Piano exercises provide a platform for the development of finger, arm and hand techniques for playing the piano. As a beginner, accurately positioning your fingers is essential as it prevents injury and improves your technique. Muscles in our fingers play a significant role in executing and controlling our desired sounds, and good finger exercises can help beginners to give themselves a head start in their development. Gaining proper finger technique in learning how to play the piano involves using our fingers as the primary driving source of power.
The seven exercises below, if done regularly and with consistent tempo, will help you know to improve the independence of each finger and to get to know the geography of the piano.
Five note pentascales using one finger per note and at a time
Pentascales help us understand how different keys work and also assist us in gaining better control of our fingers. During this exercise, it is crucial you play a finger at a time and then take a moment to listen. Also important is learning to change dynamic ranges using your finger muscles. Learning dynamic range helps you take your expressive skills to another level.
Learning the five note pentascales exercise using one finger per note may be particularly challenging for people with weak fingers. A few exercises to strengthen your fingers include focusing on your weaker hand and fingers and also playing major, minor and chromatic scales.
Keeping your fingers in a firm position while playing
In this exercise, you should bend the knuckle closest to your fingertip while having your hands level albeit not necessarily on the keys. Maintain the finger position while lifting your hand and then let it fall on the key. This exercise prepares you for the sensation of playing with a firm finger position and focusing fully on getting a solid finger position.
Going through Hanon and Czerny technique books
These books help a lot in getting your fingers to co-ordinate if applied with the exercises mentioned here. Hanon books are simpler than Czerny’s, so choose wisely.
This is a great exercise for developing a good awareness of your fingers and learning to move each one individually. While playing the notes, make sure each note overlaps with the following note. It can be quite difficult, but you need to do it consistently.
Playing two notes with one hand at a time
It involves playing with two different fingers simultaneously at a time while other fingers relax. You need to check if the other fingers are relaxing. Often, they tend to get involved even if they are not needed. This applies especially to the pinky finger.
Full (1 or 2 octaves) scales
Practicing this exercise while preparing the thumb before it is played, is helpful. After playing a particular note with the right index finger, immediately place the thumb on or near the next note to be played. If this exercise is done regularly, it will eliminate bumps in the scales and help you improve your speed and accuracy.
Making quick and wide jumps while playing notes and chords can be a hard task. Typically people without jump training tend to move their hands in an inverted V motion. Coming down at an angle significantly reduces your accuracy. The movements involved in a jump include a horizontal movement of the hand and the final downward motion to play. You need to make the horizontal motion as fast as possible and practice on the location of the keys possibly before you start playing. If this is done accurately making jumps won’t be hard again.