Where to position your hands at the piano?
I receive recurring ‘frequently asked questions’ as a piano teacher. Today I want to focus on one of the most common questions: Where do I put my hands?
Students should, first of all, improve their understanding of keyboard geography and orientation. That is, finding your way around the piano’s keyboard. Next they should find the landmark notes. For teachers and students who use the Piano Safari Tutor books, the landmark notes are Treble G, Middle C and Bass C and should be learned by rote. The locations of these notes are shown via diagrams within the book.
Tip: I advise using the groups of two and three black notes to find your way around the white notes.
From the landmark notes, you can read intervals of steps, skips and jumps, lines and spaces as well as contours. It is not necessary to understand all of the notes within music. In fact, there are so many that it is almost impossible for these to be learned in such a way, even by the most experienced of musicians. Students should be able to get through Piano Safari Repertoire Level 1 quite comfortably as a result of knowing the three landmark notes mentioned here.
The Piano Safari tutor books show you where to put your hands for some, but not all of the pieces. Students are expected to listen to their teachers who ween them off the finger numbers and hand positioning diagrams when they feel it is time to do so.
Tip: As tempting as it may be, parents who write in the finger numbers for the children are not helping in the long run and should instead help their children by giving them confidence to take risks and try new things. No spoon-feeding please!
The winners of the practice competition for this month are Leonardo Thomas and Jael Asante. They practiced little and often which is what most musicians recommend. In addition, they also adjusted their lifestyles appropriately to include more practice. Well done Leo and Jael.