Hovering Helicopter Hands

Hovering Helicopter Hands

Today we’ve got a simple but effective exercise for all our pianists! This one is something we feel all pianists should be practicing: hovering helicopter hands. It’s a real game changer for performing pieces with big leaps.


The basic idea is that your hands should be in position over the keys of a leap in the music before the keys need to be played. The leap should flow naturally, rather than feeling like a sudden jolt. You want your entire arm, from your shoulders to the tips of your fingers, to be relaxed and free of tension.

Begin with playing the part of the music just before the leap. You want to practice shifting quickly and efficiently. When it comes time to shift for the leap, your movements should be precise and economic. Not too high with your hands; just a quick horizontal shift. Once in place, your hands “hover” like a helicopter, pausing over the first note at the top of the leap. But don’t play it just yet!

Now check to see that your hand is in exactly the right position. If it is, repeat the process at least 3 times – really, as many times as you need until the movement becomes automatic and instinctive. Try to move your hand only as much as you need to. Before long, shifting for the leap will become instinctive, and a part of your muscle memory. Your leaps are going to sound a whole lot better! And that’s the hovering helicopter hands technique!

If you or your child wants to learn more cool piano techniques, Myriad’s awesome piano teachers are here to help! In our piano department, we believe in teaching an ergonomic, natural feeling, tension-free playing style which works for students of all ages and abilities. We have both private lessons for kids and adults, and piano teams for the young ones, so don’t hesitate to schedule a trial lesson and see what we can do for you!