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Piano Exercises For Dummies [Paperback]

David Pearl

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

About This Book 1

Conventions Used in This Book 2

What You’re Not to Read 2

Foolish Assumptions 3

How This Book Is Organized 3

The CD 4

Icons Used in This Book 4

Where to Go from Here 5

Part I: Waking Up Your Fingers 7

Chapter 1: Getting Ready to Practice 9

Warming Up Away from the Instrument 9

Releasing tension and releasing your muscles 9

Breathing in an unending circle 10

Massaging, stretching, and contracting your hands 10

Warming up your wrists 12

Swinging and twisting your arms 13

Stretching your shoulders and neck 15

Working on your back 17

Stretching your hamstrings 17

Perfecting Practice with Proper Posture 18

Sitting at the piano: Height and angle 18

Getting a handle on proper hand position 19

Hands on the fallboard: Counting out loud and bouncing 20

Hands on the fallboard: Hand arches and finger drops 20

Hands on the fallboard: Rotation in and out, movement up and down the keyboard 21

Hands on the keyboard: Sound and movement on the keys 22

Overcoming other posture pitfalls 22

Chapter 2: Isolating and Exercising Your Fingers 23

Two-Finger Exercises for the Left Hand 23

Fingers one and two (left hand) 24

Fingers two and three (left hand) 24

Fingers three and four (left hand) 25

Fingers four and fi ve (left hand) 25

Two-Finger Exercises for the Right Hand 26

Fingers one and two (right hand) 26

Fingers two and three (right hand) 26

Fingers three and four (right hand) 27

Fingers four and fi ve (right hand) 27

Three-Finger Exercises for the Left Hand 28

Fingers one, two, and three (left hand) 28

Fingers two, three, and four (left hand) 28

Fingers three, four, and five (left hand) 29

Three-Finger Exercises for the Right Hand 29

Fingers one, two, and three (right hand) 29

Fingers two, three, and four (right hand) 30

Fingers three, four, and five (right hand) 30

Four-Finger Exercises for the Left Hand 31

Fingers one, two, three, and four (left hand) 31

Fingers two, three, four, and five (left hand) 31

Four-Finger Exercises for the Right Hand 32

Fingers one, two, three, and four (right hand) 32

Fingers two, three, four, and five (right hand) 32

Performance Piece: “Come Back to Sorrento” 33

Chapter 3: Music for Five Fingers 35

Smooth Articulation: Playing Legato 36

Legato exercise for the right hand 36

Legato exercise for the left hand 36

Short Articulation: Playing Staccato 37

Staccato exercise for the right hand 37

Staccato exercise for the left hand 37

Developing Right-Hand Finger Independence with Five-Finger Position Scales 38

Major: In sequence, out of sequence 38

Minor: In sequence, out of sequence 38

Whole tone: In sequence, out of sequence 39

Chromatic: In sequence, out of sequence 39

Developing Left-Hand Finger Independence with Five-Finger Position Scales 40

Major: In sequence, out of sequence 40

Minor: In sequence, out of sequence 40

Whole tone: In sequence, out of sequence 41

Chromatic: In sequence, out of sequence 41

Doubling the Fun: Putting the Hands Together 42

Legato articulation, five-finger positions 42

Staccato articulation, five-finger positions 43

Performance Piece: Paganini Variation for Ten Fingers 44

Part II: Developing a Strong, Supple, and Speedy Hand 45

Chapter 4: Passing Under and Crossing Over 47

One Under Two, Two Over One 48

One Under Three, Three Over One 49

One Under Four, Four Over One 50

Extending Scales with Crossovers and Pass-Unders 51

C- and G-major scale passages 51

B-fl at and F-major scale passages 52

Performance Piece: Aria from La Cenerentola 53

Chapter 5: Playing Intervals 55

Playing Seconds with Different Finger Combinations 55

Finger combination: Two and three 56

Finger combination: Three and four 57

Finger combination: One and two 58

Finger combination: Four and five 59

Playing Thirds with Different Finger Combinations 60

Finger combination: One and three 60

Finger combination: Two and four 61

Finger combination: Three and five 62

Finger combinations: One and four, two and five, one and five 63

Playing Fourths with Different Finger Combinations 64

Finger combinations: One and four, two and five 64

Finger combinations: One and three, one and two 65

Playing Fifths, Sixths, and Sevenths 66

Exercise in fifths 66

Exercise in fifths and sixths 67

Exercise in fifths, sixths, and sevenths 68

Performance Piece: “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” 69

Chapter 6: Playing Chords Without Tension 71

Chord Relaxation 71

A simple two-chord progression 72

A longer progression 72

Voicing Chords 73

Chord Repetition 74

Pulsing rhythms 74

Changing dynamics 75

Simple Progressions, Adding Small Arm Motions 75

Progression #176

Progression #2 76

Chord and Melody Combination Exercises 77

Chord and melody combo #1 77

Chord and melody combo #2 78

Chord and melody combo #3 79

Performance Piece: “Battle Hymn of the Republic” 80

Part III: Including Your Arms and Body 81

Chapter 7: Extending Your Scales 83

The 12 Major, Harmonic Minor, and Melodic Minor Scales 83

The Three Diminished Scales 90

The Chromatic Scale 91

The 12 Blues Scales 91

Gaining Greater Command of Scales 95

Performance Piece: Variation VII from “Variations on ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’” 97

Chapter 8: Parallel and Contrary Motion 99

Parallel Movement at the Octave 99

Parallel octave exercise #1 100

Parallel octave exercise #2 101

Parallel Movement at the Interval 102

Parallel sixths 102

Parallel tenths 103

Contrary Motion Away from the Center 104

Scalewise motion away from the center 104

Chromatic motion away from the center 105

Contrary Motion Toward the Center 106

Scalewise motion toward the center 106

Patterns toward the center 107

Combination Movement Exercise 108

Performance Piece: “Turkey in the Straw” 109

Chapter 9: Footwork: Using the Damper Pedal 111

Pedaling Chords 111

Broken-chord pedaling 113

Block-chord pedaling 114

Pedaling Changes on a Single Line 115

Uniform pedal changes 115

Varied pedal changes 116

Pedaling for Effect 117

Blurred lines and long sustains 117

Sustaining as the hands leave the keyboard 118

Performance Piece: “Simple Gifts” 119

Chapter 10: Jumping Across the Keyboard 121

Jumping and Landing Accuracy Skills 121

Note-to-note jumps 122

Note-to-chord jumps 123

Chord-to-chord jumps 124

Mastering More Complicated Jumps 125

Accents on the downbeat 125

Accents on the upbeat 126

Jumping with Both Hands Together 127

Two-hand parallel motion jumps 127

Two-hand contrary motion jumps 128

Left-Hand Accompaniment Patterns (With Pedal) 129

Bass-note-to-chord pattern in 4/4 129

Bass-note-to-chord pattern in 3/4 130

Left-Hand Accompaniment Patterns (Without Pedal) 131

Ragtime and stride pattern 131

Waltz pattern 132

Performance Piece: “Lily Pad Rag” 133

Part IV: Integration and Independence 135

Chapter 11: Playing Arpeggios 137

Finger Jumps 137

Jumping thirds 138

Jumping fourths 139

Jumping fifths 140

The Arpeggiator 141

Triad arpeggio exercise #1 141

Triad arpeggio exercise #2 142

Seventh-chord arpeggio exercise 143

Broken Chords (And How to Fix Them) 144

Alberti bass exercise 144

Guitar-style broken chord exercise 145

Blues-style broken chord exercise 146

Octave and extended broken chord exercise 147

Performance Piece: “Harp Heaven” 148

Chapter 12: Alternating Hands 151

Hand-to-Hand Scale Handoffs 151

Scale handoff exercise #1 152

Scale handoff exercise #2 153

Hand-to-Hand Arpeggio Handoffs 153

Arpeggio handoff exercise #1 154

Arpeggio handoff exercise #2 155

Crossing Over 156

Crossing over with the right hand 156

Crossing over with the left hand 157

One Hand on Top 158

Right hand on top exercise 158

Left hand on top exercise 158

Extreme Keyboard Positions 159

Full Keyboard Exercises 160

Full Keyboard arpeggios 160

Full Keyboard triads 161

Full Keyboard seventh chords 162

Chord “Drumming” 163

Performance Piece: “El Choclo” 164

Chapter 13: Stretching Out with Octaves and Broken Octaves 165

Opening Up to the Octave 165

Octave scale exercise 166

Octave interval exercise 167

Octave Jumps 168

Exercise with shorter jumps 168

Exercise with longer jumps 169

Broken Octaves 170

Exercise with wrist rotation 170

Exercise with hand contraction and expansion 171

Octave Chords 172

Adding one inner note 172

Adding two inner notes 173

Performance Piece: “Schumann’s Octave Workout” 174

Chapter 14: Chord Progressions and Cadences 175

Triad Progressions 175

Diatonic triad progressions 176

Chromatic triad progressions 177

Seventh Chord Progressions 178

Seventh chord progressions exercise #1 178

Seventh chord progressions exercise #2 179

Chord Cadences and Familiar Patterns 180

Cadences 180

Turnarounds and sequences 181

Extended Chord Progressions 182

Extended major-key chord progression 182

Extended minor-key chord progression 183

Chords in One Hand, Melody in the Other 184

Chords with melody exercise #1 184

Chords with melody exercise #2 185

Performance Piece: “Awake, My Heart, and Sing” 186

Chapter 15: Trilling Thrills and Other Fancy Ornaments 187

Grace Notes 187

Trills 189

Mordents 190

Turns 191

Repeated Notes 192

Repeated notes in triplet rhythms 192

Repeated notes in eighth- and sixteenth-note rhythms 193

R-R-R-Rolling Chords 194

Rolling chords in the right hand 194

Rolling chords in both hands 194

The Glissando 195

The Tremolo 196

Performance Piece: “Caro Nome” 197

Chapter 16: Maximum Independence: Challenging Rhythms and Syncopations 199

Combining Scale and Arpeggio Patterns 200

Independent rhythms, scales, and arpeggios #1 200

Independent rhythms, scales, and arpeggios #2 201

Exercises with Changing Note Values 202

Scale patterns with changing note values 202

Arpeggio patterns with changing note values 203

Exercises with Changing Meters 204

Changing from 6/8 to 3/4 204

Expanding and contracting meter changes 205

Syncopation Exercises 206

Syncopation exercise #1 206

Syncopation exercise #2 207

Exercises with Polyrhythms 208

Two in the right hand against three in the left 208

Three in the right hand against two in the left 209

Performance Piece: “I’ll Build A Stairway to Paradise” 210

Part V: The Part of Tens 211

Chapter 17: Ten Dances for Your Hands 213

Jig: “Captain Jinks” 213

Calypso: “Water Come-a Me Eye” 214

Waltz: “Waltz from Faust” 215

Tarantella 216

Tango: “El Porteñito” 217

Mexican Hat Dance 218

Polka: “Pizzicato Polka” 219

Boogie: “Johnson Rag” 220

“Hungarian Dance No. 5” 221

Gypsy Dance from Carmen 222

Chapter 18: Ten Great Composers and Their Daily Workouts 223

Johannes Brahms (1833–1897) 223

Frédéric Chopin (1810–1849) 223

Muzio Clementi (1752–1832) 223

Karl Czerny (1791–1857) 224

Claude Debussy (1862–1918) 224

Enrique Granados (1867–1916) 224

Franz Liszt (1811–1886) 224

Edward MacDowell (1861–1908) 224

Carl Nielsen (1865–1931) 224

Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873–1943) 224

Appendix: About the CD 225

What You’ll Find on the CD 225

Customer Care 227

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