Finger Exercises to Build Dexterity

Having a little trouble communicating which finger is which? Does your child need to develop more dexterity to play the recorder? Try these exercises to help!

Often the biggest hurdle to teaching young children the recorder is in helping them with the dexterity needed and the knowledge of which finger goes where. A few simple exercises can help bridge the communication gap on that.

  • Finger taps: Have your child place their hands flat together, lining up each finger, pointer to pointer, middle to middle, etc. Next, have him tap only his pointer fingers together, keep all other fingers as still as possible. Tap each pair of fingers in succession, middle, ring, pinkie, thumb.
  • Finger hugs: Set up her fingers the same way as for the taps, only this time, slide each pointer finger past each other as if they are giving each other a hug. Do this with each finger, keeping the others as still as possible in the process.
  • Finger marches: Use a recorder for this one. Have your child alternate between two notes, for example, ‘B’ and ‘A’. You can do any combination of notes, but this is a fine place to start because it helps them develop independent control of each finger while on the recorder.

Have them go very slowly at first, don’t let them “flutter” their fingers, but instead have them control it. As they get better at it, have them go faster.

Things to remember:

  1. Call out each finger verbally, and if your child makes a mistake, simply point at the correct finger.
  2. Help him hold the other fingers still, often gently holding them helps him understand what is expected.
  3. Kids rise to the level of our expectation, if you have faith in them, they will.

Doing these regularly increases flexibility and dexterity while also teaching the names of the fingers. I love exercises that achieve more than one goal at a time, it makes your time spent on music more efficient and productive. Which means you’ll feel more productive in your music lessons, and your child won’t get bored as fast!

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