FINGERING CHARTS MAGIC

Hall of Fame

2010 Piano Guild Hall of Fame

Play Piano The Missing Link

210 National and International Programs successfully completed from Elementary A to High School Diploma and Preparatory Special in the National Piano Playing Auditions 2002 – 2010. National programs are 10 – 14 piece memorized programs and International programs are 15 -20 piece programs. All students except a handful performed musicianship phases of scales, chords / cadences and arpeggios.

And that is “only” the Guild auditions. Our students as well excel in the MTAC Certificate of Merit (TM) and various local auditions, festivals and piano competitions.

I have decided to share my “secrets”, since I am passionate about playing piano. I just LOVE hearing great piano music, even from the very first piano lesson on. I have spent my entire life following the trail of how to make practicing easier and how to get from Start to flawless secure performance in a straight line.

Exactly, what has been successful in my studio of 30 – 40 students, is what I am sharing with anyone who wishes to listen and practice a little.

In these times where students are over-scheduled, over-programmed and busy with school, community and social activities, besides challenge programs – time for piano practice needs to be SUPER EFFICIENT. And that is exactly what I have to offer.

Please, read on – COMING SOON: FREE TELESEMINARS where I am sharing my efficiency secrets!!!
Please, sign up for my email list, so you will not miss a single post or a date when I will be hosting my free teleseminars.

Let’s have FUN and play beautiful music!
Sincerely, Eva April 10, 2011

FINGERING MAGIC:

Why am I so passionate about MY fingering charts?

This is the reaction I often get after introducing my manuals: How many teachers do I know who just think of these charts as unofficial “cheat sheets”. They often say sympathetically:  ‘OK, Eva, I’ll get one of your books, I have a student who cannot read music!’

Cheat sheets or essential training tools?

My answer is: a baby learns to speak first, then years later, in school, learns to read and write and learns about grammar and reads Shakespeare several years later.

If I translate this natural learning sequence, I find it is still the same with older children or adults:

First is the desire to PLAY, it is a desire to express a tune, a feeling.

The second step is DOING, MOTION: sitting down at the piano and touching a few keys, producing some sounds – any sounds.

Then comes learning to read, theory and repertoire.

Just as a baby learns to walk with gaining control setting one foot in front of the next one, I like the idea of teaching scales first – just like walking. In scales you are training right and left brain patterns and right-left co-ordination patterns. The right brain controls the left hand, the left brain controls the right hand. I like training these motion patterns very early on. Just like a baby learning to walk and later run – very similarly we need to allow time to teach the brain to control the fingers of each hand. All just by itself. One thing at a time. Get comfortable and enjoy each sound you are making. One note at a time. One finger at a time. So you learn to PLAY right away, PLAYING piano as a movement.

Once a baby has mastered putting one foot in front of the next foot, it starts to walk faster; later children jump, hop on one leg, play jumping games, etc. This stage compares with learning a little finger gymnastics in the arpeggios. I teach those as soon as possible. You learn more body / finger control, you learn to stretch your fingers and make them land on keys that are not next to each other.

And once we can play one octave, we expand the very same patterns to 2, 3 and 4 octaves. Right from the beginning, children learn to see the keys and play across the entire keyboard.

Neither activity has anything to do with notes reading. Frankly, notes reading is an added difficulty at this stage and is actually a block in learning to control the hand motions and right – left co-ordination. Let’s discuss notes reading here, since so many parents as questions about “reading” and want their children to “read music”. Reading, comes after learning to speak. When baby is ready so “Dada” hardly any parent is crazy enough to pull out a flash card with the letters DAD and a picture of a man… No, you are excited to hear baby express a spoken word!

Unlike in the Suzuki school, where children learn to play by ear for years before note reading is introduced, I like introducing notes symbols also early on. But I teach symbols and what they represent as a separate skill. I do not encourage nursery rhymes to substitute the 7 musical alphabet letters (Even 3 year olds know the alphabet song A,B,C,D,E,F,G,… and that’s the whole secret of music reading and now you are learning to chart it up or down – just like the stock market charts Up or DOWN  – the musical clefs symbols give you the spot WHERE on the keyboard to play and where on the keyboard to start your musical alphabet) This reading skill – or musical letters translation skill – is learned parallel to the scales skills and little by little. Notes reading is a symbol recognition, translation plus finger motion combination activity. The main reason why I train each element by itself, is comparable to older computers: if i tried to open up 3 or 4 programs the computer would simply crash or stall and nothing would get accomplished. If I was patient and only opened one program or one step at a time, it would get done. And as we advanced the computers got quicker and more actions could get accomplished, but still ONE AT A TIME, JUST QUICKER!

If you carefully learn one activity at a time, you are creating your foundation to speed it up more and more until you know and no longer need to think about it – you could think, if you wanted to but you do not need to – you just know – and you can act fluently in lightning speed effortlessly. Just like modern computers, you can translate simultaneously different levels – you can read notes, play, know theory, transpose, create, think orchestral, visual,…

The first element is control of motion.

The second most important element is pulse. Before the metronome was invented, all music was felt with the heart beat or with a dance pulse. When you learn to run you learn a comfortable relaxed pace, so you will not get tired or cramp up (tense up). In piano playing, pulse is trained from the very beginning. We always work scales with the metronome and / or count our loud.

The third most important element is musicality, expression of feeling. Without heart, without expression we would play like a typewriter. Always, even in the most simplest notes sequences project your  feeling. Regardless how simple, the one, two three or more notes you are playing represent an emotion – enjoyment, interest, satisfaction.

Learning your foundation flawlessly allows you to move into a creative range, where you can move from one key to another. You have a foundation in all keys, you have a foundation of chords and how to create them in all keys.

When we train each element by itself, we are very efficient with our practice time, results come easily and progress is quite predictable. This is how we get done LOTS in a very short time!

Sounds too complicated?  Not to worry — that is why I wrote these fingering charts myself, for my students. These charts are tested for 11 years with students of all levels, ages, skills, abilities. Anyone who wants to play a little can benefit from spending 3 minutes daily practicing using my charts. They are written in such a way 5 year olds can grasp them easily – and they do!

Good luck, Eva

Average Progress Using Play Piano In All Keys

Fingering Charts

Conventional Approach to Piano Study
6 months piano lessons (ages 9 on up) practicing 20—30 minutes / day 4 octave scales: all white keys Major and all parallel minors; 4 octave Arpeggios Tonic Major and Minor;  Level 1A, 1B method books, Levels Prep, 1, 2 (CM pieces) 10 piece programs Level 1A and 1B beginning method book, performing 1—2 pieces
1 year piano lessons (ages 9 and above)

practicing 20—30 minutes / day

4 octave scales all keys (Major and parallel minors), chords / cadences Major / Minor I-IV-I-V-I 3 positions; 4 octave Arpeggios Major, Minor 3 positions

Testing Level 3 CM

Performing Level 6 pieces, 10 piece programs

Testing CM level Prep or Level 1, performing Level 1—Level 3 pieces
3 months piano lessons (ages 5—7) (practice time 20—30 minutes / day) C, G, D, A Major and parallel harmonic minor 2—4 octave scales hands separate and together

Method book level 1A and 1B

Method Book Level 1A
6—7 years piano lessons age 12—14

(practice time 45 minutes / day)

Scales all keys (Major and parallel minors) all speeds  MM 60—160 –quarter note (sixteenth rhythm)

CM Level 8—10

All Advanced repertoire

10—15 piece repertoire

Scales as required for CM level 6 or 7

4 piece repertoire

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