How to Play Staccato or LegatoStaccato and legato are two of the most important techniques beginner and intermediate piano students must master. Many associate staccato with playing bouncy notes. Some beginner piano players tend to bounce the piano key by bouncing the wrist; this is the incorrect way to play staccato notes. The wrist doesn’t move. The bouncing effect comes from the fingers and not from the wrist.
One of the easiest ways to check whether you’re using the wrist’s strength to create a bouncy (staccato) effect is by placing an eraser on the finger. If the eraser moves or drop out of your hand, you’re bouncing the wrist.
Playing legato passages takes articulation. Remember not to lift the finger on a key until the next finger is pressing down. For example, if you’re playing a passage of notes consisting of A, B, and C. Do not lift the finger that’s pressing on the A key until another finger is pressing down on the B key. This will create a smooth effect and so provide a nice transition.
A good exercise to help you play a legato passage is to practice a scale movement. You can start with the C major piano scale with the right hand. Once you can play the C major scale with a legato movement, you may consider playing the C major scale with a staccato movement. Once you can do both movements with a single hand, you may consider mixing up the movements with both hands. The right hand can play the staccato passage, and the left hand can play the legato movement. This is a great exercise to help you improve hand coordination.