Chords are a vital part of all students' technical programs. This is because chord playing helps in developing a good hand position, shapes the fingers, and promotes facility for playing in more than one key at a time. In the first year, piano students learn major and minor triads in root position, dominant seventh chords and subdominant chords. Sometime near he end of the second year of lessons students can be taught triads and inversions. These will be major and minor triads. The correct fingering is very important when teaching chord inversions on the keyboard. A common problem is that students play the same fingers for the root position and the inversions. To make students aware of changing fingers, it can be helpful to circle the written fingering in each hand that is different. Students should also be taught the chords in both block and broken style.
Triads and inversions should be studied both ascending and descending. While many students are able to play the chords ascending, many have lost the picture of the chord they are inverting and are not able to return back down.
The chords should not be "discovered" by trial and error using the trial by ear method. A mental picture of correct fingering should be established to form an anticipated feeling for successive chords in the pattern.
Since fingering is important when learning triads and inversions, enough drill should be assigned so that in time the correct fingering will become automatic. Sometimes it helps to have students say out loud the fingering for the middle note of the chords.
Students should learn all twelve major and minor triads and inversions. Remind students that the word practice means repetition. Advise students how many times you want each one repeated on a daily basis.
For more information about Basking Ridge piano instruction, contact Barbara Ehrlich Piano Studio.