Make Your Piano Playing Fingers Stronger and Faster

Edited by Jacob, Eng, Grimm, Doug Collins and 3 others

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Foundation Piano Techniques to Improve Playing

Improve wrist form, finger strength, and build speed by practicing these techniques.

If you are a Piano player who is stuck on a fast piece, an etude, sonata, or similarly difficult piece, and don't know what to do to make your fingers faster, lighter, and stronger, we can help. Alternatively, if you just want to improve your piano playing skills, then you've come to the right place. Read on for how to make your piano playing fingers stronger and faster.

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How Piano Scales Strengthen Your Fingers

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Every aspiring piano player should practice their scales daily for at least an hour.

If you haven't tried practicing scales this way previously, you can start today with the most simple tonalities of C Major and a minor. Note that when writing out scales, 'Major' is always capitalized, and 'minor' is always lowercase. To start with, you should practice the scale of your choice 'Legato' with either your right or left hand, but not both at the same time. Legato is an Italian word which means 'tied together'. It indicates that you should play all the notes smoothly and connected without pausing between each note. Begin very slowly, and then gradually increase your speed, until you can play faster and faster. Once you can play each hand easily at a normal speed, you can move on and try to play with both of your hands at the same time. When you are playing with both of your hands you should increase your speed step by step.

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Practicing this technique gradually improves the strength of your finger muscles. As a result you can play faster.

When doing this, it's important to pay attention to how you're holding your wrist, as it should be always relaxed and stable. In other words, you should only be playing with your fingers, and your wrist should not be tense. If your wrists are tense, it can contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome, which is a common injury caused by improper wrist position.

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While observing proper wrist position, you should try to play the scales using legato, non-legato, and staccato . Non-legato, also know as 'Portato', is the opposite of legato. This means you should pause between each note, without any connected notes. Staccato is played in the same way as non-legato but it should have a more sharp and short sound. The position of your wrists while using non-legato and staccato is a bit different. As you are playing non-legato or staccato, your wrist's position should move from down to up, and it should be always relaxed.

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More about these three methods of playing the scales is discussed in the links at the end of this section.

When you can play one of these scales well with each hand at a normal tempo, you should then try playing it with both of your hands. Just start with a very slow tempo, and work your way up, increasing your speed as you get better. When you're playing fast, it's important to play very light and smooth, because it's difficult to play a scale with tensed hands. Note that playing with tensed hands can cause serious injuries.

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After you're able to play 'C Major' and 'a minor' at a fast tempo, you should then move on and play other tonalities. For all other tonalities, the process of practicing is the same. Don't forget to always observe proper position of your wrists when playing.

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For more information about scales, how to play them using legato, non-legato, and staccato, and proper fingering, visit these other great VisiHow articles linked below: How to Play Legato, Non-Legato, and Staccato Notes on the Piano

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Improving Wrist Form By Playing Arpeggios

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Perfecting your technique in playing arpeggios is one of the most important things you can do to become a professional pianist.

Arpeggio is originally from the italian verb 'arpeggiare' which means 'to play on a harp'. It is simply a set of notes which is played in series of sequences. For example in C Major tonality the arpeggios are (C E G , C E G).

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Practicing the arpeggios makes your fingers stronger and faster, and at the same time it improves your wrist's ability to be more relaxed.

To practice the arpeggios, you should start from the C Major tonality. Just like practicing the scales, you should first practice with each hand separately, and always remember to keep your wrist free. When playing, instead of banging on the piano keys, use the weight of your hands to press them. You should start to play two octaves up, then you would play two octaves back down, and gradually you add in more octaves. Note that at first you should play very slowly, until you've mastered this technique. As you master the technique, try to play each note forte, which is an Italian word that means loud and strong.

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As your skill improves, and you're able to play well with each hand at slow or normal tempos, you should start trying to play faster. Once you're able to play the arpeggios easily with each hand, you can then try to play them with both of your hands. Like practicing scales with both hands, you should start to practice arpeggios with slowly. As you are perfecting your technique you should remember to gradually increase your speed.

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You can then try to play the arpeggios legato, non-legato and staccato. For more information, read the article we linked in this section:

  1. 1
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Building On Finger Strength By Playing Chords

Knowing how to play a chord is a foundation skill of piano playing.

Because of this, it's recommended that you practice chords every day for a minimum 15 minutes. The chords you should practice in each tonality have steps and intervals that are the same for each tonality, but the notes are different. This has to do with the different keys and positions your fingers will have on the keyboard as you play. For example, let's choose the C Major tonality. In C Major you would play (C E G , E G C , G C E , C E G), and continue up for two or three octaves. Then you would play back down through (C E G ,G C E , E G C , C E G).

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Your wrist's position in this exercise is the same as when you are playing a note non-legato. When you want to play a chord, you start with your wrists at a normal position. From there your wrists will go up and down with your fingers as you play the chord. Keep in mind that your wrists should always be relaxed. Just like practicing the scales and the arpeggios, you should start to practice each hand separately and slowly, and also trying to play as strong and loud as you can. Remember, when you want to play a note or a chord strong and loud, you should use the weight of your hands instead of banging on the keys. As you are mastering this technique, you should try to play with each hand faster. When you can play fast with each hand, then you should move on and play with both of your hands at the same time. When you're practicing with both of your hands, you should continue working to gradually increase your speed.

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Proper fingering example in C Major:

  • C E G ( RH : 1,3,5 LH : 5,3,1 )
  • E G C ( RH: 1,2,5 LH: 5,3,1)
  • G C E ( RH: 1,3,5 LH: 5,2,1 )
  • C E G ( RH : 1,3,5 LH : 5,3,1 )
  • G C E ( RH: 1,3,5 LH: 5,2,1 )
  • E G C ( RH: 1,2,5 LH: 5,3,1)
  • C E G ( RH : 1,3,5 LH : 5,3,1 )

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Improve Finger Strength With Chromatic Scales

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The Chromatic scales is another technique that every aspiring pianist should master.

Chromatic scales improves the strength of your first, second and third fingers. Just like other techniques, you should start to practice each hand separately and slowly. You can start by playing two octaves up, and then you can practice playing two octaves down. As other exercises, you should gradually try to play more octaves, and increase your speed, playing with both of your hands. Keep in mind that in this technique you should always keep your wrists relaxed and stable.

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Tips & Suggestions On Strengthening Piano Playing Fingers

  • If you follow these steps, practicing for at least two hours a day, your piano playing skills will continually improve, until you've mastered the techniques.
  • For more ways to improve your techniques, you should play different etudes. We suggest practicing, Hanon The Virtuoso Pianist, Czerny The School of Velocity, Op.299, and Clementi Etudes (Gradus ad Parnassum, Op.44).
  • As mentioned earlier, always remember to keep your wrist relaxed. Tense wrists can cause serious injuries for a pianist.
  • Remember: Practice, Practice, More Practice
  • Follow the tips in this guide, and you will improve your piano playing skills.

Questions and Answers

How to make me fingers recognize the notes on the piano?

I have a problem in sight playing, my wrist is somehow rigid and my fingers are not able to recognize notes on the piano. in fact, it takes a lot of time to play at most 4 bars.

  1. 1
    Technique.
    To overcome it is to set your wrist and finger technique with a personal coach: your wrists might be strained too much, and you need to relax them before you start learning anything. Otherwise, you will be too focused on straining and positioning your fingers, hands, and wrists. Minimize your movements.
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  2. 2
    Speed.
    After that, you can proceed with remembering. As for remembering, you have to do everything as slow as possible. You may even skip using metronome for a while and concentrate on learning slowly. Keep looking at the piano and your hands. Go as low as 60 beats per minute.
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  3. 3
    Metronome.
    Once you learn the notes, start using the metronome. The reason that you need a metronome is you have to gain that habit early to play everything rhythmically in the future. Gradually increase the speed by 5 beats per minute. Please note that it may take weeks even at 60 beats per minute to learn one song.
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  4. 4
    Practice.
    Practice daily: 3-8 hours should be enough to develop your playing.
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Make my fingers longer for piano playing?

Thank you for taking a glance at my problem. I am wondering whether there is any exercise which can lengthen our fingers since I can only reach an octave ( maximum )

No exercise can make your fingers longer, as the length of the finger bones is genetic. Few piano players can spread their fingers over more than one octave. You can somewhat increase the overall wrist flexibility, including the fingers, by stretching muscles just like you can do splits after regular stretching exercises.

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Practice scale and simple etudes with octave jumps in a fast and moderate tempo gradually stretch the muscles and ligaments of the wrist.

Before playing the piano, perform a warm-up exercise by warming up the muscles with the help of self-massage. Begin with one wrist rubbing another as if washing your hands. Then, by using fingertips of one hand, massage the all of the fingers of another hand along their length. Repeat for the other hand. Massage the palm and the areas between fingers. Finish the warm-up exercise by gliding motions: glide along each finger from the fingertip to the palm, as if putting on gloves.

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A good method for gaining finger flexibility can be achieved by using Baoding balls: two small metallic spheres are to be rolled in the palm by using the hand that holds them. This must take several minutes. Do this regularly, and your fingers will be stretched thanks to unidirectional movement when rolling the spheres.

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Please remember not to try to lengthen your fingers by using excessive physical strength or any mechanism or devices that may lead to injury.

See more questions like this: How do you make your fingers untensed while playing piano?

How to make my fingers fast and what are the line notes and space notes of a sharp?

Please help me so that I can be a professional pianist

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How to play chords, keys above the treble clef and below the bass clef and also how do you deal with classical music that comes with many 16th notes on in ever measure?

Most of the time when I play classical music I cannot seem to play any of the 16th notes clearly and also my fingers tend to make mistakes if I played it faster. Please help. I have tried: I have tried playing some chords, sounds pretty good. also practiced some scales for finger exercise up to 5 octaves on the piano. also played classical music like the Albuquerque and it seems OK.. I think it was caused by: My fingers are strong that it only makes the sound of the keys of the piano sound too loud without soft sound. also lack of practice because I easily give up because of the fact it is hard to play something that my hands cannot control on the piano.

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VisiHow QnA. This section is not written yet. Want to join in? Click EDIT to write this answer.

How to soften my wrist while playing piano?

I've learned piano since I was 8 but my wrist is still so hard. I have tried: Try to practice more and more. I think it was caused by: I don't know

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Recent edits by: VisiHow, Anonymous, Doug Collins

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