Mastering arpeggios can take your online piano learning to the next level. Arpeggios train our fingers, hands, and bodies to understand the geography of the keyboard and navigate it smoothly and intuitively. Arpeggios appear constantly in western classical music — to understand arpeggios is to understand how to create harmony at the piano.
A three-note, one-octave arpeggio is a great place to start as a beginner. There are four kinds of three-note arpeggios — major, minor, augmented and diminished. Mastering and practicing the major and minor arpeggios, in all 12 keys, using the entire range of the keyboard is a tool that is useful to all pianists, from a young beginner to a seasoned concert professional. Download PianoCub.com’s arpeggio charts for all the major and minor keys. They have all the fingerings you’ll need to start your practicing.
Upon having a firm grasp of the major and minor keys, move onto practicing the augmented and diminished three-note arpeggios followed by working on the four-note arpeggios. The four-note arpeggios encapsulate the 5 kinds of 7th chords: major 7th, dominant 7th, minor 7th, half-diminished 7th, and fully diminished 7th. Start with the dominant 7th and the diminished 7th, as they are the most common in the piano literature. Then work your way through the rest of them slowly. If you really want to learn piano well, your goal should be to eventually play the 9 varieties of arpeggio in all 12 keys!
When practicing your arpeggios, don’t forget about your body position! Your elbows guide your arms and hands as they smoothly rotate over the keys. Your torso and back need to move from side to side so your hands can remain centered to your body as you navigate the keyboard.
Finally, don’t forget about the thumb! The thumb is the most important finger in an arpeggio as it is the fulcrum for the entire hand to rotate on to move from octave to octave. The thumb needs to always be thinking ahead — in one direction it should be tucked under as the other fingers are playing and in the other direction it leads the other fingers to fold over it.