You can tell when someone playing the piano has had piano lessons or not by watching their hands. Chances are if they aren’t using their thumbs they haven’t. When you play piano correctly your hands need to look like crabs walking on the beach.
Playing The Piano – Let Your Fingers Do The Walking
One of the ways I can always tell if someone has had any piano lessons, or has just kind of taught themselves to play “Heart and Soul” for example, is by watching their fingering on the keys. The advertisement “Let you fingers do the walking it’s a snap,” might date me, but it is catchy, and true. Your fingering will dictate a lot of your piano success.
In Your Right Hand The Thumb Is The Base Of A Chord
The natural tendency with playing piano notes, or a chord, is the use your four fingers, index through pinky. I believe it takes a tiny bit of training to get that thumb into action, but how important that is! The thumb should always be the finger building the base of any chord, and used also when playing any melody.
The position of the thumb coming up to “meet” the notes at the same level as the other fingers does take some getting used to. If you have played piano for awhile, you have probably forgotten this sensation. It all comes back to me when I see my students first trying to play chords, and especially a chord like the V7, where it looks like they are moving their whole body to reach the correct notes!
The Only Finger To Play On Its Side
While it might feel a little unnatural at first, it is vital to the rest of your piano life to engage that thumb in the playing process! Using a light thumb and paying on the SIDE of the thumb, are two simple steps that will help build up the muscle and joint to reach the piano keys in the way that is needed to be successful in playing.
There are a lot of keys on that piano, it is important to reach them all by using ALL fingers available to you. Starting the fingering habits early will make piano a more natural feeling experience, and getting our thumbs to cooperate is vital.