Piano fingering
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Piano fingering

Updated: Aug 11, 2019


During my teaching experience, I came across a number of piano students who get frustrated because they keep on doing mistakes on their scales, arpeggios and in some sections of their pieces.

Most of the times, the root of the problem is in the use of an inaccurate fingering. Very often, beginners and intermediate pianists find boring to sit down with their pencil and write the fingers numbers on their scores and it can be even more difficult to apply the fingering suggested by the teacher or the score itself. This is due to a variety of reasons:

  1. They don`t believe in the benefits that a good fingering can bring to a good performance of the piece;

  2. Practise, memorise and getting used of the correct fingering can be time consuming and it is easier to stick to one`s wrong habits.

A manual for “the correct fingering” doesn`t exist because it is something personal and strictly related to the pianist`s hands shape (size, anatomy of the hand), the indication written on the score (if the phrase is legato or staccato, the direction of the melody, the dynamics, character of sound one`s would like to achieve). For all these reasons, I spend time with my students to write and discuss about a good fingering suitable for that particular phrase. It might seem to be a waste of time but talking, looking at the music and keep trying a variety of fingering until finding the right one contribute to a quicker and more efficient learning process.

The other important factor is: “once you find the right fingering, keep practising until it becomes natural and flawless”. Many times, I saw students struggling in the same sections because they have been practising many times with many different fingering and this can badly affect the performance because our brain didn`t have the chance to digest one information. Sometimes, some students say: “ I can play it well, this way!” My answer is that it might be possible if we play only that particular sections but once we play from the previous phrases it is not going work because the phrasing is incorrect, technically the fingers are struggling to play because of awkward twists and movement.

Generally, I advise my students to move less, avoid useless twisting and try to cover a musical phrase as much as possible with one hand position.

I believe it is basic foundation to spend the first few lessons on a new piece or technical work (scales, arpeggios, exercises) on finding a good fingering and make it solid and consistent while practising.


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© 2012 by Juan J. Rezzuto. All the tracks, scores and articles you can find in here are copyright.