Thursday, December 14

Beginner Piano Lesson: The Layout of The Piano

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The piano is a widely known and respected musical instrument, and has been for hundreds of years.  Many people want to learn to play piano, but either think it’s too hard to learn or don’t know where to start. 

These beginner lessons will help to deal with both of those problems, providing easy-to-pick-up but extremely important basics, including scales, practice strategies, and a little music theory.  This article will teach you how the keys are set up on a piano, and how to measure the distance between notes.

1.  First off, let’s take a look at your piano.  Whether you have a traditional piano, a grand, or a basic keyboard, the keys will always be laid out the same.  There are 12 notes total across the keyboard, which repeat multiple times (depending on the size of your piano it could be more or less).  Start by locating the ‘C’ Keys, which are always the white key right before the groups of two black keys. 

2.  Moving between musical pitches (and piano keys), we measure the change in notes in half and whole steps.  A whole step is moving one whole note higher from where you were (C to D, D to E, etc.), and a half step is moving up one-half of a note (C to C-Sharp, C-Sharp to D, etc.).  Still looking at the C Keys, find the C in the middle of the piano.  That C is called Middle C, and serves to seperate which side of the piano is played with the right and left hands. 

3.  The black keys are sharps and flats.  A sharp is one half step higher than a note, and a flat is one half step lower.  You may notice that these notes are both sharp and a flat to one note (a C-Sharp is also a D-Flat), which only matters while reading sheet music (which we’ll cover in another lesson).  For now know that if you move to the closest key from the first, that’s a whole step.  Sharps and flats are written with # or b following the note, respectively (a C-Sharp is written C#, a D-Flat is written Db).

4.  You’ve probably noticed that there are two repeating spots on the piano where there are no black keys between the notes.  This is where B meets C, and where E meets F.  These notes are half steps from each other, just keep in mind that the closest key over is always a half step.

5.  It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with your piano, you’ll need to understand it’s layout before moving on to playing music.  Find the C keys and move from there, the white keys go from C, D, E, F, G, A, B, then back to C again.  The black keys go from C# (or Db), D# (or Eb), F# (or Gb), G# (or Ab), A# (or Bb), then back to C# (Db).  Learn these note names up and down, and understand where they are in relation to each other on the piano.  This will help immensely when you start playing.

Learning the piano takes time, practice, and love for music.  With a little hard work and the right lessons, you can learn to play piano as well as you want to, you’ll get out of it what you put into it.  Check back for more Beginner Piano Lessons.

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