beginning piano lessons Archive

Every time you hit a key during your piano lessons, you’re producing varying sounds that you’ll eventually become attuned to within a short period of time. Your sense of hearing a specific tone or musical pitch, will increase and will help you become a better performer. In this article, we’re going to learn the three components of a pitch, how often to tune your piano, and how to memorize certain tones.

Musical Pitch: What Is It?

Musical pitch is the result of hearing a sound that is either very high or very low. Depending on the clarity of ones’ hearing, the pitch or tone can range from being perfect (completely in tune) to imperfect (out of tune). If you’ve ever watched American Idol, you will have seen a combination of people who sing quite well and those who are completely unaware of their singing ability.

There are three parts that incorporate a pitch: duration, loudness, and timbre. Let’s take a moment to analyze each part.

Pitch Duration

Pressing a key on the keyboard and holding it down will make the length of that tone last for a few seconds. If that key is pressed and immediately released, it will end quickly. This is what pitch duration entails, the amount of time the tone lasts after being produced.

Play the audio files below to see the difference in each musical pitch duration (each audio file will open in a new window):

Short Duration: CDEFG

Long Duration – CDEFG

Pitch Loudness

The amount of pressure you use to play a note on a piano keyboard will determine its pitch loudness. Some of the finger exercises and songs you’ll learn are played softly and others very loudly. There are numerous symbols called dynamics that tell you how to play them, causing a natural flow within the melody. Below is a list of the dynamics used within music sheets that’ll tell you what force is needed to play a them:

Dynamics Chart For Piano Lessons

Dynamics Chart For Piano Lessons

Pitch Timbre

If you listen to Moonlight Sonata, Op. 27, No. 2 (Complete) (you can get it here), you know that it’s being played on a piano. Each key is very distinct and if you’re familiar with how notes sound on a piano, you can instantly tell that a piece is being played on one.

Pitch Timbre is the ability to tell what instrument is creating the sound you hear. The notes played on a piano and clarinet are the same but they have a texture that differentiates them from one another. Click the audio files below to hear the F4 key be played and see which instrument the sound belongs to (audio files will open in a new window):

Instrument #1

Instrument #2

Instrument #3

Instrument #4

Each instrument played the same note but had a different tone quality to them. Were you able to tell what instrument was played? Leave your answers in the comments below.

Musical Pitch: Will My Piano Always Be In Tune?

When you initially buy your piano its musical pitch should be perfectly tuned but as time goes on, the wood that holds the strings in place, the sound board, will swell or flatten out, causing the notes to be on and off tuned in varying degrees. Depending on the climate you live in and how often you play, you’ll want to get your piano tuned 2 to 4 times a year. You can always ask your piano technician their opinion after a few services.

Musical Pitch: How Can I Memorize Different Pitches?

Every time you go through your lessons, you’re training your sense of hearing to what’s being played. Subconsciously, you’re memorizing the musical pitch of your piano and as long as it’s in tune, this is what you’ll hear.

Another way to memorize different pitches is to practice the major and minor scales. The most popular is the C Major Scale because it includes all of the white keys and is easier to play. If you want to practice hearing the black keys, the B Major Scale includes them all.

Here’s an example to get you started. My article Beginning Piano Lessons – Learning The Treble Clef Staff will accustom you to the keys shown below:

 

D F A Notes On The Treble Clef

D F A Notes On The Treble Clef

 

D F A Keys On The Piano Keyboard

D F A Keys On The Piano Keyboard

 

D# F# G# On The Treble Clef

D# F# G# On The Treble Clef

D# F# G# Keys On The Piano Keyboard

D# F# G# Keys On The Piano Keyboard

Conclusion

Becoming accustomed to the sounds you play for your piano lessons increases your awareness of proper musical pitch. The more you practice, the better you’ll be as a pianist. One piece that you can learn to get the full range of the piano keyboard is the Moonlight Sonata (Complete) by Beethoven. Click the image to the left to purchase the music sheet and begin learning this beautiful, yet haunting song.

Have you heard someone sing off pitch or play an instrument that definitely needed tuning? Tell me your story in the comments below.

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Learning the piano scales is a great form of finger exercises and should be a part of your daily regimen in your piano lessons. Of the seven major scales you’ll learn, the easiest to maneuver is the C Major Scale and we’ll discuss it today.

Piano Scales: C Major – How It Looks On The Treble Clef Staff

When you listen to how the C Major Scale sounds in the audio link below, you’ll probably think you’ve heard of it before because it’s the most common key played in music. It is much easier to learn simply because it doesn’t break its pattern when playing the white keys on the piano keyboard. All of the other major piano scales require you to play a black key, causing you to readjust your finger movements. This is not a bad thing because your goal is to play any piece of music with ease. But if your fingers are not accustom to playing on your keyboard, you might want to start with the basics.

Let’s take a look at the C Major scale in the treble clef image below:

Treble Clef Staff Lines w C Major Scale - Absorbing Piano Lessons

C Major Scale On Treble Clef

There is a specific way to play the C Major scale and as you progress with your piano lessons, you’ll learn that every piece and exercise that you play requires an understanding of finger positioning to perform it at its best. Take a look at the image below to see how to play this particular piano scale:

Treble Clef Staff Lines w C Major Scale Numbered - Absorbing Piano Lessons

C Major Scale Numbered

Piano Scales: C Major – How It Looks On The Piano Keyboard

To translate what you see in the image above, let’s view my piano below and see what keys you’ll hit and the finger positions required to hit them:

C Major Octave Numbered - Absorbing Piano Lessons

C Major Octave Numbered

Piano Scales: C Major – How Does It Sound?

I’ve provided an audio clip with me playing the C Major scale. Take a few seconds to listen to it (the audio file will open up in a new window):

C Major Scale – Absorbing Piano Lessons

Watch the following video to see how it’s played: C Major Scale on Piano.

Conclusion

The C Major scale, although easier than the other major scales, will require practice on your part in order to feel comfortable playing it. Incorporating all of the piano scales into your piano lessons, builds up the strength and agility in your fingers and overall piano play.

Were you able to play the C Major scale appropriately? Leave your experience in the comments below.

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Piano Lessons For D Chord

Posted By Denise

As you go through numerous piano lessons, one common practice you’ll run into are chords. They are the basis of creating many songs and you may have heard them in your favorite songs.

In this article, we will go through the D chord to get a feel as to how to play it.

Piano Lessons For D Chord – What Is It?

A chord is a compilation of three keys played either simultaneously or separately. When three of them are played together, they are sometimes called a chord triad because of the three distinct keys that are played. The D Chord comes from the D Major Scale, which you can learn about in my post called Piano Lessons For Piano Scales – D Major.

Piano Lessons For D Chord – How Is It Played?

Here is how it looks on the treble clef:

D Chord on Treble Clef Staff

D Chord on Treble Clef Staff

The three whole notes depict the three notes that are a part of the D Chord. The numbers show how they should be played with your right hand. View how you would play them on the piano keyboard:

D Chord with Finger Position on Piano Keyboard

D Chord with Finger Position on Piano Keyboard

Piano Lessons For D Chord – How Does It Sound?

I’ve create an audio clip that demonstrates how this triad sounds like (audio file will appear in new window):

D Chord

Conclusion

Practicing the D chord in your piano lessons will give you great practice in playing and listening to music better.

What other combination of keys can you add to this particular chord triad to make it harmonious? Leave your comment below

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In my article Understanding The Piano Keyboard For Your Piano Lessons, I discussed the layout of the keyboard and that the black keys are referenced as both sharps and flats. What you’ll learn today is exactly how these keys are named and look on the Treble Clef and Bass Clef staff lines.

Sharps And Flats – Understanding Sharps

The first few piano lessons you’ll take will focus on the white keys on your piano keyboard but after you’ve become comfortable, you’ll begin to see sharps and flats in the exercises and songs in your music books.

The sharp symbol is a slanted version of the pound sign (right above the number 3 key on a computer keyboard) or the hashtag you may have seen on Twitter and Facebook feeds. It implies a higher pitch within the musical range of a song and can be placed on either clef staffs. To see the sharp symbol, let’s take a look at the image below as it sits on the treble staff line:

 

D Sharp Symbol on Treble Clef Staff

D Sharp Symbol on Treble Clef Staff

The quarter note sits on the key of D which is where the sharp symbol sits. What this tells you is to play the black key that is half a step up from the D key on the piano keyboard, seen in the image below:

D Sharp Key

D Sharp Key

Many of the advanced pieces you’ll learn to play will place the sharp symbol on the staff next to the clef so you’ll always know to play D# when that key comes up.

In other pieces of work you’ll play, the composer may have you play the key of D but for later sections, he/she may want you play D# for a few bars. To represent that, you can place the symbol alongside the note:

 

D Sharp Symbol Next To Quarter Note

D Sharp Symbol Next To Quarter Note

Both clef examples above produce the same results on your keyboard.

Sharps and Flats – Understanding Flats

Going in the opposite direction, the flat symbol portrays a lower pitch within a musical piece and can also appear on both clef staffs. It’s in the shape of a lowercase “b” but is pointed at the bottom. In the photo below I’ve placed the flat symbol next to the bass clef sitting on the key of B just like the quarter note:

 

B Flat on Bass Clef Staff

B Flat on Bass Clef Staff

Similar to the sharp symbol, you can place the flat symbol next to the note that needs to be turned from its normal key, in this case B, to a Bb (B flat):

Flat Symbol Next To B On Bass Clef Staff

Flat Symbol Next To B On Bass Clef Staff

Let’s see where on the piano keyboard this particular key is located:

B Flat Key

B Flat Key

In the piano keyboard above, the key we’re looking for is sitting an octave, 1 key and a half step down from middle C. That means you will have to move you hand to the left on the keyboard to hit that particular B flat. Read the following explanation to learn more about sharps and flats.

Sharps and Flats – Using More Than One Symbol Per Line And Space

In the examples above, I showed how the sharps and flats would look individually but you can add all 14 (7 sharps and 7 flats) symbols to the staff lines and spaces. Before I show them on the grand staff, here is a list of each one:

Sharps Flats
C# D# E# F# G# A# B# Cb Db Eb Fb Gb Ab Bb

Let’s first see how the sharps would be placed on the grand staff:

Grand Staff Sharps

Grand Staff Sharps

In this image above, the two sharp symbols are on the keys of F and C, making them into F# and C#. When you play the D Major Scale, you end up playing F# and C# and if this score were to continue, you would automatically have to play F# and C# for both the treble and bass clef staffs.

Now let’s take a look at the flat symbol:

Grand Staff Flats

Grand Staff Flats

 

The E Flat Major Scale above has three flats – Bb Eb Ab and in this scale, you automatically start off by hitting Eb (the black key) instead of the white key. This goes for the key of Bb and Ab as well.

Having your sharps and flats listed next to the clef symbols will save a lot of time as you learn how to play a particular song. They stay present throughout the piece and prevents clutter as you read and learn the notes to play it.

Sharps and Flats – How To Reset Them

I mentioned above that certain notes within a musical piece can be turned into a sharp or flat just by placing the symbol next to the note. There are times when that note needs to go back to normal so that the D# or Bb will be played as D or B on the piano keyboard. The natural symbol will tell you to play the regular key on the keyboard:

Treble Clef Staff Lines w D Natural

Treble Clef Staff Lines w D Natural

Bass Clef Staff Lines w B Natural

Bass Clef Staff Lines w B Natural

With the natural symbols in place, you can play the white key of D on the treble clef and white key of B on the bass clef. You can see which keys to play in the images below and notice that the sharps and flats have been removed:

D Natural Key

D Natural Key

B Natural Key

B Natural Key

Conclusion

Knowing the difference between sharps and flats allows you to play a more diversified range of songs. Your piano lessons will continue to increase in performance and having these two symbols understood will assist you along the way.

Using the last two images above, where would Gb be placed? Leave your answer in the comments below.

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There are quite a few finger exercise books my mom bought me when I took piano lessons at a young age and they all helped increase the agility my fingers hadn’t had by getting them use to moving at different paces and reach a wider range of keys. One of the books that were helpful was an exercise book called Hanon-Schaum, Book 1and we’ll go through its contents and creator below.

Finger Exercises Using Hanon-Schaum For Piano Book 1

Charles-Louis Hanon was a well-known French pianist during the mid to late 1800s who wrote a very popular exercise book called
The Virtuoso Pianist in 60 Exercises – Complete (Comb-Bound)
. The finger exercises you’ll learn in Hanon-Schaum for Piano Book 1 contains 32 pages of techniques that strengthen your fingers and aides in learning how to play the piano better. Each piece is written with eighth notes to help you work at a faster pace, separates the play from the left hand and right hand by performing at a distance of two octaves from one another, and is geared towards children and adults.

There are a total of 24 lessons with the first 20 lasting one page each while lessons 21 through 24 are two pages long. Hanon-Schaum wanted to create as much agility in his pupils fingers by arranging notes in both ascending and descending order, getting as much exercise for each finger. This helps you think about the movement of your fingers as you play each note, almost similar to learning how to type.

Finger Exercises Using Hanon-Schaum For Piano Book 1 – Exercise 1 Excerpt

To see what kind of finger exercises you’ll get in this book, I’ve added an excerpt from it. It is the first exercise, simply called No. 1, showing the ascending lesson:

 

Excerpt From Hanon-Schaum For Piano Book 1

Excerpt From Hanon-Schaum For Piano Book 1

There are quite a few finger exercise books my mom bought me when I took piano lessons at a young age and they all helped increase the agility my fingers hadn’t had by getting them use to moving at different paces and reach a wider range of keys. One of the books that were helpful was an exercise book called Hanon-Schaum, Book 1and we’ll go through its contents and creator below.

Finger Exercises Using Hanon-Schaum For Piano Book 1

Charles-Louis Hanon was a well-known French pianist during the mid to late 1800s who wrote a very popular exercise book called The Virtuoso Pianist. The finger exercises you’ll learn in Hanon-Schaum for Piano Book 1 contains 32 pages of techniques that strengthen your fingers and aides in learning how to play the piano better. Each piece is written with eighth notes to help you work at a faster pace, separates the play from the left hand and right hand by performing at a distance of two octaves from one another, and is geared towards children and adults.

There are a total of 24 lessons with the first 20 lasting one page each while lessons 21 through 24 are two pages long. Hanon-Schaum wanted to create as much agility in his pupils fingers by arranging notes in both ascending and descending order, getting as much exercise for each finger. This helps you think about the movement of your fingers as you play each note, almost similar to learning how to type.

Finger Exercises Using Hanon-Schaum For Piano Book 1 – Exercise 1 Excerpt

To see what kind of finger exercises you’ll get in this book, I’ve added an excerpt from it. It is the first exercise, simply called No. 1, showing the ascending lesson:

Excerpt From Hanon-Schaum For Piano Book 1

There’s a lot of information here, so let’s break it down. Underneath the title of the lesson is a note for teachers and if you’re an aspiring piano teacher or a parent that wants to help your child with their lessons, this book has some helpful information in the forward. You don’t have to be a teacher or parent to use this book for your own personal lessons.

After that, you’re given directions on how to manage these exercises on a daily basis. You’ll learn one for the entire week, practicing it five times a day and the following week do the same for the new lesson, but repeat the previous week’s exercise once a day. Taking the time to practice like this everyday will increase your piano playing and reading skills.

The last part is the actual lesson that shows the starting finger positions for each note in the first bar for top and bottom clef staffs. This is done so that you’ll know how to approach each bar there after as you ascend and descend the keys on your piano keyboard.

Finger Exercises Using Hanon-Schaum For Piano Book 1 – Audio Files

Below are three audio files for this particular lesson. The first audio you’ll hear me play the treble clef notes, the second is of the bass clef notes, and finally the entire exercise. Click the play button to listen to the first clip (each audio file will open up in a new window):

 

Hanon Schaum Book 1 Treble Clef Exercise 1

Hanon Schaum Book 1 Bass Clef Exercise 1

Hanon Schaum Book 1 Exercise 1

Conclusion

Hanon-Schaum Book 1Hanon-Schaum, Book 1 is an excellent book for adults and children who are looking to begin taking piano lessons. The finger exercises are detailed in their arrangements but also provide a comfortable way to learn how to play the piano. If you’re interested in buying this book for your collection, click the image to the left to order yours today.

Did you try the lesson above? If so, were you able to figure out the descending part? Leave your comment below.

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There are many forms of finger exercises that you can learn to play the piano and are provided by many composers. But the one consistent workout you should do with your fingers is playing the major piano scales. Today we are going to learn how to play the D Major scale.

Piano Scales: D Major – How It Looks On The Treble Clef Staff

Let’s take a look at the D Major scale and determine what keys will be played. If you read How to Read Sharps And Flats For Your Piano Lessons, you’ll remember that some notes will require you to use the black keys in order to produce the proper sound or pitch. The D Major scale has two sharps within its range and can be seen in the treble clef image below:

D Major in Treble Clef Staff

D Major in Treble Clef Staff

After going through the Learn How To Play The Piano – Finger Positions, beginning lessons will place the number of the finger in the music sheet so you can comprehend the proper way to play a note. The image below shows what fingers you should use to play this scale:

D Major with Finger Positions

D Major with Finger Positions

 

Piano Scales: D Major – How It Looks On The Piano Keyboard

After seeing the notes in the image above, here are the keys to hit to play them:

D Major Scale

D Major Scale

The numbers on the treble clef are mimicked in the image below:

D Major Scale with Finger Positions

D Major Scale with Finger Positions

Piano Scales: D Major – How Does It Sound?

With your own piano keyboard, you’re able to practice this scale but I’ve added an audio file below so you can hear how it sounds (the audio file will open up in a new window):

D Major Scale – Absorbing Piano Lessons

Click the following link to watch a video on: D Major Scale on Piano.

Conclusion

Making time to practice your piano scales is important in building not only your repertoire but strength in your fingers. You’ll be able to stretch them so they can maneuver around your keyboard, which will help when you begin to play more complicated pieces in your piano lessons.

Did you try playing the D Major scale? Was it easy or difficult to play? Leave your experience in the comments below.

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There are well over 90 music symbols that are used to demonstrate how to play a musical piece and even though it can be overwhelming, you’ll eventually need to learn them as you take more lessons. But there are a handful you can learn today since they are repeated in many beginning exercises you’ll play on a daily basis through your piano lessons.

The symbols we’ll get into today determine what key you should hit, how quickly or slowly you play that key, and how all the notes are normally arranged. Each one we’ll go over are easy to learn and simple to remember.

Commonly Used Music Symbols – Grand Staff

From beginning to professional pieces, music sheets contain grand staves that combines the notes to played on the treble clef (top) and bass clef (bottom) staffs. The notes used for each clef determines how many high and low pitch notes will be played in the piece. The image below shows the grand staff and describes each piece within:

Grand Staff with Music Symbols Explained

Grand Staff with Music Symbols Explained

 

Commonly Used Music Symbols - Whole Note

The whole note has a black oval shape with an angular, empty, and smaller oval in the middle. It represents a count of four beats, meaning you will hold the key the whole note is sitting on for four beats. Here is how it looks on the treble clef staff:

The Whole Note Sitting on the Treble Clef Staff

The Whole Note Sitting on the Treble Clef Staff

 

Commonly Used Music Symbols - Half Note

A half note holds half the count of a whole note. It will last for two beats and has a white, empty oval shape with a black outline around it, along with a long stem that comes up on its right side. A book that I mention in an article called Learn How To Play The Piano – Fingering Positions, displays an example of this note in the first bar. View its shape below:

Treble Clef Staff Lines with Half Notes

Treble Clef Staff Lines with Half Notes

 

Commonly Used Music Symbols - Quarter Note

There is a similarity in the shapes of the half and quarter note music symbols. They both have an oval shape with a stem on its right side but the quarter note is filled in with the color of black. It lasts for just one beat in a music measure:

Quarter Notes sitting on the Treble Clef

Quarter Notes sitting on the Treble Clef

 

Commonly Used Music Symbols - Eighth Note

An eighth note is shaped like the quarter note but has a curve or hooked flag coming from the top of its stem. When more than one eighth note is paired together, they are connected through a beam, replacing their flags. My post, Finger Exercises For Piano Lessons – Hanon-Schaum Book 1, mentions a book that uses this note quite a bit in the 24 lessons it provides. The eighth note lasts ⅛ of the time within a measure, which is an eighth of the time the whole note lasts:

Eighth Notes on the Treble Clef Staff

Eighth Notes on the Treble Clef Staff

 

Commonly Used Music Symbols - Sixteenth Note

The last note we’ll discuss in this article is the sixteenth note. Similar to the eighth note, it is 1/16th of the whole note, requiring you to play it faster when seen on the grand staff. The eighth and sixteenth music symbols have a similar shape except the sixteenth note has a second flag on its stem and has two beams when connected to another sixteenth note:

Representation of the Sixteenth Note

Representation of the Sixteenth Note

 

Conclusion

There are many other music symbols that you’ll run into during your piano lessons, but these twelve are the ones you’ll see most often. Practicing everyday will get you further along in your skills and knowledge of music theory.

What other notes have you seen or read about? Leave your comment below.

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Familiarizing yourself with your piano keyboard is a great way to get your mind and body in sync with it. You help yourself perform better and become one when you have a clear understanding of your keys and how they work. In this article, we’ll take a look at the keyboard and explain in it in detail.

How Does A Piano Keyboard Look & What Are The Key Names?

A piano keyboard has a total of 88 keys, containing a combination of black keys that repeat in patterns of 2′s and 3′s and white keys that run the full span of the keyboard. Each key produces a different sound as you play them one at a time, starting from the first white key on the left to the very last white key on the right.

88keys Piano Keyboard Thumbnail - Click for bigger view

88keys Piano Keyboard Thumbnail – Click for bigger view

The names for the keys come from the first 7 letters of the alphabet – A B C D E F G:

White Piano Keys Named

White Piano Keys Named

The black keys will oscillate between the name of the white key before or after it, using either a sharp or flat symbol:

Black Piano Key Names

Black Piano Key Names

 

What Position Should I Start On The Piano Keyboard?

Regardless of what song you’re playing, you always want to position yourself in front of the middle C key. The photo below shows its position:

Middle C Key Position

Middle C Key Position

 

This is the exact center of your piano and you want to be able to reach all the keys that are within the piece you’re playing. Sitting in the correct position is crucial not only for your piano lessons but for the performances you’ll be playing.

What Is An Octave & Where Is It On The Piano Keyboard?

An octave is a range of keys that start and end with the same key but at a higher or lower pitch. Besides each key having a letter name, the entire keyboard is broken up into two-alphanumeric characters that distinguishes the eight octaves, which is called scientific pitch notation. View the table below to see how the keys are named based on their position:

 

Octave Range

0

A0 B0

1

C1 D1 E1 F1 G1 A1 B1

2

C2 D2 E2 F2 G2 A2 B2

3

C3 D3 E3 F3 G3 A3 B3

4

C4 D4 E4 F4 G4 A4 B4

5

C5 D5 E5 F5 G5 A5 B5

6

C6 D6 E6 F6 G6 A6 B6

7

C7 D7 E7 F7 G7 A7 B7

8

C8

Let’s see how these octaves are laid out on the keyboard. The images below are broken up into sections with some repeating just so you’ll know where they leave off:

Left Side of Keyboard

Left Side of Keyboard

In the image above, you can see that octave 0 has the keys of A0 and B0. The black key, A#/Bb, is also included but we’re focusing on the natural range of each octave. The next two octaves, 1 and 2, contains the range of C1 D1 E1 F1 G1 A1 B1, and C2 D2 E2 F2 G2 A2 B2.

 

Left-Middle of Keyboard

Left-Middle of Keyboard

This image repeats the second octave from above because I wanted to give you an idea of where the third octave lies. The third octave shows the range of C3 D3 E3 F3 G3 A3 B3.

Middle of Keyboard

Middle of Keyboard

The fourth octave, C4 D4 E4 F4 G4 A4 B4, is the most commonly played octave because it sits right in the middle of your piano keyboard. C4 is middle C and as mentioned earlier in this post, this is where you want to place yourself when playing your songs and exercises.

Right-Middle of Keyboard

Right-Middle of Keyboard

Octave 5 is within the middle right of your keyboard and is one octave higher from middle C. Its keys consist of C5 D5 E5 F5 G5 A5 B5.

Right Side of Keyboard

Right Side of Keyboard

Octave 6 and 7 consist of C6 D6 E6 F6 G6 A6 B6 and C7 D7 E7 F7 G7 A7 B7 respectively. The last octave only has one key, C8 because it is the last key on the keyboard.

Conclusion

As you begin taking piano lessons, you’ll become more acquainted with your piano keyboard.

What questions do you have about the piano keyboard? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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My article entitled Beginning Piano Lessons – Learning The Treble Clef Staff, demonstrated how to read the top of two staves within a music sheet. It produces high notes that are played with your right hand.

The bottom staff, which contains the Bass Clef, tends to be learned after you’ve become comfortable with the higher pitch keys. Today, we will run through this staff and become acquainted with its use.

What is the Bass Clef?

The Bass Clef, also called the F clef because of the two dots surrounding the line on its staff, demonstrates the lower pitch keys on your piano keyboard. Sometimes coordinating your left hand with your right during your piano lessons, can be difficult since most people have problems playing well with their left hand. The best answer to this is to practice with your left hand as much as possible until you get the hang of it.

Take a look at the image below and see how the F clef looks and sits on its own staff:

 

Bass Clef Staff

Bass Clef Staff

What Piano Keys Represent The Bass Clef Lines?

The F clef lines represent the following keys on the piano keyboard – G B D F A:

 

Bass Clef with Named Staff Lines

F Clef with Named Staff Lines

Here’s the mnemonic I was taught for these keys:

Good Boys Do Fine Always

And these are the keys you’ll play:

Bass Clef Staff Keys

Bass Clef Staff Keys

 

What Piano Keys Does The Bass Clef Spaces Represent?

The spaces on the F clef represent the following letters – A C E G:

 

Bass Clef with Names for Staff Spaces

F Clef with Names for Staff Spaces

There wasn’t a mnemonic I was taught (or maybe I just don’t remember) for these letters so I just said to myself “ace” with the letter “g” at the end. Meh. It helped me but I’m sure you can think of something more helpful. Give me your suggestions below.

Here are the keys you’ll press for the spaces:

Bass Clef Staff Space Keys

Bass Clef Staff Space Keys

How Are Keys Represented Above & Below The Staff Lines

The keys to be played on this staff doesn’t stop with these five lines and four spaces. The range of the low pitches can go lower or a bit higher using ledger lines. They are short lines that demonstrate the notes you’ll play from the middle to far left of your piano keyboard:

Bass Clef Staff Lines Above Below

Bass Clef Staff Lines Above Below

 

To review the contents of this lesson, take a look at this video called How to Read the Bass Clef Staff.

Exercise

If you’ve absorbed the names of both the lines and spaces for the F Clef, click the following link to download some exercises that will test your memory: Bass Clef Exercises

Conclusion

Familiarizing yourself with the keys for the F clef for your left hand may be a challenge but with daily practice, you’ll know it like the back of your hand. HA!

Did you practice playing the keys from the staff above? Share your experience in the comments below.

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As I began to learn how to play the piano some years ago, it was much easier for me to play with my right hand being that I use it more often and struggled for awhile with my left. Whether you’re left or right handed, you’ll become a better piano player once you learn how to properly use each finger for the lessons you’ll begin and continue to learn.

In today’s lesson, you’ll learn how each finger works individually with the Treble and Bass Clefs and go through an excerpt of Schaum Fingerpower, Level One (Book) first exercise.

Learn How To Play The Piano – Right Hand Position

In my Treble Clef post, you learned that it produces mid-range to high pitches on your piano keyboard. The exercises in the books you’ll buy will display numbers from 1 – 5, telling you which finger you should use to play these high notes. Here is how the fingers on your right hand are numbered:

 

Right Hand Finger Positions

Right Hand Finger Positions

 

My thumb above is referenced as number 1, my index as number 2, middle finger as number 3, ring finger as number 4, and pinky as number 5. As you begin to learn how to play the piano, you’ll see the RH, Right Hand, in beginner lesson books, mainly for kids, but there are many that are adult-friendly, providing the necessary information for you to easily understand.

Learn How To Play The Piano – Left Hand Position

Your left hand will attune itself to the keys that are played in the bass clef staff and is also numbered but in a mirrored version of the right hand:

 

Left Hand Finger Positions

Left Hand Finger Positions

 

For our left hand in the picture above, the thumb is number 1, index finger number 2, middle finger 3, ring finger 4, and pinky 5. The letters LH will refer to your left hand in some music pieces but when you learn how to play the piano for advance pieces, the fingering positions and the LH & RH notations won’t appear. By then you should have a feel as to which fingers you should use to play certain notes.

Learn How To Play The Piano – Schaum Fingerpower Lesson One

Now that you know the purpose of each finger for both hands, let’s see how to use them in a sheet of music. The image below is a partial lesson from Schaum Fingerpower, Level One (Book)and it shows both the treble and bass clefs and the notes you will play. I added the additional content below the grand staff just so you’ll know what they mean. We’ll get into what each one does as you continue to learn how to play the piano in future posts:

 

John W. Schaum FingerPower Lesson 1 Excerpt

John W. Schaum FingerPower Lesson 1 Excerpt

 

The first two bars for both the treble and bass clefs have a number next to the half notes. These are the fingers that you’ll use to play them. Number 1 on the treble clef staff is your RH thumb and number 2 is your RH index finger. Number 5 on the bass clef staff is your LH pinky and number 4 is your LH ring finger.

This exercise, as well as the many you’ll see in your journey to learn how to play the piano, will guide your fingers in the proper manner. Take a look at the images below and place your fingers in the same positions on your piano keyboard:

Right Hand Finger Positions For Schaum Piece

Right Hand Finger Positions For Schaum Piece

 

Left Hand Fingering for Schaum Piece

Left Hand Fingering for Schaum Piece

Now with your hands in the proper position, try to play the notes within the music sheet above. To help you out, I’ve added three audio files of me playing this piece. The first one is of my right hand, the second is of my left, and the last is of the entire exercise. Click the links below to hear them individually (each file will open up in a new window):

Right Hand

John W. Schaum Right Hand Play of Exercise 1

Left Hand

John W. Schaum Left Hand Play of Exercise 1

Full Piece

John W. Schaum FingerPower Exercise 1 Book 1

Conclusion

Schaum Fingerpower, Level OneUnderstanding how your fingers work when playing your piano lessons is the first step to becoming a better pianist. There are more exercises like this in the Schaum Fingerpower, Level One (Book) and to get them, click the image to order your copy and begin building your piano repertoire.

Did you try the piece above? Were you able to figure out the pattern based on the excerpt? Share your experience in the comments below.

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