By the way... have you noticed that unlike all of our previous piano lessons, there are no numbers written on this blackboard?
Hey! ... What’s going on?
Well, as we prepare for this examination we will not be permitted to view the classroom materials until the test is actually in progress. In other words... until you press the “Play” button.
After all... this is a test, you know... So we won’t be allowed to practice, study, or memorize these exercises like we would during our regular piano lessons.
This test will be administered in a “flash card” presentation style. (Remember grade school?)
We will be “flashed” a series of left-hand numbers and right-hand numbers. These numbers will only appear on the blackboard for a length of two beats at a time.
Your job is to instantly determine which fingers are needed, and play the correct keys on your piano keyboard!
But don’t take too long. Unlike your usual piano lessons, you’ll only have until the 2nd beat to play the correct note(s). Otherwise you’ll miss it. (One, two... that’s it!)
Left-hand numbers will appear on the left side of the blackboard in green. Right-hand numbers will appear on the right side of the blackboard in blue.
For example: if you see the numbers: 3/5 appear on the blackboard, you’ll need to play your left 3-finger (middle) and your right 5-finger (pinky) by the count of two.
Numbered Fingering System
The specialized numbering system we use to organize our fingers is essential to our ability to find our way around the piano keyboard.
I’ve been saying that since our first set of piano lessons. Quite frankly, without it, there’d be little chance of passing this piano examination ...
And I can’t let that happen. So let’s review it again...
During most of our piano lessons, we've always placed our hands in the "C position" on our piano keyboard. (As indicated in this diagram)
Also, we've assigned the same number to each corresponding finger on each hand:
No. 1 = Thumbs
No. 2 = Index fingers
No. 3 = Middle fingers
No. 4 = Ring fingers
No. 5 = Little fingers
How to Play Along With the Demo
When you press the “Play” button on the left panel of the blackboard, you’ll hear something you’ve never heard before in any of our prior piano lessons... a drum beat!
You can use this drumbeat to carefully listen to and identify the two-second durations of each number as they appear on the blackboard.
When you first see and hear a number appearing on the blackboard, that very instant will be the count of “one” (the 1st second).
You’ll have until the count of “two” (the 2nd second) to figure out exactly which note it is on your piano keyboard and play that note correctly.
As soon as the numbers materialize on the blackboard, count slowly to yourself... “One, two”... “One, two”... “One, two”... and so on. You will begin to realize that you are counting “in time” with the beat.
When you can recognize the “one, two” timing of the numbers on the blackboard, you’ll know exactly when to play the correct keys on your piano keyboard.
Here’s a neat trick you can use:
At different times during the playback of this exam, you’ll hear two very distinctive drum sounds:
A Tambourine Strike
A Side Stick Strike
These sharp sounding percussion instruments will be heard on every “two count” (and you’ll know them when you hear them).
You can use these two sounds as an audio marker, and play your keyboard notes “in time” with these tambourine and side stick strikes!
Your Final Grade
You may have been wondering by now... how am I going to give you a grade for this piano lessons test?
No, I’m not going to send you a report card in the mail.
You are going to give yourself a grade!
Now before you go giving yourself 100% right away, remember that this assignment is not only intended to test your sight-reading abilities, but it’s also meant to help you improve your keyboarding skills and your hand-eye coordination.
So it’s really to your benefit to use this piano exam wisely, and as a tool to help you improve.
As you take this exam, keep a mental tally of the number of notes you might have missed or played incorrectly. This exercise will test you on a total of 100 notes.
You’ll also be able to monitor the overall amount of notes played during this demonstration while it is running. Just glance down to where it reads: “ Number of notes played = ”(but try not to loose your concentration).
Once this two-minute test has finished, subtract the number of notes you missed from the total number of notes in the exercise.
For example: If you played 3 notes incorrectly and missed 2 notes during the piano lessons exam, then your final score would be 95%.
... Just try not to miss more than 34 notes!
I’ve decided to set the passing score for this piano test at 66% (The same score I got on my high school chemistry regents exam)
You can replay and retake this piano lessons examination as many times as you like until you really do score 100!