What if there was one practice routine that would make you a smarter and more capable musician on the piano? Well there might not be only one thing, but after watching this video and following these tips, you’ll be better equipped to play songs, chords, and improve your hand independence– all in the same practice!
Let’s get started.
For our left hand, we are going to be running through some simple one-octave arpeggios in a D Major progression.
Notes: Root Note > Major 3rd > 5th > Root (1 octave up)
Chords: D > Bm > A >
Note that when transitioning to the next chord in the progression, we lead in with the second-to-last note in the arpeggio so that we naturally start on the root of the next chord.
Triad inversions can be very challenging for a beginner, so start slow, and I’ll give you some helpful tips in the video along the way. 📝
We’ll follow the same D Major progression as our left hand, only I want you to start on the root chord, and work your way up through both inversions to the root chord one octave up, and then back down again.
Positions: Root > 1st Inv. > 2nd Inv. > Root(+) > 2nd Inv. > 1st inv. > Root
🔥🎹 Hot tip: Notice how my hands slide towards the top of the keys when playing these inversions? It makes it much easier to reach, and a lot more comfortable to play.
Now I want you to practice that on each of the chords (D Maj, B min, A Maj, G Maj). Follow along with the video, and if you are having trouble with this, check out our rundown on chord inversions.
Now that we’ve reviewed both patterns, let’s put them both together to make a beautiful and musical practice routine.
Left Hand / Right Hand
D / Root Chord
F# / 1st Inversion
A / 2nd Inversion
D (up one octave) / Root chord (up one octave)
Make sure to start slowly, gradually ramping up your speed. It might take weeks to get comfortable with these changing chord shapes, but once you’ve reached a point where you can play through this progression fluidly, you’re ready for the next (and final 🙏) step.
Okay, are you ready??
This is definitely the most advanced step in the exercise. I want you to use the same left hand arpeggio we’ve been working on for each chord, but this time, instead of playing one note with your left hand to every chord inversion, play 2 notes in your left hand sequence for each of the triads in your right.
As you get more confident you can speed up your playing , but be sure to spend as long as you need on each part of the progression, taking time to master each inversion, and the transitions between them.
It looks complicated, and it might take some time to master, but spend some time with this combination practice regimen and you’ll be working arpeggios, triads, your hand independence, and moving through a chord progression– all at the same time. 🙌
“There’s no ifs, ands, or buts: If you want to be amazing at the piano, technique is really something you have to be working on.”
Even if you feel like this is above your skill level, it is something to aspire to as a player. Nothing is impossible, and practicing technique should be a part of your everyday routine– because that is what’s going to make you the best piano player you can be.
🔥 HOT TIP! If you feel like your technique is keeping you from becoming the pianist you want to be, check out our special on piano technique made easy!
Finally, why not get creative? As you practice your technique, you might begin to settle in as it becomes second nature, and be at risk of getting bored. This is a great exercise to spool up your skills on an incremental basis. Having something like this where you can start with a simple exercise and work your way up as you’re more comfortable will always keep you engaged so you’re never on ‘autopilot’ and always moving towards the next step in your piano playing journey.
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