The Piano Keyboard is pretty big. Most full size pianos have a total of 88 keys on them when you combine the white and black keys together.
The interesting thing though, is that all of those keys are based on the same 7 notes! They are:
A, B, C, D, E, F, G - listed in order of the alphabet only.
Can you believe that all of those keys are the same notes repeated over and over again?
The difference in the notes is the octave that they are played in. Notice how some are higher and others are lower, yet they are still a C, or and A?
So while the keyboard has 88 keys repeating the same 7 notes, there are actually 7 different octaves within those 88 keys.
Figuring out what notes are where on the keyboard is one of the main things you need to learn when you start playing the piano. At this point in your playing you either already know how to read music a bit, or you are learning how to read your notes in your music and need to start playing them on the keyboard.
Let's find out how easy it really can be to figure out this wonderful keyboard and just where each note resides.
Step 1: Middle C
We're going to start with Middle C, which is the first note that most of us learn to read in our music and then play on the piano.
There are a couple of ways that you can find Middle C on your keyboard:
1. If you have a full size (88 keys) keyboard, it will be the 4th C on the piano from the bottom. Start with the very bottom note which is C, and count up 4 octaves. When you get to the 4th octave, that note is Middle C.
2. If you have a smaller size keyboard, then Middle C will be literally right in the middle of your keyboard. If you look at your keyboard (on a digital piano) look for the writing that tells you the make and model of your keyboard, and then go to the closest white key to those words, and you'll find Middle C.
Don't worry if you are having trouble finding Middle C...I'll show you where it is on my keyboard in the video at the end of this lesson.
Middle C will be the note that you base all of your other notes on in terms of finding them on your music staff as well as on the piano keyboard.
Next, let's find the note E in the Treble Clef on our keyboard.
Step 2: The Note E in Treble Clef
If you remember from learning your notes on the Music Staff, E is the note on the first line of the staff. But where is it on the keyboard?
Start with Middle C. Since Middle C is below that E on the first line of the staff, we know that we have to go up the keyboard instead of down.
E is 2 notes above Middle C...count up C - D - E. So now go up two white keys on the keyboard, and you'll be on E.
Notice how I specified to count the white keys? The Black Keys are for sharps and flats, so we don't use them until we start playing in keys that have sharps and flats in them; such as G Major or D Major.
Now let's find a note that isn't on the staff, or below in this case. That note is D.
Step 3: The Note D in Treble Clef
This note is a little different than the E that we just learned about.
As you can see, D is below that first line of the staff, so what do we do in this case?
Always go back to a note that you know...Middle C!
You know where Middle C is on your staff and on your keyboard. D is just one note above C, so all you do is go to the very next white key above Middle C, and you'll have your D key.
See how easy it is finding your notes once you know where that Middle C is?
Now, you've probably noticed that we're playing notes on the keyboard that are to the right of Middle C, or "up" the keyboard. These are Treble Clef notes.
Now we're going to learn how to find our notes in the Bass Clef on our piano keyboards.
Step 4: Bass Clef Notes
Once again, we start with our friend Middle C. The image above shows this C in both clefs, so you can see that you will count down to find these notes, just as you counted up to find your Treble Clef notes previously.
Middle C is basically a meeting point between the Bass and Treble Clefs and it helps to look at it this way. Use C as a landmark for finding all of your other notes - in your music and on your keyboard.
Since you already know where Middle C is on your keyboard, we're now going to see where a couple of other notes are in the Bass Clef so you'll know how to find all the rest of your notes as well.
Step 5: The Note "A" and Other Bass Clef Notes
In this image, A is the very last note and you already probably know that it is located on the top line of the Bass Clef in your music.
On the keyboard, we find that A just like we found our E in the Treble Clef...but this time we're going down, or to the left of Middle C, instead of up or to the right. Just count down 2 white keys, and you'll arrive at this A.
All of the following notes in this image can be found the exact same way, whether they are on spaces or lines.
You can also just "count" the notes in alphabetical order, and you'll be able to name each note as you play it on the piano. Remember; we're just using white keys for now.
Once you get this system down, you'll easily be able to find and learn the name of every key on your piano keyboard! The more you practice saying the note names when you play them, the faster you'll learn them and you'll find it much easier then to learn new piano pieces and exercises.
Let's really reinforce what we've gone over in this lesson in the video tutorial now. Ready to practice?
Step 6: Come Practice With Me!
This is one video that you'll want to watch a few times just to make it easier to see on your keyboard where these notes are.
I'll show you all of the ones we've covered here plus ones in higher and lower octaves; and give you some special tips on the fastest way to get these notes learned so you can start learning more challenging piano pieces!
Take some time to slowly work on these notes as all of your future work on the piano will grow based on how well you know this information. It's worth taking the time now so you can have more fun later on!