Lubomyr Melnyk can play the piano faster than anyone else in the world.
This 67-year-old Ukrainian composer plays 19.5 notes per second on each hand!
But just how did Melnyk learn to play the piano faster than anyone else?
First and foremost: practice. And lots of it.
Apart from spending hours poring over a keyboard, there are some tips and tricks that typing students can borrow from concert pianists in order to increase typing speed.
Check out the list below for some ideas of how to channel the techniques of great composers to improve your typing:
Know the keyboard
Master pianists don’t need to look at the keys to know where a B-flat is. Through practice, they have built up muscle memory to know where they keys are by touch and sound. When practicing isolated keys or full sentences, challenge yourself to keep your eyes on the screen to help your fingers learn the keyboard.
Just like when musicians are initially learning a new song, when you are first learning new letters or sequences, accuracy is more important than speed. You want to train your hands to accurately find the right letter. At first, that takes time, so slow down! Once you’ve gotten the hang of it, gradually pick up the pace until your confidence and accuracy are solid.
Minimize changes of hand position
Expert pianists know that keeping hands and arms as still as possible will allow them to play at the highest speed. As with piano, in typing you want your fingers to be doing most of the work. Try to keep the heels of your hands entirely stationary as you type, moving only the fingers to reach for the keys.
Cut your nails
It might sound silly, but imagine trying to play the piano with inch-long nails. Sounds tricky, huh? The same goes for typing. Keeping nails short will make it easier for you to be quick and precise with your keystrokes, avoiding careless errors.
Practice awkward letter combinations
When learning a new piece of music, pianists will need to repeat challenging strings of notes over and over again until the movements come naturally to their hands. The same goes for typing. There are plenty of letter sequences that don’t come naturally at first – and those are the ones you should force yourself to practice more.
Get into the habit of practicing your problem letters every few times you sit down at the keyboard, and soon they won’t be a problem anymore. From your student dashboard you can choose to take a custom test based on your problem keys.
Think about just touching the keys instead of pushing down on them
When concert pianists are playing quickly, they know that they only need to hit a key hard enough for it to produce sound. Likewise, when you are typing, you only need to strike a key hard enough for the letter to register on the screen. Any harder than that and you are wasting time and energy, so focus on striking the keys as lightly as possible.
If your hands are stiff or strained, you are more likely to make mistakes while typing that will slow you down. Before you begin, stretch your fingers and shake out your hands. Make sure your fingers are comfortably situated on the home row and that your hands are in the proper position. Get into the habit of going through this routine every time you sit down to practice.
Practice practice practice
When it comes to mastering a new skill, there are no shortcuts. Concert pianists practice hours a day to become experts in their field. If you want to become an expert typist, you will need to put in the time to hone your skills. Stick with it, and you will soon enough see your typing speed climbing.
Bonus: Actually play the piano (or another musical instrument)
You would be surprised how much the skills you use while playing an instrument can transfer to typing. From piano to guitar, the finger strength, coordination, and muscle memory that you build while jamming out will also help you become a better typist!