Exercises to Help You Play Triplets

Rhythm is one of the most difficult music skills to teach and to learn. Last month I posted an exercise to help you keep your eighth notes to exactly twice as fast as your quarter notes. Today I would like to help you play triplets correctly.


Triplets Exercise #1

If you are beginner, Triplets Exercise #1 might be challenging for you. Eighth note triplets subdivide each beat into three equal parts. Click to print the Exercise #1 sheet below, then follow these steps:

  • 1) Play your LH quarter notes along with my video, staying with my beat and listening to the RH triplets.
  • 2) Play your LH quarter notes along with mine, singing “tri-pl-et” or “mu-si-cal”evenly for the triplets.
  • 3) Play your RH triplets along with my video, and see if you can stay with my beat.
  • 4) When you are ready, try playing Ex# 1 with hands together along with my video. FYI, my metronome is set at 50 BPM (beats per minute) if you want to try this exercise on your own.
CLICK on Exercise #1 above to PRINT

Triplets Exercise #2

If you are an intermediate piano player, Triplets Exercise #2 might be challenging for you. Six quarter note triplets spread out evenly and equally over four beats. Click to print the Triplet Exercise #2 sheet below, then follow these steps:

  • 1) Play your LH quarter notes with my video, listening to the sound of the RH quarter note triplets.
  • 2) Sing “tri-pl-et” or “mu-si-cal” for the triplets while your LH plays the quarter notes along with mine.
  • 3) Play just the RH quarter note triplets with mine.
  • 4) After much practice with RH alone, try playing Ex #2 with hands together with the video. (FYI, my metronome is set at 90 BPM). (Note: Beginners might not be ready to play Exercise #2 for quite a while.)
CLICK on Exercise #2 above to PRINT

Triplets appear in music often, so it’s helpful to practice this skill over time, before you encounter it in your music. Be patient with yourself; it can take days, weeks, months or more, to master playing 6 quarter note triplets against 4 quarter notes. It can feel like patting your head while rubbing your stomach! Keep playing with these videos until you can stay with my right and left hands. Often students think they are playing triplets correctly when they are not, so be sure to record yourself playing your triplets with mine to hear if they are aligning properly. Practice this skill at least a few days a week until you can play both exercises on your own, without the video. Once again, record yourself to be sure the triplets are even.

Let us know how you do with this exercise! Please subscribe in the upper right corner ↗️ of this page to get your July free sheet music next weekend!

With love and triplets 🎶, Gaili


P.S. If you are new to this blog, welcome! I am a veteran piano teacher of almost 35 years! I post free sheet music every month, arranged for beginning to intermediate piano students, plus posts like this one to motivate and inform. I have written piano instruction books for older adults (UpperHandsPiano.com), younger adults and teens (PianoPowered.com), Songs of the Seasons piano sheet music books for seasonal classical and popular favorites, and my latest piano/guitar/vocals books called The Music Remedy – sheet music collections to restore and revitalize the spirit. Check out my books on the websites above, or click below to view them on Amazon.com.