A Secret Octave Technique for Piano

Piano Lessons / how to play piano / A Secret Octave Technique for Piano

We have addressed octave techniques in a couple of past videos: It’s all in the wrist and Piano Exercises – Octaves, among countless other videos in which I talk about certain techniques I will address in this video as well.

This video is quite unique. A couple weeks ago a good friend of mine named Jeffrey Beigel (who studied with my father Morton Estrin) was touring through Southern California. We had time to catch up and even film an extended interview (which you will see on the website and YouTube very soon).

I had mentioned to Jeffrey that I was playing the Liszt B-minor Sonata which contains numerous octaves sections. He immediately went to the piano and started playing parts of the Liszt Sonata and said, “Curl the second finger”. I had never heard this before and I started incorporating it into my octave technique.

In case you are unfamiliar with my video on octave technique, it involves playing from the wrist – as the arms are not fast enough to get the job done in many cases. Jeff’s suggestion was to simply curl the second (index) finger. It works wonderfully by relaxing the hand which allows you to play your octaves more easily.

Thanks again for joining me and I look forward to sharing more of these techniques with you in the future. Robert@LivingPianos.com (949) 244-3729

6 thoughts on “A Secret Octave Technique for Piano”


    1. Now that’s interesting. When I play octaves, my index finger automatically curls down…not severely, but it naturally wants to curl. Now I won’t try to correct it…best! Love these tips!!

  1. Robert- a friend of mine studied w a guy whose background included schooling at the Moskow Conservatory. They taught him to work out his octave passages by playing just the thumb in one hand (and or both simultaneously). I used this preparing Mazeppa and Funerailles. Cortot has a few pages of octave technical studies in his edition of Chopin’s Op 25. One could spend months working through these Cortot exercises for octaves but even spending a couple weeks would enhance your rendering of the octaves in the B min sonata.

  2. Brilliant observation! Like you, I’ve never heard this mentioned. I immediately sat down to play some octaves and watched my 2nd finger. I assume that he means a natural curve? That’s what my finger does, and octaves have always been easy for me. A straight second finger would indicate some extra tension, at least in my hand. I will immediately check all my students – thank you!

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