Pianists make it look so easy, right? You see their fingers moving swiftly along the keys, performing a Chopin composition with ease. Well, playing the piano isn’t easy. Rather, professionals have great techniques utilizing piano exercises they have learned over the years. And this technique comes from the very beginning — when you’re first learning how to play the piano.
When you first enter piano lessons, your teacher will help you with your finger techniques. But truly getting the hang of the fingering relies on you disciplining yourself when learning how to play the piano.
Still stuck? The following piano exercises and techniques will improve your piano playing. Study these piano finger exercises for beginners and learn how to play the piano correctly.
This exercise actually teaches you two important lessons: Knowing the sound of each key (which is also very important) and exercising your finger muscles.
There’s a reason why this lesson is taught during piano finger exercises for beginners.
Pianists control tempo, sound dynamics, etc. with their fingers. They’re not using their arms or their shoulders — the power is coming from their fingertips.
But fun fact: A lot of people don’t have strong muscles in their fingertips. So this exercise is like strength training your fingers. You’re becoming accustomed to using your fingertips to play the keys with strength, not your whole arms.
Take your right-hand thumb. Place it on Middle C (or C in 4th octave). Take your index finger, place it right next to C on D.
Place the rest of your fingers on your right hand along the corresponding keys. Middle finger on E, ring finger on F, and pinky on G.
Starting with C (or your thumb) touch each note. But, do so with the finger that’s on the note. You play D with your index finger, play E with your middle finger, etc.
After you’re done with your right hand, practice with your left; start with C of the 2nd octave and move up that scale. But your thumb won’t be on C2 — your pinky will.
Ascending and Descending Pentascales
Piano exercises for beginners, such as this one, strengthen your left and right hand simultaneously.
Touch C4 with your right thumb and touch C2 with your left pinky at the same time.
Do the same with the next note — touch D4 with your index finger and D2 with your ring finger. Go up and down the scale (also known as ‘ascending’ and ‘descending) until you get the hang of it.
When you play the piano, you play with two hands. This exercise helps improve your coordination and becoming accustomed to playing with two hands at the same time.
This is also known as ‘play in thirds.’ You’re skipping a note with each finger.
In this exercise, you’re only playing C, E, and G (the C major triad). However, all five fingers will be on the note.
Piano finger exercises for beginners, like this one, is conditioning your brain to play different notes, not in ascending or descending order.
Start this with your right hand, to make it easy. Once you get the hang of your right hand, play triads with only your left. You can even switch to two hands if you’re comfortable.
Firm Finger Position
For this exercise, your fingers won’t be on the keys. This exercise is to get you accustomed to the playing position. You can do this exercise anywhere.
This exercise makes you become used to the hand and finger position. Remember this position to avoid injury and long-term issues such as arthritis and carpal tunnel.
Your fingers will be worked to become firmer — unnecessary weight or stress won’t be added to your arms.
Hold your hands out straight. Don’t straighten out your fingers, keep them relaxed. Bend your fingers at the first knuckle, or the knuckle closest to your fingers.
When you go to your keys, hold your hand in this position. Hover your hand over the keys, and then let your hand fall on them.
At this beginning point, you don’t have to lay your fingers on specific keys or play anything. This position makes your fingers firm while giving enough flexibility to allow movement.
Become accustomed to playing each note legato, or hold the note until your play the play the next note (legato means ‘connected’ or ‘smooth’).
Start playing C with your right thumb. Hold down C, and let go the second you hold D with your index finger. Do this exercise and ascend the scale.
You practice a legato, you develop the feel of your fingers on the keys. This helps to control your fingers and the sound your fingers make the keys produce.
This exercise sounds easy, but it’s actually very difficult. The next note plays, not even a split second after the first one ends. So you have to pay close attention and control your fingers.
There’s no actual count when you first play this exercise. But once you get the hang of it, start to hold each note for a certain count. Start with four counts (whole note) and decrease to two counts (half note), etc.
Play a Whole Octave
Play a whole octave. It sounds easy, but the fingering isn’t.
When you play the piano, you’re not playing ascending and descending scales. You’re playing all sorts of notes.
Therefore, your hand will be moving all over the place. This exercise teaches you how to be accurate — and having speed — for when you’re preparing a leap in an octave or moving to another scale.
If you’re playing C major in 4th octave, start with your thumb on C4. Play each subsequent note with the corresponding finger as discussed.
You have five fingers but there are seven notes. What do you do?
Play C with your thumb, D with your index finger, E with your middle finger, but F with your thumb.
The minute your index finger touches D, lift your thumb and begin tilting your hand to the right. This will prepare you to hit your thumb on F in perfect timing.
Do the same with the rest of the scale — after your thumb hits F, your index finger will hit G, and you’ll prepare your thumb to hit B.
Hanon & Czerny Piano Exercise Books
Piano teachers have been using Hanon & Czerny piano exercises for well over 100 years for a reason. Hanon & Czerny piano finger exercises have been meticulously crafted to provide the perfect level of practice for piano players of all levels of skill. Try a few exercises and find out for yourself why the Hanon & Czerny piano techniques are still widely recommended and used for pianists in this day and age.
In addition to the popularly used Hanon & Czerny piano exercise books below is a comprehensive list of the most popular piano exercises to help piano students of all levels to develop faster fingers and better technique:
|AUTHOR||BOOKS||LISTEN / WATCH|
|Ann Thompson||John Thompson's Modern Course||Listen / Watch|
|Allan Small and Charles-Louis Hanon||Junior Hanon||Listen / Watch|
|Beethoven||Sonatina Album||Listen / Watch|
|Carl Czerny||School of Velocity||Listen / Watch|
|Carl Czerny||Practical Method for Beginners, Op. 599||Listen / Watch|
|Carl Czerny||Selected Piano Studies||Listen / Watch|
|Carl Czerny||101 Exercises Op. 261||Listen / Watch|
|Carl Czerny||100 Progressive Studies without Octaves, Op. 139||Listen / Watch|
|Carl Czerny||24 Studies for the Left Hand, Op. 718: For Late Intermediate to Early Advanced Piano||Listen / Watch|
|Carl Czerny||First Instruction in Piano-playing: One Hundred Recreations||Listen / Watch|
|Carl Czerny||110 Easy and Progressive Exercises, Op. 453: Piano Technique||Listen / Watch|
|Carl Czerny||Selected Czerny Studies||Listen / Watch|
|Carl Czerny||The Young Pianist, Op. 823 (Complete)||Listen / Watch|
|Carl Czerny||The Little Pianist||Listen / Watch|
|Carl Czerny||Five Finger Studies, Op. 777||Listen / Watch|
|Carl Czerny||125 Exercises for Passage Playing, Op. 261||Listen / Watch|
|Carl Czerny||Preliminary School of Finger Dexterity, Op. 636||Listen / Watch|
|Carl Czerny||Art of Finger Dexterity in Piano||Listen / Watch|
|Carl Czerny, Charles-Louis Hanon, and Ingrid Jacobson Clarfield||32 Piano Studies Selected for Technique and Musicality||Listen / Watch|
|Charles-Louis Hanon and Leo Alfassy||Jazz Hanon||Listen / Watch|
|Charles-Louis Hanon and John Thompson Haversham||Hanon Studies - Book 1: Elementary Level||Listen / Watch|
|Charles-Louis Hanon||Hanon Deluxe the Virtuoso Pianist Transposed in All Keys||Listen / Watch|
|Edna Mae Burnam||A Dozen A Day, Book Two||Listen / Watch|
|Eric Taylor||Music Theory in Practice, Grade 1||Listen / Watch|
|Johann Sebastian Bach||First Lessons in Bach||Listen / Watch|
|John Sylvanus Thompson||John Thompson's Easiest Piano Course, Part One||Listen / Watch|
|Larry Fine||The Piano Book||Listen / Watch|
|Leo Alfassy||Blues Hanon||Listen / Watch|
|Nancy Faber, Randall Faber, and Victoria McArthur||Piano Adventures||Listen / Watch|
Improve Your Playing with Piano Exercises for Beginners
When pianists play, they look relaxed and serene. But their fingers are moving a million miles a minute.
One of the first steps in becoming an amazing pianist is learning the correct fingering techniques. These won’t come easy at first; as you practice, these fingering techniques will become natural.
Once you get down these piano exercises, you’ll understand the craft of professional piano playing.
If you’re looking for piano lessons, we can help you.
Hanon Piano Exercises PDF Downloads [FREE]
Below are the first 20 Hanon piano exercises available as free PDF downloads. They are also the most frequently used by pianists and teachers around the world to improve their finger strength and speed and to build their technique.
|AUTHOR||BOOKS||FREE PDF DOWNLOAD|
|Charles-Louis Hanon||The Virtuoso Pianist||Hanon Piano Exercise No 1|
|Charles-Louis Hanon||The Virtuoso Pianist||Hanon Piano Exercise No 2|
|Charles-Louis Hanon||The Virtuoso Pianist||Hanon Piano Exercise No 3|
|Charles-Louis Hanon||The Virtuoso Pianist||Hanon Piano Exercise No 4|
|Charles-Louis Hanon||The Virtuoso Pianist||Hanon Piano Exercise No 5|
|Charles-Louis Hanon||The Virtuoso Pianist||Hanon Piano Exercise No 6|
|Charles-Louis Hanon||The Virtuoso Pianist||Hanon Piano Exercise No 7|
|Charles-Louis Hanon||The Virtuoso Pianist||Hanon Piano Exercise No 8|
|Charles-Louis Hanon||The Virtuoso Pianist||Hanon Piano Exercise No 9|
|Charles-Louis Hanon||The Virtuoso Pianist||Hanon Piano Exercise No 10|
|Charles-Louis Hanon||The Virtuoso Pianist||Hanon Piano Exercise No 11|
|Charles-Louis Hanon||The Virtuoso Pianist||Hanon Piano Exercise No 12|
|Charles-Louis Hanon||The Virtuoso Pianist||Hanon Piano Exercise No 13|
|Charles-Louis Hanon||The Virtuoso Pianist||Hanon Piano Exercise No 14|
|Charles-Louis Hanon||The Virtuoso Pianist||Hanon Piano Exercise No 15|
|Charles-Louis Hanon||The Virtuoso Pianist||Hanon Piano Exercise No 16|
|Charles-Louis Hanon||The Virtuoso Pianist||Hanon Piano Exercise No 17|
|Charles-Louis Hanon||The Virtuoso Pianist||Hanon Piano Exercise No 18|
|Charles-Louis Hanon||The Virtuoso Pianist||Hanon Piano Exercise No 19|
|Charles-Louis Hanon||The Virtuoso Pianist||Hanon Piano Exercise No 20|