix. The even better news? It’s really fun to fix. The amazing news? We’re sharing three videos below that demonstrate my favorite “stiff pinky finger fixes”!
Try These Piano Student “5 Finger Fixes”
Check out the videos below for a visual guide to training your piano students to include their 5 fingers in their rounded hand positions. Before working on any aspect of technique, always ensure that your students are the correct distance from your piano and at the correct height on your bench.
When I first started doing these 5 Finger Fixes with my students, one little guy shouted out “Hey! My hand looks like a hermit crab!”. I agreed, and so now all of my 5 Finger Fixes have adopted a “Crabby Theme”. If you don’t live by the ocean, google “hermit crab” to see what I’m referring to 😉
Written instructions on how to do these exercises can be found in the post we wrote on this topic several years ago.
Piano Teaching Video Demos Galore
Want to see more piano teaching tips on video? Check out our some of our previous video posts here: