I have been playing piano for 5 months now and I have a problem where my fingers seem to land on multiple keys at once. This is really annoying and causes the music the sound as if I'm playing with my fists, even though I have really thin fingers. I'm just wondering if this is normal for a beginning player or if any expert here has advice over what I could correct to solve this.
When you say 'playing piano' I'm assuming you mean a real piano or synthesizer with full size keys, not a tablet or smartphone app, where this problem would be completely understandable!
I have to say, I don't recall ever having this problem - and I didn't own a keyboard with full size keys until I was a teenager.
However, there could be some other differences between our 'first five months' too:
- I didn't read proper sheet music. I played by ear or I had beginners/easy read sheet music, like this:
You could be spending a lot of time looking at the music and not your hands. My personal goal was to be able to play my favourite songs, never to be able to read sheet music, and this is still true, none of my repertoire depends on having the music in front of me.
- Most things I played at first, were only single-finger melodies with the right hand.
For a long time, for most songs, only my left hand would play chords and mostly simple major or minor triads. These are very simple to play, and I didn't really get bored or even consider playing anything more technical until I had mastered them.
I don't think I play any of these simple songs any more, I have moved on, however, the keyboard skills gained by mastering the simple songs are what allowed me to advance. You could be 'biting off more than you can chew', right now. You've been playing for 5 months, which is great, but perhaps you're expecting too much, trying to run before you can walk.
Watch your hands. I still have to do this today at key points in certain pieces. There's one transition where I need to move my left hand by 1 octave and right hand by 2 octaves, within the time of a quarter-note, both hands playing chords. I can only get this right if I glance at the point my left hand needs to go to as I play the previous note, and when I let go of that note to play the next, glance at the place my right hand needs to go to. I was always messing up this transition before I did this.
Reduce your speed. Jimmy covered this in his answer. I still learn new songs at a snail's pace, and only a section at a time.
Play simpler pieces. They don't have to be boring!!! (Imagine, John Lennon; Hello, Lionel Richie)
Try playing the songs you know off by heart, with your eyes closed. You will be surprised how far you get without making a mistake, and you should build up a better tactile relationship with your keyboard.
The tempo you play or practice in is key!! Always start at the lowest comfortable tempo!! That way your fingers will get used to your piano. Then you can gradually increase the tempo based on your comfort level. I'm SURE you will notice a difference if you practice like this!
And one thing you should know is it's VERY normal for beginners!! This happens only if you play beyond the tempo your fingers are comfortable in.
Lastly some cliche philosophical words: Never lose patience! Learning is a long process and everybody learns at their own pace!! Your growth is w.r.t you and you only!!
This is normal and is caused by hand and finger position. Ensure that your fingers are square to the middle of the keys. This may mean you need to turn your hands inward slightly to compensate for this, and this is a natural position anyhow.
With your hands positioned properly, ensure your fingers are curved as though you are holding an orange or medium-sized ball. If you play with flat, uncontrolled fingers, you'll also have the tendency to strike more keys than you should.
Regarding what was said here about looking at your hands. This is generally a no-no and it's best to look at the score. You'll eventually learn your way around the piano and your sense of distance will help you navigate. Now for the caveat. There are times when it's necessary to peak at the keyboard. Use this for when you have to reach out beyond what you normally do, or if the passage is terribly difficult.
Regarding memorization... Learn to read music well first, and by this I mean learn to recognize all notes, scales and basic chords. Once you do that, you can memorize which by the way is another ball of wax to figure out, and is something that should be discussed in another post.
Some things to watch out for that may help to prevent this is to use proper fingering numbers that are comfortable to play the piece. Also, watch out for tempo. When you're a beginner you might want to play a little faster like more experienced players but just keep it simple. And it might also help to practice some technique exercises to gain more flexibility and make playing more comfortable.
Practising one or two scales and arpeggios will help you gain control of your fingers. It will also help you gain a better understanding of good fingering so you stumble less when you are sight-reading.
When you are playing scales and arpeggios go for two octaves, cup your hands over the keys and go up and down the keys like a crab walking, I know it sounds boring, but is makes a huge difference. Three notes thumb under, four notes, thumb under, three notes, thumb under five notes.