19 Piano Exercises for the WEAK FINGERS

by Lars Nelissen  - August 21, 2023

Sensitive Fingers are NOT WEAK Fingers! Strong Fingers Will be in Better Control in Any Situation.

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Weak Fingers at the Piano?

19 Piano Exercises to Quickly Improve the 4th and 5th Fingers at the Piano!

This is a VIDEO POST on improving your your piano technique with piano exercises specially for the weak fingers. WATCH VIDEO.

 Many piano players have trouble playing with the 4th and 5th fingers because they are WEAKER, and in particular, the 4th finger is the LEAST INDEPENDENT finger. This is because of the anatomy inside the hand. And it is for everyone like that.

When I work on my piano technique, I always make sure to give some extra work to the weaker fingers. By nature, the ring fingers, and small fingers aren't as strong and fast as the other fingers in piano technique. 

Chopin wrote an etude especially for that, Opus 10 no. 2 in A Minor. This etude, how easy it may look on the score, is one of the most difficult things you can play on the piano. Both Sviatoslav Richter and Vladimir Horowitz said they couldn't play it. Richter did record it later in his life, but not too fast for sure.

In this video, I show you 19 PIANO EXERCISES for the weak fingers that are excellent in developing precisely the 4th and 5th fingers at the piano. 

Don't forget to DOWNLOAD the exercises.

Understanding the Weakness

The fourth finger, in particular, is notorious for its weakness and lack of independence compared to the other fingers. This is primarily due to its anatomical positioning, wedged between the third and fifth fingers. Consequently, lifting the fourth finger can be more challenging than lifting any other finger. Nevertheless, with the right exercises, you can enhance their independence and strength.

Arthur Rubinstein Hand Sculpture, piano exercises for strong fingers

Strengthening Your Fourth and Fifth Fingers: Piano Exercises for Improved Dexterity

Many accomplished pianists emphasize the importance of mastering the fourth and fifth fingers. These fingers each have their unique character, and by developing them, you enrich your piano playing. Let's delve into some exercises that can help you achieve this.

1. Hanon: A Familiar Friend

Hanon exercises serve as an excellent starting point. While they're not exclusively designed for fingers four and five, certain exercises are particularly effective. Numbers 11, 12, 16, and 17 are noteworthy, offering variations that target these weaker digits.

2. Delving into Brahms

For those seeking more specialized exercises, Brahms' techniques provide an invaluable resource. These exercises focus on trills, legato playing, and strengthening techniques for the fourth and fifth fingers.

  • Piano Exercise 13: Focused on achieving a smooth legato, this exercise emphasizes leaving a key only when the next finger is already in position.
  • Piano Exercise 18: A trill exercise for the fourth and fifth fingers, incorporating intricate patterns.
  • Piano Exercise 23: A challenging exercise involving sustained thumb notes and fourth and fifth finger thirds.
  • Piano Exercise 22: This exercise maintains a sustained thumb while targeting the fourth and fifth fingers, promoting a deep stretch.
  • Piano Exercise 28: A chromatic scale exercise with a sustained thumb, working both hands simultaneously.
  • Piano Exercise 30: A trill exercise for fourth and fifth fingers, coupled with legato patterns.
  • Piano Exercise 34C: An exercise focusing on the B major tonality, enhancing finger independence.

3. Super Fingers: Unlocking Your Potential

In my book, 'Super Fingers,' I've curated a collection of 57 exercises. These exercises are meticulously designed to cultivate both finger and arm techniques, catering to beginners, intermediates, and advanced players.

  • Piano Exercise 16: Accentuating the fourth finger with a forte and legato approach.
  • Piano Exercise 20: Tailored for both hands, fostering legato playing and strength in four and five.
  • Piano Exercise 47: Utilizing a sustained fifth finger in ascending, and a sustained thumb in descending.
  • Piano Exercise 48: Focusing on the fourth finger's sustained strength in both directions.
  • Piano Exercise 52 (and 51): An excellent pizzicato exercise, further developing fingers four and five.

Conclusion on Piano Exercises for Weak Fingers

Strengthening your fourth and fifth fingers is essential for achieving a more nuanced and expressive piano performance. While Hanon exercises can provide a good foundation, Brahms' exercises and the "Super Fingers" system offer more specialized workouts for these weaker fingers.

By incorporating these exercises into your practice routine, you'll notice significant improvements in finger independence and overall piano playing.

Don't forget to DOWNLOAD the accompanying exercise PDFs linked in the description to help you get started on your journey to mastering your fourth and fifth fingers. Subscribe to our channel for more piano-playing tips and tutorials, and remember to hit the like button if you found this video helpful. Happy playing!

Watch here the Video Tutorial on Piano Technique for the WEAK 4th & 5th FINGERS
► Read Video Script This video is about training the fourth and fifth fingers in exercises for the weak fingers. These are the weakest fingers of your hands, particularly number four. I know many students like to avoid using, particularly, the fourth finger because it's the weakest and least independent finger of all of them. And that's because of the anatomy in the hand; it's locked between three and five. Therefore, you will see that lifting the fourth finger is far more complex than lifting any other finger, but still, with exercises, we can make it more independent. I love to use my fourth finger and my fifth finger because I developed them well. Every finger has its own character, but still, the better you develop your fingers, the more prosperous your piano playing will get. The exercises I use for that are a few exercises of Hanon, but there are not many. I think Hanon is more designed for developing some equality and passage work, especially when you do them in different tonalities. There are a few exercises that can be effective for four and five to make them a little bit quicker, but if you really want to make your fingers independent and strong, you should go to take Brahms exercises. These exercises are the best that I have found from any exercises, including the exercises of Franz Liszt. They are far from as good as the ones of Brahms, but they are pretty difficult. Then we have the exercises of myself; I developed my own system of exercises. This is called Super Fingers, book one. I take exercises off which are for beginners to intermediates and when you're more advanced but still don't know much about using your arm, about arm technique if you didn't learn that, then I would also recommend you check this first book of Super Fingers. There will be a part two and a part three and then a part four, transcendental difficulty. But there is a system in them, and I explain very clearly how I use the fingers, how I use the arm, and I even write the arm movements for the different exercises. So check it out, the link is in the description, and the exercises that I discuss in this video, you will also find a link in the description to the pdf, you can download them for free. So check it out, and let's get to the exercises. I start with Hanon because these are the exercises that most of you are familiar with; they're perfect to do. But they are a little bit one-sided because they're all similar. I would learn all of them once and then leave them, and maybe you can make some design some new exercises from them. The first exercise from Hanon is number eleven; see, what makes it four or five is this is a repetition here. Actually, you can also take here number thirty from Hanon, which is a little bit similar, that's number thirty. I don't say that these exercises are exclusively for the four and the five, but from the exercises of, I know these are the most effective. Also, number twelve, you can do here is when you go up. It's for the left hand, four five, and when you go down, it is for the right-hand, and you can do them in different tonalities, of course. Then we go to number sixteen and back. Then we have the number seventeen, which I like the most of all of them because of the stretching here. Hanon is perfect for developing equal piano playing so that all the notes are nicely equal in passage works, but they are not mainly designed to make real strong, flexible, independent fingers. For that, I would recommend going to Brahms, or if you want to find something easier, you could say pre-Brahms, then you should go to my book, super fingers that you can download, the link is in the description, so second, let's go to Brahms there, we get to some more exciting exercises. First, we go to number thirteen, Ben Legato, that's what Brahms writes a lot with exercises. Ben legato means good legato, so, really, only leave the key when the next finger has already pressed the following key so that is Ben Legato real legato not something in between. Then we go to exercise number eighteen. This exercise is for four and five 'trills.' in four and five, and it is two against three four against six at the same time so first, a sustained note here that's a and b is the following exercise is number twenty-three also, this with a sustained thumb and then with four, five, and thirds it's actually written this it's perfect to practice in this rhythm first it's a little bit of pressure and release so it's an excellent exercise and you really feel it also in the lower arm. Then we have twenty-two, so the thumb stays you will feel this stretching you should feel them in the lower arm it's an excellent exercise the following exercise is number twenty-eight is chromatic scales with four and five with a sustained thumb in opposite directions yeah, it's a little bit of practicing that you have the notes correct in the left and in the right hand excellent exercise really makes your four and five then we have the next one number thirty is really a thrilling exercise for four-five again and then a legato in three to one so, really, for a finger independence that's it have a good exercise you will feel that in your muscles here in your hand in the tiny muscles but you should always feel most here here, you should develop your muscles go to the next exercise it is thirty-four c the nice thing, by the way, with exercises of Brahms is that they all are in different tonalities the tonality in which you have to learn that exercise really helps to have even more effect of the exercise this exercise is in b major and then we come to my own book, Super Fingers this is a collection of fifty-seven exercises meant for developing your finger technique and arm technique combined like in Brahms but then with explanations and they start with starters and intermediate players and even if you're advanced and you never learned anything about arm movements I would suggest you learn from this book there will also be a course a video course on it check the link in the description then you can check it out by the way, don't forget to download also the pdf from the exercises that I treat in this video there's a PDF link in the description you can download them for free number sixteen and the whole meaning of it is to give an accent on the fourth finger all forte and legato a little bit with the arm and you could make a variation on it and then you do it like this simple exercise but effective specially developed for the fourth finger then we have the number twenty which is when we go up, it's for the right-hand four five and we go down is for the left hand four five all legato and repeat, and you can do this in different tonalities you can always go back also to exercises and do them in different tonalities then we go to number forty-seven this is with a sustained fifth finger when we go up and a sustained thumb when we go down see, this is very good for the fourth finger down is then we have the number forty-eight right after this is, a fourth finger sustained and then we go back, the second finger stays and we go to number fifty-two etc. You could also do fifty-one there's a really a more for pizzicato exercise but also with four or five so these are a collection of exercises that are very good for developing four and five on both hands and now that we have got to the end of this video, I hope that you have learned some new exercises so that you can work on your technique a little bit better make sure to subscribe weekly, I upload new videos about piano playing so make sure to subscribe to this channel that you don't miss out on anything if you like this video, then click this like button to let other people know that this is a good video and they will watch it and benefit from it, too, and then I see you in the following video.

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