Get a head start on the most common New Year’s resolution – getting in shape! These two exercises will work out your fingers so that you can improve your playing of the songs and pieces that you love.
Technique exercises have been used for hundreds of years to target specific aspects of playing the piano. They range from very simple, repetitive patterns to intricate and beautiful pieces that could easily be played in a concert setting. Ever heard any of Chopin’s Etudes? Well, an etude is an exercise designed to work on a specific skill. Chopin, as well as other genius composers, took the idea of “exercising” at the piano to the next level, composing masterpieces that have become favorites of concert repertoire.
Here are my first two videos that work specifically on technique. Do them every day, for about 5 – 10 minutes, both to warm up your fingers and to work on your piano technique. You can download free sheet music for both.
I recommend that you do the exercises with me, as you can watch the technique that I use and stay with the beat of my metronome. Stay at a slow enough tempo that you can maintain good form and play accurately. When your current tempo seems easy to play, move on to the next highest speed. In the videos, I increase the tempo by 10 beats per minute in each section. Practice hands separately first, increasing the tempo to as fast as you are able to play. Then, put the hands together at the slowest tempo and work back up to a higher speed. After many, many years as a pianist and piano teacher, I have found this to be the best road to success.
Piano Technique Exercise #1 works on finger independence and speed:
Piano Technique Exercise #2 works on stretching your hands and improving accuracy:
Even if your practice time is limited, you should definitely devote some of it to doing these exercises. The gains you will receive will definitely be worth it!