Piano Hand Position Exercises For Chord Tone Accuracy

piano hand position exercisesWant to learn some piano hand position exercises? You’re in the right place.

In the video below, Steve teaches one of his Inner Circle students how to use piano hand position exercises to improve accuracy during improvisation.

Using these practice technique will improve the way you navigate the piano keyboard.

This improves your precision and fluidity in soloing.

Take 5 minutes and watch the video below. Steve breaks down these piano hand position exercises for you.

Piano Hand Position Exercises Video

5 Tips To Master Piano Hand Position Exercises

Now that you’ve taken a few minutes to watch the video above, let’s go further into working with piano hand position exercises.

1. The 1 Mistake You’re Making When Practicing Chord Tone Improv

Piano Hand Position ExercisesAre you trying to hit your chord tones blindly during improv practice? If yes, that’s a big mistake.

It shows that you’re not seeing where the chord tones are before you improvise.

This causes most errors you hear in piano improv. Mistakes don’t sound pleasant at all.

So, how do we learn where all of those chord tones are during soloing?

Practicing arpeggios is one of the best ways to improve chord tone accuracy. However, simply practicing arpeggios is not a complete solution.

You need a better way of preparing yourself to improve your accuracy with arpeggios. I reveal some piano hand position exercises below.

2. Why Practicing Block Chords Helps To Master Arpeggios

Piano Hand Position ExercisesOne of the greatest piano hand position exercises is practicing block chords.

So, why would practicing block chords help master arpeggios?

These benefits of block chord practice explain why:

  1. Block chord practice allows you to see where the chord tones on top of the keyboard are in an instant.
  2. Practicing block chords engages the same muscle groups as playing arpeggios. This leads to developing the prerequisite muscle memory to play chord tones accurately.
  3. Block chord practice reveals certain chord shapes and the fingering necessary for chord tone soloing.

It’s clear that you need to master playing block chords in order to master arpeggios and chord tone improv.

Piano Hand Position ExercisesHowever, if your chordal vocabulary is small, you won’t have much to work with. Do you feel that your knowledge of chords is too limited?

The good news is that our Jazz Inner Circle instructors offer step-by-step instruction on how to play the best chord voicings for jazz and much more.

Start learning sweet-sounding chords and apply for the Jazz Inner Circle Here.

Now that you understand the necessity of block chord practice for improv, what is the most efficient practice method that helps build awesome solos?

You’ll learn more about that in the next tip.

3. How To Practice Block Chords Using A Modal Framework

Piano Hand Position ExercisesThe best way to practice block chords and achieve accuracy is through the use of modal framework.

While it sounds fancy, the concept is simple.

As described in the video above, modal practicing involves the following steps:

  1. Select one chord from a tune you’re currently working on.
  2. Practice the chord voicing as a block chord in the root position. Take note of the shape and your fingering.
  3. Master all chord inversions as block chords.

When practicing a chord in all of its inversions as block chords, play at a slow tempo. Play these block chords using a consistent, solid rhythm.

Since each chord inversion has a distinct shape, this will give you ideas for soloing patterns.

Once you’ve mastered your block chords, it’s time to take another step. More about it below.

4. How To Master Arpeggios With Modal Practicing

Piano Hand Position ExercisesThe second among these piano hand position exercises is playing arpeggios.

First, try playing your chord as an arpeggio in the root position.

You’ll notice that playing arpeggios now feels more natural and accurate

This is because if you have practiced your block chords in all inversions, you can imagine where the chord tones are a lot better.

Now, the second step takes this further with modal practicing.

Modal practicing, in a nutshell, involves playing a specific sequence of notes in all of the available positions (a.k.a modes).

Positions mean different starting points (notes). In this case, your sequence of notes is that of the specific chord you are working on.

For instance, let’s say you are working on targeting D7 chord tones. Your sequence of notes will be D, F#, A, and C.

Because you have 4 notes in your sequence, you have a total of 4 positions to practice:

  • D – F# – A – C (root position)
  • F# – A – C – D (1st inversion)
  • A – C – D – F# (2nd inversion)
  • C – D – F# – A (3rd inversion)

Now that we have identified all positions, review our piano hand position exercises and work on them step by step:

  1. Practice all of these 4 positions as block chords.
  2. Master all positions as arpeggios going up and down.
  3. Play arpeggios using various patterns.

Piano Hand Position ExercisesSince we talked about modal practicing earlier, do you feel frustrated by the modes?

Would you like to find out how the pros use modal techniques to play great-sounding lines and chords?

The Jazz Improvisation Super System provides detailed, solid instruction regarding the practical use of the modes and more to help you improvise like the pros.

Get instant access to the Jazz Improvisation Super System here.

It’s time to go bigger with piano hand position exercises Let’s examine how to deal with chord progressions.

5. How To Master Chord Progressions Fast With Piano Hand Position Exercises

Piano Hand Position ExercisesSay you want to practice a simple ii – V – I chord progression.

How can you use piano hand position exercises to learn your ii – V – I as fast as possible?

Here are the steps:

  1. Learn all of the chords of the progression in root position and in all inversions. Knowing your chords in all inversions will help you play with great voice leading.
  2. Learn smooth voice leading patterns. For example, a ii – V7 – I in C will follow a root position (DFAC) – 2nd inversion (DFGB) – root position (CEGB) pattern.
  3. Remember that smooth voice leading is all about keeping common tones in place and resolving to the nearest chord tones of the next chord.
  4. Practice your chord progression as block chords using smooth voice leading.
  5. Arpeggiate your chord progression while keeping a smooth voice leading pattern.

You will eventually learn how to improvise in a very melodic way once you master smooth voice leading patterns.

How To Achieve Jazz Piano Progress

Piano Hand Position ExercisesDo you always feel like you’re just pointlessly flailing all over the keyboard without achievement?

Do you feel like you don’t have a solid plan to work out your goals?

You might have spent countless hours on videos and bits and pieces of tutorials here and there.

That might seem to be a good idea when you’re alone in your practice room.

The problem is that you realize there no real progress being made.

To make real progress, you need clear, step-by-step direction from world-touring pros. This is what the Jazz Inner Circle program can provide for you.

Piano Hand Position ExercisesThe Jazz Inner Circle program gives you the opportunity to work one-on-one with world-class piano mentors.

Each of our instructors will help you double your playing skills and revolutionize your improv over the next 12 months.

Inside the Jazz Inner Circle program, you’ll discover:

  • “The Ultimate Jazz Workout Training System.” This is where we implement a complete practice program to build your jazz piano talent in record time.
  • Access to over 50 hours of high-level jazz intensive workshops.
  • “Jazz Piano Decade In A Day Mastermind” – A full day of personal training live.

One more thing you need to know about the Jazz Inner Circle is that slots are very limited. Apply for the Jazz Inner Circle program and reserve a slot here.

Enjoy learning piano hand position exercises. If you have any questions, comments, or anything else to add to the lesson, do let us know in the comments section below.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Enjoy practicing and have a great day aiming for the top. We’re always here to help.

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Mark A. Galang, OTRP, MAM-MT(c)

Mark Galang is one of our contributors at FreeJazzLessons.com. He loves teaching all styles of music especially jazz, blues, rock, classical, and Christian music. Mark is also a licensed occupational therapist in the Philippines that combines music therapy intervention with occupational therapy.