Many people who want to learn to play the piano are put off by the idea of spending long, boring hours learning music notes. If you are serious about learning to play the piano, the first thing you will need to do is put those negative thoughts behind and start with an open mind. It does take time and yes, you have to learn the music notes, but it does not have to be boring, and it certainly does not have to take forever before you learn to play on your own. Follow these seven steps carefully, and you’ll be playing your first songs independently in a very short time.
Step 1: Getting Familiar With Your Notes
Music notes may seem strange now, but so did the letters of the alphabet when you first encountered them as a child. Your curiosity and the constant use of the written and spoken language around you have furnished your ability to read and not be scared of written words when you see them. The same will happen for music notes. They are the ABC of music, and with constant practice you will learn to sight read them just like you are sight reading this information now. Here goes:
Let’s start you off with the popular show tune from “The Sound of Music” - Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So-La-Ti-Do. You know it –right? Sing it out loud. Music notes are marked by the letters A B C D E F G. The show tune will be used to help you get the pitch of the notes as well as to learn the keys.
Look at music notes on the grand staff below.
That note in the center of the staff is Middle C. Position yourself in the middle of your piano, and let’s find Middle C and learn the piano keys.
Tip: The notes on the Treble Clef (top) are the higher pitch notes and those on the Bass Clef (bottom) are the lower pitch. The treble clef notes (higher notes) match up with the keys going to the right of Middle C and are often played with the right hand unless the music piece requires otherwise.
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Step 2: Getting Familiar With the Piano Keys
The black keys are used to play what is known as sharp (#) and flat (b) notes and appear in groups of twos and threes. Look for the set of five black keys (1 group of 3 and one of 2) that are in the center of your piano.
Middle C is the white key to the left of the two black keys in the middle of the piano. Place finger 1 (your right thumb) on Middle C. If you go up and down the entire length of the piano you will notice that the key to the immediate left of any set of two black keys is a C. Take a little time to study the diagrams above and below again while matching the notes to the piano keys.
Step 3: Playing Do-Re-Mi
Now look and the diagram below and have some fun playing the tune. Remember you start at Middle C, and can go up and down the piano familiarizing yourself with the keys.
Step 4: Picking It Up a Bit
Now let’s jazz things up a bit and try playing another easy song – Jingle Bells. Study the diagram showing the keys and the music sheet. The 4/4 to the left of the clef means that each measure/bar requires four beats - 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and. Go on to the next step to learn the count for each note on the music sheet.
Step 5: Music Notes and Timing
Each note indicates how much count it should receive (how long you should down the key). Three notes are used in the music sheet but there are more (research those). Identify the notes one at a time then read below for the designated counts.
Whole note – Four beats (1 and -2 and – 3 and - 4 and).
Half note – Two beats (1 and 2 and).
Quarter note – One beat (1 and)
Step 6: Connecting the Notes
The first measure of the music sheet has three E notes. Two are quarter notes and the a half note. Play these until you get the hang of it then move on to the other measures until you can play them in succession.
Step 7: Review and Practice
Revise steps one to six and continue practicing until you can play Jingle Bells. When you are confident you have learn your piano keys and the music notes you can play other songs which will even require both hands.
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