How Can I Learn to Play Legato?

by grace ko
(san jose, ca)


i've been playing piano for some years now but recently started training professionally.. i've been told i play as if everything is slightly staccato(also in a little hurry); it doesn't sound smooth/connected.. so i was told to play very slowly and practice, try to sound more flowing..
any suggestions as to how i can fix this for i guess it's how i've been playing for many years?
it's hard for me to hear it too much and i just don't seem to know how to fix it.


Hi, Grace--

What you are being told is to play "Legato", which means "smooth and connected". In other words,each note should end at the moment when the next note begins--there should not be any silent space between notes.

I think that the way to accomplish this is to not try to incorporate it right away into actual pieces, but to practice playing scales in this manner:

Choose a simple scale--"C" major would be good--and practice playing it very slowly, holding down each note until the moment that you play the next note. One key will go down exactly at the same time the old one is coming up. Each tone will blend seamlessly into the next.

It may take a lot of slow practice in this manner to "undo" years of playing the other way, but it WILL happen. AND your ears will start to hear the difference. Just be patient and make yourself practice the scale VERY slowly until it becomes more natural.

The next step would be to take simple short passages--maybe 2 measures long--from a piece and try SLOWLY playing them "Legato".

This is not a huge problem--just one that needs slow practicing and patience.

You might want to check out our Absolutely Free Piano Lessons, where you will find TONS of free lessons and other valuable free resources.

Best Wishes,

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Dec 30, 2009
Thank you!
by: Grace

Hello Lynne,

Thanks so much for your suggestion.
I will do just that and hopefully will improve soon!

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