Finger Stretching for Piano

by Steven J. Miller, Demand Media

    Finger stretching exercises on the piano will greatly reduce soreness and increase your flexibility, helping to improve your piano playing. Stretching exercises will also help to reduce fatigue as you strengthen and develop the muscles and ligaments in the hand. Perform these exercises before each piano session to help prevent injury and make playing more comfortable.

    Closed Hand

    The closed hand stretch involves clenching your hand into a ball and squeezing tightly to make a fist. Slowly release your fingers and stretch them outwards to feel the stretch in all of your fingers. Separate your fingers widely to ensure that each of your fingers gets a good stretch. Perform this procedure several times before playing to stretch out both of your hands.

    Finger Stretch

    Make a fist and extend one finger. With your other hand, grab the extended finger by the base, wrapping your fist around the entire finger, and pull gently on the finger. Massage the finger as necessary to remove tension. This will help to warm up and stretch your individual fingers to loosen them for playing. Complete this with each finger to ensure a completely stretched hand.

    Hanon

    Pianists use Hanon exercises to perform daily strength and finger stretching exercises. These exercises isolate individual fingers and allow the pianist to concentrate on improving her technique. Play the exercises with a metronome, and ensure you use the correct fingerings listed in the exercise book. As you improve, gradually increase the speed until you reach the recommended tempo for each exercise. These exercises will greatly improve your dexterity, flexibility and most importantly, stretch your fingers thoroughly.

    Palm Stretch

    Using the edge of a countertop, table or the side of the piano, place the tips of your fingers on the edge of the piano so that your hand faces toward the ground. Gently press down, keeping your arm straight, but allowing your wrist to bend. This exercise done daily will help stretch the inside fleshy part of your fingers.

    References

    • "Piano Technique"; Walter Gieseking; 1972

    Resources

    • "The Virtuoso Pianist in Sixty Exercises for the Piano"; C.L. Hanon; 1986

    About the Author

    Steven Miller graduated with a master's degree in 2010. He writes for several companies including Lowe's and IBM. He also works with local schools to create community gardens and learn environmentally responsible gardening. An avid gardener for 15 years, his experience includes organic gardening, ornamental plants and do-it-yourself home projects.

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