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Do Pianists Type Faster?

Updated: Oct 11, 2023

Living on the digital frontier, where typing is practically a daily occurrence, it is critical to master appropriate keyboard use techniques.

Not only can a keyboard help you be more productive and complete tasks faster, but it may also help you keep up with your brain.

Some people start to wonder if pianists can type faster.

Amazingly, studies show that pianists type more quickly and accurately than non-pianists.

According to a recent research from the Max Planck Institute of Informatics, piano players can 'play words' as fast as expert typists can type them. 

According to a new study published in 2019, the findings were unexpected, “Pianists type at a rate of 120 words per minute, compared to just 50 words per minute for non-pianists.”

When you play the piano, you have an increased feedback loop, an analytical process that is intrinsically yours, and you utilize all ten of your fingers equally.

Does Learning Piano Make You Faster At Typing? | Melodious Piano Studio Singapore

There are four reasons why learning piano make a pianist type faster.

Reason 1: Utilizing All Ten Fingers

Does Learning Piano Make You Faster At Typing? | Melodious Piano Studio Singapore

There are relatively few activities in daily life that demand the complete and equal use of all fingers and thumbs.

The only things that spring to mind right now are typing and playing some musical instruments.

Not all musical instruments use all ten fingers equally; for example, violinist only use left hand fingering to press on the string.

The researchers in this 2013 study converted a piano keyboard into a computer keyboard, where each piano note represented a distinct letter, or groups of words, spanning the whole alphabet.

They discovered that skilled pianists could write sentences at an average pace of 80 words per minute on their first try, despite having no previous experience with this technique.

Reason 2: Play without looking

Does Learning Piano Make You Faster At Typing? | Melodious Piano Studio Singapore

At its most fundamental level, playing the piano may be defined as the brain and body cooperating to push a key down without looking at it, which is the same mechanism required for touch-typing.

In fact, for a pianist, looking at the keyboard actually slows them down.

It is important our fingers to take control of the keys ‘they’ are responsible for. We try to remember the position of each key and estimate the distance of the keys.

There are 88 keys wide key range over the piano.

The advance level of pianist requires leap from one note to another note which involves high quality of practice to estimate the distance of it. We have been practicing to imagine the location of the keys over the keyboard.

In comparison with typing, middle fingers and ring fingers are used for only a few keys on the keyboard, while your index fingers over the middle section of the keyboard. Navigational, punctuation and function keys are somehow easier to control.

Another interesting point to keep our music flowing without disruption is scan the following bars to play in advance. This has help us to type in a faster way as we tend to read ahead in advance.

Reason 3: Precision

As a pianist, we are taught do not rush when just started learning piano. We learn how to speed up only when our fingers are playing the right keys.

Is more important to take our time when playing to avoid mistakes. The speed will pick up as we progress.

We get instant auditory feedback about whether a note was played properly or incorrectly.

Most of the time, pianist is asked to play repeatedly on the same note or same session to listen on the right tone.

Our brains have been trained to ‘accept’ pleasant sound whenever we play the correct notes.

Oppositely, we’re instantly alerted if there are any incorrect notes played.

Even though there is no apparent mechanism similar to this at work while typing, pianists have theoretically and mentally prepared themselves for typing accuracy.

Reason 4: Coordination Techniques

When we are learning piano, it involves the coordination of brain and hands.

We must be conscious of variety of areas when performing.

A pianist, beside playing right notes, we need to think how much wrist weight is requiring, playing staccato (short and detached) or legato (joining of notes), maintaining a steady beat without accelerating or slowing down, utilizing the foot pedals, or even playing large chords with numerous keys pushed simultaneously and so on.  

Additionally, we must consider which fingering to use for particular notes.

Keeping in mind that changing of fingering or using different set of fingering is not preferable in piano learning as one of the reasons is consistency.

The keys on a computer keyboard are not responsive to fingertip pressure. Either you push a letter or you don't press a letter on the keyboard.

In piano playing, the amount of weight you use to press each note affects the loudness and quality of the music, making it an essential skill to master.

When we transition from this deeply analysis procedure to typing on a keyboard, we are abruptly left with just the precision of our key strokes to consider.

The two hands of a piano operate independently of one another.

In other words, they each have their own notes to play and portions of the sheet music to learn.

To type a sentence, both hands must operate together as if they were one.

Although maintaining a rhythm while typing is necessary, however establish an equal intervals for each keystroke helps someone to type faster.

As a result, if we are used to the highly coordination task of piano playing, typing at a computer may seem simple in contrast.

Even though there is no apparent mechanism similar to this at work while typing, pianists have theoretically prepared themselves for typing accuracy.

Is good typist a good pianist too?

Does Learning Piano Make You Faster At Typing? | Melodious Piano Studio Singapore

Many people are perplexed as to how things operate in reverse.

Adult beginners who are excellent typists often begin lessons with me expecting piano to be simple to understand.

There aren't any studies that demonstrate that being good at touch-typing translates to being good at the piano.

There doesn't seem to be a long-term benefit for students who can already touch-type when they start piano instruction.

It's possible that typists become excellent pianists, but anecdotal evidence suggests the inverse as well, so it's impossible to say for sure.


How a keyboardist may benefit from an advantage while studying piano?

  1. By using your fingertips to type, you improve your hand-eye coordination, which reduces the amount of time you spend staring at the piano keys while studying.

  2. This is also true while playing the piano: your fingers move in isolation (through your forearm, etc.).

  3. It's like reading ahead in sheet music when you play the piano; while you're typing quickly, your brain sees words before your fingers do.

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1 Comment

Dexter Aparicio
Dexter Aparicio
Apr 01, 2023

How important is key action in a digital piano? For example, GHS vs PHA4 is there a superior preference or both are ok?

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