Piano exercises provide tools for developing finger, hand, and arm techniques for playing the piano. Technique develops while working on actual pieces, but sometimes a few exercises come in handy, especially for beginners.
They are generally not complex. Simple patterns allow the piano student to focus on the feel of the keys, piano technique, steadiness and evenness. Repeating a pattern, over and over, while moving it up and down the keys helps the pianist build keyboard awareness.
When you master an exercise pattern, and then work with a metronome to play it faster and smoother and more flowing, your overall piano-playing foundation grows more solid and you gain confidence. If you are a beginner, the exercises offer a chance to work on your independent finger action, as well as simply getting to know your piano fingerings and how the keyboard feels beneath your fingers.
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With my beginning piano students, I use the following 8 exercises in progressive order for developing finger ability and technique from the beginning. Do these 8 exercises before moving on to scales. Each one consists of a pattern which you can learn easily and then play, with both hands, starting in C position and then moving up a step to the next position. After repeating the pattern 8 times ascending, put the pattern in reverse and play it 8 more times, moving down a step on each one.
A video demonstration for each exercise will help you learn quickly, though you can also print up the music if you'd like to see what it looks like on the page.
To see the music notation: Peanut Butter Etude
To see the music notation: Stepping and Skipping
To see the music notation: M and W exercise
To see the music notation: 3rds Etude
To see the music notation: 4ths Etude
To see the music notation: 5ths Etude
To see the music notation: 6ths Etude
To see the music notation: Interval Fun exercise
Once you have made it through these exercises, capable of playing each one confidently, comfortably, smoothly- flowing, and musically... you are ready to move on to SACB.
For more about some other keyboard studies, click here.
A guide to building a solid and complete piano-playing foundation.