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Thursday, May 11, 2017

A stroke of inspiration - helping students play on the tips of their fingers

Today during our warm-ups I was checking left hand position and reminding students about playing on the tips of their fingers to achieve better intonation.  One of my students raised her hand and told me that she cut her finger and had a band-aid wrapped around the top of her finger so she was forced stay on her fingertips.  Genius!  I got some scotch tape and I let students try it - we wrapped a few fingertips with tape and they played while focusing on excellent left hand position.  You should have seen the awesome position I was seeing!  Many students said the tape helped them focus on their fingertips and play more precisely in tune.

In the past when teaching about playing on the tips of the fingers I would draw a little dot on the thumb side corner of each finger (for violin/viola) and students would try to make that dot touch the tapes.

Some teachers draw 'claws' on the fingernail to help students aim the nail/tip of the finger straight down to the tapes.  These things help, but I think the tape works even better.  Students with smaller fingers may need the tape trimmed to make sure they can bend the 1st knuckle.  Flat fingers cause so many position problems and they kill a student's ability to play in tune.  This tape method helps get kids to the fingertips and it fixes a lot of the collapsed wrist problems.  (It's hard to stay on the tops of the fingers with a collapsed wrist!)  I'm so glad to have another way to teach proper left hand position!  Plus tape is cheap and easy to find at any school.  :)


  1. Do fingers always have to be raised or can they be flattened ...some people I have seen seem to have high fingers .... or very curved ...why is this considered good . If people have flat fingers and play in tune is this forbidden ???