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Finger independence – do you have it?

If you play keyboard or any stringed (or other kind of) instruments, you’ll eventually get to a point where you strive for finger independence. Seriously. And even if you’re not so serious about your guitar or piano, you’re gonna need a little bit of it. But how to achieve that sought after finger independence? There are plenty of exercises out there. Both for piano and for guitar and other stringed instruments. They all claim to be the best and most effective. And who knows, you might end up liking some of them. But this following one is a bit different. You don’t need any instrument for it, yet it works for all of them. It’s because it focuses on the problem and its solution, and nothing else.

The exercise

finger independencePlace your fingertips on a flat surface, in a relaxed position. It’s kind of like hanging your hand and fingers loosely. Piano lesson one, I guess. Whichever hand you want to train. Avoid a straight wrist, especially avoid bending it backwards. While it’s not all that crucial as far as finger independence goes, it does matter. At least if you want to get used to something that doesn’t result in injury in the long run. RSI sucks, man. Once your hand is placed like that, we can start the actual exercise.

Push the limits

Try to lift one finger at a time, while keeping the other ones down, in contact with the surface. Don’t worry too much about the limited movement of your ring finger. It’s natural. Create different sequences in which order you lift your fingers, one by one. From thumb to pinky and back, and anything in between. After a while, it’ll get pretty easy and you’ll be able to lift any single finger at will without lifting the other ones. That’s when we start to add the tricks to make it harder. Hehe.
Now try to lift two fingers at once! Thumb+middle, index+ring, middle+pinky, thumb+pinky. That middle+pinky one will be tricky to do quickly, especially when you place it as part of a bigger sequence. None the less you’ll work through that obstacle, I’m sure.
The next step is of course to lift any three fingers, then finally, any four of them. If you can lift any finger combinations at will on one hand, you can even go for two hands at once. Both doing different combinations, of course. I wish you good luck with that. You’re going to need it.

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