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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Transfer of piano practice in fast performance of skilled finger movements

Shinichi Furuya1*, Ayumi Nakamura2 and Noriko Nagata2

Author Affiliations

1 Institute for Music Physiology and Musicians’ Medicine, Hannover University of Music, Drama and Media, Emmichplatz 1, Hannover 30175, Germany

2 Graduate School of Science and Technology, Kwansei Gakuin University, Sanda, Japan

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BMC Neuroscience 2013, 14:133  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-14-133

Published: 1 November 2013



Transfer of learning facilitates the efficient mastery of various skills without practicing all possible sensory-motor repertoires. The present study assessed whether motor practice at a submaximal speed, which is typical in sports and music performance, results in an increase in a maximum speed of finger movements of trained and untrained skills.


Piano practice of sequential finger movements at a submaximal speed over days progressively increased the maximum speed of trained movements. This increased maximum speed of finger movements was maintained two months after the practice. The learning transferred within the hand to some extent, but not across the hands.


The present study confirmed facilitation of fast finger movements following a piano practice at a submaximal speed. In addition, the findings indicated the intra-manual transfer effects of piano practice on the maximum speed of skilled finger movements.

Transfer; Motor learning; Neuroplasticity; Fine motor control; Motor skill