Basic Steps to Take in Learning Piano

Every aspiring pianist who has never attended a music class or play the instrument should take time in knowing the basic steps to start learning to play piano. There are many things that beginners need to learn and remember while trying to acquire music knowledge and skills. Check out the details below to see the things that beginners should learn about.

Piano Lesson Options

Books. Among the most popular piano books are Bastien and Alfred and these two books are ideal for beginners. The methods start with the basic lessons and then progress to higher levels. There are many affordable books available that aspiring pianists can take advantage of. One of the best things about books is that it offers easy-to-follow methods.

Websites. The internet is the most popular source of a wide variety of information nowadays. Aspiring pianists can browse and check out websites that offer lessons. There are websites that offer free music information, lessons and exercises while others require fees for lessons.

Videos. Youtube is one of the best online sources for piano tutorials. There is an impressive number of videos that can teach aspiring artists learn how to play on their own. One of the best advantages in using videos is that players can pause and rewind as often as they need to and they can choose from an extensive range of lessons.

Classes. Many people who take piano class find it to be the most effective way in learning how to play the instrument properly. Private music teachers know exactly what students need to learn or where they should start learning. These professionals can help correct mistakes, know what areas need special attention, and cover all aspects of piano playing. Good music tutors can significantly contribute to the success of students.

piano bench

Acquire a Piano and Accessories

There is a wide variety of piano options available in the market and aspiring pianists only need to choose the right one. There are three types of piano namely the vertical, grand and keyboard. It is imperative that Accessories like a bench and it is best to choose an adjustable one. It is very important that the height of the bench can encourage proper posture. It is important to note that not all benches are made by the same manufacturer, and what is ideal to one player may be inapplicable for others.

One of the tips in choosing a bench is to find one that is suitable for the type of piano being used. Those who consider appearance to be relevant, can choose an artist bench. Other factors to consider in choosing a bench is the seating, color, space, cost and style.

Proper Posture and Hand Position

Proper Posture. This is essential in playing the instrument. The first thing to do is make sure that the bench is positioned at the right height and distance for the player’s size. The next step is to avoid slouching and instead practice keeping the back upright and straight. The neck should also be kept upright without moving it to any direction. Another important thing to remember is to vertically align the head without moving it from side-to-side.

Players can rest their foot on the pedals especially if they are necessary to play the song. The other leg should also form a 90 degree to 120 degree angle. Both legs should be positioned in such a way that they are over the front of the bench.

Hand Position. One of the best ways in practicing proper hand positioning while playing the instrument is to simply memorize the finger numbering system. In piano playing, the fingers are usually numbered as it makes it easier to note down finger placement on the sheet music. The following are the numbering system that players can refer to:

Thumb – Number 1
Index – Number 2
Middle – Number 3
Ring – Number 4
Pinky – Number 5

The next step is to practice positioning the hands upright and in a 45 degree angle using the fingers, palm and wrist. It is also important to position the fingers by pointing them straight down at the keys. The wrists should also be kept above the keys to avoid making extra and unnecessary sounds. It is also important to keep the arms horizontally in place and controlled. Bear in mind that there are songs that require players to move the keys up and down, and this can require the arms to move too.

child playing piano

Be Familiar with Your Notes

Learn to Read. Learning how to read notes doesn’t have to be challenging. Players need to first know the difference in between bass clef and treble, such as the former being mid to high and the latter being mid to low range of notes. It is also necessary to know what letters correspond to each note. The next step is to determine the right time to play black notes and when a note is sharp or flat. There are many things that players need to learn such as understanding the manner that notes represent time and reading a time signature.

Learn About Chords. Aspiring pianists should also learn many chords and this can be done by purchasing a piano chord book. There are also websites online that offer chord dictionaries without requiring any fee. It is important to remember those who know more chords also have more capacity to play a wide variety of songs. In addition to using websites, they should also use a fake book as it contains a huge collection of songs with melody line, lyrics and chord symbols. It is best that beginners try to learn two to three chords every week to see some dramatic improvements in their performance.

Sheet Music. Aspiring pianists can also take advantage of books that contain easy piano songs. These books can be obtained at book stores or websites. They can start with piano classics such as “Fur Elise” until they get accustomed to the keyboard.

Getting Familiar with the Piano Keys

It is imperative that aspiring pianists should learn about the names of notes and basics of octaves as well as how the black and white keys are positioned. Doing this will help them differentiate one key from another and start playing the instrument.

The first step is to study the grouping or black keys. Bear in mind that they are positioned in groups of two and three alternately. Each group is also separated by two white keys. Another thing to learn is octave groupings. A new octave that has five black keys and seven white keys contains a pattern of two and three groups of black keys. A full keyboard that has 88 keys has a first octave that begins with the white key on the leftmost part of the instrument and it is normally called an A. The white key notes are termed in an alphabetical order from A to G repeatedly.

black and white keys

The black keys have names and they correspond to the adjacent pitches such as the right of the white key is called sharp notes while the left is flat notes. For instance, there is a black key in the middle of D and E and it is known as E flat or D sharp.

Learning piano notes will also require knowing where the middle C is. The C can be found on the left of every two black key, which is also located in the middle of the keyboard. Beginners are required to learn about middle C because piano music for beginners often use this key. After knowing the keys, the next step is to label them with their note name. Beginners can use a masking tape and marker in labeling. It is also advisable that beginners will try to practice playing without looking at the labels. Doing this will speed up their progress and help them locate keys quickly. Check out the details below to learn more about notes:

Half Steps. This refers to moving a note either to the left (down) or right (up). It also have immediate adjacent keys.

Whole Steps. This refers to two half steps or semi-tones that are going to a similar direction and are added together to create a whole step. In other words, it is two notes to the left (down) or right (up).
Sharps. Sharping a note means moving one step right and upward.

Flats. Flatting a note means moving a half step to the left and downwards.
Octave. The simplest scale on the piano is the C as it only has white notes and covers from Middle C to the next C.

Timing and Connection of Music Note

piano notes

The music notes and timing are among the basic things that beginners should learn about. It is important to remember that every note actually indicates the number of count it should have as well as the duration that the key should be down. There are only three notes being used in the music sheet but there are actually more. Beginners can start learning what these notes are and refer to the designated counts provided below:

Whole note – Four beats (1 and -2 and -3 and -4 and)
Half note – Two beats (1 and 2 and)
Quarter note – One beat (1 and)

After knowing the timing, the next step is to learn about connections. Beginners need to remember that there are three E notes in the music sheet’s first measure, which is composed of a half note and two quarter notes.

Practice Playing

Don’t Practice for Too Long. It is important to remember that there are people who can concentrate for a long period while others lose their focus after a few hours. Aspiring pianists should understand this by heart and find their own limitations. They need to make sure that they are able to concentrate while practicing piano. When they start losing their focus, they need to have a break, stop and go for a walk. Having an hour of practice for every session and 4 to 5 sessions will suffice.

Stick to the Schedule. Some of the mistakes that people make is practicing longer than they normally do. This is not very advisable because there is a chance that they will tire themselves too much, won’t be able to concentrate and sacrifice thir energy that could be useful for the next practice. Beginners need to set a particular time of the day, achieve their goal and schedule another practice in the following day.

Constant Exercise. Many experienced piano teachers believe that one of the best ways to learn piano is to keep on practicing with or without the piano. There are exercises that are designed to enhance finger independence and beginners need to use them. When the finger is trying to lift up while it is holding down a key, it is best to avoid counteracting it by pressing down too hard. To resolve this, beginners can raise and lower the wrist very slowly while doing the exercise.

Prepare a New Piece. Certain factors such as how beginners quickly absorb information, the skill levels in sight-reading, or their knowledge level can significantly affect their progress in learning how to play a piece of music quickly. However, it won’t affect “how well” they learn a piece. Beginners can practice under tempo when starting to learn a piece until they become familiar with all the notes. They also need to make sure that they are not tempted to play through a tempo straight away to avoid doing it incorrectly.

Finishing and Memorizing a Piece. One of the things to remember in practicing is to spend time in polishing. Beginners need to practice even if their improvements are very slow. However, when they start playing a piece fairly well, it is best that they avoid playing it repeatedly in the same way. Doing this will prevent them from being too comfortable, losing their concentration, getting bored and becoming inflexible. Flexibility is essential because it allows aspiring artists to adjust their performance and cope with varying conditions such as different piece or piano.

Today, the number of aspiring pianist has continually been increasing. Following these steps can significantly help them start learning on the right track. They will be able to get ready to attend a music academy or in teaching themselves with lessons on their own.