The Most Beautiful Piano Warm-Up Exercises

Lisa Witt  /  Practice  /  UPDATED Jan 10, 2023

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Warm-up exercises are key to getting better at the piano. Scales, arpeggios, and chord practice help you become faster, stronger, and more skilful. But many piano students find traditional exercises boring, and the last thing you want is to fall asleep at the piano before you even start practicing!

But we believe piano warm-ups don’t have to be boring — in fact, they can be beautiful! Here are three simple yet beautiful exercises that don’t sound like drills at all.


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Exercise #1 – Left Hand Speed 💨

The first exercise we’ll do targets your left hand. Most piano players are right-handed, so getting your left hand up to speed with your right can be challenging. First, try playing just the left hand part of this exercise by itself. You may find that your fourth and fifth fingers are extra difficult to coordinate — this is normal!

This pattern sounds kind of boring by itself, so let’s add some pizzazz. On your right hand, play fifths (C and G). Play these very lightly, hold down the pedal, and your warm-up will start to sound less like an exercise and more like a dreamy song!

With your right hand still playing the fifths, try starting your left-hand pattern on G, on F, and then back on C.

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Exercise #2 – Coordination Between the Hands ✋ 🤚

To tackle this second exercise, practice your right hand first. Get to the point where you’re so familiar with the right-hand pattern that you can play it in your sleep! Then, add the left hand.

Once again, you can move your left hand pattern so that you start on G. In fact, you can start your left-hand pattern on any note and it will still sound good within this exercise.

Exercise #3 – Speed and Strength 💪

Here’s a challenge: try trilling with your third and fourth fingers as fast as you can. Now try trilling with your fourth and fifth fingers as fast as you can. Pretty tricky, right?

These last few fingers are everybody’s weakest. It’s just the way the human body is built. But no worry — there are exercises to help strengthen our weakest fingers!

For this exercise, practice your right hand first.

Then, once that feels familiar, add a descending C scale on your left hand. Remember to tuck your thumb after the A! Try playing faster and faster as you get better with this exercise.

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Technique is the foundation to piano playing. If technique has been holding you back from playing the songs you love, check out Piano Technique Made Easy with Cassi Falk. This course, free with your Pianote membership, will take you through all 12 major and minor keys as you master scales, arpeggios, chords, and more.


Piano Exercises That Sound Good

As you can see, piano exercises don’t have to sound boring! These are just three simple ways to make them sound more like songs than drills.

If you liked this lesson, check out even more song-like practice drills available for free on Pianote:

Happy practicing!

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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