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#2124721 - 07/29/13 10:29 AM Proper fingering learning process?
My Bucket List Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/10/11
Posts: 9
Loc: NYS
I'm an adult late beginner (3 years of lessons) currently working on Alfred book 3 as well as Hanon & scale exercise books. Just beginning to explore various songs from "easy piano" level books & having difficulty in determining proper fingering since none is noted on the score. I have been working one hand at a time with pencil marks entered on many bars to help me along (sometimes changing it) as I try to work with both hands. Is this the approach that most students use until they become more familiar?
Any basic rules to keep in mind? Should the same fingering always be used once decided?

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#2124731 - 07/29/13 10:50 AM Re: Proper fingering learning process? [Re: My Bucket List]
Whizbang Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 963
Long time player: I still write finger indications all over the pieces I study.

Basic guidelines:

* Long fingers on black notes
* Hopping fingers is to be avoided
* Minimize hand repositioning
* If your hand is in a position, the finger naturally resting above the note you want to play is often the right one

Once you decide on a working fingering pattern for a passage, it's a good idea to use it consistently.

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#2124732 - 07/29/13 10:51 AM Re: Proper fingering learning process? [Re: My Bucket List]
Sweet06 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/13
Posts: 411
Personally is don't mark every note. I'll mark major changes. Like if I'm making a high jump or something ill mark the first note into that high jump and everything else just falls into place
_________________________
"Doesn't practicing on the piano suck?!?!"
"The joy is in the practicing. It's like relationships. Yeah, orgasms are awesome, but you can't make love to someone who you have no relationship with!"

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#2124756 - 07/29/13 11:36 AM Re: Proper fingering learning process? [Re: My Bucket List]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3263
A lot of fingering is common sense.

The first basic is logistics, i.e. proper allocation of resources to get the job done.

Try to play your fingering so you have enough fingers to complete the phrase or chord.

For example, if a five note phrase up the keyboard with the right hand is, say, C-E-F-G-A, start if possible with the thumb on C so that you have enough fingers to complete the run.

People who intuitively do "bad" fingering will often start that run with a finger that is not the thumb, and thus run out of fingers, and have to resort to a clumsy movement.

Also, if that phrase is preceded by a chord or other phrase that leaves a finger other than the thumb on C, start the phrase with that finger, and use the "thumb under" movement found in scales to put the thumb under the finger that is on C and thus gain enough fingers to complete the phrase.

The second basic is try to use the same fingerings for the same things.

For example, root chords are very common, as are first and second inversions of that chord, be they the chords themselves, or broken chords, or arpeggios.

In C, the root chord is C-E-G, and people typically play it with either fingers 1-2-4 or 1-3-5. Clumsy fingering for the root is 3-4-5, for example.

Depending upon your hand size and technique ability, try to determine a standard fingering for those common chord shapes, so when you see them in the music, you do not have to think about what fingers to use. This also applies to the arpeggios of those chords, and to broken chords.

There will be exceptions to all of that depending upon where those chord/arpeggio shapes occur in the music, but those are often solved by moving/jumping the hand to the chord position. Nevertheless, establishing a basic standard for each common shape eliminates stumbling to think about it as you play, or making up on the fly a new fingering plan for a common shape, a plan than may not help you play it, nor to play what occurs next.

This is just a few basics, hope it helps.

_________________________
Music teacher and Blues piano player.

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#2124915 - 07/29/13 05:05 PM Re: Proper fingering learning process? [Re: My Bucket List]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1387
Loc: Cameron Park, California
I'll simply add that learning and memorizing the fingering to all your scales, arpeggios, and chord inversions is also invaluable. These can be found in various books and from working with a teacher

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#2124991 - 07/29/13 08:13 PM Re: Proper fingering learning process? [Re: Bobpickle]
StarvingLion Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/30/13
Posts: 226
Originally Posted By: Bobpickle
I'll simply add that learning and memorizing the fingering to all your scales, arpeggios, and chord inversions is also invaluable. These can be found in various books and from working with a teacher


What happens if you ask yourself why those fingerings were chosen? I find it strange that people just accept fingerings without question.

A recent book by Jon Verbalis deals with this: 'Natural Fingering: A Topographical apporach to Pianism'

Has anybody read this book?
_________________________
I'm starting the solid wooden keys revolution in digital pianos. Get'em now or be square!

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#2125004 - 07/29/13 09:00 PM Re: Proper fingering learning process? [Re: My Bucket List]
Sweet06 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/13
Posts: 411
I change peice fingerings often. I think they are stupid sometimes. However I know the dumb ones in my method book while stupid in the context of that song, is probably just trying to teach me a new way of moving about on the keyboard. So I look and notice if it's a new way to move about, I'll do their fingering for the technical practice. If it's just stupid for no reason I can identify ill do what I think is best
_________________________
"Doesn't practicing on the piano suck?!?!"
"The joy is in the practicing. It's like relationships. Yeah, orgasms are awesome, but you can't make love to someone who you have no relationship with!"

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#2125014 - 07/29/13 09:26 PM Re: Proper fingering learning process? [Re: Whizbang]
Charles Cohen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 1717
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: Whizbang
. . .
Once you decide on a working fingering pattern for a passage, it's a good idea to use it consistently.


+1.

The thing I _can't_ do, when playing quickly, is to improvise fingering. It takes too long (longer than I have!) to figure out how to play a passage when I'm reading (or thinking) one bar ahead.

One of the nice things about Tim Richards' "Improvising Blues Piano" is that he gives fingerings for _everything_. I don't have to use them, but I have to use _something_, consistently.

. Charles

PS -- There's a general rule, here. A lot of "learning to play piano" is learning a set of solutions to particular technical problems -- how to play a scale, how to play an arpeggio, how to play a chord, etc. Putting those together into "playing music" -- that's where talent and hard work and inspiration come into play.

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#2125021 - 07/29/13 09:43 PM Re: Proper fingering learning process? [Re: StarvingLion]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3263
Originally Posted By: StarvingLion
Originally Posted By: Bobpickle
I'll simply add that learning and memorizing the fingering to all your scales, arpeggios, and chord inversions is also invaluable. These can be found in various books and from working with a teacher


What happens if you ask yourself why those fingerings were chosen? I find it strange that people just accept fingerings without question.


They were not "chosen" by some higher authority...they evolved and are the result of common sense (mostly), and what works
_________________________
Music teacher and Blues piano player.

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