“But what will the examiner say?” Part 2: Alternative fingering for AMEB Gr 3 broken chords.

 

 

Gr 3 Broken chords G major

Many of us were trained with the above fingering for broken chords. However, many young and not-so-young pianists struggle with covering the 6th between 2-5. There are certainly ways to do this healthily without feeling stretched, using in and out motions, adding an overshape from the thumb to the thumb, and enough lateral arm adjustment. In my experience though, these skills are sophisticated, and usually challenging for a student of Gr 3 Level AMEB.

It’s wonderful to see in the most recent AMEB 2015 syllabus that there is NO suggested fingering for broken chords. You can work with the student to find out what fits best for their hand, to create a smooth, fluent, and speedy set of broken chords.

Gr 3 AMEB broken chords no fingering

I am including below a suggested alternative for broken chords for a small hand, which will be the same for all white note broken chords. In this suggestion, the large distance between the 2-5 over the 6th is removed, and the hands have mirrored fingering. I would recommend organising the movement around the thumb – in other words, enjoying repeating the same note and finger combinations A-F A-F etc, rather than grouping by every four notes.

You will notice there is an alternative 3/5 for the LH at the beginning. A 5-1 keeps the hand closer together, and also further to the right. There is nothing wrong with starting 3-1 though, and some students may prefer to keep the pattern of fingering consistent, and enjoy the mirrored fingering with the RH. Similarly in the RH at the end, taking the 5 requires a slightly larger arm adjustment to the left, but keeps the hand closer. In the LH, there is no advantage to finishing with a 3 unless the student prefers consistent fingering, and mirroring the 3 in the RH. 

 

Gr 3 AMEB broken chords small hand fingering

You can use this as a guide to work with your student – I have some who have preferred using 4 instead of 3. Ask them to compare the difference, and they will quickly tell you what feels most comfortable. Now, we have a choice. 

2 thoughts on ““But what will the examiner say?” Part 2: Alternative fingering for AMEB Gr 3 broken chords.

  1. Steffen

    Hi Therese
    Have an 11 year old doing grade 7 piano for leisure pieces. What are rules for Ameb exams where small hands are concerned. Obviously wouldn’t choose a piece full of Octaves. But what if piece has a single 9th chord, but otherwise ok. Will it be considered that it may not be physically possible for child to play. That is, are some form of workaround permitted, or should piece simply be avoided?
    Seems hard at present to find suitable pieces, when avoiding octave work.

  2. Therese Milanovic Post author

    One has to choose repertoire wisely if a student with small hands and developing skills is starting to play more advanced repertoire. However many small-handed pianists are able to perform the biggest works in the repertoire using strategies such as sharing the chord between the hands, rolling or splitting the chord, or if necessary, leaving out a note or two. These workarounds are absolutely “allowed” and I would definitely consider these rather than missing out on playing pieces altogether.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Follow

Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers:

%d bloggers like this: