How Do I Position My Fingers While Playing The Piano?

lady playing the piano

Playing the piano might look deceivingly simple but once you start the lessons you’ll realize how tricky things can be. It is only with consistent practice that one can learn all the notes and get better with the chords.

Fingerings or hand movement is all about the position of your fingers and making contact with the keys the right way. Every musical piece is comprised of a combination of keys. Unless you get your fingers in the proper position, you’ll find yourself missing notes and playing out of key. Let’s equip you with time tested and proven effective tips for getting those fingers positioned perfectly.

Some Simple Reminders about Finger Movement

Before you begin your classes for effectiveness your finger movements, read some key pointers:

  • Understand that there are no exercises to increase the length of your fingers
  • Long slender fingers don’t necessarily make you a better pianist
  • Chromatic playing technique can really benefit budding musicians (variations in octaves)
a hand playing the piano
Image Courtesy of Flickr

Respect the Conventional Way

Listen to your mentor; learning the correct finger movement and chords sets the foundation for playing the piano with control. Most piano teachers teach by the book, advising the students to follow the conventional methods. And while this is a safe way to go about it, you must also not let this stifle your desire to improvise. Emerging pianists can also watch the professional musicians play and notice their playing technique closely.

Figure it out Yourself

Once you’ve understood and perfect the conventional rules, try improvising on the music. Trial and error is a fun way of exploring your potential and expanding your creativity. As you are just starting out it is paramount that you develop your style to stand out from the crowd. You want to create your own style but still be recognizable and respectable.

Free and Flexible Finger Movement

Often amateur pianists can find themselves battling painful cramps and muscle strains; this is because their hard fingers are unaccustomed to rigorous practice sessions. Start slow, gradually increasing the intensity. In addition, make it a point to memorize and repeat the finger movements each time you play a musical piece for better flexibility.

hands playing upright piano
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Wrist Movement, Finger Speed, and Accuracy

As an aspiring pianist with a desire to play fast tempo pieces effortlessly, it is necessary that you use both your hands to play. Coordinated hand movement and wrist flexibility simplify your job and also strengthen your finger muscles. Relaxed and stable hand movement enables your fingers to arch properly, assisting them in hitting the right chords. Practice the different hand movements separately and then incorporate it all together.

Don’t overdo It

A common misconception among rookie pianists is that emphasizing on the keys means banging on them. Reality check: it just sounds out of tune and downright crude! Avoid hitting the keys forcefully; shift the pressure to your hands instead. This not only maintains the balance but also allows better control.

Understand the Scale and Arpeggios

Scales and Arpeggios form the basic foundation of piano playing. And the various key combinations and expanded scales require flexible hand movements. The “thumb-under” and “thumb-on” techniques are the commonly applied techniques to perfect the arpeggios. This improves the finger movement, simplifying the smoothness in movement considerably.

two children playing the piano
Image Courtesy of Flickr

Memorize Your Music Well

Being familiar with the musical piece can really improve your finger movement. This is because you’re more accustomed to the different notes and chords that are used and can thus adapt to the variations better. A smart way to learn the finger movements is to add little footnotes on your music sheet. These notes act as a reference every time you play. You can also use the different color schemes and chord names to enhance your performance.

Other Simple Tricks to Improve Playing

Other than the commonly used finger movements there are also some extra tips and tricks that would improve the playing technique. Some of them are listed below:

  • Trim your nails
  • Maintain a coordinated finger movement to memorize the passages better
  • Arch the hands, and curl the fingers for better movement
  • Don’t just use your index finger, be economical with your finger movement
  • Avoid hitting the black key with your thumb
  • Regular practice with compulsory warm up sessions

Featured Image: Image Credit

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