piano lessons preparation Archive

Having proper posture when playing the piano will determine whether you have a productive performance or an exhausting one. If you’ve watched great piano players, you’ll notice that they tend to have a similar position when they play. This is not a coincidence. There are four positions that you should place yourself in before playing your first note and we’ll go through each one in this article.

Proper Posture Check Item #1 – C Position

 

Proper Posture - Middle C Key

Proper Posture – Middle C Key

In my post entitled Understanding The Piano Keyboard For Your Piano Lessons, I discussed that middle C is the center of a piano and it’s important that you seat yourself directly in front of it in order to get the full reach of the 88 keys in front of you. Before you get comfortable on your bench or chair, make certain you’re aligned with the middle C key by adjusting your seat squarely in front of your piano and sitting down in front of the key.

Proper Posture Check Item #2 – Sitting Position

 

Proper Posture - Straight Back

Proper Posture – Straight Back

As a child, your mom or school teacher probably told you to always “sit up straight”. When it comes to learning how to play the piano, it’s important to have a straight back to play more effectively. You will need to lean slightly into the piano keyboard as you begin to play longer pieces of music but remember to not hunch your back or shoulders. Being in a comfortable position helps you play better.

Proper Posture Check Item #3 – Feet Position

Proper Posture - Foot Position

Proper Posture – Foot Position

Your fingers aren’t the only parts of your body that will make music come out of your piano. If you’re using a piano or an electric piano, at the base of it will be three pedals. The pedal on the right is the most commonly used pedal called sustain, which will make the sound of a key that’s been pressed sustain or last longer.

With your back in its proper position, make sure your feet are flat on the floor with your right foot slightly ahead of your left, ready to step on the sustain pedal if necessary.

 

Proper Posture Check Item #4 – Hand Positions

Proper Posture - Hand Positions

Proper Posture – Hand Positions

The last check item to put in place, hand positions, has two parts. The first deals with your fingernails. Pianists have very short fingernails and I remember one of my piano teachers constantly telling me to cut my nails, which irritated me some because I had them as low as possible but he could still hear them as I played. Keeping your nails short is important so your audience won’t have their musical experience interrupted by the sound of nails tapping throughout the piece.

The second task at hand (yeah, it was intended), is to have your fingers in a curved position with the very tips touching the keys. Curving your fingers into an almost ball-like position, will place them close to both black and white keys in your performance and prevent your nails from touching them. This will give you the reach needed to play the finger exercises you’ll be learning for your lessons.

 

Conclusion

Proper posture while taking your piano lessons will make the time you spend practicing and playing more productive. You’ll position yourself to play better and have an easier time learning your notes.

What other items would you want to check off on your list before playing the piano? Leave your comment below.

Share This Post With Your Friends

Be the first to comment

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.

Share This Post With Your Friends

 

Be the first to comment

After spending time choosing the right piano for your lessons, you’re now in the position to begin learning how to play the piano. Before you can begin to do that, you must first learn how to read the notes within a music sheet.

When you open a music book the first thing you’ll see is the grand staff, a combination of the two staves that play high and low notes. In this article, we’ll walk through the structure of the Treble Clef, the top staff, since it’s the first staff every beginning piano student learns.

What is the Treble Clef?

The Treble Clef, also known as the G Clef because of its shape, represents the middle to high pitch notes that are played on the right side of the piano keyboard and are normally played with your right hand. It sits to the far right on a set of 5 lines that are called a staff. Below is an example of the clef and its staff:

 

treble clef on a staff measure - absorbing piano lessons

Treble Clef Symbol on its own staff

What Piano Keys Does The Treble Clef Lines Represent?

The lines within the staff represent the keys to be played on the piano and are made up of the following letters (from bottom to top): E G B D F. See how they sit in the picture below:

 

Treble Clef - Names of Staff Lines

Treble Clef – Names of Staff Lines

When I took piano lessons as a kid, I was taught this mnemonic to help memorize the staff lines:

Every Good Boy Does Fine

These letters are also the name of the keys you’ll hit on your keyboard. Look at where they are positioned in the following image:

Treble Clef Staff Line Keys

Treble Clef Staff Line Keys

The middle C is in reference to the center of your piano keyboard. This is where you want to sit when you practice your piano lessons and play your advance songs.

What Piano Keys Does The Treble Clef Spaces Represent?

Between the lines of the staff are spaces that have the letters F A C E:

 

Treble Clef with Staff Space Names

Treble Clef with Staff Space Names

Since these keys spell out the word F A C E, it wasn’t hard for me to remember this and was able to recognize it immediately when I looked at the staff. Here are the keys you’ll hit on your keyboard:

Treble Clef Space Keys

Treble Clef Space Keys

How Are Keys Represented Above & Below The Staff Lines?

The notes on a G clef can go a little low and a lot higher and are displayed on its staff using ledger lines. These lines have a smaller length than a regular staff line but still shows the key to be played on a piano keyboard:

 

Treble Clef Ledger Lines

Treble Clef Ledger Lines

Exercise

Think you have a grasp of the Treble Clef? Click the following link to download some exercises that will test your skills: Treble Clef Exercises

Conclusion

Your first set of piano lessons will start by learning the treble clef and its notes. It produces middle to high notes and displays them outside of its staff range.

What are some other mnemonics you can think of for the keys above? Share your thoughts in the Comments below.

Share This Post With Your Friends

 

Be the first to comment