Build Your Piano Playing Technique Step By Step

Improve your piano playing technique.

Here is a step by step plan to help you build a great piano playing technique with suitable material especially for beginner (adult) pianists.

There are many books about piano technique "out there". These are the piano books I have found give great, measurable results and that are very effective for beginners. 

Improving Your Piano Technique Step By Step

  • Beginning Exercises- Finger Drills: Start using Edna Mae Burnams A Dozen a Day Preparatory Book, Technical Exercises for Piano (not Mini if you are an adult) as soon as you have learned how to read both hands together in a five finger position. Keep working through Preparatory, Book 1 and Book 2 for a great foundation of basic movements in piano playing. Yes, I know they are for kids- put another cover if you like- but these piano exercises are great!
  • Beginning Scales: Start also with scale practice- you don’t need anything fancy at this stage, it is better to learn scales and chords by heart anyway. On this page you will learn an easy way to start playing 10 major and minor scales by ear: Piano scales the easy way.
  • Beginning Piano Etudes: During book 1 (Green) of “A Dozen a Day”, add on Frances Clarks' and Louise Goss's Piano Etudes Book 1 for Musical Fingers. It comes with valuable performance instructions and focuses on musical playing.
  • More Finger Drills: Time for Hanon: "The Virtuoso Pianist" (Just the title makes you feel great- doesn’t it?) And this is an investment for many years, so get a great edition, even put plastic on it! Focus on the first 10-20 exercises first.
  • More Etudes: I must admit I am in “love” with the Piano studies/Etudes books in the Celebration Perspectives Series. Generally they have done a fantastic job in selecting repertoire for this exam system. Continue to practice your scales, etc, and Hanon.
Hands on piano keyboard

There are many sheet music books to help you improve your piano playing technique. These are the ones that I find “fool-proof” and have stood the test of time. They give great results together with a beginning piano method book or two.

By working your way through these technique books, you have mastered the beginner levels of piano playing, and have reached an early intermediate level.

You can continue to work with the Celebration series as it is a great anthology of many different composers. Together with Hanon's exercises and a good scale book you are quite set for a while!

Piano Exercises from Beginners to Intermediate

Here is a summary of my recommendations of great piano playing technique books with exercises and etudes for beginner and early intermediate pianists that are fun, effective, complement each other, and really works:

  1. Edna Mae Burnam’s: “A Dozen a day”, Preparatory to book 2
  2. Piano Etudes For the Development of Musical Fingers, Book 1
  3. Hanon “The virtuoso pianist”. Especially exercises 1-10, 11-20, 21-30.
  4. Celebration series: Perspectives Piano Studies/ Etudes from Grade 1 and on.

Also warmly recommended to continue with:

Check out Chico's Amazing Piano Playing Technique!

Related Pages

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