Piano hand placement – Guide to Proper Piano Hand Position [Infographic]

Guide to Proper Piano Hand Position [Infographic]


Learning the proper piano hand position is essential for both beginner and accomplished piano players. Below piano teacher, Ryan C. shares some tips and exercises on how to perfect your piano hand placement…

If you were to sit down at a piano right now and throw your hands on the keys, how would they land? Would your fingers be curved or flat? How would your wrist look relative to your arm? Would you feel any tension in your shoulder or would you feel relaxed?

Considerations like these are often overlooked by both amateur and accomplished pianists. Perhaps the concept of having a consistent piano hand position was never taught to you or never occurred to you.

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Whatever the case may be, having good piano hand placement is extremely important for both aspiring and accomplished pianists.

In this post, we will discuss the importance of proper piano finger position as well as some exercises you can do to perfect your piano hand position.

Let’s get started!

The Importance of Proper Piano Hand Position

Why does good piano hand position matter? So glad you asked! To answer this question, allow me to give you a small glimpse into my history as a pianist. When I first started studying piano at college, I had a teacher who didn’t teach me proper piano hand position.

For a while, this didn’t matter, as I was able to get a satisfactory sounding tone, sense of phrasing, and musicality out of the instrument. As a college level pianist, however, I was required to practice many hours a day; at one point, I was doing 5 hours a day.

Very quickly, my hands and arms would hurt to the point where picking anything up would be painful. At the time, I didn’t know that this pain was caused by poor piano hand placement.

It wasn’t until I came to San Diego State University to further my piano playing, when my piano teacher Dr. Follingstad, immediately began to address and remedy the issues within my piano hand positions.

Good piano hand placement not only prevents injury, but it also allows a pianist to get better tone quality. I remember when I was a beginner and thought that the tone of the piano was unchangeable. I didn’t realize that the position of my hands could absolutely affect the sound coming out of the instrument.

In addition to the previously mentioned benefits, proper piano finger positions allows a pianist to play quicker, with more agility, and with greater accuracy.

What is the Proper Piano Hand Position?

With all of the aforementioned benefits of using a proper piano hand positions, it would seem that the only thing left to do is to learn how to actually do it!

Thankfully, a good piano hand position is actually much easier to learn than many people think! Like any new skill, however, maintaining good piano hand placement requires consistent practice on behalf of the student.

I will be using piano hand positions approaches that have worked for me, specifically that of my teacher Dr. Follingstad, as well as tips from renowned piano teachers like Leschetizky, Dohnanyi, and Alfred Cortot.

  • Step One: To get a natural piano finger position, try standing up beside your piano and relaxing your hands at your sides. If you feel tense, shake out any stress that you may have in your arms, hands, and fingers.
  • Step Two: One should sit far enough from the keyboard to let the fingertips rest on the keys without effort when the arms are normally bent, and the feet should reach the pedals without stretching.
  • Step Three: Notice how your fingers natural curve in toward your body and how your knuckles curve out slightly away from your body. Also, notice how the thumb and index finger make a slight “C” shape. Keep your hands and fingers in the same position as this, but bend your arm at your elbow so your hands are in front of you with your palms down.
  • Step Four: The result should be that the fingertips are in contact with the lid, the knuckles of the hand should be fairly even with one another, and they should be slightly higher than the wrist. The first knuckle closest to the fingertips should be flexed during most playing styles. It should not collapse or cause the fingers to become perfectly straight.
  • Step Five: The wrist should be relaxed and level with the hand. To find the ideal position, hold your fingertips on the surface of the keys while maintaining the firmness of the knuckles of the hand. Move your wrist upwards and downwards and notice the tension created by having the wrist be either too high or too low. Now find the place in your wrist that feels most natural; often it will be where the wrist is even with the arm.
  • Step Six: Finally, make sure to notice whether or not any part of your arm has tensed up. Check your wrist, shoulder, and forearm – if they feel tense, relax them while keeping your fingers on the keys.

If you’re more of a visual learner, check out this infographic depicting the proper piano hand positions below:

Tips and Exercises for Proper Piano Hand Placement

As previously mentioned, proper piano hand position takes consistent practice to develop.

Cortot, Leschetizky, and Dohnanyi all offer similar techniques when it comes to practicing good piano hand positions. In particular, playing variations of pentascales as chords, while lifting one finger at a time and holding the remaining notes down.

To make this applicable to students, try the following exercise:

Play the notes C, D, E, F, G simultaneously as a chord with your right hand with one finger per key. Slowly let your thumb come up by letting the key lift it. When it reaches the top, don’t let your thumb lose contact with the key. Instead, simply press it down again by using the muscles in your hand.

Try not to let your arm and elbow do the work for you. If you have never done these piano hand exercises before, you may feel as though you can’t push down the keys very hard. This is totally normal! Don’t attempt to push down the keys hard, just focus on making your fingers do the work.

Double check your piano hand position– are the knuckles firm or floppy? Are you tense in your arm or shoulder?

After completing this exercise with your thumb, work your way up your hand by having each finger separately push down its respective key while holding the others down. In this manner, work your way up the hand and back down, eventually switching over to the left hand and doing the same process.

For those who are more adventurous or want some more piano hand exercises to do, try this page of Dohnanyi exercises and see how you do!

Make sure to pay careful attention to the positioning of the hands relative to the wrist, the knuckles, fingers, and so on. Go slow enough that you can do the page without tension.

A good piano hand position is fundamentally important to both aspiring and accomplished pianists.

By following some of the tips above and applying them with consistent practice, you can rapidly improve your ability to play the piano with accuracy and dexterity.

Post Author: Ryan C.
Ryan C. teaches piano, ear training, and music theory. He is a graduate of San Diego State University with a B.M. in piano performance. Learn more about Ryan here!



Learn correct fingering and hand position on the piano

Fingerings are about which fingers you are recommended to use and consequently the position of the hand when playing piano. There are rules and instructions for fingerings in general and depending on the situation.

When exercising scales, it is important to use the right fingerings. Doing this gives a foundation for a development of good technique. Sometimes you will see instructions that tell you which fingers to use by the numbers 1-5 on piano sheets.

1 = thumb | 2 = index finger | 3 middle finger | 4 = ring finger | 5 = little finger

Some general tips about how to position your hand and use your fingers

The way you move your hands and which fingers you use affects the outcome of your piano playing. If you, for example, use few fingers with high frequencies, it will result in disjointed transitions when smooth transitions are required. Here are some general guidelines:

  1. First the most obvious: don’t use your index fingers exclusively.
  2. Include all the fingers, this makes the movement of the hand smoother and more economical.
  3. In most situations, avoid playing on the black keys with your thumb.

Learn to play piano without looking down on the keyboard

Most people who study the piano will sooner or later learn how to read notes and play sheet music. The challenge of reading notes is often overestimated – the real challenge is to read and play simultaneously. To read and play at the same time you can only for short times look at the keyboard. The more notes on the score, the less time for you to look down at the keyboard without losing the accurate tempo.

This is something that takes much practice to achieve, but an important foundation is to position your hand correctly and use good fingering technique. By using all the fingers, you don’t have to change the position of your hand as often or make long “jumps” with the same finger. This is critical when playing with only short glances on the keyboard.

The right practice

In the picture below, you can see the notes of the C Major scale. Above the notes there are also numbers representing the fingers on the right hand.

The first sequence is 1-2-3-1-2-3-4-5 and it involves a movement with the thumb going under the index and middle finger. After you reach the next octave you turn around and this time it is the other way around: you move your middle and index finger over the thumb (5-4-3-2-1-3-2-1).

The secret as you can see is to move the thumb under the fingers (index and middle) and lift the same fingers over the thumb. By this method you can reach eight notes (one octave) on the keyboard by a minimum movement of the hand.

This may seem confusing. Don’t think about the pattern 1-2-3-1-2-3-4 as something you must use in all situations. In the example with the Major C scale over two octaves is the noted fingerings suitable. In another context, another fingering could be more proper. The most important thing is to play naturally and involve all fingers.

For the most common scales you can find fingerings written out together with scale pictures on this site. In cases the fingerings are not written it out, it should not be a huge problem for you. If you minimize the contact between the thumb and the black keys you will in most cases naturally find the right fingerings.


Piano chord guide with pictures and theory

What is a chord?

A chord is a group of notes that can be played together and function as the harmony in music. There are lots of different chords that can be organized in different groups and categories. One thing that differs among chords is how many notes that are included. There are triads (three notes), four-note (sometimes called tetrachords) and five-note chords. In addition, chords with six or seven notes also exist. See in-depth summary of chord types.

Building chords

A good way to learn chords on the piano is to be familiar with its logical ways being constructed. The Cmaj7 chord adds one note to C, the seventh in the C major scale. The Cm7 adds one note to Cm, the seventh in the C minor scale. Looking at the extended chord (e.g. C7, C9, C11), they are adding notes using intervals from the root of the chords with seventh, ninth and eleventh degrees.

… And how to play piano chords?

When you know which notes that belong to a chord, you could be able to play it. A chord could be played by pressing down all the relevant keys simultaneously or each at a time. As you make progress, you will find more ways of altering the outcome. It is also important to use the right fingers and this is called fingerings.


So which hand do you play chords on piano with? The answer is that it depends.

For musical accompaniment (i.e. you play in a band with many arrangements) you can choose to play only with one hand or with both, depending on how advanced things you are playing – when playing chords including many notes, using two hands could be advantageous. Also, some piano techniques include playing chords in two parts (e.g. the root note first and when the rest of the notes).

If you play solo, you are mostly playing the chords with your left hand together with the melody with your right. This is far more natural than the opposite because the harmony and melody sound better combined this way.


The fingers to use when playing piano chords obviously vary. Here are some advice to lead you to right practice:

  • In general, avoid using the thumb for the black keys.
  • But for the most time (i.e. when the first note is not a black key) you should involve the thumb.
  • Always strive for the most natural position for the hand.
  • The most common fingerings for triads using left-hand are, in order: little finger (5), middle finger (3) and thumb (1).  
  • The most common fingerings for triads using right-hand are, in order: thumb (1), middle finger (3) and little finger (5).  

The numbers are used to simplify and represent the five fingers from thumb (1) to little finger (5), regardless if the left or right hand is concerned. On this site you can find fingerings for the chords, these are suggestions that strives to follow the standard way, but must not be optimal in all situations or for all hands.

Exercises could be done for developing independence among the fingers. Normally, the ring fingers are the weakest and need the most strength training. See fingerings illustrated with pictures.

Combining them

After you learned some chords, the next step is to combine them into progressions.

How to read the diagrams?

On the image below you can see one example of how a piano chord is presented on this site including a diagram:

A red color means that the key is part of the chord that is in focus. To play the actual chord on a piano, press down all keys marked in red (if needed, see a diagram compared to a realistic picture). Since the pattern of keys repeat itself on the keyboard, you can place your hand in many positions. You will notice, however, that there is more bass on the left part of the keyboard and more treble as you go to the right. Therefore, you should strive for placing your hand somewhere in the middle.


To understand the pictures used in the piano chord guide it is to your advantage to know all the notes on the keyboard.


When looking at piano chord symbols, we often see # (pronounced sharp) or b (pronounced flat), for example C# or Db.
Then the chord is only written with a letter, like C, it is a major chord. A chord written as Cm means C minor.
Sus, Dim and Aug are abbreviations for suspended, diminished and augmented.
For inverted chords a slash is used between the original chord name and the alternative bass note (i.e. C/E).
A parenthesis can sometimes be seen in the chord name, for example C(#5), meaning that the chord has an alteration or extension.
Less common is the use of no in a chord. In these cases a note is omitted and Cno3 means that the triad is played without the third.

Link page


3 Piano Hand Position Exercises for Beginners

One of the keys to successful piano playing is proper hand placement. Below, piano teacher Ryan C. shares three fun exercises beginners can do to improve their piano hand position…

When trying to teach beginner students the proper piano hand position, I’ve often found that telling them to “move this finger in such and such a way” is a fairly challenging task.

This is especially true if they haven’t developed finger independence through other means. It very quickly becomes necessary to relate finger and hand shape to things that everyone can do.

The following exercises are just that – things that everyone, even new pianists or musicians, can easily do.

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In fact, the knowledge of what proper piano hand position should look like is something that even non-pianists can master in a very short amount of time.

However, mastering the actual physicality of automatically having your hand take a certain shape can take some time.

Below are a few exercises that beginning piano students can use to establish great piano hand position.

When doing these exercises, always be aware of any tension in your hand, and remember that the first knuckle of each finger (closest to the finger tip) should be firm yet bent, not collapsed and straight.

1. Play Catch

Depending on the age of the student and his or her respective hand-sizes, this exercise will work best with a ping-pong ball or a tennis ball.

  • Have a friend lob the ball at you in an arch or simply bounce the ball off a wall yourself and then catch it.
  • Notice what your fingers do when you catch the ball – they should curve around the top portion of the ball, but not all the way around it.
  • Emulate this hand position when you play piano.

 2. Meet Someone New

This is a great exercise for a student of any age, but will work best with a partner.

  • Stick out your hand as though you were going to give someone a hand-shake (or give a real hand-shake if possible).
  • After grasping your partner’s hand and holding it for about a second, let go of it while maintaining the position held in your hand.
  • Flip your hand so your palm is down.
  • Voila! – The result should be a fairly solid hand position that features curved fingers, firm knuckles, and a “C” shape between the thumb and index finger.

3. Take A Drink of Water 

This exercise is very, very simple, as there is no partner necessary. Please note that glasses should be sized according to student’s age / hand size.

  • Simply have your student grab a glass of their favorite beverage.
  • Ask your student about the shape of their hand while they hold the glass. (Some students may lift their pinkies or other fingers, but ask them to experiment around with what feels most comfortable for their hand.)
  • Hold the glass from the opposite side, and instruct your student to let go of it but keep their hand in the same shape it was in.
  • Then have your student flip his or her hand so his or her palm is down and place it on the piano keys.
  • Similar to the “Meet Someone New” exercise, this should result in a piano hand position that’s pretty close to a proper one. Pay close attention to the curvature of the fingers as well as the distance between the thumb and index finger on this exercise.

As always with piano hand position exercises, remember that the goal is two parts. First and foremost, a lack of tension. The hand should never feel tense when doing closed-hand position shapes like we are doing.

Secondly, the knuckles closest to the finger-tips should be firm and bent, not floppy.

Thank you so much for reading this article! I hope that this will give you some practical ways to get started on your journey toward piano hand position mastery.

Photo via Brian Richardson

Post Author: Ryan C.
Ryan C. teaches piano, ear training, and music theory. He is a graduate of San Diego State University with a B.M. in piano performance. Learn more about Ryan here!




also available: Theory Lessons, Tenuto2


Chord Piano Method/Sequence

#1 — Tonic (I) — One Chord Songs

terms: interval, triad, chord, scale degree, 

Frere Jaque/»Are You Sleeping, Brother John» — HooktheoryMost Rounds, Bugle Calls: Orff Music, Snake Charmer, Mighty Truck, Canoe Song, Row Row Row, Three Blind Mice, Indian Songs, Pentatonic Improv, sections of songs with pedal tones: going home, (bagpipe), Kodaly Game Songs (Sorida), boomwhaker songs, We will rock you, Ram Sam Sam, 

#2 — Authentic Cadence (V-I)

«Shave and a Haircut — Two Bits»

#3 — Dominant (V) — Two Chord Songs

terms: chord function, chord quality, groove, cadence

London Bridge, Itsy Bitsy Spider, mary had a little, My Hat, Plly Wolly, Rock a My Soul, Hush Little Baby, Where Has My LIttle Dog Gone, 

(V-I add 6) — «Dot Com»

American Authors — Best Day of My LIfe

#3 — Minor Chord Quality (ii)

(This can also be used to teach modality)

terms: chord quality, mode, 

#4 — «Amen» — Plagal Cadence (IV-IV-I)

#5 — All Primary Chords (I, IV, V)

inversion or slash chord, cadence (authentic V-I, plagal IV-I), 

 Labamba, Saints Go Marching, Louie Louie (minor v)

#6 — Secondary Chords 

        (vi7, IV, I) — Stay with Me — Sam Smith (inversions)

        (V-iv-iv-i) — Coldplay Clocks (inversions)

         (I, V, vi, IV) Major

          Let it Go, Don’t Stop Believing, Let it Be, 

         Hey Soul Sister (verse,chorus uses only I,IV,V), 

         (vi, IV, I, V) minor 

          Apologize (vi, ii6,I,V) , Someone Like You (chorus), Grenade

         (vi, IV, I) — Stay with Me

         (I, V, vi, VI)

          Jar of Hearts, Country Roads (chorus), 

               Right Here Waiting (chorus), Home — Philip Phillips, Someone Like You (chorus), 

         (I, iii, vi, V)

          Someone Like You- Adele (verse)

#9 — The 50’s Progression — «Heart and Soul»

          Blue Moon, Duke of Earl, Lolipop, Stand By Me,  Beyond the Sea, Stand By Me, We Go Together from Grease, Heart and Soul … can also be I, vi, ii, V  rather than I, vi, IV, V

YMCA (I vi ii V), Stand By Me, In the Still of the night Duke of Earl, Goodnight Sweetheart, circle of 5ths progression

#10 — The Canon in D Progression
It’s raining Tacos

# — I V ii IVsomewhere over, closing time time to say goodbye

# — 7th chords

# — circle progressions (5ths, 4ths, 3rds)

# — Sus Chords

# — ii-V-I   cadences

# — Rhythms Grooves:   Alberti, Jazzy Anticipations, Arpeggiation, Bass Notes, Walking Bass, Boogie, 3-3-2 pattterns, In-the Style of Patterns, Right Hand Left Hand Alternation patterns, 1 and 3, 2 and 4, offbeats/ska, drones, repeated notes, Heart and Soul, country feel, floyd cramer style, 

# — Voicings — root, rootless cadences, inversions of rootless or other chords, shell voicings and inversions of,  jazzy, quartal harmony, shell, bassline,etc. drop two voicings, 

# — 12 bar blues with primary chords

# — pop song form / 32 bar form / AABridge

# — tritone substitutions, chord scales, landing notes

#- make it jazzy — add in 7ths, add tensions, willie’s step by step standards,spreading chords out between hands. Mix chord I and V to get a great chord… tonic base note add V above… basically suspension tones. CDGB or a pedal tone.


Piano Placement | Fredonia.edu


Effective: Spring 2019 semester

Spring 2019 Class Piano

The following Class Piano information applies to the following:

  • Incoming Freshmen
  • Transfer students
  • Any student attempting to test out of a certain level of class piano

In order to complete the requirements for a level of piano class and be eligible to sign up for the next level, a student must satisfactorily complete ALL listed components under that level.

“Satisfactory” completion means fluent, smooth playing with a minimum of errors and hesitations.   

Any questions about the exam content or procedure should be directed to Dr. Leonidas Lagrimas at [email protected]

Current Fredonia Students (as of Fall 2018): Contact Dr. Lagrimas at the email above to schedule an exam time.  Exams will be administered on Monday, January 21 or Tuesday, January 22.
Transfer students (beginning January 2019): You will schedule your exam with Professor Laura Koepke during your initial advising meetings.  Exams will take place on Tuesday, January 22nd.  


To complete MUS 117:
*All requirements taken from: Lyke/Caramia, Keyboard Musicianship: Piano for Adults Book 1, 10th Edition

1. Harmonization:
Harmonize any selection from pg. 131-132 using I, V7, and V65 chords in the LH

2. Chord progression:
Play the I-IV64-I-V65-I progression with the LH in the keys of C, D, E, F, G, and A major.  See p. 143 for an example.

3. Solo repertoire:
Perform one of the solo repertoire selections from p. 162-170 with fluency.

4. Scales:
Prepare all of the following Major scales 2 octaves, hands together

C, G, D, A, E, B, F#, C#

5. Sight-Reading:
Be prepared to sight-read a short solo section similar in difficulty to selections on pg. 146-147.  (Minor modes, 6/8 meter, sixteenth notes, Tonic/Subdominant/Dominant harmonies)


To complete MUS 118:
*All requirements taken from: Lyke/Caramia, Keyboard Musicianship: Piano for Adults Book 1, 10th Edition

1. Harmonization:
Perform one of the harmonized melodies on p. 265-266 (melodies with V7/V7 chords).  

2. Scales:
Prepare all 12 Major Scales and C, A, G, E, D harmonic minor scales in 2 octaves, hands together, with corresponding I-IV-I-V7-I chord progression in both hands (see bottom of p. 180 for example)

3. Solo repertoire:
Perform one of the solo repertoire selections from p. 292-301 OR p. 346-353, with fluency including proper use of the damper pedal as needed

4. Sight-Reading:
Be prepared to sight-read a short solo selection similar in difficulty to selections on p. 326-331 (Diatonic seventh chords, minor keys, modal harmonies)

5. Chord progression and transposition:
Perform the I-vi-IV-ii-I64-V7-I chord progression on p. 218 in three different Major keys


To complete MUS 217:

*All requirements taken from: Lyke/Caramia, Keyboard Musicianship: Piano for Adults Book 2, 10th Edition

1. Scales:
Perform the B-flat, E-flat, and A-flat Major scales, 2 octaves, hands together, with corresponding I-IV-I-V7-I chord progression in both hands (see top of p. 2 for examples)

2. SAB score reading:
Perform Haydn’s Psalm 69 (p. 142), all 3 parts together, stop on downbeat of m. 8

3. Instrumental score reading with Alto/Tenor clef transposition:
Perform both scores on p. 143 in concert pitch with fluency and in the correct range

4. Solo repertoire:
Perform one of the selections between 158-165, including proper usage of damper pedal as needed.  Do not take repeats.  

5. Harmonization/Stylistic Accompaniment:
Perform “I’ll be With You in Apple Blossom Time” (p. 137), with melody in RH and LH harmonization in a style of your choosing


To complete MUS 218:

*All requirements taken from: Lyke/Caramia, Keyboard Musicianship: Piano for Adults Book 2, 10th Edition

1. Harmonization/Lead Sheet Realization:
Perform the first 16 or second 16 measures of “Beautiful Faces” (p. 274), either melody RH and harmony LH, or harmony in both hands

2. Four-part instrumental score reading w/alto clef:
Perform Schubert’s String Quartet in D Minor (p. 281), all 4 parts together (m. 1-8)

3. SATB score reading:
Perform Bach’s Chorale from Cantata no. 149 (p. 324), all 4 parts together (m. 1-11)

4. Repertoire:
Perform one of the following selections with fluency: (note the page number from Lyke/Caramia; other editions may be used with exam proctor’s approval)

  • Minuet in G Major, Bach (p. 206)
  • Sonatina in G major, 1st movement, Beethoven (p. 256-257)
  • Bagatelle Op. 119 no. 9, Beethoven (p. 259)

5. Scales:
Perform all Black-key harmonic minor scales, 2 octaves, hands together, with corresponding i-iv-i64-V7-i chord progression (see top of p. 2 for examples)

Following the exam, you will be placed into a level of group piano for Spring 2019.  All placement decisions will be made by the exam proctor and are final.  


Perfect Piano-Playing Hand Posture — dummies

  1. Art Center
  2. Music
  3. Piano
  4. Perfect Piano-Playing Hand Posture

Hand posture and comfort are vitally important while playing the piano or keyboard. Poor hand posture can cause your performance to suffer for two reasons:

  • Lack of dexterity: If your hands are in tight, awkward positions, you can’t access the keys quickly and efficiently. Your performance will sound clumsy and be full of wrong notes.
  • Potential for cramping: If your hands cramp often, you won’t practice often. If you don’t practice often, you won’t be a very good player.

Cut those nails

You’ve no doubt heard of the piano teacher with fingernails so long that all you could hear was the clicking of her nails against the keys as she played. It sounds like typing class, rather than piano lessons.

The point is simple: Keep your fingernails short, or at least at a reasonable length. Your audience wants to hear beautiful piano music, not clickety-click-click.

Arch those fingers

When you place your hands on the keys, you must keep your hands arched and your fingers slightly curled at all times. It feels weird at first, but you can’t improve your playing technique until you get used to holding your hands this way. Arching your hands and fingers pays off with the following benefits:

  • Your hands don’t get tired as quickly.
  • Your hands are less likely to cramp.
  • You can quickly access any key, black or white.

If you know how to type, you have already assumed this arched-hand position — you hold your hands exactly the same way on the keyboard. If you’re lucky enough not to be familiar with typing, find two tennis balls (or similarly sized balls) and hold one in each hand, as demonstrated in Figure 1. This is how your hand should look when you play the piano . . . of course, minus the ball.

Figure 1: Arch those hands proudly.

Pick a finger, any finger

Correct fingering — using the best finger to play each note of a song — is always a very important part of piano playing. Some pieces, even the easy ones, have fingerings marked in the sheet music. These fingerings help you plan which fingers to use to execute a particular musical passage most efficiently and comfortably.

The fingerings you see in music correspond to the left- and right-hand fingering you see in Figure 2. Think of your fingers as being numbered 1 through 5. Begin with the thumb as number 1 and move towards the little finger, or pinkie.

Figure 2: Numbers and digits.

While you get used to thinking of your fingers in terms of numbers, you may find it helpful to write these numbers on your hands. I advise using non-permanent markers or fingernail polish. Otherwise, you’ll have to explain those numbered fingers to your date on Friday night, your boss on Monday morning, or your homeroom teacher.


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