Piano Technique – How is your timing?

When I was still a student in university studying engineering, I once read a remark by a scientist that went “There is too much order in the universe for it to be a coincidence”.

The rotation of the sun, the orbit of the earth around it and the trajectory of comets within the galaxy are of perfect timing.

Much like the instruments in an orchestra – strings, woodwinds, brass, percussions and the piano – they work together in perfect harmony to create a symphony that is a marvel to listen to.

Which brings me to my question, how is your timing on the piano? Is there anything you can do to refine your piano technique by improving the timing?

In a piano score, there are time signatures written at the beginning of every line. They tell you at what speed the song has to be played, setting the tone for the whole composition.

If you play too slow, what is meant to be a playful romp of a song will come off as draggy and even depressing.

Moreover, beside the time signatures, there are always playing notes in the score such as moderato, largo, vivace and presto.

These are Italian terms commonly found in a sheet music, they are all terms meant to guide your timing while playing.

If you play too slow, the dramatic moments in a song when playing faster heightens the suspense will be lost – resulting in no sense of wonderment in the listener.

Contemporary romantic songs are well suited to improve piano technique, specifically the timing for slow paced playing. If you prefer classical compositions - practise with nocturnes.

Instead of going through the drudgery of practising with confining technical exercises, you plunge yourself into real music with genuine works of music.

They require delicate legato touch, lifting your arms over a stretch of octave without adding any rush to it and land on a key at just the right instant - useful as piano technique improvement exercises that develop control over your timing when playing slow ballads.

Sonatinas are great for practising to improve your timing when playing a fast paced song. This is because a sonatina is usually consists of three movements composed for playing at increased velocity.

It starts of fast (allegro), the second movement then shifts to even faster (allegretto), finally decellerating a bit in the third movement but still maintaining a fast paced rhythm.

A good song to begin practising with is Muzio Clement’s Sonatina Op.36, No.1. The combination of running up the keyboard with your fingers playing scales and rushing down it rendering an arpeggio will have your fingers equipped with the piano technqiue needed to play classical song with virtuosity in perfect timing.

In the early days of learning how to play the piano, do you remember your teacher counting the beats and clapping her hands when you were playing? This is the simplest form of exercise to get the timing correct.

If you find yourself struggling with the timing when learning a difficult phrase, go back to basics and count. After a few attempts with counting, certainly you shall be able to feel the music and capture the intended timing.

Return from 'Piano Technique – How is your timing?' to All Piano Online Home

You may also like to read:

Technical brilliance is earned - March steadily towards ownership of brilliant piano technique by practising in short sections using separate hands at a slow pace. Learn about the processes involved in accelerating technical adeptness.

Effective Methods To Improve Technique - Ideas to take your technique to a level surpassing excellence, effective methods that will help you improve significantly.

How to eliminate playing mistakes - Reward yourself with a gloriously rendered song after eliminating all the playing mistakes through these piano technique enhancing ideas.

Three more ways to improve technique - Apply these 3 suggestions to elevate your piano technique to a higher level.

Polishing up technique in 3 steps - Improve your technique by using your whole body, memorizing the piano piece and practise playing chords.

Juggling staccatos and legatos - Attain the technique to play staccato with one hand and legato with the other. Practising with a sonatina that demands it to achieve success.

Acquire technical skills fast - Three secrets to acquiring technical skills on the piano in the shortest of time revealed.

How to improve technique in 2 weeks (Part 1) - Technique improves faster by practising in short sections, slowly and with one hand at a time. Fix mistakes made immediately so that they do not become unwanted additions in your performance.

How to improve technique in 2 weeks (Part 2) - Practising solely on a song does not make it better as much as we would hope, return to the basics of building technique and reinforce it with your memory to play the song to your satisfaction.

How to improve technique in 2 weeks (Part 3) - Complement your piano technique with the ability to connect the musical lines, listen to recordings and pour your emotions into it to execute a rendition that sings with soul and persona.

Arousing the senses with the flair of piano music (Part 1) - Technique improves not only through practising, but also through listening and seeing,  blessed with a thriving local cultural scene, I had the pleasure of enjoying Italian classical music performed by my island’s own orchestra.

Arousing the senses with the flair of piano music (Part 2) - Growing the piano technique needed to play classical songs is a long term project. Confining yourself to the practice room for hours will drive you mad. Go outside and experience live performances.

Two Terrific Technique Improving Tips - Technique improvement tips while learning to play the wonderful ‘Concerto Des e’Toiles. Find out how to play chords firmly with pinpoint accuracy and the making of a real overlapping legato.

How Effective Are Online Piano Programs In Building Technique? - A reader burning with passion posed this question. It got me thinking how lucky I am to be learning from a wonderful piano teacher.