8 Approachable Piano Exercises for Beginners
Have you always wanted to play the piano, but haven’t been sure where to start?
Just like with learning any new skill, doing basic exercises is a critical first step when learning to play the piano. With the right piano exercises for beginners, your abilities and confidence will grow quickly.
These exercises don’t need to be complicated to be effective. In fact, when you’re a beginner, more approachable exercises are best.
Some of these may seem extremely simple, but the key is doing them repeatedly until your hands and fingers become comfortable with the motions. Let’s take a look at 8 easy piano exercises for beginners that you can start with today – but first, we’ll talk about technique.
Using Proper Finger Technique
When you’re at the gym, the technique you use is just as important as the exercises you do. The same is true when you’re learning to play the piano.
When you start doing piano exercises for beginners, you’ll want to be sure you’re using the proper technique so you don’t develop bad habits that could slow your process later on.
It’s best if you have a teacher with you to check your technique. However, you can also record a video of your fingers while you play to see if you are using proper finger technique or not.
You’ll want to keep your fingers lifted and rounded, as though you are gently holding something soft. Your fingers should never be flat and straight, with rare exceptions, such as when you need to reach for a note with your pinky.
You should play from the finger, and not from the arm or wrist. Try to keep your arms, wrists, and shoulders relaxed while you play. This will help you have smaller, faster, more precise movements.
How to Do Piano Exercises for Beginners
In addition to using good finger technique, there are some other strategies you should use when doing these exercises.
You’ll want to start out slowly, to make sure you do each exercise right. Then you can move up to faster speeds to make it more challenging as you play.
Now, let’s take a look at some great piano exercises for beginners.
1. Pentascales with One Hand
A pentascale is the first five notes of a scale. Playing a simple major pentascale (try C-D-E-F-G) using one finger per note will help you warm up your fingers and get familiar with your instrument.
You’ll play each of the five notes with one finger, so each finger gets the same amount of exercise. This may sound easy, but if you are just getting started, you may be surprised by how quickly your fingers get tired!
For an added level of challenge, try changing the volume of the scales you play. Transition between very soft and very loud – find out how much finger pressure it takes for the volume to change.
2. Pentascales with Two Hands
One of the hardest things for piano beginners is learning to play with both hands at once.
For the next exercise, add in the hand you weren’t using to do the same exercise as before. You’ll start with the lowest note for each hand. For example, your left pinky and your right thumb would both start with the first note, since those fingers play the lowest note on the scale.
You can go up and down the pentascales to work on synchronizing your hands. Start slow – the fast you go, the harder it will be.
3. Work Out Your Fingers
The next exercise is good for strengthening your fingers.
Place your hands near the keyboard, and flex them into your playing position. Then, lower your fingers onto the keys.
Take a look at your finger position after it hits the keys. Did your fingers maintain their shape? When you’re just getting started, it’s more likely that your fingers will collapse once they touch the keyboard.
Drop the hand onto the keys from a little bit higher up, to add more challenge to this exercise. This will train you to keep your fingers firm while you play.
4. Pentascales in Thirds
Playing in thirds means hitting every other key instead of every key in a row. Take the pentascales from above, and try playing them in thirds. For example, you would play C-E-G instead of C-D-E-F-G.
Try to play smoothly, so that every note sounds connected. This is called playing legato.
5. Play Extra Legato
Once you’ve tried out the legato sound, try to over-exaggerate it as you play your scales. Hold down notes so they overlap with the note after. This helps develop finger control and can be more challenging than you would expect.
6. Try a Full Octave
Once you’ve practiced the five-note scales, you can try going for a full octave – or even two. This will mean moving your hand, since there are more notes than you have fingers in an octave, which adds a level of difficulty for beginners.
7. Play With a Metronome
You should always play with an even, steady tempo. It’s more important to play at a consistent pace than to play with speed, at least while you’re learning.
A metronome can be a helpful tool to let you play more consistently. Set the metronome to whatever speed you want to play and it will help you keep time.
8. Play Multiple Notes Simultaneously
When you play three or more notes at a time, it’s usually called a chord. Try playing two notes at a time with one hand, and then move it up to three. Play C, E, and G all at once and see how it sounds!
Check out this video:
These piano exercises for beginners might sound simple, but chances are good you’ll find at least a few of them challenging.
Try to spend more time on the ones you find difficult. Working through the challenges will help you become a better pianist faster!
And, most importantly, you should practice consistently. Make it a daily habit, even if it’s just for a few minutes a day, and you’ll see improvements quickly.
One of the best things you can do for yourself is to invest in a piano to practice on. There are many affordable, convenient options out there – take a look at some of our options here.