D by Rihanna You are are probably quite familiar with this 2012 hit that topped the charts in over 100 different countries when it debuted. While technically a pop song, this is still a great song to learn on the piano to perfect your velocity and dexterity skills. (However, if you were interested in hearing the song in the style of gospel, check out Get Gospel’s awesome cover here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ydCPUEPUfc)
Use the song “Diamonds” to take your piano skills to the next level!
By using an online tutorial such as the one found here, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6DAN7cuHa4 it is easy to see how learning this song on the piano could truly challenge your piano skills and take you close to mastery. With a quick-paced melodic line that spans two octaves, you will find your right hand challenged and growing in strength and speed in no time. In fact, the song gets harder and harder as it progresses, so it is a good idea to master the song chronologically to build your confidence and skills to eventually dominate the “Shine bright like a diamond” chorus. And so, if you are ready to perfect your piano playing technique, keep reading below to find out more about how to use the song “Diamond” to take your piano skills to the next level!
Dexterity, in terms of piano playing, is defined as being able to play with accuracy and strength. So, let’s discuss how the song “Diamond” help improve the dexterity of your playing.
Written by Sia, this song has a wide range, with notes in the melodic line jumping over an octave between consecutive notes. Learning this melodic line will help perfect your right hand placement and cross overs. For instance, in the pre-chorus of “Diamonds”, you’ll have to speedily have to move your right hand from a F# to a high A, back down to the F# just a couple of notes later. Practicing this run multiple times will improve your ability to become familiar with note placement on the keyboard and shifting between different octaves comfortably. Similarly, in the chorus, you’ll find yourself switching between B and F# back and forth quite often, challenging your fingers to stretch and switch between fingers 1 and 4 and 5 quite rapidly.
Probably the best point in the song to develop dexterity is the song’s main melodic line, “Shine bright like a diamond.” Here you’ll have to smoothly switch between two separate octaves, gliding across the keys from B to a low F#. Challenge yourself to do so smoothly, in time, without tensing up your hand muscles. And if you can master all of that while still keeping the left hand chords solid, you can definitely consider yourself an intermediate piano player. While “Diamond” is deceivingly simple to sing along to, playing it truly divides those who have great dexterity and technique, and those who still need help developing it.
Using the song “Diamonds” to Improve Velocity
As you may already know, velocity is the speed at which you are able to play piano, without sacrificing accuracy of the notes. And, believe it or not, “Diamond,” is a great song to perfect this skill.
“Diamond” by Rihanna can help you master velocity as the pace of the melodic line changes quite often, and therefore, so does the placement of your hands. The more the song progresses, the more you will find yourself being challenged. As the song begins, you’ll find yourself switching between B and F# at a rather leisurely pace on fingers 1 and 5. As the first verse begins, you will need to be a bit more swift, using all five fingers of your hand, since you will need to hit notes between and including B and F#.
Next, as the pre-chorus of “Diamond” begins, you will find yourself challenged further with velocity and dexterity. That’s because the melodic line extends one note further on each end, from A to G.
Finally the chorus will demand the most from your velocity skillset, as your right hand must glide across multiple octaves in a fraction of a second. We recommend not tackling the chorus until you have mastered the other parts of the song as the chorus is the most challenging part. Think of the introduction, verses, and pre-choruses as the skills you will need to perfect before you are ready to tackle the fast moving chorus of “Diamond.”
More generally speaking, one way you can work to perfect velocity is by isolating the parts in the song where thumb crossovers are necessary (such as the “Shine bright like a diamond” section ) and practicing those. Obviously you are more prone to slow down, get off beat, or make a mistake when your thumb needs to cross under your fingers and so it is a good idea to practice these sections separately so that your speed and confidence stays consistent through the entirety of “Diamond.”
If you want to use “Diamonds” to be challenged further…
If you find that you have mastered the lines as they are, of course as always there are ways to make it more challenging for yourself. As you already know, you can pick up the pace to push your velocity to the next level. But of course if you choose to do this, do so using a metronome to ensure that your pace is even and consistent throughout. Additionally, you can practice one hand at a time, applying a tiny bit of pressure to the wrist of your playing hand while doing so. (Watch this video at timestamp 1:55 for further explanation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dfvyTEfIPI) This will help your wrist and fingers build up strength, dexterity, and speed over time. You’ll also want to be diligent about checking on your hand positioning from time to time. Are your fingers beginning to tense up from stress? Are your knuckles stretched out further than your fingertips? If you answered yes to either of these questions it might be time to slow down the pace and check back in on your technique.
As always, thanks for stopping by to take the time and perfect your piano playing. Now more than ever the world needs artists like you to keep producing beautiful, soulful music to keep us going through the tough times. Good luck and happy practicing!
Use the song Diamond to take your piano skills to the next level
Use the song Diamonds to take your piano skills to the next level