Piano Finger Techniques - Exercices
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Hello and welcome to the Dodeka Youtube channel. Today I’ll show you some piano finger exercises and teach you some hand techniques when playing the piano. Precisely, we will look at how to cross your thumb under your fingers. These exercises will allow you to practice scales, arpeggios, and play new music.
Since we have 5 fingers and a piano keyboard has 88 keys, we have to find a way to play a sequence of more than 5 notes. Thumb substitution, that is, the crossing of the thumb under our fingers, allows us to reuse all our fingers to reach other keys. Thanks to the passage or substitution we can continue to play.
There are four different ways to pass the thumb under one’s fingers when playing the piano.
There is the passage after the index finger, which allows us to play only 2 keys before the passage. The one after the middle finger, which allows us to play 3 keys before the passage. There is also the passage after the ring finger, which allows you to play 4 keys before the crossing. And finally we can also pass our thumb after the little finger, which allows us to play 5 keys.
Here are now some finger crossing exercises to make your thumb substitution on the piano as spontaneous as possible.
Exercise for the index finger:
You start with the thumb and alternate the index finger and the thumb going up and down, the index finger goes back and forth, then you move up by three keys and repeat the movement. When you get to an octave you go back. So you start again with your thumb, you make the same movement as earlier but backwards, so the index finger goes backwards and then forwards and then you move down from three keys. You repeat this movement over and over again until you reach the key from which you started.
Exercise for the middle finger:
You start with the thumb and play with the index and middle finger, then cross the thumb to play the fourth key and go back to the index finger. Careful: the purpose of this exercise is to be able to play the fourth key without moving the arm! It is a bit like football (soccer). If you use your arm it's a red card! On the index finger, you raise your hand and you start again following the same scale. You always do the exercice for an octave.
To go down on the keyboard, you start with the thumb, you play three keys while going down and then go up to the middle finger, then you raise your hand and repeat the same movement until you return to the starting point.
Exercise for the ring finger:
You start with the thumb and play with the index finger, middle finger, and ring finger, then cross the thumb, play the fifth key and then go back to the index finger. Once again careful. The aim of this exercise is to play the fourth key without moving the arm! Otherwise... it's red card! On the index finger you raise your hand and you start again following the same scale. You can do the exercise for an octave.
To go down you start with the thumb, you play four keys while going down and then go up to the ring finger. There you raise your hand and repeat the same movement until you return to the starting key.
Exercise for the little finger:
You start with the thumb and play with the index finger, middle finger, ring finger and little finger, then pass the thumb under your fingers to play the sixth key and go back to the index finger. Keep in mind that we do this exercice to play the fourth key without moving the arm ! It is true that the crossing after the fifth finger is not easy but try to make your fingers work rather than your arm ! On the index finger, you raise your hand and you start again following the same scale.
To go down you start with the thumb, you play five keys down and then up to the little finger, then you raise your hand and repeat the same movement until you get back to the key from which you started the exercice.
I would recommend you to play this exercise on major and minor scales, and to transpose all of that in order to master thumb crossing in all areas of the keyboard.
- Finger substitution is the passage of the fingers to reach other keys without releasing the keys that are played.
- Practicing finger substitution is important to get comfortable in all parts of the piano keyboard and with every piano compositions.
- When crossing our thumb under our fingers, it's important to keep our arms steady and not moving them.
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