Piano Lesson 4 – Seeing the left hand visually

March 6, 2017
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    In the last lesson (1.3), you found out how to find left hand C position.  This positioning is extremely important in providing the accompaniment to your right hand.  When you are able to play both hands together, you have truly reached a milestone, and these next couple lessons will get you well on your way to doing that without reading too much music.

So far you should be able to:
–  Identify all of the white keys on the piano
–  Find  right hand C position.
–  Play 3 simple songs with only the right hand – Hot Cross Buns, Au Claire De Lune, and Mary Had a Little Lamb
–  Find left hand C position.

If you have any trouble with any of the above concepts, review the lessons before this one, otherwise read on:

Playing two notes together in the left hand

When you play two notes together in the left hand, you create a richer sound which provides a nice accompaniment for the right hand.  In left hand C position, play your fifth and first finger together (thumb and pinky), we call this a fifth, put fingers 1 and 4 together and you have a fourth.  1 and 3 – third, 1 and 2 – second, and simply 1 – unison.   These words (fifth, fourth, etc…) represent what we call intervals meaning the space between 2 notes.   On your own, practice playing each of these intervals.   Keep your fingers curved (like holding a baby chicken) and your wrist relaxed.  If your arm isn’t relaxed, this is not good.

Once you get good at playing the intervals…

Look at the diagram below to start to recognize these intervals by sight.

Note:  Just like reading words, if you quickly recognize the intervals below, this will help you later on.  Generally in traditional piano studies, you learn to read the notes before seeing the patterns.  My philsophy is that you should recognize some basic patterns first, but later on we will get into reading individual notes. 

The symbol before the 4/4 is a bass clef meaning low notes.  Generally, the left hand is the only one to play in the bass clef.  The notes on top of each other symbolize playing them together.  Take a look at the first one – it is a fifth, and I wrote the fingerings in 5,1 (pinky and thumb) – what notes are those?  If you said C and G you are correct!  G is the top note, and C is the bottom note.  Look at all five of the intervals again.  What note is in common?  G.  The reason is because the first finger (thumb) plays on all of the intervals.  In your head, figure out what notes each interval above represents (we already figured out the first one) look below to see if you got the answers right.


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