How to Play the Piano




The steps in this instruction are to help you to learn the basics of playing the piano.
The Piano is one of the most used instruments in music because of its variety and the fact that it can be used in so many different musical contexts.

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Step 1: Buying a Piano

If you don't already own a piano (or have access to one), you will need to buy one.
Because a high quality piano can often cost thousands of dollars, you could instead buy an Electronic Keyboard.
Whatever type of piano you choose to learn on, make sure that it is in good working condition.

Step 2: Piano Basics

Before you can begin to play, you should learn some basic parts of the piano.


On a normal piano, the keyboard is the horizontal row of keys that you use to play the music.

Keys are the individual units that you must press down when you want to play a note.

Most pianos have three pedals at their base that you use to alter or sustain a note that you are played.

'Music Rack:'
Used to hold your sheet music.

Step 3: Learning Notes

Each of the keys on the piano corresponds to a specific note value. When you want to learn to play the piano, you will need to know how to identify and determine the note value of each of the keys on the keyboard. The most basic between the keys is that some are black and some are white.

The White Keys
The white keys cover the entire length of the keyboard and represent all of the natural notes on the piano. These notes are represented by the first 7 letters of the alphabet (A - G).

The Black Keys
The black keys are on the top of the keyboard and can be found in groups of 2 or 3. Learning the note value of the black keys is a little more difficult than the white keys because the black keys can be labeled in two different ways. Black keys take their names from the white keys that surround them and can be labeled with either a # (Sharp - meaning that the key is a half-step higher than the white note to its left) or a b (Flat - meaning the key is a half-step lower than the white note to its right).

Step 4: Learning the Music

Now that you learned how to identify all of the notes on the keyboard, you have to learn where you find the note value in the music. There are different octaves. Every octaves goes from c to c.
That you can better read the music, you'll assign a number to each of your fingers. When reading the notes, your thumb will be referred to as 1, your index finger as 2, your middle finger as 3, your ring finger as 4, and your pinky as 5.
Look down below in the picture where you will learn where you find the note values in the music and with which finger you should play the note value.

Step 5: Playing Some Simple Songs

Now that you've learned some of the basic notes and where you can find them on your keyboard, you can start playing a few simple songs. First look at the music and try to find the notes on the keyboard than try slowly to start the song.

Step 6: Practicing

Now that you know some of the basics of playing the piano, it is important that you practice frequently and thoroughly.
Notice: The more you practice, the better you will get, and the more fun you will have the next time you practice.

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    9 Discussions


    10 years ago on Step 2

    "Most pianos have three pedals"? you must hang out with some fancy pianists. I always thought only grands (baby grands and upright grands too) had three pedals. Right for sustain, left for mute and the third middle pedal (only present on some pianos) for practice, permanent semi mute. I'm sure you know all this because you're instructable is pretty nice and complete but I thought I'd mention it all just in case anyone reading it wanted to know. Nice 'ible

    3 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    My upright piano has three pedals, and so do all the other ones I've played on (they're not grands... if only...). Right was sustain, middle was permanent damper/mute and left was 1-string shift.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    On the more expensive grands you find the middle pedal is a sostenuto pedal which only sustains the note(s) pressed at the same time as the pedal is initially pressed. Because of it's relative obscurity, very little music is composed with this pedal, and most uprights use the middle pedal for practice mute.

    My own addition after playing for 8 years would be that "It's all in the wrists". Seriously, wrist posture and movement separates the newer (or worse) players from the more experienced, better players. As old-fashioned as it may seem, putting a penny on the back of the hands when playing scales is a useful exercise.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Very good! If you don't mind, can you check out my instructable on piano?


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I took a class in college to learn to play the piano. The first day of class the lady taught us how to find and play middle C, so I think this is perfect as a first lesson. I wish I had the Internet when I was a kid. :-(


    10 years ago on Introduction

    There's an awful lot more of "How to play the piano" you could have put in here. L