Lesson 01
Lesson 02
Lesson 03
Lesson 04
Lesson 05
Lesson 06
Lesson 07
Lesson 08
Lesson 09
Lesson 10
Lesson 11
Lesson 12
Sight Reading

Lesson 7
Lesson 07:


(No photographs)

So far we have considered developing the hand by movements from the second and third joints only.

We must now consider the independent movement of the first phalange, and from now onwards the following exercise should be practised for five minutes every day, immediately preceding one of the ten-minute periods of practice of the progressive lesson.

The intention will be better understood if we imagine a metal or wooden sheath which would completely encircle the finger between the webbing and the first joint, binding the finger tightly at the middle joint so as to prevent movement at this point but leaving the top portion - the first phalange - unbound and free to move.

Considering that you are working on the left hand, grasp the first finger with the thumb of the right hand in front of the finger and the first and second fingers of the right hand behind it, so that the member being operated upon is restrained from bending at the second (or middle) joint. The right hand thumbnail will be just below the line indicating the first joint, and the right hand first and second fingers will act as the restrainer at the back of the first finger. The best position is to hold the hand sideways with the thumb pointing towards the face.

It may be necessary to read the foregoing instructions more than once in order to understand what is intended. When all is quite clear the actual exercises should then be tried.


Slowly bend the first phalange and hold it in the bent position for five seconds, then straighten and relax for two seconds. Bend again and relax, and so on for five times. Then proceed in like manner with the second, third and fourth fingers, and afterwards change over and do the exercise with the right hand fingers similarly.

Initially not much movement of this first phalange may be possible, but after a little practice greater facility will be gained, until quite an appreciable portion of the arc of a circle is covered by the movement.

The effect of this exercise is to stretch the corresponding ligament, which makes for greater speed and responsiveness and adds to the hammering power of the finger appreciably.

Another effect is to 'slim' thick fingers, an effect which is particularly appreciated by pianists who have fleshy fingers and consequent difficulty in playing between the black keys.

Many students report that when doing the exercises of Lesson 1 the first phalange automatically bends as the finger is being bent at the middle joints. A little practice of the foregoing exercise will develop a certain amount of control over this first phalange. This has a special application for violinists, for very rapid passages are best produced by flat fingers, the first joint not being bent.

Once again the warning against being over-strenuous. The golden rule is to stop exercising immediately the hand or fingers begin to feel tired. Be content with quite a small movement of the first phalange initially and after doing the exercise with either hand, follow on with:


One photograph. Number 22. (Photograph No. 1 sent with Lesson 1 also to be used.)

which may be considered as affording a complete relaxation from the one you have just done.

Hold the hand as in Photo No. 1. Then, keeping the fingers quite flat, separate the 2nd and 3rd fingers as widely as possible without strain, as in Photo No. 22, and hold in this position until the fingers show a tendency to return to the normal position of their own volition.

When this occurs relax the whole hand for half a minute, and repeat as before, alternating with the right hand so as not to cause undue fatigue. The length of time which elapses before this tendency to return to the normal occurs should be noted, and an endeavour made to retain the position for 5 seconds longer the following day For example, if on the first attempt it is possible to retain the position for 20 seconds, the next day try to keep the position for 25 seconds, the next for 30 seconds etc., until the fingers can be kept wide apart for a full minute.

As before, concentrate closely on what you are doing.

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