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I’m looking to get much better at using the top octave on my 48 key English for octave-hopping, variety, and because those buttons are there. 

I guess it’s basically down to practice!

But, taking that on board, has anyone got any useful brain tricks or exercises to help my fingers get used to the fact that up there, everything is on the other hand and the other row compared to playing the same notes an octave lower? 

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Hi Steve, this is what I did some years ago out of a noisy „group“ situation with lots of fiddles mainly, to stand out in the upper register to, at least for me, quite pleasant results.

However, I‘m still not very familiar with these buttons in the order of at least the „main“ keys. Only thing that springs to my mind is, what in fact I‘m doing from time to time, extending playing scales upwards right to the end.

I reckon there will be more focussed methods - anyway, I wish you success!

Best wishes - 🐺

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Yes, Scales  extended  up, and down  ,  has to be a help  as well as  playing scales in  as many keys  as you can.  This will  tend to break  the 'button position default'  and free the mind... to some extent anyway.  

Much more interesting  than scales  though is to dive straight  in and play  tunes  in different keys  and  octaves than normal....  it is just practice , practice and..... practice!

 

Arpeggios, playing tunes in octaves, in thirds  and  other intervals  will all  help gain a   sort of"second sight " of the keyboard...

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Jumping in fifths along the rows can help. E.G. when you reach the G at the "top" of your presumed comfort zone, the next button on the row is a D. Similarly find the high E from A, and C from F.  Once you get a few buttons in that range, following the standard pattern can find the rest.

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Work on arpeggios. Major, minor, and augmented to start. This will help with fingering and you'll get used to using 3rds and 5ths in the root triade. Once you develop a little muscle memory, add another set of arpeggios adding the 7th to the triade. I.e. C- E-G-Bb

If you get real agressive try diminished thirds.

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