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Fingering and Familiar Songs



Fingering and Familiar Songs

Fingering and familiar songs go together perfectly for kids. Since they already know the song, it is easier to arrange your fingers. Often, I allow kids to play a song with their index finger, without fingering. The reason for this is so they can see the pattern of notes first, unencumbered by fingering.

It works well, and helps the child get to know the song. Usually I spend a good amount of time with the child as if fingering didn’t exist. I endure every absurd finger combination they instinctively offer me.

Kids Are Not Aware Of Their Fingers

I point out that the fingers can be most efficiently deployed as a group. I pick a familiar song and show them: 

(start with Right Hand, Third Finger)

MARY HAD A LITTLE LAMB
| 3 2 1 2 | 3 3 3 * | 2 2 2 * | 3 3 3 * |
| 3 2 1 2 | 3 3 3 3 | 2 2 3 2 | 1 * * * |


I let them try it with the index finger. It’s easy. Now I put their third finger on key #3, and push gently on their fingers so they get the muscular idea of using the fingers in a row. A tangible demonstration works better than abstractions. Get them to play 3 2 1 with the third, index and thumb, perhaps on a table as an abstract experiment, away from the keys. Then they will feel the fingers in a row. If the song is familiar enough, most kids get the idea. I’m not saying they accept it, but they see what I’m after. 

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