Unit A07 – Hand Positions and Coordination

Beginning students should learn to:

  • play hands separately (including pieces using both hands – but not together)
  • play in a fixed 5 finger position. Our curriculum starts with a ‘middle C position’ commonly used in tutor books, but you can modify this to fit with your own teaching methods.
  • play in different areas of the piano. For example, playing in a higher or lower octave but sticking to your original position.


  • Prepare for this learning by regularly asking students to play all the ‘As’ on the piano (or any note of your choosing). This will help students to learn where the notes are on the piano, and help them develop an understanding of the pattern of keys on the piano. This is a good warm up for beginners.
  • Pick repertoire that sticks to a particular five finger position. Most tutor books will build up from one or two notes to a five finger position in the first instance, so as not to overwhelm the beginner student.
  • Duets can be used to give students experience of playing in different octaves (as one part is often written in a different octave to where it is played).
  • Ask students to play difficult passages at different octaves, which has the added bonus of giving students extra practice at a difficult section
  • Consider the character or mood of the piece and encourage the student to think about whether this might be a high, middle, or low sound (e.g. a piece about a mouse might be played in a higher octave).
  • Use our finger number flash cards to help students develop dexterity of the fingers.