I've been playing the organ for over 10 years, and for the past year I've started learning piano.

The fact I came with a background made it much easier for me, since I didn't need to start from scratch, considering theory, harmony, reading notes and so on.

But on the other hand, I'm totally bad in technique: soft voices and etc. My teacher thinks it's probably because I've been playing the organ for so many years. Most of the lesson goes on learning the correct position ,relaxation which causes me much frustration, since their is a progress but it's slow.

Do you any advice for me? Recommended Exercises?


  • I would recommend to take drum lessons (just hands, no sticks), since the movement of your hands is very similar in my opinion. Jun 9, 2016 at 10:50

4 Answers 4


Your basic problem is that your organ technique will "get you by" on the piano in the sense that you can play the right notes at the right time, but the techniques of the two instruments are really very different.

Probably the quickest way in the long run is to put most of your effort into technical exercises that force you to use "piano technique" rather than "organ technique". Most exercises for beginners on the piano are intended to develop finger independence and dexterity, and you (probably) already have those skills. I would suggest starting with more advanced studies on topics like octave playing, which will force you out of "organist mode" and into "piano mode".

These might get you started: http://imslp.org/wiki/6_Exercises_in_Octaves,Op.553(Czerny,_Carl)

or the second part of http://imslp.org/wiki/Die_Schule_des_Octavenspiels,Op.48(Kullak,_Theodor)

or these (not limited to octave playing!) http://imslp.org/wiki/51_Exercises,_WoO_6_(Brahms,_Johannes)

Control of dynamics on the piano will probably develop naturally, once you break the "organist mode" habit of only using finger action to play the notes.

  • Thanks. Should I stop playing the organ for the meantime, until I get into the "piano mode"?
    – Ruth
    Jun 13, 2016 at 18:34
  • 2
    Don't stop! Why throw away that technique? Would a clarinetist of ten years' experience risk getting rusty there while picking up the baritone sax? Jun 6, 2019 at 17:13

The frustration may come from a vague expectation of being able to quickly progress to advanced repertoire. As you've seen, you can play advanced pieces but with nonpianistic technique, and it's drudgery to have to revert to musical pablum like Czerny.

So try to find pride in the pablum. A nonmusical analogy: I've flown radio-control sailplanes for fifteen years. This summer I started flying an agile micro rc helicopter. Although their thumb motions correspond, my heli "technique" is zilch. Over the past two weeks I've had to enjoy the progression from hopping off the ground for a few seconds, to sustaining a hover for thirty seconds without wandering into the trees. Eventually I'll be able to maneuver it as precisely as how my sailplane can nail a thermal signalled by a circling hawk, but for now...


Relaxation, both physically and mentally, and not expecting too much too soon, are probably the key aspects.

What degrees of dexterity or difficulty in specific aspects of piano playing could be expected, considering you are an experienced organist, is debatable. But what's certain is that anxiety and over expectations will only add to the (presumed) problem.

I don't think any specific exercises are necessary than what would be normal when starting to learn the instrument, regarding dynamics. Playing soft, playing loud, very soft, very loud, doing a crescendo, doing a diminuendo. Playing short and easy pieces, from any piano method book, that work out these aspects. Start with book 1 if you have too, I'm sure you will do better than any 8 or 10 year old (I don't mean to be sarcastic, I just want to show that there is certainly no inherent problem with you).

Just don't skip over levels of difficulty in that particular aspect, just because you are more advanced in other aspects. Most of all, relax (without frustration, I hope) and enjoy the pleasure of learning a new instrument.


Old post, but I saw it get recent activity. So, I thought I could add something too.

These question seems to be about touch. Piano has that aspect, but organ doesn't.

Finger independence exercises probably are thought of as coordination of fingers for beginners only. But I think they are also about evenness of touch. Even if that is old hat on the organ, it might be worth revisiting on piano with attention to even touch.

Also I think some repeated note exercises are about developing good touch. Mason, Touch and Technic seems like one good source to look at in that regard. It has a whole series of repeated note scales where the goal is to develop good touch.

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