Tonight I was running through the piano accompaniments for a young (and very tired) violinist preparing for Grade 3. One piece has a couple of Grade 1 standard A major and D major arpeggios, and she was consistently playing them as minors, failing to place her second finger correctly.
We were getting nowhere, merely repeating the same horrible intonation over and over again… until I stuck a little sticker on the offending second finger. It happened to have a picture of a smiling monkey on it.
This had the effect of making it possible for her to identify WHICH finger needed to be corrected, as she could identify it by the feel of the sticker on her skin.
Once she was consistently playing major instead of minor arpeggios, we could move on. She’s stuck the sticker by the side of the first arpeggio as a reminder…. next week will prove how effective the smiling monkey has been.
Knowing which finger is which is a major problem to young and old beginners. I used to scratch my fingers, or bite them when I was practising (not hard enough to draw blood, I should say) when I was trying to remember a certain fingering or correct an ingrained mistake.