It’s never too early for a child to embrace the piano. Children with a passion and flair for music have the potential to become the next Martha Argerich or Lang Lang.

But like any talent, it needs nurturing – and plenty of practice. And that starts with choosing the right piano exercises. Regular exercises will help strengthen the fingers and help your child develop control over the keys.

Here are some of the best piano exercises for beginners.

Five-Finger Pattern Exercises

One of the best starting points for a new beginner is five-finger exercises. These will mostly begin in the C-position and help the child learn how to move their five fingers across the white keys.

It helps beginners learn some basic music notation. It will allow them to feel comfortable moving their fingers along the keys and build strength when pressing down on weighted keys.

Alternate exercises for the right and left hand during the practice sessions. That way, the child can understand the difference between the treble and bass clef.

As the child progresses, these five-finger exercises can become faster to help dexterity. Or you can get the child to learn different key signatures and starting positions.

If you have a young beginner with small hands, these exercises will help them develop confidence with the piano. At this early stage, 5 or 10 minutes a day of practice will suffice.

Sight Reading Practice

Sight reading is an essential part of any pianist’s skill set. Children will need to showcase their sight reading ability if they take formal music exams.

Regular practice can help your children sharpen their skills here. Before starting the piece, they can learn to familiarize themselves with the notes and musical annotations.

Start with pieces that are several stages easier than the child’s current capability. Ask the child to study the piece for one to two minutes before attempting to play.

Focus on practicing completing the piece slowly but accurately, ensuring you’ve noted any dynamic or tempo change. Around ten minutes of practice daily with simple sight-read pieces will help your child gain confidence in this skill.

Once they feel more accomplished, try adding more complex pieces or get the child to focus on increasing their tempo.

Challenging your child to play a sight-read piece without studying their hands is also helpful.

That will help them become more attuned to coordinating their playing and building that connection between their fingers, the keys, and their brain.

Scales and Arpeggios

Scales and arpeggios are some of the most essential exercises for young beginners. They will help improve finger strength and coordination and help the child to understand the different key signatures.

These exercises also help the child to hear the difference between the major and minor key signatures.

Scales and arpeggios also provide the groundwork skills for more complex classical pieces the child might play once they are more accomplished.

Scales are an ascending and descending sequence of notes played at speed. Focus on C major, and start with a single octave in one hand. Begin slowly, and aim for a steady and even tempo and a clear tone.

When the child feels more confident, you can try other beginner scales like G and F Major and D and A Minor. After that, focus on practicing with both hands together.

You can buy scale practice books that will allow your child to progress to the most complicated key signatures.

Reading the notation is also vital for these exercises as it will help the child learn the association between the different signatures and the scale structure.

Arpeggios, a sequence of chord notes played individually, are the other backbone exercises any child needs as part of their practice session.

They will help the child strengthen their fingers across the keys and help children understand the structure of common piano chords.

For early-stage beginners, focus on C, G, and F Major arpeggios, one octave, and progress from there. In the Minor key, try A and D.

Most scale books will include arpeggios, and it’s helpful for the child to look at the notation before they learn the scales from memory.

Chord Progressions

Chord progression exercises are essential for building strength in the hand. When children begin learning chords, you may find they experience aching as they stretch small hands across the keys in this fixed position.

Chord progression exercises will help address this and, at the same time, help the children familiarize themselves with the most common chords they’ll find when learning sheet music.

Progression exercises involve playing a series of chords. These sequences help the learner develop their playing skills, transitioning quickly and smoothly from one chord to another.

It also helps the child learn to listen to the different harmonic sounds of each chord made on the keyboard and allows them to hear a misplaced chord when playing a piece of music.

The most common starting position will be a simple C major chord, playing together the notes C, E, and G. The four-chord sequences your child will practice will be C Major, F, G, and C, all in the C Major key.

Understanding these chord sequences will also help a budding Mozart learn some of the basics of music composition.

Exercises for Hand Coordination

Often, the most challenging step of learning the piano is coordinating both hands together.

Getting your child to try various exercises, played with both hands, will help them practice common patterns, like chords and melodies, or contrasting staccato and legato playing.

Aim to practice one exercise daily with different left and right-hand combinations of music. It will help the child improve their coordination.

Piano Exercises for Beginners: Developing a Love for Music

Children may want to jump right into the piano and start playing familiar pieces of music.

But don’t ignore the importance of piano exercises for beginners. They are like the foundation for a house. They provide the strength the child needs to become a more accomplished player.

An experienced piano teacher is the best way to guide your child through these exercises.

Our highly trained instructors at Musical Arts Center of San Antonio, Inc. have extensive experience teaching young beginners. Contact us now to inquire about our in-person and online piano lessons.