Piano Exercises – Jumping an octave higher with agility

A cat jumping off a tree always lands on its feet. Fingers playing the piano should always land on the right keys. Unlike the cat though which has been through a few thousand years of evolution that has prefected its skills, I on the other hand am still struggling to land my fingers on the right keys.

Especially when I want my fingers to jump from one note to the note an octave higher. For some of us newbies to the piano - an exampke is going from the middle C to the next C on your right.

I am on a quest to find several piano exercises that will help solve my particular predicament.

I confided about my problem to a friend recently while listening to ‘Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.23, 1st Movement at a concert. She has been playing the piano since she was five so she has like 20 years of practise under her belt. I thought she would be able to help.

Before we get into that, the two of us are at the ‘Music for Life’ concert. People might think I am on a date here, taking a girl to a classical music concert is so suave and sophisticated, but I have ulterior motives.

The concert is raising money for the Penang Adventist Hospital. The money collected from the sale of the tickets will be channeled to a fund that will ensure every patient regardless of his or her station in life has access to the finest in medical treatment and compassionate sharing.

Tip No.1 in Piano Exercises – Jumping an octave higher with agility. “Estimate the distance from where your fingers are to the keys where you are planning to jump to next“.

Okay, my friend is talking fancy because she is wearing a fancy gown tonight. But hold on, she has a point.

Just like the cat, humans are also blessed with an acute sense of where things are located. It is how I am able to reach out to pick up a pen with my hands without missing it and grabbing air. This is also how David Beckham is able to connect his pass to Wayne Rooney.

The same principle applies to when we are playing the piano. This natural ability can be honed to connect notes separated by an octave or more on the piano.

All you have to do is estimate the distance, inside your head, between the middle C and the C one octave higher for example.

Practise jumping from the middle C to the C one octave higher, then repeat the exercise with D, E, F and so on. Remember to practise slowly at first and gain speed incrementally as you become accustomed to the exercise.

Practising the jump from middle C to the C one octave higher all day will drive you mad with boredom. To make things interesting, get the piano score of “Mariage De Amour”. It is a song made famous by Richard Clayderman. You will love it, if you do not already know it.

There is a phrase beginning in bar 6 that is exactly in the same rhythm as the phrase begiining in bar 8. The only difference? You guessed it, bar 8 is an octave higher from bar 6.

Tip No.2 in Piano Exercises – Jumping an octave higher with agility. “Find your target”.

One advantage you have when trying to jump to a note one actave higher is that the distance is always constant. You will always be jumping over 6 keys to reach your target.

With regular practise of these piano exercises you will have a strong sense of the precise position of the targeted key. Channel the inner predatory instinct of a lioness inside of you and jump towards that key with agility.

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