Sequence 9

with Paul Edmund-Davies

So far these sequences have covered scales, scales in thirds, intervals and now the focus is on getting fingers working in a more independent and constructive manner, so onto Sequence 9!

As we know, scales are good practice, but if we want our fingers to be less ’unruly’, we need to make them work in a way which repeats an action, so that both the closing and opening muscles of each finger are exercised and gradually strengthened. In this way, over a period of time, we will be able to establish greater independence in all of our fingers and in particular those sent by the Devil himself, fingers 4 and 5 in both hands!

As has often been drummed into us, there are no short cuts in the pursuit of perfection, on any musical instrument. Only hours, days, weeks and years of hard graft will give the results that people are looking for and they won’t miraculously appear overnight!

The path to improvement

 

The path to improvement should be a steady process of gradual building. You won’t notice it instantly, but if you have indeed worked on your ‘issues’ in a methodical and patient manner, the chances are that you will gradually realise that things are easier than they used to be and perhaps that those nightmarish passages of the past, are accomplished with relative ease and a refreshing lack of worry. At least, that really is the hope and diligent work on technical aspects of our playing, should ensure this. However, technique requires constant attention and every day, you should assign sections of your practice to the four key areas, namely sonority, fingers, articulation and intervals. None of these will ‘look after themselves’!

With this finger sequence, it is crucial to start at a tempo that doesn’t send our hands into spasms. Fingers should be coaxed, not bullied into action. Once they get a grasp of what is required, it is good to gently up the tempo, but without being over ambitious.

As with previous exercises, great benefit will come if you spend some of your practice time operating the long B flat fingering in this sequence. Happy days!