The all-too-familiar questions for the piano teacher. . .
Where do my hands go?
What position is this song in?
The most commonly used piano method books such as Alfred series or the Bastien series use what are called “hand positions.”
Why are they used?
They are used to focus on learning a group of five-finger notes in each hand. All exercises and songs are played in the same hand position for a portion of the book.
What’s their purpose?
By repeatedly playing music with 5 notes in each hand, those 5 notes in each hand become familiar. The method books then introduce a new hand position with a different set of 5 notes in each hand.
The most common beginner hand positions are:
- C position: Each hand is covering C-D-E-F-G.
- Middle C position: Left hand is over F-G-A-B-C, Right hand covers C-D-E-F-G. (In middle C position both thumbs share middle C.)
- G position (close): Each hand is covering G-A-B-C-D (left hand pinky is on the G closest to middle C.)
- G position (far); Each hand is covering G-A-B-C-D (left hand pinky is on the second closest G away from middle C.)
So now that we have a visual understanding of “hand positions,” we can look at some designed examples of a snippet of music in different hand positions.
Let’s examine the first example and try to figure out which position we would be in.