Learn How To Play The Piano – Finger Positions

As I began to learn how to play the piano some years ago, it was much easier for me to play with my right hand being that I use it more often and struggled for awhile with my left. Whether you’re left or right handed, you’ll become a better piano player once you learn how to properly use each finger for the lessons you’ll begin and continue to learn.

In today’s lesson, you’ll learn how each finger works individually with the Treble and Bass Clefs and go through an excerpt of Schaum Fingerpower, Level One (Book) first exercise.

Learn How To Play The Piano – Right Hand Position

In my Treble Clef post, you learned that it produces mid-range to high pitches on your piano keyboard. The exercises in the books you’ll buy will display numbers from 1 – 5, telling you which finger you should use to play these high notes. Here is how the fingers on your right hand are numbered:

 

Right Hand Finger Positions

Right Hand Finger Positions

 

My thumb above is referenced as number 1, my index as number 2, middle finger as number 3, ring finger as number 4, and pinky as number 5. As you begin to learn how to play the piano, you’ll see the RH, Right Hand, in beginner lesson books, mainly for kids, but there are many that are adult-friendly, providing the necessary information for you to easily understand.

Learn How To Play The Piano – Left Hand Position

Your left hand will attune itself to the keys that are played in the bass clef staff and is also numbered but in a mirrored version of the right hand:

 

Left Hand Finger Positions

Left Hand Finger Positions

 

For our left hand in the picture above, the thumb is number 1, index finger number 2, middle finger 3, ring finger 4, and pinky 5. The letters LH will refer to your left hand in some music pieces but when you learn how to play the piano for advance pieces, the fingering positions and the LH & RH notations won’t appear. By then you should have a feel as to which fingers you should use to play certain notes.

Learn How To Play The Piano – Schaum Fingerpower Lesson One

Now that you know the purpose of each finger for both hands, let’s see how to use them in a sheet of music. The image below is a partial lesson from Schaum Fingerpower, Level One (Book)and it shows both the treble and bass clefs and the notes you will play. I added the additional content below the grand staff just so you’ll know what they mean. We’ll get into what each one does as you continue to learn how to play the piano in future posts:

 

John W. Schaum FingerPower Lesson 1 Excerpt

John W. Schaum FingerPower Lesson 1 Excerpt

 

The first two bars for both the treble and bass clefs have a number next to the half notes. These are the fingers that you’ll use to play them. Number 1 on the treble clef staff is your RH thumb and number 2 is your RH index finger. Number 5 on the bass clef staff is your LH pinky and number 4 is your LH ring finger.

This exercise, as well as the many you’ll see in your journey to learn how to play the piano, will guide your fingers in the proper manner. Take a look at the images below and place your fingers in the same positions on your piano keyboard:

Right Hand Finger Positions For Schaum Piece

Right Hand Finger Positions For Schaum Piece

 

Left Hand Fingering for Schaum Piece

Left Hand Fingering for Schaum Piece

Now with your hands in the proper position, try to play the notes within the music sheet above. To help you out, I’ve added three audio files of me playing this piece. The first one is of my right hand, the second is of my left, and the last is of the entire exercise. Click the links below to hear them individually (each file will open up in a new window):

Right Hand

John W. Schaum Right Hand Play of Exercise 1

Left Hand

John W. Schaum Left Hand Play of Exercise 1

Full Piece

John W. Schaum FingerPower Exercise 1 Book 1

Conclusion

Schaum Fingerpower, Level OneUnderstanding how your fingers work when playing your piano lessons is the first step to becoming a better pianist. There are more exercises like this in the Schaum Fingerpower, Level One (Book) and to get them, click the image to order your copy and begin building your piano repertoire.

Did you try the piece above? Were you able to figure out the pattern based on the excerpt? Share your experience in the comments below.

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