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Piano Lessons with Christie Peery: The Drop Float Wrist

In this sample piano lesson from the Online Piano School, Christie Peery goes over a basic, yet essential component of piano technique: using wrists. In particular the drop float wrist, a technique widely used since the Classical Period and one that piano players are introduced very early on in their piano lessons. For this lesson, Christie uses the Samuel Arnold Sonata in D major to illustrate the importance of the drop float wrist technique as a way to either make the notes louder or softer. 

piano lesson drop floating wrists

The drop float wrist should be applied right from the start of this piece. The Sonata starts out with a two-note slur going from A to D. On the A note, drop your wrist into the key as you strike it to create a louder sound. On the next note, lift your wrist after you strike the key - as if it's floating away. These two different motions will change the weight and give the music a lot more color and shape.Your fingers can do a lot on their own, but they need to work together with the wrists in order to properly apply dynamics. 

piano lesson drop wrists

Jumping to measure 9 of the piece, drop floating is applied on every single two-note slurs. Strong emphasis and feeling are placed on the first note as you drop your wrists, and then the mood completely relaxes with the second note as you lift your wrists up and float away.

This may seem like a lot of motion in two short notes, but the results are worth it when you get that wide dynamic range. Staying relaxed while playing will help you practice drop flating and enable you to play the piece faster in tempo. 

piano lesson drop float wrist

The drop float wrist motion can also be used for other passages of course. For example, Beethoven's Sonata in G major contains no slurs in the beginning of the piece. However, drop floating is used to give the end of each run the appropriate soft and round edges. Ideally you want to use the drop float wrist to achieve a loud to soft dynamic. 

Watch Christie's Free Piano Lessons

On the flip side, not utilizing the drop float wrist will put you at the risk of sounding mechanical and unmusical. Dynamics are a powerful tool when used correctly, it's what brings the playing to life and adds a certain element of humanity to the music. So be sure to practice using your wrists and experimenting with dynamic range with the drop float method. 

To learn more essential piano techniques from Christie Peery, fill out the form and visit for more information about how the online piano school works.

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piano lessons with christie peery



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