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#2241558 - 03/04/14 10:51 PM Warm up routine and exercises for a true beginner
onthepianoroad Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/04/14
Posts: 2
Hi All,

I'm brand new to the piano and would like to get a good warm up routine and exercises to start my practice sessions. The computer software I'm using software called Learn and Master Piano (thoughts on this program?) I'm only a few lessons in and don't feel like it has provided me with a good warm up routine and daily exercises. I've seen a lot of people mention scales and Hanon. Are there any good videos online or books that anybody can point me to? I don't know how to read music yet and don't know the piano terminology. Some of the practice and warmups I've seen don't cater to someone who knows NOTHING about the instrument or music.


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#2241879 - 03/05/14 07:46 PM Re: Warm up routine and exercises for a true beginner [Re: onthepianoroad]
cubop Offline

Silver Supporter until Dec 28 2012

Registered: 12/17/10
Posts: 368
Loc: Norway
Use Google to find "piano-ology", and you will have a very good pianocourse. It is absolutely free. It contains an awful lot of material, so you should find everything you need there. You can also find some good piano-ology stuff on youtube.
The Piano Handbook by Carl Humphries is also a very fine place to start.
And stay away from Hanon. The stuff I have mentioned should keep you happy for a long time.

#2241963 - 03/06/14 12:00 AM Re: Warm up routine and exercises for a true beginner [Re: onthepianoroad]
Dwscamel Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/22/13
Posts: 623
I wouldn't recommend starting with scales and Hanon studies, as it's easy to injure yourself and/or develop bad habits if you jump into these blind.

The best thing you can do is hire a piano teacher. If you don't want to (or can't) do that, then I suggest you look for a piano method book. The "Alfred All-in-One" course is pretty popular here and includes CDs, drills, instruction, and repertoire. It also has the advantage of having many users, so you can ask other people on this forum for their experiences. There are many other method books, this is just the first one that came to mind. My first book was the "Thompson - Grade 1", but you need to read music first, right?

I suggest a quick-and-dirty tutorial for learning to read music. Here's one I like:


You can also use it to learn basic theory (chords, scales, arpeggios, more).

And here's a link to Amazon's page for one of the Alfred books with reviews:


This won't be useful to you just yet, but when you are reading music more fluently, IMSLP is a great free repository of all sorts of sheet music. I can almost always find what I want here:


I know it's overwhelming; just take things one small step at a time. In music, less is more. We were all in your position once, and I'm sure all of us are happy to make music at some level smile.

Good luck!
Beethoven - Op.49 No.1 (sonata 19)
Czerny - Op.299 Nos. 5,7 (School of Velocity)
Liszt - S.172 No.2 (Consolation No.2)

Dream piece:
Rachmaninoff - Sonata 2, movement 2 in E minor

#2242014 - 03/06/14 02:40 AM Re: Warm up routine and exercises for a true beginner [Re: onthepianoroad]
earlofmar Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 2991
Loc: Australia
welcome to the forum onthepianoroad, I can't comment on the software as I had not heard of it until today but the reviews are good.

Any quality course should have already considered the idea of warm ups and scales. Possibly the teacher does not believe in warming up and while starting scales in the first year is an accepted practice there are those who believe they should not be attempted so soon. Scales and exercises to the very beginner can become distraction rather than fruitful endevour so there needs to be some caution here. My advice would be since you have invested in your course stick with it and rely only on the course.

However if you still want to pursue warm ups Hanon No 1 is simple and effective but as previously stated by another you need to be careful. Hanon is not about speed and neither are scales, keep that in mind and you will be fine.

Check out this clip here
Problems with piano are 90% psychological, the other 10% is in your head.


#2242030 - 03/06/14 03:48 AM Re: Warm up routine and exercises for a true beginner [Re: onthepianoroad]
StarvingLion Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/30/13
Posts: 226
Introduction to the Art of Playing the Pianoforte, Op.42 (Clementi, Muzio) at imslp is the most user friendly introduction for the beginner. In case you believe Clementi is some obscure name, Beethoven was quite fond of his piano sonatas for learning the instrument at a more advanced stage.

#2242048 - 03/06/14 05:04 AM Re: Warm up routine and exercises for a true beginner [Re: onthepianoroad]
mabraman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/24/12
Posts: 530
Loc: Valencia, Spain
Beginners don't need to warm for more than a couple of minutes, and their exercises are quite basic, i.e. five finger drills, which are difficult enough when you know nothing. Your first goal should be being able to give precise orders to your fingers and avoid undesired movements without blocking your muscles. You'll soon see what I mean.
So start with those basic exercises and play them effortlessly, as a master, with no extra tension and absolute control (very few of us did it). This way you'learn to play and practice in such a relaxed mood, which is crutial when you face more demanding works.
Half an hour a day is more than enough during your first season, however you'll find lots of overpracticing tips. And one more thing that almost nobody says: give yourself some two or three days rest every now and then.

Edited by mabraman (03/06/14 05:07 AM)
Learning piano from scratch since September, 2012.
Kawai ES7.Kawai K-200

#2242127 - 03/06/14 09:47 AM Re: Warm up routine and exercises for a true beginner [Re: onthepianoroad]
EM Deeka Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/08/13
Posts: 384
You might find Edna Mae Burnam's A Dozen a Day series interesting and useful :

A Dozen a Day series

@cubop Thanks for the piano-ology tip.

Edited by EM Deeka (03/06/14 09:57 AM)

#2242128 - 03/06/14 09:49 AM Re: Warm up routine and exercises for a true beginner [Re: onthepianoroad]
Andy Platt Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2496
Loc: Virginia, USA
"Warming up" the body can be good. Simple shoulder shrugs, letting the head roll forwards and around, making sure your arms hang lose, lower shoulders, etc..
  • Debussy - Le Petit Nègre, L. 114
  • Haydn - Sonata in Gm, Hob. XVI/44

Kawai K3

#2242284 - 03/06/14 04:25 PM Re: Warm up routine and exercises for a true beginner [Re: Andy Platt]
LS35A Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/31/09
Posts: 162
Loc: Eagle, ID
I found this to be a very good book for warm ups:


#2242460 - 03/07/14 12:12 AM Re: Warm up routine and exercises for a true beginner [Re: LS35A]
onthepianoroad Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/04/14
Posts: 2
Thanks your the feedback everybody. There is so much out there its a bit overwhelming at first and I would like to start off on the right track. The links are very helpful. I decided to ditch the Learn and Master Piano and go with Alfreds. I like how it seems to start from the very beginning. Are there any "practice" routine sessions on the forum? I'm looking for some structure. Thanks everybody!

#2242474 - 03/07/14 01:27 AM Re: Warm up routine and exercises for a true beginner [Re: onthepianoroad]
earlofmar Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 2991
Loc: Australia
see here regards a current discussion on practice routine.

You won't need it for a while for once you start the Alfreds course it is pretty much a linear trajectory.
Problems with piano are 90% psychological, the other 10% is in your head.


#2242537 - 03/07/14 07:44 AM Re: Warm up routine and exercises for a true beginner [Re: onthepianoroad]
Ataru074 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/11
Posts: 1129
Loc: Houston, TX
My first book was this one: http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/preparatory-school-sheet-music/972691
It's boring to death and honestly you'd need an instructor to give you the right tips while you do the exercises.

as repertoire:


and later on..
Bach Anna magdalena's notebook...
Schumann Album for the jung...

And as finger techniques
Hanon, Clementi,

As etudes:
Burgmuller, Czerny, Heller....

you should get a book of music theory too... I got the alfred for my wife and I find it too easy... Some of the teacher here might have some good suggestions for a theory book that cover the basics but also add sound generation theory, wind and string instrument, some rudiments of harmony and music genres....

But, being annoying to the extreme... if you have a chance, get a teacher, 30 min every week is cheap and will boost your learning. Especially as super beginner, it will boost your learning and speed you up in the proper way.

Private Piano Teacher. MTNA
working on:
Albeniz: Iberia
Beethoven: Op 53
Bartok: Mikrokosmos vol. 5
Debussy: Estampes
Moszkowski: Op 72

#2242837 - 03/07/14 07:14 PM Re: Warm up routine and exercises for a true beginner [Re: onthepianoroad]
zrtf90 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 3333
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Warming up the hands and fingers grows in importance the more experience and skill you have with the instrument. You might find a few vigorous exertions (squats, push-ups) or a brisk walk should increase the circulation sufficiently. A warm sweater can help.

Scales and Hanon are typically mechanical exercises. Beginners have little need for mechanical exercises outside their pieces unless they're targetting exams. Most of the difficulties at the piano are mental ones; recognising what notes are to be played (whether by score or by ear), knowing how to play them (phrasing, articulation and dynamics) and executing them (fine coordination of hands and fingers).

Daily exercises that develop all-round playing skills might be better than mechanical drills, especially in the early years. Sight-reading, memorising, playing by ear and improvising are good candidates before you start on your main pieces. A wide range of repertoire will do a better job in the early years than a series of technical exercises so that the fingers learn to approach the keys from a variety of angles and using a variety of touches.

A good exercise for the new player is to pick out familiar melodies using the middle finger of each hand only, alternating or otherwise. Songs with scalar passages (Ode to Joy, God Save the King) are easier than songs with leaps (Silent Night, The Star Spangled Banner). Play louder where the notes rise and softer where they descend. The opposite is less natural and much harder but has its value if used sparingly. Playing them all at the same level is also skilful and beneficial as an exercise. Using just one finger in each hand involves using your arms more than your fingers (piano technique rather than organ/harpsichord technique) and avoids tension; the bane of many pianists.


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