(HD) Piano Gym Romps through Arpeggios!

Besides my daily elliptical workouts, I add in piano routines that mobilize the arms, wrists and fingers with full blown natural breath support. Enlisting free flowing energy coming down relaxed arms and supple wrists, one experiences a player’s “high” that fuels a sense of well-being streaming into other activities.

Most of my students will devote at least 20-25 minutes of their lesson time to various romps over the keyboard.

The more advanced ones will supplement their scales with four octave, 3-note arpeggios in parallel motion; root position and tenths followed by contrary motion (three octaves). They will explore legato and staccato renderings in varied dynamics.

Many continue to 4-note parallel arpeggios with inversions, and on to diminished 7th and Dominant 7th arpeggios in root, 10ths, and contrary motion.


I’ve posted a video fleshing out challenges of tricky 3-note contrary motion
arpeggios that have end blocks of four notes that are asymmetrical between the hands.

They distinguish themselves from arpeggios that in parallel motion begin in the Left hand with 5, and the Right Hand with thumb. The latter in CONTRARY motion, have more easily navigated end notes: C Major—RH: C E G C 1,2,3,5 against LH: 1, 2, 4, 5 (again these are the last four notes of the C Major contrary motion arpeggio.)

A student can easily block each set of these last four notes with a sense of security because there are no thumb shifts at what I term “bookends.”

F# minor, Ab Major and Ab minor–(enharmonic G# minor), Eb Major, Db Major and its parallel minor, also spelled C# minor, are examples of arpeggios that in contrary motion have 4 note endings that are asymmetrical. Their thumb shifts at the extremes are awkward and must be carefully isolated and practiced. In Parallel motion, these particular arpeggios are symmetrical with the thumbs meeting between perfect 4th spreads–in mirror finger relationships.


Power-driven plays!


With a student, on a fun-filled arpeggio playground!

G# minor: includes contrary motion (3 note arpeggios)
Tenths; G# minor 4-note (rolling contour) arpeggios with inversions in legato and staccato; Diminished 7th chord arpeggio F##, A#, C#, E in parallel root position and in 10ths; In contrary motion, followed by a Dominant 7th arpeggio, D#, F##, A#, C# in parallel motion and in 10ths, culminating in Contrary Motion. (Legato to Staccato)

These arpeggio jaunts are a nice segue way to the pupil’s study of Schumann’s “Fast Zu Ernst” (Kinderszenen) which is in the key of G# minor with a companion RH/LH stream of broken chords.

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