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Advanced Piano Technique: Finger Strength, Control, and Dynamics Exercises

By Scott Camp

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Piano Solo - Advanced Intermediate - Digital Download
Composed by Scott Camp. Etudes and Exercises, Technique Training. 3 pages. Published by Scott Camp (S0.223075).

Item Number: S0.223075

Advanced Piano Technique:  

Exercises to Develop Finger Strength, Control, and Dynamics

If you want to develop the strength and control that you admire in other pianists, and are frustrated by deficiencies of technique and formal piano training, then these exercises are for you.  You can start immediately (5-10 minutes a day).  Because the finger muscles in question are small, the benefits are also immediate.

For athletes, strength training is easily understood as resulting from work in the gym, either with free weights, weight machines, or practices such as yoga.  Large muscles (biceps, triceps, abs, quads, calf, etc.) get plenty of attention in the gym, and deservedly so.  Good news  for pianists is that the finger and hand muscles that require attention are small, and can be developed in much less time than the athlete’s large muscle groups.  But how does that happen?  

These exercises are neither new nor unique.  My piano instructor at New England Conservatory, Eric Kamen, presented these exercises to me out of necessity.  I was a jazz piano major who quickly realized that I lacked sufficient “technique” to be competitive as a pianist, even if I didn’t understand what technique meant.  Knowing that I needed help--and fast, I signed up for classical piano lessons.  Eric was my assigned instructor, and was faced with the daunting challenge of having me as a student:  enthusiastic and willing, but totally clueless about how to produce strong and/or beautiful tone through the piano.  

Although I was physically larger than other pianists, I was unable to produce sound and tone at the piano with the strength of my fellow classmates.  As I walked by room after room of practice pianos, I heard 90 pound female classmates conjuring piano concerto power and beauty, while I (180 pound male) could barely elicit an anemic “peep” by comparison.

My preparation for music school was based on playing piano and amplified keyboards in rock bands.  I was slapping the keys with my fingers, producing a harsh and brittle tone, with none of the warmth that I admired so much in others.  My instructor Eric’s comment at our first lesson still rings in my ears:  “Scott, as I watched you play, I simply do not understand how you produced any sound at all!”  

The exercises here are what Eric presented to me to create a foundation for “real piano technique”.  They saved his sanity, and mine, too!  If you find them half as helpful as I did, then you will be pleased with the results.  5-10 minutes per day as a supplemental activity to your ongoing repertoire is all you need, and the benefits will begin immediately and last a lifetime.  

Good luck!

Scott Camp.

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