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Proper Piano Hand Positioning Guide

Good piano hand positioning
Calendar October 14, 2016

Proper Piano Hand Positioning Guide

Understanding proper piano hand positions is an important first step for beginners learning the piano. Not only does it encourage good technique, but it also reduces fatigue while playing.

Here are our tips on correct hand positioning and proper fingering.

Hand and Finger Placement

For an ideal hand position, relax the fingers and place your hand with your fingertips resting on the surface of the keys. The wrist should be level with the knuckles, while the hand and fingers form a dome shape

All the fingers should be curved, meeting the keys at a 45-degree angle. Play with the tip of the thumb below the nail, and use the front pad of the rest of the fingertips. As you play each note, you should feel the weight of your arm pouring into the keys.

Remember, this is just the starting buy phentermine pills position. Once you play, you may need to straighten or curl your fingers more, depending on what you are playing.

Finger Numbers and the Natural Hand Position

The finger numbers for piano are quite simple. You start with your thumb as number 1 and then continue across from right to left, finishing at your pinkie as number 5. The first rule of piano fingering is that the shorter fingers (1 and 5) play the longer keys while the longer fingers (2, 3 and 4) play the shorter keys.

This is exemplified in the natural hand position, where finger 1 would rest on the C, fingers 2, 3 and 4 would rest on the next three black keys (F-sharp, G-sharp and A-sharp) while finger 5 would sit on the E.

The point here is that it’s more natural to use middle fingers to hit the black keys because they’re longer. Using the thumb to play black keys would place your hand too close to the fallboard, making it difficult for your other fingers to hit the white keys. It’s about minimising movement and in turn, fatigue.


While beginner books will include basic fingerings on the sheet music, they are not indicated on most other music. It is the scales that determine the fingering for practically all runs, so it’s important to memorise these as soon as you can. So much of music is based on scales, so remembering them without having to think about their proper fingering is a huge head start. In the meantime, it can be handy to write your fingering down on pieces of music without them.

It is always a good idea to follow the fingerings written into a score, as they are usually there for good reason. Sometimes a piece of music will show fingerings for unusual situation where special positions are needed. While it may seem awkward at first, not following the indicated fingering can land you in trouble once you get up to speed.

Not all suggested fingerings on the music score are appropriate for everyone, though. You may have large or small hands. The important thing to remember is to fix your fingering and not change it unless there is a very good reason. Inconsistent fingering will slow down the learning process and cause trouble later, especially during a performance, when a fingering indecision can cause a mistake. If you change your fingering, make sure you stick to the new one. Mark the change on the music so you remember.

If you have any questions or want any advice, talk to the friendly team at Pianoforte. We offer a broad range of piano services to Sydney, including piano rentals, piano repairs and piano movers.