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Thumb Accuracy

piano technique

Question: Hello Albert, Thank you so much for the lessons.

I am practising the scales as you suggested, e.g., started with B major and want to ask you for a tip as the thumb will ‘look’ for the note it is supposed to play next and it invariably plays the wrong one. It swings too far or not far enough. So with uncertain fingers it is hit or miss. How can I be certain without looking at the keys?

Thanking you,

– Mari (South Africa)

Albert’s reply: The key is to practice the groups of notes under the fingers. Each scale consists of two hand positions, one of them a group of three notes and the other a group of four.

Separate the thumb from the rest of the hand by practicing it alone, then the remaining notes in each group as block chords. For B major, practice the following to gain accuracy with the thumb:

This exercise should be practiced hands separately. Once you learn the pattern for each scale, practice it – at first slowly – with your eyes closed.

Also, do not touch the keys in advance of playing them. This suggestion may seem counterintuitive, yet it will increase your accuracy, not decrease it! It is perfectly acceptable to look at the keyboard while you learn this technique. Later, as you develop thumb accuracy, it will be unnecessary.

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