This post is for adults who are seriously considering piano lessons, but can’t wait to learn something right now. Perhaps you also want to try creating some music, but feel a little intimidated. If so, don’t worry; I’ve got you covered!

Most sheet music for piano includes fingering (finger numbers). Fingering helps you to learn and play music well. If you don’t use the same fingers on the same notes consistently, it’s very hard to learn to play anything well! Good pianists “finger” every note they play, whether the music is very easy or incredibly difficult.

The finger numbers for LH (left hand) and RH (right hand) are the same:

Just remember, thumbs are “1” and pinkies are “5.”

To get the hang of finger numbers, try these tapping exercises:

  • Tap these fingers in sequence with your RH (right hand): 1 – 2 – 1 – 3 – 1 – 4 – 1 – 5
  • Tap the same fingers with your LH (left hand).
  • Tap both hands at the same time.
  • Repeat the above steps using this sequence: 5 – 4 – 5 – 3 – 5 – 2 – 5 – 1

Ready for a fun creativity exercise that will help you test your fingering knowledge? Exploring your innate creativity will enrich your musical understanding, self-expression, appreciation, flow and fun. Why? Musical creativity gives you a more thorough understanding of music and piano playing, since music is a creative activity before it’s a performance/reproduction activity. Just as you can better appreciate Picasso by being visually creative (e.g. learning to paint), or Shakespeare by being creative with language (e.g. writing short stories), being musically creative will help you better appreciate music.

But maybe a better reason is simply that being creative is fun!

Creativity can’t be taught. You are already creative! Nevertheless, many adults have lost touch with – or trust in – their innate creativity. So in all creative activities:

  • Keep an attitude of play and experimentation
  • Let go of self-judgments and the need to know what you’re doing, or that you’re “doing it right”
  • Stay in the moment
  • Always remember: you can’t “do it wrong” (i.e. make mistakes) when you’re being creative, because you’re the one making it up!

Ready to try the Finger Tune exercise? Here’s how:

Write down a random sequence of 12 finger numbers (1-5). Use each finger number at least once. You may repeat consecutive numbers or a sequence of numbers, e.g. 1-3-3-5-2-2-4-2-2-4-3-4-3-1.

Place your RH fingers on any five adjacent black keys of your keyboard. Start the play-along track below, then play your finger sequence in order. Repeat the entire sequence or part of the sequence as desired. Try going backwards! What other combinations can you think of?

Try it again, this time using your LH on any five black keys.

Other variations:

  • Say the finger numbers out loud as you play
  • Play part of your sequence with one hand and part with the other
  • Play your sequence with both hands at the same time
  • Experiment with different dynamics
  • If you have an electronic keyboard, experiment with different sounds

I hope you enjoyed creating a finger tune!

The Finger Tune activity was originally published in the Creative Keyboardist Adult Piano Course.

Portland Piano Lab is now offering piano lessons for adults in Denver, Colorado via our sister website, Creative Keyboardist.

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