Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2.5 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Piano Forums & Piano World
Find a Professional
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers

Advertise on Piano World

What's Hot!!
NAMM 2018
Forums With A View!
Posting Pictures on the Forums
ADVERTISE on Piano World
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
Piano Buyer Guide
Piano Buyer Fall 2017
Pierce Piano Atlas

Who's Online Now
67 registered members (alphonsus, agraffe, amad23, AdrianR, Andrew_G, akc42, 13 invisible), 771 guests, and 5 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Quick Links to Useful Piano & Music Resources
Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano & Music Accessories
*Live Piano Venues
*Music School Listings
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Directory/Site Map
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords & Scales
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
#935331 - 08/10/05 12:08 AM Question for Teachers about "Hand Positions"  
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 398
pianocliff Offline
Full Member
pianocliff  Offline
Full Member

Joined: May 2005
Posts: 398
Washington, DC Metro
Time to vent. Like most people that started playing piano out of a method book (or at least the vast majority of them), I learned how to recognize the notes on the keyboard by learning "hand positions". I can't emphasize enough how incredibly wrong this was for me.

It wasn't until I read Howard Richman's "Super Sight-Reading Secrets" that I learned how inefficient hand positions were. Here's a summary of HIS method of learning the keys on the keyboard.

1.) Memorize the sequence EGBDFACE... notice
how the sequence repeats forever in a loop.

2.) Use flashcards or some other technique to
learn all the line notes on the grand

3.) Learn the space notes as they relate to the
line notes.

4.) Concurrently with #2&3 above learn the
position of all the white keys in relation
to the groups of 2 and 3 black keys on the
keyboard. Work on being able to grope for
a white key by feeling for the black key
group it belongs to.

Thanks to Howard's book I overcame my "hand position" handicap and am gradually improving my ability to find any key without looking at the keys (using my sense of absolute/relative touch).

So heres my question:

Do most of you teachers use hand positions at
the onset of beginning lessons?

I think the non-hand position method takes more time to start off with, but the payback is that you are actually learning in a way that will lead to comfort at the keyboard instead of learning hoky "hand positions" and then (By some act of God apparently) one day waking up and realizing how to actually find notes without looking.

DISCLAIMER: I should mention that when I started learning piano I began without a formal teacher and basically used the Alfred Adult book along with my roommate to learn, maybe this is an issue that most teachers would rectify immediately.


Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
#935332 - 08/11/05 10:30 PM Re: Question for Teachers about "Hand Positions"  
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 171
pepper Offline
Full Member
pepper  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 171
NO NO NO NO NO ... NEVER USE "HAND POSITIONS"! The words are not allowed in my teaching studio! NEVER. smile

#935333 - 08/11/05 11:15 PM Re: Question for Teachers about "Hand Positions"  
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 4,534
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member
Gyro  Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 4,534
I think that the one thing that every pianist
can do to immediately improve his/her playing
significantly is to consider the
keyboard off-limits to the eyes.
In fact, I think that every
student from day one should
be forbidden to look at the keyboard
under any circumstances--perhaps
a set of blinders that looks like a horizontal
bib could be fitted around a child's neck
so that he can't see the keys when playing,
or a kind of hood that fits over the keys
could be supplied with every piano.

When you don't look at the keys your sight
reading automatically improves since you
can keep your eyes riveted to the score,
and--almost as if by magic--things like fingering
and technique will tend to sort themselves
out without much effort. The way you find
your way about the keys without looking--at
least initially--is, as you mentioned,
by the black keys, which are
grouped in a repetitive pattern of
2's and 3's all along the keyboard--so a
C will always be found to the left of the
first of the set of 2 black keys, and so forth.
Eventually, you should be able to gauge the
distance to any key without groping along
the black keys--blind pianists can do this,
and you often see concert pianists playing
with their eyes closed, so it possible for
a person do do this, with some effort
and determination. Of course,
initially there will be some
difficulties if you are trying to wean yourself
from a lifetime of looking at your hands,
and sometimes you might find yourself
looking at the keys when there are long
leaps with the hands, but the goal should
be to never look at the keys. After a few
months you should get the hang of it and
it will pay big dividends for your playing
as you get better and better at playing without
looking at your hands.

#935334 - 08/12/05 08:25 PM Re: Question for Teachers about "Hand Positions"  
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 398
pianocliff Offline
Full Member
pianocliff  Offline
Full Member

Joined: May 2005
Posts: 398
Washington, DC Metro
Like I said, I don't look at my hands now and that was never really the problem for me. I always tried to play without looking at the hands. Neglecting this aspect however hand positions are still wrong because they don't train you to think of the entire keyboard as your "domain". If you can't shift by a perfect octave you don't know how to play the song because you can't find the notes! This problem is made worse by the fact that method book editors sometimes use extremely verbose fingering numbers along with hand positions. This teaches you to play "by number" instead of by initmate knowledge with the geography of the keyboard which is how all non-beginners eventually play.

I feel like I wasted a lot of time early on with keyboard choreography issues that I could have addressed had I simply approached the process of finding the notes the way I do now. I have heard that a lot of beginner method books are dropping the "hand position" methods from their books.


Moderated by  Ken Knapp 

Piano Acc. & Gift Items in
Piano World's Online Store
Save Big In our online store now

In PianoSupplies.com ,(a division of Piano World)
our online store for piano and music gifts and accessories, Digital Piano Dolly, party goods, tuning equipment, piano moving equipment, benches, lamps Caster Cups and more.

Free Shipping* on Jansen Artist Piano Benches, Cocoweb Piano Lamps, Hidrau Hydraulic Piano Benches
(*free shipping within contiguous U.S. only)
Pianist Magazine
Pianist Magazine - Issue 100
Maine Coast Music Vacation for Adults
Pearl River & Ritmuller
Pearl River Pianos
PianoTeq 6 Out now
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Playing a note from letoff?
by Gombessa. 02/19/18 01:21 AM
Steinway Piano Legs
by SF10. 02/18/18 08:28 PM
Missed class policy
by Osho. 02/18/18 06:52 PM
When I thought I had seen everything on pianos...
by Piano_Brazil. 02/18/18 05:51 PM
Forum Statistics
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Sanderson Accu-Tuner
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter |

copyright 1997 - 2018 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.6.0