Chopin used them extensively. So did Beethoven and Mozart. Arpeggios are beautiful and are perfect for the New Age piano style too!
You can hear them in George Winston's music. David Lanz uses them in many of his compositions, and of course, I use them as well. Why? Because the piano is well suited for this technique!
The left-hand is used mostly to create this cascading flow of notes. For example, in the lesson "Wood Thrush" we use over 2 octaves of the keyboard. This creates a very nice background over which we can improvise (or compose) our melodies.
Because the New Age piano style focuses a lot on improvisation, the arpeggio is an excellent vehicle to use. We pick a Key to play in, choose a few chords from that Key, then create an arpeggio with them.
What gives many students problems with this technique is the crossing over part where the left hand does its main work. But once this technique is mastered, the rest is easy.
Then, you simply practice playing the arpeggio until you can improvise a melody in your right hand. You go slowly and smoothly at first; not rushing but taking your time. The rewards are great because the sound that is created by using arpeggios is full, rich, and very appealing to the ear!
Edward Weiss is a pianist/composer and webmaster of Quiescence Music's online piano lessons. He has been helping students learn how to play piano in the New Age style for over 14 years and works with students in private, in groups, and now over the internet. Stop by now at http://www.quiescencemusic.com/piano_lessons.html for a FREE piano lesson!