P4 - B2

Fingering and coordination

  • Play comfortably in a variety of extended hand positions:
    • maintaining appropriate hand shape when playing across a larger range
    • moving between hand positions with greater fluency and confidence at a variety of tempi
  • Play, at a steady pulse, with clarity and control, a variety of independent rhythmic exercises between the hands, including 2 against 3
  • Play rhythmically when passing from hand to hand at a variety of tempi, including when crossing hands
  • Play a range of chords, hands separately and together, controlling the movement between chords
  • Play with more independence of:
    • movement of hands and arms
    • fingers
    • articulation between hands and within one hand
  • Observe and adhere to chosen fingering, particularly in more demanding passages
  • Use standard fingering in a wide range of scales, arpeggios and chords
  • Suggest fingering for short phrases
  • Use the thumb on black notes where necessary
  • Use some finger substitution
  • Explore unconventional fingering in scalic passages in response to the musical context

Provide learners with models for fingering an increasingly complex range of scales and arpeggios (including arpeggios starting on black keys, contrary motion arpeggios) and ask them to apply them systematically.

At this stage, learners should be able to apply fingering patterns to similar keys/starting notes with increasing independence.

Explain the need for secure fingering in passages of increasing intricacy. Demonstrate practice strategies for reinforcing fingering, stopping on thumbs, stopping on the note after a thumb, etc. Ask learners to identify passages where this approach is needed.

This provides a useful opportunity to make links with physical/muscular memory.

Using appropriate repertoire, indicate some basic principles of fingering, e.g. avoiding the thumb on black keys in continuous scalic figurations, considering carefully the frequency of using the thumb to link hand positions. Ask learners to apply these principles to particularly problematic passages.

This is not to suggest a didactic or inflexible approach, but rather one in which some justification for fingering choices is given as the basis for encouraging learners to develop a more independent approach.

Show learners a variety of fingering solutions for particular chords and melodic shapes, encouraging them to evaluate the musical outcomes.

Explain the principle of finger substitution and encourage learners to use it in appropriate passages.

Demonstrate hand crossing to learners and ask them to comment on, and imitate, the physical movements required. Provide them with practice strategies to aid smooth and comfortable hand crossing.

Provide learners with a range of exercises to deal with two against three rhythms, e.g. ask them to tap one hand and play the other, then reverse the activity.

Explore the progression of this Learning Objective