Appropriate use of fingers and hands in general are the most important aspect of playing piano. There are rules to follow depending upon different situations and those rules actually make your work on piano much simpler. Position of hands and fingers matters a lot especially your thumb. If used properly, thumb can work as a great asset but if you don’t know the technique it could be your worst enemy for playing piano. Several different ways can be used for using thumb that could be going up, working down or stretched thumb. Connect your thumb to the keyboard in a way that it could grasp and make free movements over piano. Investigate about grip of your thumb ahead and progress in different appropriate ways.
Tips for Improving Thumb Technique on Piano:
Here are some techniques and exercises that would improve use of thumb over piano:
- Practice Scales: This technique involves practicing scales with the use of thumb alone where you get to move your thumb up and down similar to how you move your fingers on piano. Progress scales in vertical strokes with a little bit of forearm circular movement. Use one way and the other and you will be able to sense difference in your thumb movement.
- Movement of Thumb: Another technique that would make your thumb movement improved is to play scale using your thumb and one finger with alternation. You can use one hand at a time and work with slow to moderate speed level. Begin with a C Major or any other whole tone scale. Use thumb and your other finger with two octaves up and down. Use finger and thumb in alternation and as you reach bottom of the scale, change to thumb and another finger.
- Thumb Under Technique: Passing thumb under from one place to another is also important when working with scales and other fundamentals of piano. Make sure that your thumb and arm coordinates well. Your arm should be away from your body while you use the thumb in connection with your 2nd Although it should be smooth and your elbows must not drop down. When your finger plays the key, your thumb moves on to your next place in the journey of music. A slight circular movement gives additional support for your thumb and it is planted in to key securely.
- Thumb Over Technique: In most situations thumb under technique works well, but there will be places where you will need to use thumb over your hand. For this technique as you use your thumb over the way up, your fingers will also swing over. For this technique, your hand will remain in touch with your piano keyboard and you don’t need to lift it up. This technique is quite simple to follow and you will enjoy playing piano with this technique.
- Thumb Stretching Technique: Some of the pianists prefer to stretch their thumb out from the fingers while playing piano. This technique needs you to shift in a position where your thumb will remain finger the fingers as they are moved on piano. A good pianist would bring the thumb back to its original position as quickly as possible after a stretch so that hand regains its original position.
- Thumb Tip Joint Technique: Many pianists use the tip lock technique which involves curling hands in a way that gives them freedom of movement. The black and white keys of the piano are adjusted with the use of tips and are accommodated with tip joint that extends and flexes. The thumb tip is played to its natural position after playing. Pianist would need to have arms handed lose along their sides so that they can bring them up to the keyboard for playing music. For playing a major C octave, use your thumb tip in one position and let it stay there. You need to experiment a bit to make adjustments with your tip so that you can freely move from black to white keys. A little bit of extension may be needed when using thumb tip on black keys.
Dealing with Tensed Thumb:
Sometimes pianists may notice that when they use thumb for playing piano, it may feel stiff and a bit clumsy. If you feel that your thumb is a bit tight in comparison to rest of your fingers, you would notice that your forearm muscles will also be stiff. These are signs of tensed muscles. Don’t risk your muscles by making expending efforts on keyboard while facing stiffness. There will be risk of pains and injury that may persist and may become worse. Treat your thumb first and then move on to using it over piano in a way that is most comfortable for you.
Proper thumb position is extremely important for playing piano. Each one of you have different structure of arms and hands and thus one should focus on what is most comfortable way of using your thumb over piano. Correct position of thumb at the piano would ease up learning, practicing and performing piano. Making shifts, playing scales, arpeggios and other basics of piano playing would appear much simpler if you know how to use your thumb in most appropriate form.