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Piano Finger Numbers Worksheet

Piano Fingering Diagram

A piano finger numbers worksheet consists of at least a diagram of how the fingers are numbered at the piano. But kids rarely need more than a couple of explanations of finger numbers to grasp the concept.

The problem becomes HOW to use the fingers, not how to identify and categorize them. Kids instinctively offer the index finger, because that is the dominant finger. If you're scooping peanut butter out of a jar, kids use their index finger.

How Kids Develop Fingering Skills

Start by letting the child use any finger they wish. Imposing strict fingering on beginners is a recipe for disaster. This is because kids have enough trouble finding the keys, much less with specific fingers.

First Step: Two Index Fingers

After they get started with one finger, suggest that they use both index fingers. This is easy for kids to do. And they don't realize that they are exercising the separation of their brain hemispheres, since each index finger is controlled by separate halves of the brain.

Piano Is Easy

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Second Step: Use Any Two Fingers

Point out that they have another finger right next to the index: the third finger. This is a strong finger, but using it does not occur to kids. As soon as they discover it, they will adopt it without difficulty.

Third Step: Using the Thumb

Kids shun the thumb at first. It is shorter than the other fingers, and seems useless. The best way to introduce the thumb is in conjunction with the index and third finger. I invented a game called "Threesies" which give kids practice integrating the thumb into their fingering. 

Try it on the online piano below.

Play the keys indicated using only the first three fingers (of the right hand.) Use them in a row, ascending each group of three keys:


1 2 3,  2 3 4,  3 4 5,  4 5 6,  5 6 7, 6 7 8, etc

Mary Had  Little Lamb (start with third finger)
| 3 2 1 2 | 3 3 3 * | 2 2 2 * | 3 3 3 * |

Why Kids Hate The Thumb

Kids are mystified by the thumb. Thus you have to insist gently that they use it to gain experience with it. In the exercise above, use only the first three fingers. Thus 1 2 3 is played by thumb, index and third. 2 3 4 are played with the same fingers, thumb, index and third.

All the three note groups (3 4 5, 4 5 6, etc.) are played with thumb, index and third fingers.

Make It Abstract at First

I introduce fingering as an abstract idea, not related to a specific song. The reason for this is that kids get confused when asked to do two complex things at once. So if you ask them to apply the above fingering regimen to a song, you make get resistance. 

You can even start fingering away from the piano. Make up combinations of fingers and get the child to play them on a table top. Kids need to absorb skills one at a time. If you overwhelm them with simultaneous tasks, the result is confusion. One step at a time works best.


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