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Tips for teaching finger staccato


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#1 zwhe

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Posted 23 April 2019 - 15:55

I have a pupil who is finding fast staccato difficult - he tries to bounce his whole hand, so makes mistakes. Does anyone have any tips/exercises for teaching finger staccato. He seems to get it, but then reverts back again the next time, so I'm trying to find something that will make it stick!


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#2 Latin pianist

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Posted 23 April 2019 - 16:57

Imagine the keys are hot. That's in one of the Schaum tutor books and it does make sense.
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#3 sbhoa

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Posted 23 April 2019 - 18:15

Sometimes thinking of it like trying to flick a bit of dust off the key helps


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#4 ma non troppo

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Posted 24 April 2019 - 00:15

I agree with sbhoa. For faster staccato, the movement needs to be lateral not vertical. Think little strokes with the fingers.
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#5 zwhe

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Posted 24 April 2019 - 06:51

Yes, it is the flick/stroke the key one that I've been trying to get him to do (towards you rather than away as it is for scales/scale passages), but how do I teach it in a way that it actually sinks in? Like I said, he does it in at the time, then appears to forget it again. I've had him hold his other fist on top of his hand to feel it staying steady, and watch to try and do staccato while his hand move the same way as for legato. Its the first time I've had this sort of difficulty with this pupil, so its possible that everything else has 'come naturally' and this is the first bit of technique he has really had to work at (always a bit of a shock to pupils who advance easily in any subject!). On reflection, maybe it is less a technical issue than a 'how to practise' issue?


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#6 EllieD

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Posted 24 April 2019 - 07:55

Not a teacher but reading the last post made me wonder, can your student actually hear the difference between doing it right and doing it wrong? If he can't, that might explain why he isn't doing the (currently) harder but correct option at home, even though clearly he is technically able to do it.


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#7 vron

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Posted 24 April 2019 - 13:41

Just an adult learner but this is something that strikes home for me. I very recently have just been tackling the same problem. I tended to bounce whole hand rather than use fingers and have been trying hard to change this. For me I think " pedalling on a bike" with my fingers while smoothly moving hand sideways and it seems to help me visualise what my fingers should be doing. I practised that away from piano sometime too. I also am managing it ok sometimes ...for instance in scales or a passage which is all staccato but have difficulty if it is just a few random notes especially if I am finding that I am struggling with the piece in general and I don't have enough spare brain cells to think of that as well as the notes ( this may be your students problem) or if it is at speed.


For me it is just been continual practice of staccato scales especially with left hand as I find that weak especially the 4 and 5th fingers and really thinking about what I am doing that is helping. It is still a work in progress!!
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#8 agricola

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Posted 25 April 2019 - 09:53

I use and teach a similar action for fast passages that are legato but pp and I have noticed that few people persist with this technique.  It feels quite effortful when you are learning it so they give up -- either because they don't appreciate how much better they will sound or (as vron says) because they can't think about a tricky technique at the same time as learning notes/fingering etc.  

 

I learn ballroom dance and have exactly the same problem with that -- I can either think about improving footwork, adding arm movements and so on or about the actual steps, but not both at the same time!


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