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Piano Technique: Two nifty warm-up routines, one loopy, the other for zig-zaggers

Claudia, 11, and I do a 20-minute warm-up before she tackles repertoire at her weekly lesson. Today I snatched two routines that might help others with the time-honored, upper arm roll, supple wrist, and elbow swing. Just my bias showing about technique and what I favor in its development.

I’ve presented this one before, but it’s worth a refresher:

Claudia and I “looped” through a 4-note, E Major, broken chord in inversions. But first we blocked out the chords as demonstrated in the first video. (blocking establishes a sense of “spacing” and “feel.”)

NOTE that R.H. fingering is above L.H. for each inversion:

E G# B E
1 2 3 5
5 3 2 1

G# B E G#
1 2 4 5
5 4 2 1

B E G# B
1 2 4 5
5 3 2 1

E G# B E
1 2 3 5
5 3 2 1


In this second video we played a set of E Major parallel thirds within a five-finger Major and minor position. (In parallel, then contrary motion.)

We started with quarters, then doubled to 8ths, and finally tripled to 16ths in a parallel zig zag motion of the arms–Contrary motion followed, with opposing arm zig zags.

I borrowed the fundamental “HOPPING” exercise from Dozen A Day Book I by Edna-Mae Burnam. (It’s important to TRANSPOSE the samples to get maximum technical benefit)

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