Are you looking to improve your finger dexterity or wrist flexibility? Do you want to increase sight reading speed and accuracy? Maybe you’re working on an overall mastery of scales, syncopation or repeated notes. No matter what musical skills you’re trying to advance, Musicnotes has a wide array of downloadable sheet music to foster and support your growth as a musician.
We’ve chosen 8 works well-known for their skill-building and technique-advancing benefits. Take a look at our list below, and suggest any must-play pieces you have in your own musical skills portfolio.
Skill-Building Sheet Music for Piano
Charles-Louis Hanon’s “The Virtuoso Pianist” is a staple for piano students as well as those wanting to preserve finger speed, agility, strength and wrist flexibility. The series of 60 exercises is available for instant download through Musicnotes.com as 3 value collections.
Part I of the collection includes exercises 1-20, the “preparatory exercises,” created to devlop finger strength and independence.
Part II, exercises 21-43, Hanon labels “further exercises for the development of a virtuoso technique,” meant to promote mastery of scales and arpeggios.
Part III, “virtuoso exercises for mastering the greatest technical difficulties,” covers scales in thirds and octaves, repeated notes, repeated double notes and more.
“Two-Part Inventions” by J.S. Bach
Widely considered fundamental literature for piano students, the Two-Part Inventions provide 15 succinct contrapuntal exercises composed by Bach specifically for the education of his pupils.
Ascending in order of key, each of the movements stands on its own as an engaging lesson in style and technique.
Purchase Bach’s complete “Two-Part Inventions” as a value collection at Musicnotes.com.
“The Well-Tempered Clavier” by J.S. Bach
Bach’s “Well-Tempered Clavier (Das wohltemperirte Klavier) is considered by many pianists to be the “Old Testament” of piano literature. With pairings of Preludes and Fugues for each major and minor key, Bach’s masterwork still serves as one of the most robust tools for piano students.
The entire first volume – 24 Preludes and Fugues, is available for instant download at Musicnotes.com as another value collection.
“The Goldberg Variations” by J.S. Bach
Another collection of Bach works, “The Goldberg Variations” has tested the form and mental fortitude of many a pianist. Written for Johann Gottlieb Goldberg in 1741, the variations became widely recognized after the release of Glenn Gould’s landmark 1955 recording.
It’s become somewhat of a right-of-passage to play the aria and all 30 of its variations in a sitting, which can take nearly an hour and a half from beginning to end. Test your patience and skill today when you download the collection at Musicnotes.com.
“The Art of Finger Dexterity” by Carl Czerny
Sometimes referred to as ‘The Father of Modern Piano Technique,” Carl Czerny wrote his 50 etudes, collectively called “The Art of Finger Dexterity,” to help his pupils develop virtuosic finger mechanics. In fact, Czerny’s most famous pupil, Franz Liszt, would on to dedicate his own collection of etudes to Czerny.
Each work focuses on strengthening hand control, building upon scales and chords in such a way that the piece itself can stand alone musically. Numbered 1 through 50, Czerny’s etudes make fantastic warm-up or stand-alone pieces. Players at various levels of musical skills will enjoy tackling the works and building upon their speed and dexterity.
Musicnotes.com offers “The Art of Finger Dexterity” as 5 value collections of 10 etudes each. Preview etudes 1-10, etudes 11-20, etudes 21-30, etudes 31-40 and etudes 41-50, and start mastering these exercises today.
“12 Easy Pieces” by Franz Joseph Haydn
The term “easy” is sometimes replaced by “short” when speaking of this collection, containing works written for piano as well as transcriptions of instrumental pieces.
Many would, in fact, consider the these 12 keyboard selections suitable for intermediate pianists. Within the “12 Easy Pieces” collection you’ll find brief 1-page compositions full of emotion and harmonic invention.
Skill-Building Vocal Sheet Music
Considered essential material for nearly any beginning vocal student, “24 Italian Songs & Arias” introduces budding vocalists to classical Italian vocal literature.
Curated by our Musicnotes Editions staff, we offer newly typeset editions of the same 24 songs that have been studied by vocal students for centuries, from the early Baroque to the Bel Canto era. A major advantage to our collection of digital editions? You can transpose each piece for medium-high or medium-low voice instantly!
“30 Exercises for the Voice, Op. 11” by Joseph Concone
Italy’s Master of Singing and Pianoforte during the 19th century, Guiseppe (Joseph) Concone’s vocal exercises are widely recognized as essential study for any developing vocalist.
His “30 Daily Exercises” contain lessons in Grand Style through various difficulties in vocalization. Our collection contains the works for high voice.
Ready to put your skills to the test? See how many of these challenging piano song recommendations you can play!
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Do you have any suggested additions to our list? Are there any skills that you’d like us to focus on in a future blog post? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!