P3 - B2

Fingering and coordination

  • Play comfortably in a variety of extended hand positions:
    • maintaining appropriate hand shape
    • connecting different hand positions by passing the thumb with greater fluency
  • Play, at a steady pulse, with clarity and control, short exercises which have more rhythmic independence between the hands
  • Play rhythmically when passing from hand to hand at a variety of tempi
  • Play major and minor chords, hands separately and together, moving cleanly from one chord to the next
  • Play with more independence of:
    • movement of hands and arms
    • fingers
    • articulation between hands and within one hand
  • Use consistent fingering, particularly in more demanding passages
  • Use appropriate fingering for scales, arpeggios and chords
  • Begin to suggest fingering for short phrases

Demonstrate to learners the phrasing implications of particular choices of fingering, e.g. how the phrasing for a series of couplets might be achieved by the repeated use of the same pair of fingers.

Supervision of fingering is important, at least in the early stages of learning, in order that unhelpful habits are avoided.

With learners, identify passages in which fluency depends upon comfortable and organised fingering. Provide a solution to use as a model.

Show learners alternative fingerings for a given passage, discussing the musical outcomes.

Encourage learners to adopt careful practice strategies that reinforce considered and consistent fingering, e.g. short groups stopping on a particular finger or beat of the bar.

Demonstrate and explain exercises that address the particular challenges encountered when tackling scales hands together, e.g. stopping at the half-way point in two-octave scales.

Point out that in the majority of major scales starting on white keys, at the half-way point, 4 goes over in the left hand ascending, and in the right hand descending.

Ask learners to identify scale patterns and apply them with increasing independence to other keys.

Show learners the physical movements required for smooth thumb passing in hands-separate arpeggios/arpeggio figures, paying due attention to the thumb, wrist, arm and elbow.

As always, learners should be encouraged to develop aural discrimination as a way of checking how successfully this is being done.

Explain and demonstrate comfortable fingerings for three- and four-note chords. Ask learners to incorporate these into their practice routines.

Issues such as the size of learners’ hands and stretches between fingers need to be taken into account.

Provide learners with simple fingering solutions for ornaments and ask them to practise exercises based on ornamentation, e.g. repeating a mordent, starting on the successive notes of a scale.

Explore the progression of this Learning Objective