Playing and Teaching Piano Trills

pianoA lot goes into learning how to play the piano. Beginners need to learn a whole new language; memorizing the notes, practicing scales, and getting a feel for chord structures are just a few of the basics. After that, though, you’ll be able to dive into more exciting things, like dynamics and ornamentation.

Piano trills, for example, can definitely spice things up a piece of music. The technique may take some time to learn, so stay focused! Here are three basic steps for learning how to play piano trills, courtesy of the Teach Piano Today blog:

1.  Hold it:  Have your students hold a note with one of their fingers and, while it remains held down, rapidly tap the note beside.  It’s like playing a trill on a piano with a broken note (only one sounds).  Teach your students to do this with each of their fingers to build flexibility and strength.  It can become part of their warm-ups at the start of each lesson.

2.  Black and White:  Using their Right Hand 2nd and 3rd fingers, place finger 3 on D.  Alternate between playing DCDC and DC#DC# so that your students get used to playing a trill on only white keys and on black and white keys.  Once they are comfortable with this arrangement, try fingers 3 and 4 and increase the tempo with each.

3.  Don’t Leave the Left:  While practicing the two exercises above be sure to add the left hand.  Help your students to find the appropriate place for the Left Hand to play (and hold) a single note.  This helps them to get a feel for timing when the trill happens in the context of a piece.  You can then increase the difficulty of what the left hand plays by changing the single held note to a set of notes that step up or down, etc.

Read the full article here.

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