P5 - B2

Fingering and coordination

  • Play comfortably in a wide variety of hand positions:
    • maintaining appropriate hand shape when playing across the full range of the instrument
    • moving between hand positions with fluency and confidence at a variety of tempi
  • Play, at a steady pulse, with clarity and control, a wide variety of complex rhythmic exercises, including cross rhythms between the hands and within one hand
  • Play rhythmically when passing from hand to hand at a large variety of tempi, including when crossing hands
  • Play a wide range of chords, hands separately and together, controlling the movement between chords at a variety of tempi
  • Play with independence of:
    • movement of hands and arms across the full range of the instrument
    • fingers
    • articulation between hands and within one hand
  • Observe and adhere to chosen fingering, particularly in technically challenging passages
  • Use standard and alternative fingering in a wide range of scales, arpeggios and chords,
    including scales in thirds and sixths
  • Suggest fingering for passages
  • Use the thumb on black notes where necessary
  • Use finger substitution with ease
  • Explore unconventional fingering in scalic passages in response to the musical context

Encourage learners to develop an increasing awareness of the relationship between choice of fingering and tempo, dynamic level, texture, etc.

Assign passages in which the fingering is problematic and ask learners to arrive at solutions for further discussion.

Even at this stage, there may be many passages in which the fingering is directed primarily by the teacher.

Encourage learners to ‘filter’ and assess printed fingerings, adopting those that appear to be appropriate and discarding those that are not.

This provides an opportunity to discuss (albeit superficially) the role of the editor, and the importance of factors such as the size of the hand.

Illustrate a range of fingering solutions to repeated-note figures, asking learners to experiment and to consider musical outcomes.

Factors such as speed, touch, musical character, etc. influence decisions as to whether to change fingers.

Explain fingerings for scales with hands a third or sixth apart, asking learners to apply patterns to similar keys.

An underlying principle is that learners should evaluate and reflect on the tonal quality of their scale and arpeggio playing, e.g. evenness of touch, dynamic level.

Show learners fingerings for first- and second-inversion arpeggios, dominant and diminished sevenths. Ask them to develop charts to record their progress in learning arpeggios and to think in terms of patterns that can be applied to a range of keys.

New arpeggio fingering patterns could be reinforced by introductory ‘solid’ chord exercises. Where at all possible, scale and arpeggio fingerings at this level should be dealt with in groups, according to keyboard layout and fingering pattern.

Demonstrate the fingering and physical movements for a selected range of hands-separate staccato scales in thirds and sixths, asking learners to comment on what they observe.

Discuss with learners the need to use ‘alternative’ scale and arpeggio fingerings in certain musical contexts, discussing the reasons for making such choices.

For example, a ‘white key’ fingering for a ‘black key’ passage, where greater dexterity and speed are required.

Encourage learners to use finger substitution, and explain how this can assist in creating a legato effect.

Provide learners with a range of exercises to deal with various cross-rhythms, and ask them to devise their own.

Demonstrate exercises to encourage increasingly energetic trill technique. Ask learners to consider trills in their musical context.

Explore the progression of this Learning Objective