Piano Technique for Reluctant Students

Put away the Czerny for a while. Here are some quick and easy ways to build finger technique in reluctant intermediate piano students without worrying about reading notes.  Choose one or more, a la carte… put them away and revisit them as needed.

  • Five finger exercises 1-2-3-4-5-4-3-2-1 on the first five notes of every major scale ascending chromatically.  Hands separately first. Then together. Work to get each pattern quick and accurate!
  • When the major patterns are comfortable add the minor. Same way. Work for speed and accuracy.
  • Major triads ascending chromatically.
  • Major – minor – major root position triads ascending chromatically. Feel the shape (i.e. all-white key, black-white-black, white-black-white, etc)
  • Major triads root position, first inversion, second inversion ascending chromatically.
  • Minor triads same way.
  • Two octave arpeggios tucking thumb when the second fingers played.
  • Octaves – hands together – C major scale – feeling the arm weight.
  • Octaves – alternating.
  • Octaves – broken.
  • Octaves – impulses. C. CD, CDE. CDEF. etc. – together, alternating, broken.
  • Diminished 7th chords  – reaching the octave first, then adding fingers 2,3,4. Ascend chromatically – 4 or 5 a day. Wonderful for opening up the hand.
  • Scales – Starting with C major, then Db, D, Eb, E, etc. I call it the “scale of scales.” Start with majors. Then major-minor right up the scale.
  • For finger independence hold all five down and lift one at a time while holding the rest. Students make up their own patterns.
  • For fun…try upside down reaches. Start with an octave reach. Then while you hold finger 5 down, flip your hand over (palm up, fingers down) and reach the thumb up to the next octave – inside of the elbow facing the ceiling. Nice for stretching.

Have more suggestions? Please add them!

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