If you're an avid piano player, then you know how cramped your fingers can become when playing longer pieces. Even beginner players may find their hands feel fatigued after practicing scales and simple pieces. The truth is that the best and brightest piano players play scales, stretch their hands and practice placement to keep their fingers limber. Try the same to see how it affects your comfort level and performance.
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Before you even lay your fingers on the keys, stretch your fingers to warm up the muscles so they are more limber and quick while playing. Just like the rest of your body, your fingers can become stiff if not properly warmed up. Begin by closing your fingers into tight fists, holding for three seconds and releasing. Complete this stretch several times. Then bend each finger individually to help foster better finger independence while playing. Finally, rub your hands together so your muscles are warm and you're ready to play.
Even the most accomplished piano player practices scales. Scales are one of the most essential components of piano playing, because the movements of your fingers along the keys are basic cornerstones of playing. Start by laying your fingers on the keys, with the thumb of your right hand on middle C. Set your metronome to a slow and manageable pace, and begin running five-note scales, according to PianoEducation.org. As your fingers limber up, add your left hand and speed up the metronome. Try eight-note scales as you improve and get ready to play a piece.
Another important component of piano playing is learning finger independence. If you're new to playing piano, you know how instinctual it is to move your fingers at the same time. But when playing pieces, you'll need your fingers to work independently of one another. Lay your hands on the keys, with your right thumb on middle C. Then try playing scales with your right hand while your left hands blocks out, or holds down, three notes of your choice, according to PianoFundamentals.com. Complete several scales before switching to playing scales with your left hand.
For the most effective use of your muscles to create sound, your fingers must be raised high enough to create a rich sound from the piano as you move them swiftly across the keys. Your ring finger may be especially challenging. Practice finger lifts by laying your hands on the keys and lifting each finger rapidly before placing a deliberate and controlled finger back upon the keys. Your ring finger can only be lifted high enough to depress the keys again, but it can warm up the function of your fingers before you begin to play.