A crucial aspect of right-hand technique is the ability to control the stroke of each finger when it interacts with the string. During this interaction, the energy of the stroke determines the volume of the note and, if well done, does not displace the other right-hand fingers in the process.

This requires right-hand finger independence. To this end, I like to walk students through a series of activities utilizing a fixed right-hand finger with the focus of keeping the hand and inactive finger calm.

When playing the following exercises, watch the right hand as carefully as possible for any extraneous or micro movements. Ask yourself whether it is possible to pare these movements down to stillness.

Does the thumb stroke overwhelm the hand? Are there any fingers or combinations that are more uncomfortable or weak? Is the stroke efficient?

To start, place all right-hand fingers (p, i, m ,a) on the 4th, 3rd, 2nd, and 1st strings respectively. I recommend using a metronome (quarter note = 60).

Step 1

While keeping the inactive finger on its respective string, starting softly, play the following patterns.

Go slowly and spend enough time on each pattern (a minute or two) before moving to the next one. Focus on keeping the same volume in both the thumb and the fingers that are alternating or working together.

Exercise 1 for balancing the right hand
Note: "a" should remain fixed on string 1

Repeat Step 1 but impose a metrical accent. Think: 1 and 2 and 1 and 2 and, etc. Weak beats (the ands) should be slightly softer.

For fun, drop the strong beats to the background and play the weaker beats with more energy.

Watch your hand with curiosity to see how it behaves. Make deliberate adjustments until it feels groovy, balanced, and comfortable. Experiment with volume. Experiment with tempo.

Step 2

While keeping the inactive finger on its respective string, starting softly, play the following patterns.

Take your time to feel. Focus on keeping the same volume in both the thumb and the fingers that are alternating or working together.

Exercise 2 for balancing the right hand
Note: "m" should remain fixed on string 2

Repeat Step 2 but impose the same metrical accent. Keep weak beats softer.

Watch your hand with curiosity to see how it behaves. Make adjustments until it feels right. Experiment with volume and tempo.

Step 3

You know the drill. Take your time to feel. Focus on keeping the same volume in both the thumb and the fingers that are alternating or working together.

Exercise 3 for balancing the right hand
Note: "i" should remain fixed on string 3.

Repeat Step 3 but impose the metrical accent. Keep weak beats softer.

Watch your hand with curiosity to see how it behaves. Make adjustments until it feels right. Experiment with volume and tempo.

It is nice to follow these three steps with some arpeggio etudes. Hope this helps you reach your musical goals!

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