Monday Mailbag: How Do I Train The Thumb?

piano exercises for the thumb


Question: Do you have warm-up exercises for the thumb?

Answer: Thanks Roberta for this question and yes, I wrote a blog post for warm up exercises that you can take a look at if you want, but not specifically for our thumbs. Yes, that's lots of scale practice one can use with the "thumb under" approach. So, I got to thinking about your question and came up with one.

Here's a warm-up exercise that helps to develop and maintain flexibility of the thumb joint. Notice the chromatic scale (all half steps) in contrary motion (opposite directions) starting with D.

The beauty of starting here is that the two hands can work in mirror image to each other - the thumbs turn under at the same time and whenever a finger of the right hand is on a black key, the same is true for the left.

Practice this pattern at different tempos starting with the 1-3-1 fingering. Then try 1-4-1 and finally the 1-5-1. Strive for keeping your shoulders, arms and wrists down and relaxed, guarding against your elbows rising as you move out from the center. The goal here is not muscle building but comfort and naturalness of motion.

Practice over 3 octaves, then return.

Right Hand Fingering and Notes

1   5     1   4   5    1   5     1    5    1   4   5    1
1   4     1   3   4    1    4    1    4    1   3   4    1
1   3     1   2   3    1    3    1    3    1   2   3    1

D  D#  E  F  F#  G  G#  A  A#  B  C  C#  D  etc.

Left Hand Fingering and Notes


D  Db  C  B  Bb  A  Ab  G  Gb  F  E  Eb  D



1   3     1   2   3    1    3    1   3     1  2   3    1
1   4     1   3   4    1    4    1   4     1  3   4    1
1   5     1   4   5    1    5    1   5     1  4  5     1

Musicians that play with speed and seem to do it effortlessly have simply found an effective way to train their fingers to think on their own. They've built up muscle memory, strength, coordination, independence, and speed over time using various techniques.

Pianists, Keyboardists, and Organists struggling to play smoothly and accurately at fast tempos... and want a proven, guaranteed way to improve their speed, coordination, and independence NOW... You may be interested in Hanon Exercises


All the best,





"The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." B.B.King
Post a Comment
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

© copyright 2008-2016 – All rights reserved

LadyD Piano
Related Posts with Thumbnails