Piano Finger Exercises

Just as with sports, playing any instrument, especially the piano involves the development of a specific muscle set. These muscles should be warmed up before playing and should be strengthened on a daily basis to ensure perfection.

The muscle set for piano playing is mostly restricted to the fingers, hands, wrists and forearms. Though this may sound relatively insignificant when compared to an olympic tri-athlete for example, there is actually a huge amount of muscles involved in piano playing.

It has been recognized for years that one can become more fluent and apt at the keyboard you need to work hard at strengthening your finger movement. This is why there have been piano finger exercises around ages. Examples of these exercises also known as five finger exercises have been composed and compiled by several composers. Probably the most popular of these is Hanon’s The Virtuoso Pianist in 60 Exercises. Other well known finger exercises have been compiled by Schmitt and Czerny.

At the end of the 19th century it became fashionable amongst popular pianists and composers to see who could write and play the most technical and challenging pieces. Liszt was undoubtedly one of the greatest at this as was Chopin. Chopin wrote a series of études (studies) which are said to be designed for strengthening the fingers.

Robert SchumannCare should be taken however. The German composer Robert Schumann could not work out why he (and everyone else) had trouble lifting up the fourth finger on each hand. The truth is that the fourth finger is lacking a tendon which the other fingers have allowing them to be lifted up independently of the other fingers. To this end Schumann had a special contraption constructed which would pull his fourth finger back a little further each day in order to strengthen it. The result however was catastrophic as he snapped the only tendon for that finger and lost use of it completely.

Piano Tutorial Interface

Whilst searching for piano tutorials to publish on the blog I came across the OnlinePianist.com

This is a great resource for pianists of all levels who want to learn how to play actual songs and pieces of music that aren’t just in the public domain.
There is an extensive library of songs in many styles with literally hundreds of examples.
The songs are not exactly tutorials but if you go to the site you will see the innovative method they have used to offer their tutorials.

There is a keyboard onscreen which shows you the notes of the song as they are being played. At first glance it appears to be a video but actually it is more like an interface. The good thing is that you are able to adjust the speed of the playback and start and stop it.  in actionThis way you can watch and copy in slow motion as you learn. Another really useful feature of the interface is that you can choose to split the performance up and view either the left hand on its own, the right hand or both hands together.

The basic interface is free and you get access to the hundreds of songs and pieces of music available however after a couple of plays you need to sign up via Facebook to retain access. There is a piad version as well that offers some advanced features.

Check out the interface and the extensive song library here
http://www.onlinepianist.com/songs/

Piano Chord Finding App for smartphones and tablets

I found this pretty cool app for the iphone and ipad which is now also available for android too.

Its a piano chord finder so you can take any melody and find the chords to it in a flash.

The idea is that you type in to the app the notes of the melody or the notes that you would like to harmonise and the app will tell you which are the chords that will go with that particular note. You choose the chords and build them up allowing the app to play the chords as you touch them.

As well as hearing the audio, which can be piano or organ sounds, you also get to see the chord as it should be played on the piano keyboards.

The way the app functions is quite basic as you don’t always necessarily harmonise each note of a melody. The chords at first glimpse are simple major chords but there is an option to change the chord database so that it will give you Jazz chords or Gospel chords as well.

All in all the app is a little clumsy to use but for those who don’t really know anything about harmony then it can be of great use… for those who do understand about music theory and chords then it can be entertaining for a while and as the app is free there is nothing to loose.


To find the app, you have to search the app store for ‘Piano Harmony MIDI Studio Pro’.

New Piano Course looks VERY Promising

I have found a new piano learning course which at first glance seems to be very promising indeed.

The course is called Learn Piano in 30 Days and stands out from the other best selling piano courses in quite a few ways which I will go into below.

Scan with your mobile - Learn piano in 30 days QR codeThe best thing of all is that the whole course can be tried out for just $1. The 14 day $1 trial allows you to check out all aspects of this very complete course so you can decide whether to continue and pay the  the very reasonable $27 monthly fee.

The course offers tuition from the most basic level for absolute beginners to a fairly high intermediate level.

One of the best features of this course is that they have a large selection of song tutorials in video format so you can watch and play along whilst you learn some of the most in demand popular and modern songs available. If there is one thing I have learned from offering help on learning the piano it is that most people want to learn how to play real songs and this course certainly has this covered.

piano video song lessons

The inclusion of thousands of pieces of sheet music alone is worth the cost of the course. As you may have discovered, sheet music can be very expensive and to find free sheet music is a nightmare with hundreds of shady rip off sites all getting you to jump through hoops of signing up for memberships only to not deliver in the end.

Here is a list of some of the song tutorials that they have available.

Song Tutorials

There is a forum manned by a team of real piano teachers so you can keep in touch and get any questions or doubts answered by the professionals and there is also an online help system.

Just going by the amount of material that is available with this course I would go as far as to say that the course would be attractive to even the most experienced piano player just for the sheer amount of tutorials and sheet music available without even going into the course details.

 Check out this couse now

I plan to do a video review of this product as soon as possible… keep an eye out for it.

If anyone would like to share their opinions of this course I would be very interested to hear about it. Please leave a comment in the comments section below… ¬†Thanks

Key signature finder

I found this great key signature finder at about.com.

This is a really useful tool for not just piano players but for all musicians. It shows you exactly how many sharps or flats there are for each different key signature whether it be major or minor.

You search for your key signature by name… when you click on the key then you get confronted with a different page showing you exactly how many sharps or flats that particular key has. You also get shown which is the relative minor (or relative major) along with a list of the most common chords for that key signature.

As well as showing you how many sharps or flats it will also show you which they are listing them on the musical stave as well as in writing.

You will find this resource extremely useful if you are starting to read music and are now playing in several different keys. It will quickly serve as a reference to show you exactly how you should be playing each song.

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Chooka Parker – Farmhand Shows how to play the piano

This is an amazing talent that has been found by the Australian television show, Austraila’s Got Talent.
This 16 year old farmhand from a small backwater town in the Australian outback has been completely self taught. He went onto the nationally televised talent show and simply sat down and played, making up as he went along.
His performance was moving to say the least. Starting off in a rock like style he soon transformed the piece into an almost classical mixture of sound. The performance was somewhat reminiscent of the great Kieth Jarret and in the end brought all of the judges to their feet for a rousing standing ovation.
It will be interesting to follow the progress that Chooka makes and to see if he has the luck to be able to break out of the Australian music scene and make it as an international star.
This 16 year old certainly does have talent…. never had a piano lesson in his life and goes out in front¬†of a television audience of millions and makes up a piece on the spot, His laid back attitude and nievety all go towards making this young lad a future star of the piano. Keep an eye out for him in years to come.

Extensive collection of piano tutorials

Here is a great piano site I found that has a really comprehensive collection of piano tutorials. 

Videos | PianoTutorOnline

I was astounded when I took a deeper look into the collection they have up here. There are a staggering 300 tutorials showing you how to play many of the classic piano based songs from John Lennon’s Imagine to Bruce Hornsby’s that’s just the way that it is.

In fact any song you can imagine is probably here in this collection of tutorials.

The tutorials don’t appear to be in any logical order which is a shame and it makes finding a song more of a pot luck event. There are some really advanced pieces and some really simple ones and there is no distiction as to playing level in the list. 

All of this is however totally excusable as this has to be THE most comprehensive list of piano tutorial available at the moment. 

I hope you get a chance to check it out and learn some of the all time classic piano pieces. The more you learn from others the more different styles you will be practiciing. All of that will make it a lot easier to progress in your piano playing even though you might feel you are making little progress and simply copying other people’s piano parts. 

Extensive collection of piano tutorials

Here is a great piano site I found that has a really comprehensive collection of piano tutorials.

Videos | PianoTutorOnline

I was astounded when I took a deeper look into the collection they have up here. There are a staggering 300 tutorials showing you how to play many of the classic piano based songs from John Lennon’s Imagine to Bruce Hornsby’s that’s just the way that it is.

In fact any song you can imagine is probably here in this collection of tutorials.

The tutorials don’t appear to be in any logical order which is a shame and it makes finding a song more of a pot luck event. There are some really advanced pieces and some really simple ones and there is no distinction as to playing level in the list.

All of this is however totally excusable as this has to be THE most comprehensive list of piano tutorials available at the moment.

I hope you get a chance to check it out and learn some of the all time classic piano pieces. The more you learn from others the more different styles you will be practicing. All of that will make it a lot easier to progress in your piano playing even though you might feel you are making little progress and simply copying other people’s piano parts.