Skills

The backbone of Entrada’s pedagogy, Skills is where you’ll find focused, sequenced videos designed to build a whole-body, three-dimensional technique from the very beginning through the most advanced levels.

Fundamentals

Sitting Position

Sitting well is Job One for all pianists. What are the criteria to consider each time you set yourself up to play?

6 videos

  • Posture and Position on Bench
  • Rotational Mobility of the Hips
  • Height and Distance: General Guidelines
  • Height and Distance: Children and Shorter Adults
  • Sitting Position for Pianissimo Playing
  • Sitting Position Summation

Anatomy and The Point of Sound

Fundamental biomechanical concepts and how the escapement works are important foundational elements to understand from the start.

5 videos

  • The Quiet Hand
  • Master Class: Opposing Muscles
  • Review: Opposing Muscles
  • Master Class: The Point of Sound
  • The Sound Point

Natural Hand Position

Chopin had it right a long time ago; contrast his natural approach vs. many other ‘hands’ taught over the past 250 years--including recently.

3 videos

  • Chopin's Natural Hand Position
  • Hand Position and Alignment
  • Common Problems

Utilizing Gravity and Alignment

Experiencing free fall and understanding alignment are essential to all aspects of pianism, from beginning through the most advanced levels.

4 videos

  • Master Class: Free Fall on Palm Clusters
  • Free Fall: Palm Clusters and Dyads
  • Alignment Context
  • Master Class: Alignment and Support on Single Notes

Whole-Body Technique: Balancing Freedom and Support

More vital foundational principles that set up effective three-dimensional movement

4 videos

  • Wrist Height
  • Supported Fingers
  • Common Hand Positions
  • Dyads in Different Registers

The Basic Vibrato Motion

The basic motion that eventually leads to virtuoso-level trills, tremolos, and octaves can be learned by anyone, and frees up the body for more fluid movement, even very early in piano studies.

2 videos

  • Basic Knocking Motion
  • Freeing the Wrist and Cycling Arm Movement

Three-Dimensional Movement

Two-Note Slur Introduction on Fingers 2 & 3

Franz Liszt was a huge fan of two-note slurs, for both musical and technical reasons. How to play them with effective, whole-body technique from the beginning?

7 videos

  • Master Class: Two-Note Slurs
  • The Two-Note Slur: Preparation
  • Lift and Drop on a Single Note
  • Quiet Hand, No Pressing
  • Weight Transfer, Playing on Pads
  • Avoiding "Straight Line" Positioning
  • Alternating Single Drops and Two-Note Slurs

Two-Note Slurs: One Pair at a Time & Pausing to Evaluate

Isolating one two-note pair requires careful evaluation. This helps establish good practice habits early on for efficient three-dimensional movement and sensitive listening.

6 videos

  • Moving the Arm Forward Before Playing the Second Note
  • Common Problem: Playing Only with the Fingers
  • Pausing to Evaluate
  • Evaluating for Musical Listening and Continuous Movement
  • One Pair at a Time, Ascending
  • Evaluating the "Strong-Weak" Gesture

Continuous Two-Note Slurs with Fingers 2 & 3, Ascending

Playing two and more pairs of two-note slurs is combined with stopping to evaluate for fluid motion and musical listening, and leads to continuous, three-dimensional movement.

6 videos

  • Two Pairs at a Time, Ascending
  • Two Pairs: Musical Listening
  • Two Pairs: Released Fingers & Quiet Hand
  • Three Pairs at a Time, Ascending
  • Four and More Pairs at a Time, Ascending
  • Continuous Two-Note Slurs, Ascending

Two-Note Slurs with Fingers 3 & 4 and 1 & 2

Applying the two-note slur process to other finger combinations is essential for developing complete coordination at the piano.

5 videos

  • Two-Note Slurs with Other Finger Pairs
  • Two-Notes Slurs with Fingers 3 & 4, Ascending
  • Sliding as the Arm Ascends
  • Producing Better Legato with Sliding
  • Two-Note Slurs with Fingers 1 and 2

Two-Note Slurs with Fingers 4 & 5, Ascending

Special attention is given to the challenge of making a two-note slur on fingers 4 & 5 sound similarly good as all other adjacent pairs.

6 videos

  • Fingers 4 & 5: Overview
  • Moving From a Longer Finger to a Shorter One
  • Wrist Height in Slurs
  • Common Problem: Fingers not Releasing
  • Special Exercise for Fingers 4 & 5
  • Common Problem: The Curled 5th Finger

Descending Two-Note Slurs

Descending slurs in the right hand receive additional focus. Practice ascending slurs in the left hand for a parallel experience.

7 videos

  • Descending Two-Note Slur: Overview
  • Preparing to Descend: Lift and Drop
  • Fingers Gently Curved and at Rest
  • Common Problem: 3rd Finger Pulled Back
  • Sliding from Finger 3 to 2
  • Dragging Inactive Fingers
  • Alternating Single Drop and Two-Note Slur

Descending Two-Note Slurs in Pairs

With all two-note slurs, moving in either direction, note the different lengths of the fingers involved, slide and make adjustments in the vertical plane, accordingly.

7 videos

  • One Pair at a Time, Descending
  • Pausing to Evaluate while Descending
  • Musical Connection and Continuous Movement
  • Alignment in Different Registers
  • Two Pairs at a Time
  • Musical Listening with Two Pairs
  • Traversing the Keyboard with Two Pairs

Three-Note Slurs

Three-note slurs herald the real beginning of elliptical shaping.

2 videos

  • Master Class: Three-note slurs
  • Three-note slurs

Four-Note Slurs

Three-dimensional motion becomes increasingly apparent with four-note slurs.

3 videos

  • Master Class: Four-note slurs
  • Shaping in Four-Note Slurs
  • Wrist Positioning & Alignment

The Basic Three-Dimensional Form on Five Notes

Moving simultaneously in three planes of motion comes together most evidently on a pentascale, and lays the foundation for the one-octave arpeggio and more advanced movement.

6 videos

  • Master Class: The Basic Three-Dimensional Form on Five Notes
  • The Basic Three-Dimensional Form on Five Notes: Overview
  • Elliptical Shaping
  • Coordinating the Turnarounds
  • Understanding "Over" & "Under"
  • Master Class: The Basic Three-Dimensional Form on Five Notes, postscript

Repeated Single Notes

One-Octave Arpeggios

One Octave Arpeggios Overview

Using proper technique and listening for clarity in one-octave arpeggios are crucial to achieving professional-level arpeggios of two and more octaves.

5 videos

  • One-Octave Arpeggios: Overview
  • Three-Dimensional Shaping
  • Common Problems: Fixed Wrist and Curled Fingers
  • The Importance of the One-Octave Arpeggio in Playing Two and More Octaves
  • Starting with a Smaller Arpeggio

Foundational Elements in One-Octave Arpeggios

Avoiding twisting, keeping the hand small, good preparation and follow-through, and a supple wrist are some of the foundational elements combined for an effortless arpeggio.

6 videos

  • Avoiding Twisting
  • Allowing the Hand to Remain Small
  • Supple Wrist and The Quiet Hand
  • Common Problem: Wrist Tension
  • Levers and Joints
  • The Thumb and The Quiet Hand

Preparing Three-Dimensional Motion

Whole-body exercises utilizing the horizontal and vertical planes and avoiding twisting sets you up for fluid three-dimensional motion.

4 videos

  • Initial Lift and Drop
  • Continuous Drop on Two Notes [C-E]
  • Avoiding Swiveling
  • Integrated Three-Dimensional Motion

Cultivating Three-Dimensional Motion

A series of targeted exercises facilitate the elliptical “under and out” shaping for the right hand’s ascent.

6 videos

  • Cultivating Three-Dimensional Motion, Context
  • Lateral Adjustment
  • Shaping The First Three Notes
  • Fingernails Near the Key Edge
  • The One-Octave Arpeggio, Ascending
  • "Under" and "Out"

The One-Octave Ascent

Consolidate gains made in shaping with targeted refinements for continuously improving three-dimensional movement.

5 videos

  • Wrist height adjustments
  • "In" and "Out"
  • Common Problem: Staying In for the 3rd Finger
  • Common Problem: Accenting with the Thumb
  • The One-Octave Ascent

Momentum and the Descent

A comprehensive review of foundational elements sets you up to easily move in the opposite direction for each hand.

3 videos

  • Momentum and the Descent
  • Momentum and the Descent: Released Fingers
  • Isolating Each Pair of Notes

Isolating Three Notes at a Time

By carefully applying three-dimensional principles and pausing to evaluate in small groups, musical and technical gestures are integrated.

6 videos

  • Isolating Three Notes at a Time
  • Isolating the Turnaround
  • Isolating the "Over" Gesture
  • Releases and Alignment
  • Planning Wrist Height
  • The Turnaround at the Thumb

The Complete One-Octave Arpeggio

Isolating several notes at a time and incorporating the turnaround figures at faster speeds guides you to mastery of continuous one-octave arpeggios.

7 videos

  • Isolating Four Notes at a Time
  • Isolating the Upper Turnaround with Four Notes
  • The One-Octave Arpeggio, Descending
  • Isolating the Turnaround with the Thumb with Four Notes
  • Fluid, Continuous Motion
  • Isolating Five and Six Notes
  • The Three-Dimensional One-Octave Arpeggio

Sound Quality

Two-Octave Arpeggios

Learning "The Throw"

Learn the biomechanics and basic approach to the throw, essential for rapid arpeggios of two and more octaves.

5 videos

  • Introducing the Throw
  • Understanding the Role of the Upper Arm
  • Understanding the Role of the Forearm
  • The Role of the Upper Arm in Small Throws
  • Reducing the Throw Interval to a Second

The Throw on the Interval of a Second

Before throwing on actual arpeggio intervals, it’s important to master the smaller interval of a second.

5 videos

  • Slowing Down to Observe: "Rolling"
  • Moving the Hand on the Interval of a Second, Ascending
  • Moving the Hand on the Interval of a Second, Descending
  • Observing Movement and Wrist Position
  • Fluid Movement and Alignment

Moving Toward Throws on Thirds

Detailed musical and technical work with focus on seconds leads toward the thirds required in arpeggios.

5 videos

  • Listening for a Musical Connection
  • Noticing the Gap and Accents
  • Small Throws in Different Registers, Part 1
  • Small Throws in Different Registers, Part 2
  • Throws on the Interval of a Third, Part 1

Throws on Thirds, Fourths, and Larger Intervals

Mastering throws on larger intervals liberates you not only for advanced arpeggios but also improved spatial awareness for other jumps required in repertoire.

5 videos

  • Throws on the Interval of a Third, Part 2
  • Throws on the Interval of a Fourth
  • Preparing the Throw Exercise
  • Throw Exercise: Up a Fourth, Down a Third
  • Throws on Larger Intervals

The Check-Mark Motion

To connect notes just before and after a throw, use reduced intervals and the “check-mark” motion.

6 videos

  • Continuous Drop on Two Notes (E-G)
  • The Check-Mark Motion, Part 1
  • The Check-Mark Motion, Part 2
  • The Check-Mark Motion, Part 3
  • The Check-Mark Motion, Part 4
  • The Throw vs. Thumb-Under

Combining Three Dimensional Momentum with the Throw

Performing four notes quickly using momentum and released fingers foreshadows the liberated feeling and sound you will experience with full arpeggios of all kinds.

4 videos

  • Combining 3-D Momentum with the Throw, Part 1
  • Combining 3-D Momentum with the Throw, Part 2
  • Combining 3-D Momentum with the Throw, Part 3
  • 3-D Momentum and the Throw: Released Fingers

Preparing for the Two-Octave Ascent in the Right Hand

Practice a series of exercises designed to facilitate the most challenging part of outstanding arpeggios: linking the first octave with the second to the note just past the throw.

4 videos

  • Preparing for the Two-Octave Ascent
  • Linking with Reduced Intervals [E-G-A-C]
  • Linking with Reduced Intervals [E-G-B-D]
  • Linking with Actual Arpeggio Intervals [E-G-C-E]

The Complete Two-Octave Ascent

By integrating all foundational elements, momentum, and three-dimensional movement, you’ll achieve an advanced ascending two-octave arpeggio.

5 videos

  • Linking the First and Second Octaves, Part 1
  • Linking the First and Second Octaves, Part 2
  • The Complete Two-Octave Ascent, Part 1
  • The Complete Two-Octave Ascent, Part 2
  • The Complete Two-Octave Ascent, Part 3

Preparing for the Two-Octave Descent in the Right Hand

Isolating three notes just before and after the throw requires a sudden movement toward your body, beginning with reduced intervals.

5 videos

  • Avoiding Swivel and Maintaining Alignment
  • Reviewing the Throw on the Interval of a Second
  • Isolating the Throw: E-C-B
  • Isolating the Throw: E-C-A
  • Isolating the Throw: E-C-G

The Complete Two-Octave Descent

The full descent is achieved by using momentum and follow-through movement similar to how you mastered the two-octave ascent.

6 videos

  • Releasing the Hand Over the Thumb
  • Descending Triad and The Throw
  • Keeping The Hand Small
  • One Octave and The Throw
  • One Octave and Larger Throws
  • Completing the Two-Octave Descent

Putting It All Together

By reviewing and combining all elements studied to this point with targeted exercises and turnarounds at fast speeds, you can master the complete two-octave arpeggios at a professional level.

8 videos

  • Linking the One-Octave Arpeggio with the Throw
  • Linking the One-Octave Arpeggio with Larger Throws
  • Linking One Octave Ascending with Two Octaves Descending
  • Reviewing the Ascending Throw with Momentum
  • The Turnarounds
  • Two-Octave Arpeggios Beginning from the Top
  • Two-Octave Arpeggios Beginning from the Bottom
  • Two Octaves with Double Turnarounds

Vibrato Technique Context

Repeated Chords

Octaves

Tremolos

Trills

Trill Preparation

Foundational elements, including the quiet hand, preparatory lift and drop, 2- and 3-note slurs, released fingers, and understanding the soundpoint, are applied for effortless trills.

7 videos

  • Trill Preparation (2-3 Trill)
  • The Two-Note Slur on a Single Note
  • Common Problem: Thumb Tension
  • Trilling on Three Notes [C-D-C]
  • Trilling on Three Notes [D-C-D]
  • Common Problem: Pulling Back The Third Finger
  • Master Class: Trill Preparation on Three Notes

Trills on Five or More Notes

Mastering exercises on five notes allows you to proceed to playing more notes, leading to continuous trills without effort.

8 videos

  • Trilling on Five Notes, Part 1
  • Trilling on Five Notes, Part 2
  • Trilling on Five Notes, Part 3
  • Trilling on Five Notes, Part 4 (2-3)
  • Trilling on More Than Five Notes, Part 1
  • Trilling on More Than Five Notes, Part 2
  • Master Class: Five-Note Trills
  • Master Class: Trilling on More Than Five Notes

Left-Hand Trills and Using Fingers 1 and 3

This subunit focuses on a variety of trills in the left hand plus special emphasis on the 1-3 trill in the right hand.

4 videos

  • Trills in the Left Hand
  • 1-3 Trills up to Five Notes
  • 1-3 Trills on More Than Five Notes
  • Master Class: The 1-3 Trill (white to black notes)

Master Classes on 3-5 Trills

The 3-5 trill receives special attention here.

2 videos

  • Master Class: The 3-5 Trill, Part 1 (black to white notes)
  • Master Class: The 3-5 Trill, Part 2 (black to white notes)

Basic Trill Exercises

Following review of the main trill combinations and common problems, an option to incorporate the vibrato technique in trills from the outset is presented.

8 videos

  • Common Problem: Excess Tension
  • Basic Trill Exercise on 2-3
  • Basic Trill Exercise on 1-3
  • Basic Trill Exercise on 1-2
  • Basic Trill Exercise on 3-5
  • Trill Exercise with Vibrato
  • Master Class: Trill with Vibrato
  • Master Class: Trills from 9 to 17 Notes

Scales

Three-Dimensional Principles in Scales, Part 1

Common scale problems are juxtaposed with three-dimensional shaping and Chopin’s preferred starting point for scales.

4 videos

  • Case Study: Thumb-Under
  • Topography in B Major: Overview
  • Master Class: The Quiet Hand in Scales
  • Master Class: Topography and Shaping in B Major

Three-Dimensional Principles in Scales, Part 2

Continuous alignment adjustments and three-dimensional principles, including good preparation and follow-through and the quiet hand, are contrasted with the common problem of curling the 5th finger.

4 videos

  • Master Class: Continuous Alignment Adjustments in Scales
  • Master Class: Curled 5th Finger
  • Slow-motion Analysis of Curled 5th finger
  • Master Class: Vertical Alignment Adjustments

Released Fingers and Adjusting for the Turnaround

Three-dimensional shaping in various key combinations leads to effective execution of the turnarounds in scales.

2 videos

  • Master Class: Released Fingers
  • Master Class: Coordinating the Turnaround

Scale Fundamentals in B Major

The B Major scale in the right hand is the ideal starting point to incorporate a wide range of three-dimensional elements before progressing to all other scales.

6 videos

  • B Major: Shaping of First Three Notes
  • Thumb-under vs Integrated Motion
  • Master Class: The Throw vs. Thumb-Under
  • Shaping and Momentum with Five Notes, Part 1
  • Shaping and Momentum with Five Notes, Part 2
  • Shaping and Momentum with Six, Seven, and Eight Notes

Keyboard Topography

Understanding the relationship of black and white keys to each other within each major scale leads to better coordination in all keys.

3 videos

  • Master Class: Topography of Half- and Whole-Steps
  • Topography and How to Invert Figures for Each Hand
  • Recommended Order of Learning Scales

Shaping and Momentum in the Left Hand, in D-Flat Major

The D-Flat Major scale in the left hand is the ideal starting point to master three-dimensional scalar shaping before progressing to all other scales.

2 videos

  • Shaping and Momentum with Five Notes in the Left Hand
  • Momentum with Six, Seven, and Eight Notes in the Left Hand

The Turnaround

Focusing on the turnaround figures in each scale, hands alone, leads to better coordination in other technical movements and in repertoire.

5 videos

  • The Turnaround in Scales, Part 1
  • The Turnaround in Scales, Part 2
  • The Turnaround in Scales, Part 3
  • The Turnaround in Scales, Part 4
  • The Turnaround in the Left Hand

Playing Together in Ensemble

Playing precisely with hands together can be greatly improved with these exercises.

3 videos

  • Master Class: Playing Scales in Ensemble
  • Playing Scales in Ensemble
  • Playing Passages in Ensemble with a Chamber Music Partner

Exercises for Speed and Evenness

Two effective practice strategies include playing with accents and using different rhythms in short groups.

2 videos

  • Speed and Evenness: Practicing with Different Rhythms
  • Speed and Evenness: Practicing with Accents

Practicing for Speed Using the Metronome

The metronome may be used as an aid to achieving more fluent scales when all previous steps are mastered.

4 videos

  • Speed and Evenness: Practicing for Speed Using the Metronome, Part 1
  • Speed and Evenness: Practicing for Speed Using the Metronome, Part 2
  • Speed and Evenness: Practicing for Speed Using the Metronome, Part 3
  • Repertoire Excerpt: Rachmaninoff Prelude in B-Flat, Op. 23 No. 2