Arpeggio Practice – The FUN Way!

Lisa Witt  /  Practice  /  UPDATED Jan 13, 2023

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Arpeggios are one of those musical things that separates piano players.

Knowing how to play arpeggios (and use them in songs) makes you a step above. It sounds much more complicated, musical, and impressive.

It doesn’t take a genius to know that to get better at arpeggios it helps to practice them (it’s true!).

But the problem is that arpeggio practice can often be … boring. Especially if all you’re doing is playing them up and down, up and down, over and over.

That’s not musical. That doesn’t sound that impressive.

Yes, you need to practice your arpeggios. But this lesson will show you HOW to practice arpeggios in a way that’s super musical, applicable, and fun.

The Arpeggio

What makes this practice unique and creative is that we’re only going to be playing one arpeggio in the right hand.

This exercise is in the key of D minor (or F major if you prefer to think that way). Our right hand is ONLY going to play an F major arpeggio.

It will look like this:

And that’s it. Super simple to start with.

Now it’s time to make it musical…

The left-hand is where the magic is going to happen.

While you’re playing that F major arpeggio in your right hand, play the each of the following notes in order with your left:

D – Bb – F – C

Hold each note for the value of TWO arpeggios. So you’ll play that F major arpeggio up and down TWICE before changing notes with your left hand.

Beautiful right?

What we’re doing here is mixing the major sounds (the F major arpeggio) with the relative minor sounds (D minor is the relative minor of F major).

But we’re not done yet.

Two-Handed Arpeggio Practice

Things are about to get a bit more complicated, but the result will be spectacular.

Keep playing that F major arpeggio with your right hand. But, instead of playing single notes with our left hand, we’ll play arpeggios starting on those notes.

So we’ll be playing arpeggios with BOTH hands, but only the left-hand will be changing positions.

The first thing to do is figure out what notes we’ll be playing.

The 1st arpeggio is D minor. So we’ll use the notes D-F-A-D:

D minor arpeggio practice

After that, we’ll move down to the Bb. The notes are Bb-D-F-Bb:

Bb major arpeggio practice

Then we’ll move down to the F major arpeggio. You should know this one by now!

F major arpeggio practice

And finally a C major arpeggio. The notes are C-E-G-C:

C major arpeggio practice

This might take a bit of time. Go slow and just start with your left hand if you need to.

As far as fingering goes, you can choose to play these left-hand arpeggios with your 5-3-2-1 fingers (which is what I do) or you can use 5-4-2-1. Some people prefer one over the other. It’s up to you.

When you’re ready, try playing these arpeggios hands together. Keep playing that F major in your right hand and play those 4 arpeggio patterns in your left.

It will look like this:

It sounds AMAZING!

And it’s doing so much to help you improve your arpeggio skills! Technique practice made fun 🙂

If you want to take things to the next level…

If you’re ready for it (and up for a challenge) you can try moving this out to two-octave arpeggios!

So your right-hand will play a double-octave F major arpeggio while your left-hand plays a slower, single-octave arpeggio (still moving around the keys).

It looks like this:

This technique will require a thumb-tuck. It’s a fantastic tool to help you play the piano faster and this is a wonderful way to practice it.

Take it slow, make sure you’re practicing it correctly.

Remember, if you’re playing so fast that you’re making mistakes, then all you’re doing is practicing those mistakes.

And we don’t want that.

Have some fun. Take it slow, and enjoy this beautiful arpeggio practice!

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Lisa Witt has been teaching piano for more than 20 years and in that time has helped hundreds of students learn to play the songs they love. Lisa received classical piano training through the Royal Conservatory of Music, but she has since embraced popular music and playing by ear in order to accompany herself and others. Learn more about Lisa.

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