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Fast Octaves piano technique

Question: I have problems with playing the fast octaves at the end of the third movement of Schubert’s Sonata in A minor D. 784 (Op. 143).

Do you have any advice on how to practice the octaves to achieve the fast tempo (my aim is about 138 quarter notes per minute)?

Thanks for your reply...

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Fingering Myths or Facts? piano technique

Question: My question is, how important is “correct” fingering when playing?

I recently downloaded (THANK YOU) your scales reference, which showed all twelve scales. I’m already familiar and comfortable with the scales, but your fingering was different than I’m used to.

...

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Legato Octaves piano technique

Question: In bars 5–7 of the Capriccio in D minor by Brahms, the right hand is supposed to play legato octaves (the melody) while holding down a middle voice as well. How can you create this smooth legato effect at a presto energico tempo without the use of the pedal? Thanks for your...

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Piano Fingering piano technique

Piano fingering is one of the most crucial aspects of learning the instrument, yet it is among the most overlooked. Here are seven of the most important rules for fingering, prefaced by an instruction to…

Rule #0: Finger it out for yourself!

No two hands are alike. What’s perfectly...

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Scales in Thirds and Sixths piano technique

Question: Hello Albert,

Thank you for your reply mail regarding “the fingering” for playing descending chromatic minor 6ths. It is most helpful and is going to take me some time to practice these few octaves correctly, especially playing this section with both hands with the 2 thumbs...

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Small Hands piano technique

Question: Hi Albert,

I am a retired female who has returned to the piano about three months ago. Haven’t found a teacher yet so don’t have access to answers to some of my difficulties so far. One of my chief concerns has to do with the smallness of my hands (I’m...

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Strengthening the Left Hand piano technique

Question: Hello Albert,

Since I started playing the piano, I’ve mostly played Romantic-era music, where the left hand is just accompanying. In January I started with playing scales, 20 minutes every morning. And I realised that my left hand feels kind of uncomfortable. I’ve got a...

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Thumb Accuracy piano technique

Question: Hello Albert, Thank you so much for the lessons.

I am practising the scales as you suggested, e.g., started with B major and want to ask you for a tip as the thumb will ‘look’ for the note it is supposed to play next and it invariably plays the wrong one. It swings too far...

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Double Flats reading music

Question: I am learning the Schubert Impromptu Op. 90, No. 3. Everything was going great until page 5. That’s when the double flats came into play. I need help on identifying those double flats… I seem to have gone brain-dead.

– Kat (Huntsville, Alabama, USA)

Albert’s...

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Finding the Notes on the Keyboard reading music

Question: How does one really remember to look at the key note on paper and find where it is on the piano? I want to be able to see the note and play it on the keyboard. It takes me forever to figure out where the key is. I had this problem when I was in high school, so it is not an age-related...

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Grand Staff reading music

The grand staff (also called “great stave” in British English) is a pair of clefs connected by a brace and used in particular for keyboard music:

Most often, the upper staff has a treble clef, while the lower staff has a bass clef.

A common misconception is that the treble clef...

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Half Note reading music

A half note (also called a minim in British English) is a note in traditional Western music notation that is notated with an open note head and a stem.

Here is a half note on a five-line staff:

When writing a half note (or any note with a stem), if it is below the middle line, the stem points...

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