Do you think that piano exercises play an important role in helping individuals to play the piano effectively? Well my answer is …Yes!
I am sure that most individuals who read this page know at least two popular musicians who they like to listen to and even list them among their favourites. Since the twentieth century a number of great musicians such as pianist, guitarist, bassist and even saxophonist have hit the main spot light in music. A number of these musicians will also tell you that they did not go to music school or they did not receive much formal training during their earlier years.
It is a fact that a number of great contemporary musicians such as keyboard and piano players learn to play music in a premature way. However, these same musicians will encourage you to try your best to learn music the formal way.
After participating in interviews with several musicians and watched documentaries featuring some great pianists, I realize that they were saying the same thing as it relates to becoming a better player. A lot of them placed emphasis on practicing basic to advance exercises such as scales, arpeggios and rudiments. I want to let you know that I totally agree with them.
All aspiring piano or keyboard players should practice as much piano exercises as possible in order to become a more accomplished pianist.
On this page I will share some basic exercises that can be used to enhance your playing skills especially on the piano. The great thing about these exercises is that they are easy to practice and remember.
Here is one type of exercise you can start with.
This is a simple five finger exercise which includes the first five notes of a major scale. Your five fingers on both hands will be utilized. You will start with your thumb for your right hand and your little finger for your left hand. When playing this exercise you will go in ascending and descending order. For example, if you are in the key of C then you will play C D E F G F E D C.
Below is an illustration showing how this exercise is done on the piano in the key of C major.
Exercise #2 – Arpeggios
Arpeggios are unique piano exercises designed to stretch your fingers and strengthen your wrist. An arpeggio can be described as a broken chord. When playing arpeggios, you play the first, third, fifth and eight notes of a major scale.
Arpeggios will help a lot with short and long leaps on the piano. This is because you are skipping 1 or 2 notes in the process.
When practicing arpeggios, try not to start out too fast, but play them at a moderate pace and then go faster as you become more comfortable at a specific speed. This you will do with both hands at different times in descending and ascending order.
Below is an illustration showing how arpeggios are played on the piano in the key of C major. The C major arpeggio includes the letters C, E, G and C (octave).
Exercise #3 – Using scales as a form of piano exercise.
Scales are most popular among the different types of exercise that exist in music. Most musicians use scales as warm-up drills before performing and also in their spare time.
There are different types of scale that exist in music and all of them will play a vital role in your performance. When using scales in your practice sessions, it is very important that you don’t just focus on one type but try to practice all the different type of scales that exist. Many great piano players from past to present use mostly scales as their main choice of exercise.
Here are some simple tips that you can use when practicing scales.
Play the scale of your choice with one hand several times and then the same number of times with the other hand. Then play the same scale alternately (left then right hand) in ascending and descending order.
After you have accomplished both task mention above you can try playing the scale with both hands at the same time. After you think that you can move on to another level, then try playing the scale within two octaves. Repeat this activity in different keys.
Other Recommended Piano Exercises
There are several exercises that exist on the internet for beginner and advanced piano players. I will be directing you to some websites that have great exercises that will help you with your speed and fingering techniques.
If you are interested in developing finger strength, accuracy, gain more speed and develop flexibility in you wrist, then I would recommend the Charles Louis Hanon exercise course. It is known as “The Virtuoso Pianist” and it is a compilation of sixty piano exercises designed specifically to train pianist. There are several websites on the internet that share this information for free.
Go to http://www.hanon-online.com/ to view and participate in these exercises.
You can also visit amazon.com for books and videos with piano exercises for piano players.
Another great site with a number of useful exercises for piano players at the beginner’s level is piano-play-it.com. You can visit them and participate in some of the activities prepared just for you.
A lot of beginner piano players become frustrated at times because their hands or fingers don’t seem to be developing fast enough. This is because a number of them think that exercises such as scales and arpeggios are a waste of time.
My advice to you is if you want to be fast, fluent and accurate then all form of piano exercises are important