Playing Piano: Shifting vs. Crossing

When playing piano, there are two ways in which your hand can move across the keys: they can shift or they can cross. When your hand shifts, it is sliding across the keys to a new position. Crossing occurs when you move one finger over or under another finger, like when you move your third finger over your thumb in a descending scale. In this video, Josh Wright of explains both shifting and crossing, and the best way to use each when playing piano.

Dr. Josh Wright is a Billboard #1 Artist. He received a Bachelor of Music degree and Master of Music degree from the University of Utah, as well as a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Michigan. He has appeared with multiple symphony orchestras and has released seven albums. In addition to performing, Josh is passionate about teaching. His online video courses help students of all ages and levels learn and improve their piano skillset, and his online lessons via Skype allow him to teach on four continents.


I think I naturally do the shift at times and mistakenly cross at other times. That may be why I often feel unsatisfied with my arpeggio or run passages. I had not consciously thought about it this way. Apparently, that subtle difference for the hands makes a big difference in smoothing it out. Thanks for the tip!

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