Music in your fingertips

We have been using our hands all our lives but when we begin to play the piano, we realise that in most of the activities before, we used the whole hand. For instance, picking up a ball, washing our face, using a spoon, holding a banana are just a few of the ways we use our hands.

When it comes to making music on the piano, the most important lesson we have to learn is that of separating the fingers and mentally commanding them to do different things. For the first time we understand the characteristics of each finger. Look at them !

We learn which fingers are stronger, how flexible they are, how to use only 10 fingers to play across 88 keys, how to go from black notes to white notes,  all the while aiming to make beautiful music.

There are basic guidelines for everyone, but you need to know your own hands and particularly your fingers so that when they touch those keys you hear the music you expect, coming from  fingertips.

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  1. BooBish

    Yes, unlike other things we do with hands, we basically just use our fingertips when playing piano, don’t we?

    I had piano lessons as a child and had no trouble playing the notes at all, probably because I have relatively long slender fingers.

    However, looking back, my piano teacher never taught me anything besides playing the right notes (or touching the right keys).

    So I never did learn how to feel the music when playing and how to play with different emotion, such as largo, calm, lively, etc. That is, how does emotion get expressed through one’s fingers and not just mechanical-sounding notes?

    Mind you, I do consider myself an artistic person and not lacking in creativity; however, I just couldn’t play with feeling.

    Perhaps someone with your experience can advise on how to play the piano with feeling coming through one’s fingers?

    1. Joy (Post author)

      Hi Boobish. Maybe ‘feeling’ was not important to your music teacher. Playing the right notes in the correct tempo is only a part of expressing the music. Interpretation of the mood/ feeling/emotion is what sets apart a really good piano player, because through it he/she is able to communicate to the listener. Communication comes by variation in the dynamics (loud and soft), the effects of slowing down a phrase, the pause (sustain) on a chord just before a chorus and many other individual choices. To achieve these skills, I would suggest that you listen and watch performances on youtube and observe these effects and the body language of the performer. You will then become more aware, and can then be more creative, when you play your songs. 

      The teacher probably did the best that she knew. You can build on that and become the musician you want to be. Thank you for your comments. Best wishes.  


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