Reading this:

Trying to get rid of my bad oboe habit which is lifting my finger when going from half covered to full.

Please oh please work on your half hole technique! Unless you are playing high C&#9389&, your half hole finger is attached to the key. I move my half hole finger by pivoting it. Not everyone agrees with this, and I’m open to discussion about that. No matter what, don’t lift that finger to get on or off of the half hole. So many of my students begin by rocking it downward but, when recovering the half hole key, life the finger up. I suggest you pretend your finger is actually glued to the key and all you have is “wiggle room”.

The “half hole hop” is, in my little opinion, a great big no-no. We pivot, but we don’t hop!

That being said, I did have one student who, when she arrived at college, was told she had to move from pivoting (or rocking) to sliding. I prefer my method of pivoting, but as I told her, when she was with her new teacher she had to follow his rules. Not only that, but the video below suggests sliding as well.

So as you can see, this instructor does a fairly large slide. I guess I should figure out how to do videos and show you what my finger does instead. My reason for pivoting rather than sliding is to avoid having my other fingers or my wrist move. When you slide, the entire hand is more involved. When you pivot, only the index finger is involved. At least for me.

But no matter what no half hole hop! Period.


  1. I’m a roller, not a slider. Since I’m already all set up for YouTube, I can show the rolling technique in a future video if you like.

  2. I actually went to your YouTube stuff immediately, Karen, and nearly put up your video of Scheherezade to show a roller! Yes, do one … and let me know so I can post it.

    I don’t want to argue with the sliders, but I think rolling (or pivoting) is really the best. 🙂

  3. I’m a roller, too. I never really thought about it until I saw this post. Rolling feels a lot more natural and takes a lot less movement of the hand/fingers.

    Go Phillies!

  4. Yes on the rolling.

    No on the Phillies.

    GO GIANTS! 🙂

  5. I’m a roller as well, but I live, and try to teach my students to ‘live’ at the ‘halfway point’.

    From there you’re rolling just a bit to close or just a bit to open. I know that 2 halves make a whole, but the usual student position is solidly closed, causing a major hand shift to open. …Not unlike the slide…

    I subscribe to the Law of Parsimony, which states that the smallest finger motion you use, gently, gives you the greatest flexibility, since you are as close as you can be to a neutral starting place for the next fingering…

  6. OOOPS!

    Meant to say the ‘Law of Parsimony of Motion’…


  7. My half hole finger really sits on the mid-point, Bob. Is that what you are saying above (I think so). I try to get my students to do that as well. They tend to think the finger has to be completely over the half-hole key, so sliding is almost required. I suspect you and I are on the same page. (Gee, no surprise there, eh? I had a good teacher!)