How to Improve Piano Technique
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Piano Tips & Guides

How to Improve Piano Technique

The piano is a wonderfully expressive instrument and many new players dream about running their fingers on the notes to create exciting music. However, we all have to start somewhere, and playing in a large venue may be a distant dream, for now. If you’re really passionate about learning piano, attending classes and/or joining a music school is a great way to learn. But, how can you develop and take your piano technique to the next level? Let’s take a look at ten things that can make a real difference to the precision and quality of your piano playing.

1.Fingering Practice

Sadly, many students underestimate the importance of correct fingering, but this can make a real difference to your playing. Fingering will make your playing smoother and you won’t run out of fingers during the complicated parts of a piece. Playing piano well involves playing scalar patterns, finger crosses, arpeggiated chords, and more. Mastering these techniques is crucial and fingering will help you to progress through a piece at your own pace as you learn. If you want to play a scalar passage, you can use the scale fingering to avoid playing in an uncomfortable way. This helps to maintain melodic phrasing which distorts the sound and there are many in-depth sources dedicated to this subject.

2.Practice Scales

Most students hate playing scales, but they are a useful way to develop your playing technique. Many pieces of music have scale patterns and some melody lines even have sections that sound like a mini-scale. When you’ve learned your scales, you have many melody parts without much extra practice. When you understand scales, you can adjust to any key, and learning the key signatures is easier. Eventually, you will be able to feel your way around the keyboard and know instinctively which notes belong in each key. Remember that the goal of scales is to progress through four octaves in every key.

3.Daily Practice

Developing a habit to practice every day will help you to improve your piano technique quickly. There are many exercises to master and eventually, you may be able to play most passages of music. Practice each of the exercises and pay close attention to maintain the correct form. Discipline is important because practicing in a sloppy way will not improve your technique. In fact, you may adopt a bad technique and in extreme cases, you could even injure yourself. Stay focused and practice the techniques listed in this article each day to take your technique to the next level.

4.Arpeggios

Arpeggiated lines are a common feature in most styles of music. If you look at the main melody and other snippets you may notice a mini-arpeggio or scale that creates the outlines of a chord. In a similar way to scales, you can identify these facets of a passage if you understand arpeggios. Practicing arpeggios will make your wrist flexible which will help other aspects of your playing.

5.Octave Scales

The best thing about octaves is that you can play your favorite note or melody line and make the sound even more exciting. Add some bass notes with your left hand and you can make everything sound so much more powerful. When you master using octaves a whole world of music opens up for you and learning to play them makes perfect sense. Practicing octave scales is another way to develop a flexible and relaxed wrist when playing.

6.Articulations

Articulations help you to play specific notes as they were intended by the composer. If you intend to play shorter notes try a longer and connected variant to see the difference. Playing familiar passages with a variety of articulations can be an interesting exercise. Make practicing articulations part of your regular practice sessions and your playing technique will improve. If you’re interested in composing in the future, mastering articulations will give you a glimpse into what you could create.

7.Chords

As a student of music, you will notice chords everywhere, and learning to play them can be a definite advantage as you progress. When you understand chords and their inversions your fingers can adjust to the various chord shapes quickly. This is helpful when you want to improvise and it helps you to focus on your right hand playing. When you regularly practice chords, you will notice that they help you with tone production. Beginners are advised to start with the Miyagi technique and develop to full chords gradually. As you improve you will notice that you can get those rounder and warmer tones that every pianist wants to produce from their piano.

8.Broken Chords

You can find broken chords during accompaniment patterns played with your left hand in many passages of music. When you practice playing broken chords, you can develop the over-under wrist motion that you will need to play the piano well.

9.Attempt Challenging Music

Developing your technique is important to improve your playing, but you’re going to have to play real pieces of music to translate it into something you can actually use. As an example: imagine a racing car driver working out at the gym, their overall fitness is improving, they will be a better driver, but at first glance, the two activities don’t seem to be related. It’s incredibly important to constantly challenge yourself to play music that’s just outside of your comfort zone. Search for pieces that will challenge you and inspire you to play them well. Sticking with your favorite pieces will stunt your progress and you’re going to need new challenges to sharpen your playing techniques. The best pieces to attempt are eludes which are designed specifically to practice a certain piano technique. They are a fun way to play, they still sound great and you can absolutely play them as a cohesive piece.

10.Regular Sight Reading

 When you sit down to practice, it’s important to sight read your music. Reading something below your current level is a good way to develop your skills. But, don’t pick a piece that’s too easy because it won’t offer much of a challenge. Many new students use a lesson book but the music must be a piece you’ve never practiced or seen before.

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