Piano Technique Vol. 1
Fingers Control, independence, balance & strength.
Rhythmic Subdivisions and Essential Polyrhythms.
Piano Technique... So much has been said about it. So many books have been written on the hows and whys of Piano Technique, that it would be of no use to attempt writing a new book on this topic. This is why Piano Technique Vol. 1.: Finger Control Independence, Balance & Strength is all about practice.
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In the beginning every action seems odd, out of place, every note feels alien and out of control. With practice, one tries to translate will into action, with practice one learns what actions are feasible and consequently what to aim for.
This book contains 43 technical exercises for developing and maintaining your technique to its best possible shape. Some exercises are for the very beginner while others require a higher level of proficiency. Exercises way above your current level are not recommended since they are harmful to your technique development. It is always advisable to have your teacher decide which level you can undertake with confidence. Piano technique involves so many subtleties that there is no substitute for a good teacher when it comes to showing the student how to do certain movements and how to feel them.
As a rule of thumb: Good piano technique is about relaxation, minimum effort and optimization of movement. In the end any master perform his/her art effortlessly and that, should always be the goal in any discipline.
If you have read the How to use the "mDecks Series Books..." chapter, you are ready to start.
Relaxation. Optimization. Effortless performance and Consistency .
The finger reps. exercises in this book are done in one of the following fix positions: C position, F#7 position and Bb pentatonic F inversion position. These positions are clearly shown in each exercise page in the keyboard diagrams.
To perform these exercises:
• Place your hands in the correct position.
• Push the keys, in all 10 fingers, at the same time and hold them down (it’s your choice to produce sound or not when you do this)
• Set-up the metronome at an appropriate speed (50 bmp is a good tempo for reps).
These exercises are meant to be played slowly. Try to target each finger combination with a clean attack getting a good synchronized, balanced and round sound in both hands.
• Start the reps combination, with both hands playing at the same time, using the fingers combination as indicated. All other fingers must remain still, holding their keys down.
• Only move the current fingers, lifting and then playing…lifting and then playing... 8x
Relaxed shoulders and wrists. Avoid involuntary movements. Analyze your playing, look at your hands. Optimize finger movements with an articulate attack. Do not hit the keys to produce the sound, “push” the key.
All these exercises are "eternals", you can practice them forever! They will keep your fingers in shape and will maintain your dexterity intact when it comes to targeting the right finger without disturbing any of the others.
Meditate while playing these exercises. Once you know them you can close your eyes and just listen. Try to become one with the metronome, as if you were actually playing it. Let your brain develop any structures needed to play with ease. And never push for results.
Rhythmic subdivisions. & essential polyrhythmsPolyrhythm is the simultaneous performance of two or more independent rhythms. Polyrhythms are constantly used in piano music. Piano players are basically playing polyrhythms all the time. It might be as simple as 2 notes on the right hand and one on the left. Some people correctly call this a subdivision of time but, it is a minimal expression of a polyrhythm.
We will call it X against Y.
X against Y
The right hand is subdividing the beat or measure by X (or playing X amount of notes per beat or measure) while the left hand is doing it with Y amount of notes.
Ex. RH in quarter notes, LH in eighth notes. That’s “1 against 2”.
A true polyrhythm would be: RH plays eighth triplets, LH plays eighth notes or “3 against 2”.
The piano player must be able to perform all these subdivisions and polyrhythms since they are the foundation of all polyphonic music. For example: we must be able to shift from 2 against 1 into 1 against 2 (like in baroque music) without any problems, or to play 3 against 4 keeping a steady tempo and evenly distributing the subdivisions with no accents or gaps in the lines.
The exercises in this book are organized in 3 different kinds:
• Preparing X against Y
• Playing X against Y
• Applying X against Y in a song
Some of the simple X against Y, like 2 against 1, only have a playing mode version exercise, while others like the 3 against 4 have an extensive set of preparation exercises before you actually get into playing the polyrhythm.
Playing Polyrhythms is about expanding your aural perception and being able to perceive 2 different subdivisions of time at the same moment.
Concentrate on the main beat and shift your attention from one subdivision to the other.