\"\"
Piano Forum logo

Ways to get faster fingers! (Read 1003 times)

Offline slurred_beat

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 53
Ways to get faster fingers!
« on: April 09, 2021, 10:11:28 PM »
Hi all. I'm wondering if there are ways to get my fingers faster so I can play faster passages. What are good tips to get my fingers really fast? I always feel there is limits to my speed. I want to go faster  8) This is because it sounds cool and proffessionall pianists play the pieces fast and I think it sounds better that way so I want to be able to do it also. Do you have any tips?

Offline j_tour

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2558
Re: Ways to get faster fingers!
«Reply #1 on: April 10, 2021, 03:17:18 AM »
I'm wondering if there are ways to get my fingers faster so I can play faster passages.

Yes.

Quote
What are good tips to get my fingers really fast?

Break it down.

Like so:





Quote
I always feel there is limits to my speed.

There is.  You probably just haven't reached it yet.
My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline caevon

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 8
Re: Ways to get faster fingers!
«Reply #2 on: April 10, 2021, 07:58:31 AM »
Sounds like you need better technique. Practice scales and arpeggios. I recommend Hanon's The Virtuoso Pianist and Czerny Op. 299 (then Op. 740) for technical studies.

Offline brogers70

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1203
Re: Ways to get faster fingers!
«Reply #3 on: April 10, 2021, 11:57:13 AM »
It's good to practice scales and arpeggios, but just playing through them, or through Hanon or Czerny, won't help unless you are practicing them in a way that will actually help you figure out how to increase your speed. I've found a lot of Josh Wright's tips on increasing speed to be very helpful (finger staccato, lots of different rhythms - like the one j tour wrote out explicitly - ,various relaxation exercises). The single most helpful idea I've gotten is that speed is as much or more about how fast you can get your finger off the key as it is about how fast you can get it on the key - but maybe that's just me.

In any case. Here's one link to Josh Wright; if you find it helpful, it's easy to search for more.


Offline ivorycherry

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 164
Re: Ways to get faster fingers!
«Reply #4 on: April 10, 2021, 04:32:25 PM »
I honestly don’t recommend Hanon at all unless you’re an early beginner. It’s a waste of time and doesn’t help with anything. What I do and the “technique” I recommend to you is to play all your scales and arpeggios in different ways and rhythms on different days. A quote my teacher has “You gain control by manipulation”. Not in real life though(well, maybe) but in piano because once your brain gets more perspectives and ways of playing something it gets a better understanding and control over it. I think it’s also very important to be loose and relaxed when playing fast. I agree with brogers70, watch the Josh Wright video, he has a lot of helpful tips.

Offline lelle

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1097
Re: Ways to get faster fingers!
«Reply #5 on: April 10, 2021, 09:49:04 PM »
I feel like a parrot since I say this all the time, but I think speed is a question of developing your coordination just through playing many pieces and exercises, plus, learning how to really let go of all your muscles so that your fingers can move quickly and efficiently without muscle tension interfering with their ease of movement.

Offline lostinidlewonder

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 6355
Re: Ways to get faster fingers!
«Reply #6 on: April 11, 2021, 01:02:48 AM »
Generalized questions like "how do I get better, how do I play faster" etc etc, these really are pointless questions which are simply wasting your time if you think any answers given will be of amazing use. Why not discuss specific pieces, specific bars, actual music which has context people can discuss, fingering logic, ways to practice the passage etc. Ask something like: "I have a problem with Bars x-y in this particular piece, here is a description of what I have been trying to do and how I have approached it but it's not working for me, any suggestions?" 

I don't need more experienced people telling me that beginners need to ask these weak generalized type questions, they need to be told to be more specific.
"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
www.facebook.com/groups/348933611793249/

Offline lelle

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1097
Re: Ways to get faster fingers!
«Reply #7 on: April 13, 2021, 09:01:30 PM »
I don't know if beginners need to ask them. But in my own work I have found value in finding generalized answers. In the past, I worked a lot with tons of different "tips" and "tricks" to get different passages working, and it helped improving things but I feel I have made more definite progress by figuring out some general principles that I can follow regardless of what type of problem I am working on. Trying to use tricks for specific passages has been more of a band-aid solution. But for beginners it may be more suitable.

Offline j_tour

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2558
Re: Ways to get faster fingers!
«Reply #8 on: April 14, 2021, 01:44:21 AM »
I don't know if beginners need to ask them. But in my own work I have found value in finding generalized answers. In the past, I worked a lot with tons of different "tips" and "tricks" to get different passages working, and it helped improving things but I feel I have made more definite progress by figuring out some general principles that I can follow regardless of what type of problem I am working on. Trying to use tricks for specific passages has been more of a band-aid solution. But for beginners it may be more suitable.

Well, don't you find that techniques required for blindingly fast (well, very quick, anyway!) but completely controlled and subdued passages, such as in the exercises I posted from Cortot's student edition for the Chopin Op. 28/3 (G) are more or less standard, and have general application?

Varying rhythms, blocking, using staccato, etc.

Yes, in my limited universe of piano, there are certainly precise fingerings that work for given passages only, and diverge from the standard, but those seem an obvious exception to me. 

As does the notion that one must adapt technique, however slightly, for any given piece or passage.  After all, one must examine the music, even if one is making a first attempt at reading through it.

Granted, I'm still just talking about "fast fingers," which is a pretty basic idea that doesn't touch on 8+++ ABRSM material.
My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline lelle

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1097
Re: Ways to get faster fingers!
«Reply #9 on: April 14, 2021, 07:18:43 PM »
Well, don't you find that techniques required for blindingly fast (well, very quick, anyway!) but completely controlled and subdued passages, such as in the exercises I posted from Cortot's student edition for the Chopin Op. 28/3 (G) are more or less standard, and have general application?

Varying rhythms, blocking, using staccato, etc.


I used to be a big rhythm guy. I used it as my main strategy for speeding up pieces. The problem is that it does not, in itself, cure the tension that blocks speed. Nowadays I never use rhythms, I just practise the notes that are written in the score and search for the dynamics and colors I want, while focusing on keeping tension out of my system and increasing my ability to do so, and then the speed comes over time and I'm more relaxed than I used to be with the rhythms.

Offline brogers70

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1203
Re: Ways to get faster fingers!
«Reply #10 on: April 14, 2021, 07:58:02 PM »
I never found doing dotted rhythms very helpful as a way to speed up fast passages. Lately, though, I've found other rhythms, say long-short-short-short-short, and all the various arrangements (e.g. short-short-short-long-short) to be very helpful. But....it's important to consciously relax completely on the long note, taking however long it takes to be totally relaxed. I find it helpful for a several reasons

First, if I cycle through all the permutations of, for example, one long and four short, then I end up having worked on every possible sequence of four notes at full tempo or above, with a break to relax. I find that makes it much easier to stay relaxed when playing the whole passage at speed.

Second, it's harder than it should be for me to listen carefully to, and remember the sound of a long, fast passage, but it's easy for me to remember how four fast notes sounded - whether they are even, whether hands were aligned perfectly, etc. So it helps me critique myself and see what needs to be worked on.

Third, because of the breaks in flow at the long notes, you cannot go just on muscle memory, so if you want to practice a tricky bit in five rhythms (long-short-short-short-short) in all possible permutations, you really have to burn the passage into your memory, and so it ends up being very securely memorized.

Offline mjames

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2497
Re: Ways to get faster fingers!
«Reply #11 on: April 15, 2021, 08:18:06 AM »
I don't know if beginners need to ask them. But in my own work I have found value in finding generalized answers. In the past, I worked a lot with tons of different "tips" and "tricks" to get different passages working, and it helped improving things but I feel I have made more definite progress by figuring out some general principles that I can follow regardless of what type of problem I am working on. Trying to use tricks for specific passages has been more of a band-aid solution. But for beginners it may be more suitable.

Same, that's what I've also realized. In my experience the best cure for fast playing is simply experience. Literally I'd reach a "speed wall" despite practicing every day for weeks on end and I'd get no improvements. I abandon the piece, move on, try on "lighter stuff" (still difficult in general I guess), and I just keep playing. A year or two later I come back to the same piece, and guess what, the same passage I was having trouble with is cracked within days.

Anyways there are plenty of pieces for dexterity.

1. Chopin etudes, listen to those and pick one.

2. Ballades

3. Scherzi

4. A bunch of Liszt

5. A bunch of Beethoven sonatas (particularly his rondos).

6. Bach toccatas

6. A selection of Scarlatti sonatas, just play a bunch of them and you'll improve 10 fold.

Offline lelle

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1097
Re: Ways to get faster fingers!
«Reply #12 on: April 15, 2021, 09:54:08 PM »
6. A selection of Scarlatti sonatas, just play a bunch of them and you'll improve 10 fold.

Oooo good idea, I may try that myself!

Offline slurred_beat

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 53
Re: Ways to get faster fingers!
«Reply #13 on: April 17, 2021, 12:54:48 PM »
Thank you all for the answers. I ask how do I get faster fingers because for me it is hard to play super fast in all pieces. I  play fast but not fast as I want and I make mistakes. So the question is for all pieces  :D

Offline roncesvalles

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 97
Re: Ways to get faster fingers!
«Reply #14 on: April 17, 2021, 04:13:52 PM »
I'm working on Scarlatti pieces just for this reason.  I've hit a wall with my playing, where I can learn slower pieces with ease within days, but fast ones feel frustratingly difficult with little progress.  Scarlatti's perfect for me right now.  Difficult but not frustratingly so, expressive and fun.  I'm also about to start Beethoven's 30 Variations.  I'm really excited about this.  The individual variations are quite short, so they're like mini etudes, and musically more interesting than most of the lower level etude genre.   I've enough on my plate for the time being, but I've also been thinking about things like Shostakovich Preludes or Prokofiev Visions Fugitives which play with classical formulae but push them into fun modern idioms as something like a preparation for the intensive fingerwork of something like Ravel's Tombeau de Couperin.   There's plenty of work out there that can help you get more comfortable with speed, but it's also a matter of your tastes.

Offline j_tour

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2558
Re: Ways to get faster fingers!
«Reply #15 on: April 17, 2021, 06:11:39 PM »
I'm working on Scarlatti pieces just for this reason.  I've hit a wall with my playing, where I can learn slower pieces with ease within days, but fast ones feel frustratingly difficult with little progress.  Scarlatti's perfect for me right now.  Difficult but not frustratingly so, expressive and fun.

That's a happy coincidence:  Scarlatti isn't new to me, but last evening I found an old book from way younger student days with a selection of sonatas and had fun reading through them.

I would say quick, insouciant, playful scalar work is an ingredient in quite a few of them.  One could do worse than to start with the K. 1 in d minor:  a two part invention, really, true to the notion that the first thirty or so of Scarlatti's sonatas were labeled 'exercises,' but a lot of fun, and sounds great on the modern piano.

Finally got around to looking at Beethoven's "Rage Over A Lost Penny" rondo this morning:  that's another one that pours on very light, quick scales.  And some quick arpeggios. 

It seems the broad consensus in this thread that the OP doesn't really need fundamentals work, but maybe some inspirational or aspirational pieces that can help break through the frozen ice of sluggish fingers.

That said, I did just now have a look at the Wright video above:  he's pretty good at explaining things in multiple ways, which to me is a sign of a good teacher.  I especially like the "trick" of closing the fallboard partly over the hands, to limit the "high-stepping" extraneous finger motions. 

The latter could be a good test for anyone who has some difficulties, in addition to other "sanity checks" for tension.  Here it's a more specific self-diagnostic, and I declare it good and will test it out myself.

I'm just speculating, but I think the OP can probably play the lights out in terms of speed, if that was the only concern, but it's a question of being light, effortless, and absolutely fluent in various patterns.
My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline ranjit

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 941
Re: Ways to get faster fingers!
«Reply #16 on: April 17, 2021, 08:13:08 PM »
Here is something which worked for me, and there may be no harm in trying it out.

Imagine something being played fast in your head, imagine the required movements, and then let go and think about the sound being produced while playing. Do not play slow, it is a waste of time. Instead, imagine the overall effect being produced in your head, and try and play it repeatedly at tempo. Whenever you're not able to execute it at tempo, pause and rethink which movements you want to use. Rack your brains -- which part of the movement is causing inefficiency or tension? For example, while playing fast chromatic scales, you may want to play very close to the center of the keys to minimize distance, or you may realize that you have a subconscious reflex to tense up which is slowing you down. Then, the very next time you play, try and move in a direction which reduces that source of inefficiency. At the same time, remember, do not overthink the movement WHILE playing it. You want to imagine what you want to do before you touch the keys, and then let yourself go and play without conscious interference.

Good luck!

Offline j_tour

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2558
Re: Ways to get faster fingers!
«Reply #17 on: April 17, 2021, 08:59:58 PM »
Here is something which worked for me, and there may be no harm in trying it out.
<snip>
You want to imagine what you want to do before you touch the keys, and then let yourself go and play without conscious interference

I think that's behind some of the support for Scarlatti and lighter Beethoven in this thread:  if it's easy to hear, one doesn't really need to worry about speed.

That is, provided good foundations.  Given that, and a good tune (or several dozen), one might find one's ear and one's technique matching up pretty well.
My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline slurred_beat

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 53
Re: Ways to get faster fingers!
«Reply #18 on: May 03, 2021, 08:42:24 PM »
Thank you all I will try Scarlatti. Is Scarlatti the best composer for developing better fingers? (faster)