I get asked this question a lot: "What fingering should I use when improvising on piano?"

Here's my answer: Don't worry about fingering when improvising.

At least, don't worry about planning it out in advance, and don't worry about playing with "proper" fingering.

Instead, what you need to do is develop good fingering habits. Yes, practice all 12 major scales with the recommended fingering. Also a few pieces by Mozart and Bach, using an edition with lots of fingering marked in. After a while, your fingers begin to instinctively know where to go and you won't have to think about it any more when improvising or playing jazz and pop melodies.

The fact is that most improvisers play too many notes anyway. (This includes advanced players too!) So if you start to play less notes, you'll find it easier to use the right fingers. And if you use the right fingers, your improvised lines will sound cleaner and more logical. (By "right," I simply mean that you keep moving your hands around and anticipate which direction the next few notes will go in. The basic idea is that you don't want to run out of fingers.)

It's a win-win situation: practicing in a way that develops good fingering habits will help your music sound more logical and in control. And a musical line that sounds logical (or inevitable) will be easier for your fingers to play.

With some more experience, this will all make perfect sense!

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