Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Piano Fingering


One of the most important things to have when playing the piano is to position yourself in the correct way. There is a way you should seat yourself so that you don't cause strain to your body. The chair you are sitting on should be the right height so that your hands and forearm are about level with the piano keyboard. Your feet should be resting lightly on the floor. The sheet music should be slightly below eye level but definitely not above it. Your wrists should be loose and relaxed, not stiff. Keep your whole body relaxed and don't hunch your shoulders forward. Make sure you keep your back straight and your shoulders relaxed. 

Another important thing when playing your piano is how you position your hands and fingers on the keyboard of your piano. Your fingers should be curved and palms of your hand rounded. The reason you need to keep your fingers curved is because it allows your fingers to stand in one line more or less. This then minimizes the gap between the differences in the lengths of your fingers and thereby makes playing the piano a lot more easier. Try it out for yourself  by curving your fingers slightly. You can see that 4 of your fingers except for your thumb line up almost in a straight line right? Now place them on your piano keyboard. This is the way you need to position your fingers on the piano.

We play the keys of the piano with the tip of our fingers close to the nail.  The only finger that doesn't need to be curved is the thumb. We don't curve the thumb but instead let it lay on its side on the piano keyboard. Please Do Not play the piano with your fingers and palm flat! The image below shows you the correct way to position your hands over a piano keyboard.



Now that you know the way to position your hand on the piano keyboard. The next thing you need to know is remember that our fingers have numbers from 1 to 5 when playing the piano. From the image below we can see that the thumb is the first finger of each hand and is numbered 1. The pointer finger is 2. The middle finger 3. The ring finger 4 and the pinky 5. Notice that the right hand is numbered the same as the left hand.

Learning these finger numbers means that you know the proper fingering needed to play scales, chords, arpeggios and musical passages. By using the correct fingers for the correct keys, playing the piano will be a lot easier. 




Different music pieces can start at different areas on the piano. This means that when we play the piano we may use different hand positions. A hand position is where you place your hand when you start playing a piece of music. The first position we will be using is the C position.

We will start with positioning the right hand in the C position. First place your right hand thumb on the middle C. Now curve your fingers so that your number 2 finger is on D, 3 is on E, 4 is on F, and 5 is on G. Make sure that all your finger tips are lined up with each other. This is how you must always hold your hand when playing the piano. Start playing the notes C, D, E, F, G slowly.  Then play them backwards G, F, E, D, C.  Do this a few times slowly so that you can build up your finger muscles. Practice all of your fingers daily and they will get stronger making it easier to play the piano.

After you have finished with your right hand, we need to position our left hand in the C position. Place your left hand thumb on the G. Now curve your fingers and palm so that the number 2 finger is on the F, 3 is on E, 4 is on D, and 5 is on middle C. Make sure that all your finger tips are lined up with each other.   Slowly play middle C starting with the number 5 finger (the pinky), then play D, E, F, G with their respective fingers. Play these notes backwards from G, F, E, D, then middle C.  Do this a few times slowly.

Make sure to always keep your fingertips lined up with each other and never lift any of your fingers up off the keys while playing a note. And keep practicing! That is the only way to improve and strengthen your finger movements.

You can also try the Piano Lesson Companion if you wish for more advanced help in improving your finger movements and dexterity when playing the piano. Another excellent guide that will help strengthen your hands and fingers is the Alfred's Basic Adult Finger Aerobics Book.

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