Learning finger patterns is something every new piano player should practice. These patterns serve as the foundation for playing scales, chords, and keys, so it’s important that players become very familiar with them.
Using the right fingers to play piano is similar to using the right fingers to type on a computer keyboard – if you don’t, your playing won’t be as smooth, easy, or natural. Because of this, many private piano lessons begin by teaching finger patterns.
If you’re learning piano, here are five finger patterns that you need to know.
To read these patterns, you need to number your fingers. Your thumb is number one, and you continue across your fingers until you reach your pinky, which is five. It’s the same on both hands. You have Right Hand (RH) one and Left Hand (LH) one instead of continuing on to six through ten. This shorthand makes understanding the following patterns easier to follow.
1. Playing Together
As taught by your piano teacher,sing your fingers together instead of independently is the first step, so this finger pattern starts with this basic principle. Put RH1 (right hand thumb) on middle C. Then, place your LH5 (left hand pinky) one octave lower on C. Now, play C-D-E-F-G with both of your hands, then play G-F-E-D-C. Then shift your hands so you’re playing the octave higher.
2. Move on to the Rest of the Major Scale
Playing the middle C key is easy since it only uses the white keys of the piano. When you’re comfortable with that, you can move up to the other major scales that use the black keys.
For these scales, there’s a half step after the third note, which is where you hit the black key instead of the next white key (except between E and F, where there’s no black key). For example, for D, you play D-E-F#-G-A, with F# being the black key.
3. Minor Patterns
You should also learn the finger patterns for minor scales. These are just like major scale finger patterns with one exception: the half note moves to after the second note. C minor looks like this: C-D-E flat-F-G. Practice these minor scales just like you did the major scales.
4. More Difficult Finger Patterns
Now that you have an idea of the major and minor finger patterns, it’s time to look at some of the more difficult options. B Major is considered a little more challenging. The notes for this scale are B-C#-D#-E-F#-G#-A#-B. That may look like a lot of notes, but with a little practice, you’ll find that it isn’t actually that difficult at all.
Once you have the basic finger patterns down for the scales, you’ll start on chords. Every note has its own chord that is denoted by a Roman numeral. The best way to learn the finger patterns for these chords is to find a simple progression of four chords. Practice this chord on various keys. This will help you see how the scales you’ve been learning can come together to create a song.
The Best Way to Learn Finger Patterns
Learning these finger patterns may appear challenging at first. Young players may especially feel overwhelmed. Beginner pianists need to remember one thing: they don’t need to learn all of the patterns right away. It’s okay if it takes time to master.
Encourage your child to start out practicing middle C until they feel comfortable with it. Then add in another scale. The more they play these basic scales, the more it becomes a part of their muscle memory. While they may not think so in the beginning, with dedicated practice, they’ll soon be playing these scales without a second thought.
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