How to Play Music Faster

After Christmas, my students will be doing a Technique Challenge. I still have to finalize the details and incentives, but I can tell you that speed and accuracy will be key criteria to succeeding in this challenge.

To prepare, I thought I would share some tips on how to play the piano really fast. I must say, kudos to Shawn Cheek, Dr. William Leeland, Kenneth T. Rose and Robert Estrin for sharing these videos and article with musicians everywhere.

Piano teacher Shawn Cheek has created a great video on how to play arpeggios (or in proper Italian, "arpeggii") faster:

Now, Mr. Cheek says that you don't need to exercise the left hand like this unless you're doing classical. I disagree. Firstly, it's important for the hands to be balanced and secondly, I actually have used arpeggios in contemporary styles. It all depends on the style, I guess.

[UPDATE] I originally had another video here, demonstrating the "thumb up" and note clumping technique. However, a few of my colleagues caught how immobile the demonstrator's wrist and arm were. I admit, I was focussed on the thumb up and note clumping, so I'm grateful to Arlene Steffen and Rami Bar-Niv for drawing my attention to it.

There is this neat article by Dr. William Leeland about the "thumb under" and "quick hand shift" technique for scales. It is called The Ins and Outs, Twists and Turns of Scale Playing. It contains some videos.

I actually learned about this "quick hand shift" technique from my brother. It has certainly helped me play my scales, chords and arpeggii faster. Some keys are better than others.

Kenneth T. Rose from England wrote a great article, called “How to play faster”. He has other useful tips on his website, World of Piano.

Finally, Robert Estrin of Living Piano has done a fantastic tutorial on how to play piano faster:

I love how Mr. Estrin explains everything step-by-step.

Here's his video on practicing scales and arpeggii:

I am looking forward to trying some of the new tips on how to play the piano faster in my own piano practice.