How to Play With the Right Hand on the Piano - for Beginning Pianists

The first time that we start playing our notes on the piano with either hand is really exciting.

As a beginning pianist, you are already somewhat familiar with how to read notes in the Treble and Bass Clefs and where those notes are on the keyboard.

Since we have 2 different clefs that we have to learn, we're not going to try and play with both hands together at first. Instead, we're going to take one hand at a time.

This lesson starts with the right hand which we use to play in the Treble Clef. We will go over what the notes are that we're going to play, what fingers we are going to use to play each note and we're going to go through 2 examples.

At the end of the written portion of this lesson, there will be a video that you can practice with that will cover the examples included here and you will be able to try with me at the piano.

Step 1: Example #1

Our first example has 3 measures that contain quarter notes and a whole note at the very end.

Notice the Treble Clef sign at the far left of the line of music with the Time Signature right after that before the 1st measure of notes starts.

Also, notice the finger markings under each note. This really helps you to have them written down when you are first starting to play your notes on the piano keyboard; especially when you write the note names above each note as shown in this example.

The finger markings stand for:

  • 1 = thumb
  • 2 = index finger
  • 3 = middle finger
  • 4 = ring finger
  • 5 = pinky finger

The notes in this exercise go in a "stepwise" motion (this is also included in the title) which simply means we play each note consecutively without skipping any notes. We go from C to D, not C to E.

We also start with our hand in C Position at the keyboard. If you need to review what C Position is, make sure to go back and read this lesson to help with that. For now, just know that you need to position your hand with your 1st finger (thumb) on Middle C.

To play this exercise you simply play each note with the noted fingerings:

  • C = 1
  • D = 2
  • E = 3
  • F = 4
  • G = 5

You will want to play this several times, keeping your fingers down as you play each next note. Don't try to go too fast and it can also help to say your note name for each note that you play.

Let's look now at the next Right-Hand exercise for you to learn and practice.

Step 2: Example #2

This example changes the notes around but you will still be using the same fingers and fingerings that you did in example 1.

The one starts on the note G and you will play it with your 5th (pinky) finger. Remember again, to keep your fingers down as you play each measure - this will help your fingers remember where to go on the piano. These notes are in consecutive order just as they were in the last exercise so what you're reinforcing with this exercise is the C Position, note names and location, and what fingers to play each note with.

We also have 1 more measure in this exercise than we did in the first example, but there aren't any new notes for you to learn.

If you go ahead and try to play this on the piano before you view the video, just make sure that you play slowly and try saying each note as you play it.

Let's go practice each of these exercises together!

Step 3: Come Practice With Me!

The written portion of this lesson basically introduces your brain to this new information. That's one reason why it is helpful to speak the note names as you play them, or even just read them, for the first time.

The video (visual and practical application) portion of this lesson serves to take that information from the brain and into our bodies - our fingers. The first video covers what is in the written part here and the 2nd video is an extra tutorial covering even more exercises for the right hand that goes 'hand-in-hand' with this one.

Both are important in really learning where your notes are on the keyboard and being able to play them with the right fingers, etc.

Now that you've gotten the "brain" part down, you are ready to apply that information so you can start playing your first Treble Clef notes on the piano.

Let's practice together!



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