Two Thumbs Up!

Time to head off to the North Pole to check on the toy‐packing and gift‐wrapping. Some young people write letters with lists, and some might even try sending emails. But we’re going to hitch a ride for a little in‐person inspection. And for that we need our thumbs! The thumb is such a useful, important finger. We need it to hold, to snap, and to signal. At the piano it’s the thumb that establishes the height of the wrist. Dr. Faber explains and demonstrates how the Thumb Perch ensures an appropriate structure for the hand and keeps the wrist from sinking. Thumb Perch, therefore, is introduced in the Primer Level Technique & Performance Book. As the music moves from the thumb to the fifth finger in Going to the North Pole (or the South Pole in the left hand), the thumb floats and follows off the keys in order to keep the hand relaxed. Whether rocking from the thumb to the third finger (Skipping with Checkers) or spanning out from thumb to fifth finger (The Great Cookie Chase and The Left‐Handed Cookie Cutter), a proper Thumb Perch orients the wrist and stabilises the hand. “Perch” may be defined in interesting ways: as a bar or peg on which to hang something, as a resting place, as a vantage point, or as a prominent position. Any of these meanings can apply to the important role the thumb plays in establishing a good hand position at the keyboard. A “handy” finger, indeed!