362 • Ill-executed holding excises are futile fixations.

When engaging in Holding Exercises, it is imperative to 'plant' or 'ground' the fingers supporting arm weight into the keybed and engage the other finger(s) from within the hand (lumbricalis) independently and without the involvement of arm weight, not to claw with five fingers at the keyboard and lift against resistance. Proper Holding Exercises are executed analogous to standing on one leg and tap-dancing with the other. Two different mechanisms are at work at once:
The pillar and the caterpillar – finger(s) supporting arm weight and finger(s) moving independently. Not – fingers working against each other’s tension.

The objective of Holding Exercises is not 'holding' but support, relaxation, and controlled finger movement. And it is not isolation we seek from the fingers, but independence. Let's re-name Holding – with Maulstick Exercises.

Imagine a postal scale under your hand: there should be at least 2 pounds on the scale coming from an absolutely relaxed and mobile arm standing on firm finger(s) supported by a stable wrist. The finger(s) to be exercised should be played rather flat from the knuckle, utilizing the small Lumbricalis muscle in the palm, and permitting the key to lift the relaxed finger. There should be no difference on the scale's measurement: arm weight continues to flow into the keyboard, like water through an aqueduct, while the relaxed finger(s) move with independence, lightness, and speed.

Finger independence cannot be exercised by forced isolation. Clawing produces an adverse fixation, as a tense hand cannot provide finger independence, and can lead to immobility and even paralysis. An exercise in futility.

See: 285 • The pianist’s hand has six fingers
See: 162 • Master Yoda giving a piano lesson
See: 50 • Tension is not the problem. Unreleased tension is the problem.
See: 12 • What we play the piano with
See: 1 • Schumann’s Hand


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