I purchased some medium sized art pegs. They’re about half the size of a clothes peg but if you can’t get these, a clothes peg will work fine.
The student needs to make a curved ‘Pacman’ shape with their thumb and first finger on the peg (has to be that curved ‘C’ shape for this to be effective). Then they do 4 ‘taps’ with each finger on the peg. The resistance the peg creates will develop stronger first joints/fingers. I used the smaller pegs so that there wasn’t as much resistance for little fingers because we don’t want to injure any joints, just gradually strengthen them.
I also assigned my piano students to do this exercise and it works quite well.
For those who manage to break their peg in the first week, I tell them to raid Mum’s peg basket.
It could be what these pegs are for as well.
I also use plain wooden pegs (new ones) to hold music book pages in place. I keep some in my violin case to prevent air conditioning blowing my pages away. I think I learned that trick many years ago in an orchestra I played in. We painted our pegs black back then, so they wouldn’t stand out, but I don’t have black paint at home at the moment and can’t quite be bothered. A lot of my older violin students now do the same thing!
These ones in the picture are actually for sale from this site: http://www.inclusiveprograms.com.au/kaleidoscope-products.php
Oh yup, they’re ‘page pegs’ – after reading their description