Semester : Basic Note
I am going to go through some basic note-reading concepts in these next two sections. This article wont teach you how to read music overnight, but it will give you enough information to get started. Unfortunately this is one of those areas where I feel a teacher will really help you, simply because these concepts are hard to understand at first. Persevere, and youll get it.
Dont worry if you dont understand all of this material for now. Its a lot to take in, and its something that youll need a while to fully understand. I remember it took me years to properly learn how to read sheet music If youre dedicated and you visit the material on a regular basis, it wont take you anywhere near as long.
Ultimately, in this section were going to go over the main, fundamental concepts of learning to read sheet music. These concepts include the staff, treble and bass clef, the note names in both clefs, note values, time signature/rhythm and key signatures. Thats a lot to take in, but theres very little else to learn about after you have these basic concepts down anything else is simply an expansion on what youve already learned.
What Happens At The First Lesson
The first piano lesson can seem a bit intimidating but there is really nothing to worry about.The initial focus is usually around getting comfortable with the teacher. The teacher will be assessing the students playing ability and discussing how the lessons and the practice will work.
First lessons usually involve an introduction to the piano and a walk around to understand the lay of the land. Naturally, there will also be discussions on any books and resources that will be needed.
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Practice Your Coordination Between Left And Right Hand
Another important study for anyone wishing to learn how to play the keyboard is the study of coordination between hands. Normally people only show motor skills with only one hand . However, for keyboard playing one must develop this skill for both hands. On many occasions, you will need to play a tune with your right hand while you play different notes or chords with your left hand. Sometimes there can even be variations in the rhythm that each of the hands can make!
For development of this technique, it is important to invest in high-quality materials. One of these materials is a book by Carl Czerny, which is widely used in thousands of music conservatories. This book brings a collection of exercises, ranging from starter levels through to really advanced levels. The exercises are for the development of coordination, speed, and passage of notes between fingers.
Please follow the keyboard lesson below if you want to start carrying out some of these exercises for coordination between the hands:
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Embrace The Mistakes If You Want To Progress
Mistakes are bound to happen no matter how well we prepare ourselves. The key here is to not be embarrassed, accept these mistakes, and move on towards learning how to do it in the right manner.
You shouldnt shy away from mistakes, especially in front of a music teacher, because your mistakes will reveal your weaknesses, weaknesses which you or your teacher will observe, and work towards repairing them.
You should identify these mistakes as soon as you can, since you may develop a bad habit of repeating them. Probably the best way to check up on your progress is to post a recording of you playing on a forum, and ask for opinions.
There is nothing to be embarrassed here since you prove your will to learn, and this is something that any true professional will acknowledge, and will try to help you in your endeavor.
Who Is This Guide For
We wrote this guide for piano beginners. Ten chapters guide you all the way from zero knowledge to the point where you are sitting with your hands at the keyboard with all the understanding and resources you need. This guide cannot replace learning and practicing, but we can show you how to get the most out of your time. So even if you already have some playing experience, you can still find something valuable here.
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What Books Should I Get
Once you have an instrument the next factor to look at is what books to work out of.There are a number of great piano methods designed to teach the basics of playing in a systematic fashion, building skills and knowledge as the student advances through the various levels. Many of these methods include a set of books within each level including pieces, techniques, and theory. Working from the set of books for each level helps to establish a strong basis of understanding of how music works and the techniques used, while learning pieces targeted to reinforce these musical aspects as you progress.Some of the most common method books House piano teachers use are:
- Faber and Faber Piano Adventures
- Alfred Piano Methods
- Bastien Piano Basics
Each instructor will have a method which they prefer for various reasons, so my recommendation is to talk with your instructor about which books they like to use. There are method books designed to target very young learners as well as older beginners so that there is a beginner method out there for everyone!
Why You Should Buy A Digital
Ive been through why an acoustic is usually a better choice than a digital. However, there are lots of circumstances where digital pianos are more appropriate. Lets go through some of them.
They take up less space
Digital pianos are much smaller than acoustic pianos they dont contain all the internal moving parts that acoustic pianos do. This means its easier to fit them into tight spaces and small apartments. You dont even need to buy a console digital piano if youre really tight for space, you can buy a keyboard-style digital piano and even put it on a table. For portability and flexibility, a digital piano wins hands down.
They are quieter
Again, if you live in an apartment, or live with other people who are sensitive to noise, a digital piano may be a better bet because you can adjust the volume, and even put headphones on as and when you require. An acoustic piano is at a fixed volume some instruments come with a practice pedal which mutes the sound, but overall the volume is much louder. If you can only practice at 11pm, youre much better off going for a digital piano.
They are cheaper
Theyre also cheaper to maintain a digital piano will never require any tuning or any other work done to it generally a digital piano is pretty low maintenance and as long as its looked after, can go many years without any kind of issue.
They are easier to move
They are easier to maintain
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Benefits Of Learning Piano When You Are Older
One of the wisest things my new, kind and often forgiving piano teacher told me was:
For older students, enthusiasm is more important than talent and enjoyment is more important than discipline.
I sort of thought that shed given up on me before wed even started!
Now, after playing for several years, I really understand what she was saying. There are some clear advantages in learning to play piano when you are older.
Utilizing Software And Apps
Learning keyboard skills through software and apps incorporates videos and other features, as the previous online learning methods will do, but they do so with a special twist.
Flowkeys user interface
With variations, these options teach basic keyboard concepts and enable you to play a wide range of popular tunes. Many of them do not teach comprehensive music theory, sight-reading, improvisational style, or sight-reading skills.
Nevertheless, these software alternatives stand out for two noteworthy reasons.
First, they provide dedicated software and apps across popular operating systems, including Windows , Mac OS , Android , and in some cases even Steam, making these learning resources available on your computers, tablets and phones.
These programs also feature plug-in connectivity enabling you to sync your electronic keyboard to your phone, tablet, or computer.
This enables your device to hear what you are playing and provide constructive, interactive feedback along the way, with corresponding, onscreen visuals such as finger hints, misplayed notes and hand assignments.
Online videos cannot provide this feature. Furthermore, some of these options even offer support for lighted keyboards, illuminating the keys to your song in real time.
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The Piano Teaches You Perseverance And Discipline
This is one I truly believe in. There is no pianist that has reached any level of competency without disciplined practice. Pianists must practice frequently and work hard constantly over the course of their learning journey. Coupled with this, you are very likely to experience hardship when playing the piano. You will get stuck on certain things, and you will ask your teacher to explain them and you will not understand.
The key to anything in life thats worth having is perseverance. In your career, in your relationships and in your playing. Being able to play the piano is, in my opinion, a skill worth having, but you wont get there without patience, perseverance and discipline. All skills that you will find exceptionally useful in all other areas of your life.
The Correct Finger Position And Playing Techniques
The correct posture and playing techniques will help you to learn the piano efficiently
How about a little quiz?
In the sheet music above you will find 16 bars, each missing one note.
Your task is to find out which note is missing in each bar and write down the corresponding letter.
Draw all the notes with the same name and position on a sheet yourself. See, for example, the graphic above with all the F notes.
Only draw those notes that lie between the lowest and highest note of the large scale. Please also make sure to insert the clefs treble clefs and bass clefs at the beginning. You are free to choose the time signature.
You have already seen the group of F notes, now we continue with the other notes:
Draw all G notes on the large scale
Draw all A notes on the large scale
Draw all B notes on the large scale
Draw all C notes on the large scale
Draw all D notes on the large scale
Draw all E notes on the large scale
As soon as you have found and grouped all the notes with the same note name, you continue with the topic of playing technique.
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Music Theory In A Nutshell
Sitting down at the keyboard is the fun part of playing the piano, but learning some music theory is also essential. It includes identifying common chords and triads, but theres no need to get ahead of yourself yet.
Lets start with the basics of reading music and a few terms to familiarize yourself with:
- Grand Staff Heres where you will read musical notes from. Within the grand staff, you have the treble and bass clef.
- Treble Clef Pianists generally play the treble clef with their right hand, which accounts for the higher-sounding keys.
- Bass Clef Pianists generally play the bass clef with their left hand, which accounts for the lower-sounding keys.
From bottom to top, the treble clef has the letters FACE between the lines and EGBDF on the lines, and the bass clef contains ACEG between and GBDFA on the lines.
Although the letters differ depending on whether you read treble or bass notes, they make more sense when you put them together. When you combine the notes between the lines and on the lines, they follow the musical alphabet in order.
Memorizing these notes takes time, so dont be too hard on yourself. Slow down your practice so you can hit each note with confidence.
Once you can read music, you can apply concepts that transcend piano.
Learning Basic Scales And Keys
So, now we have learned the notes, lets talk about scales. You might look at this and struggle to see the point, but theres a huge advantage given to pianists who have learned to play scales. They make actually playing pieces so much easier. Everyone should practice scales, or at least know how to play them.
A scale in music is just an organised sequence of notes. For example:
C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C and so on.
If you play these notes youll notice they make up the following pattern:
Whole step, whole step, half-step, whole step, whole step, whole step, half-step.
This is called amajor scale. This also teaches you about keys in music. Whatever note you begin this pattern on, as long as you follow the guide above, you will have played a major scale in that key. For example lets examine the C major scale.
These scales are tremendously useful because if you are playing a piece in a particular key, most of the notes will be made up of that scale. If you play a piece in C major, most of the notes in the piece will be made up of the C major scale. This can make things very easy for you if you understand the relationship between the notes, and the fingering, which well come onto later.
For example lets work out some more scales.
Lets take G major. Following this pattern:
Whole step, whole step, half-step, whole step, whole step, whole step, half-step.
Lets try to figure out the scale of G major.
And now D major.
See? Its pretty easy once you get the hang of it.
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Start To Play Piano With The Right Hand
This is just to get some more experience finding your way around the keyboard. It is much easier to learn how to play when you are familiar with the keys. Youll also be getting some finger dexterity practice along the way.
Number your fingers 1 through 5, 1 being the thumb and 5 being the pinky. Find the C thats in the middle of the keyboard and place your right thumb on it. Let the other fingers fall over the other notes naturally. Now you should have 1 on C, 2 on D, 3 on E, 4 on F and 5 on G.
Lift your wrist so that you could balance something on the back of it. Next, round your hand a little bit so that youre playing almost on the tips of your fingers, rather than with flat fingers. This makes it easier to play, and also makes it easier to change into hand positions that come later.
Now, to play your first song, play the following finger numbers. Whenever there is a dash line next to a number, hold the note a bit longer:
3 2 1 2 3 3 3 2 2 2 3 5 5 3 2 1 2 3 3 3 3 2 2 3 2 1
Pretty simple, right? Trust usit is!
Advantages Of Using Music Software
- Often designed for the complete beginner with a host of exercises to drive home the basics.
- Audio or video features allowing the player to instantly see or hear what they should be playing.
- Designed to build a solid musical foundation which can then be carried across to a chosen style of music.
- Allows the learner to benefit from the expertise and experience of a team of musicians who created the software.
- Often teaches the beginner to develop the skill of playing by ear, as well as following sheet music.
- Offers flexibilitythe speed and depth of progress are determined by the user.
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Pianos Are Expensive Why Buy One
So, you may be thinking that should you find a teacher, theyll have a piano ready for you to use. Why bother buying one when you can just use your teachers piano?
This might seem a little odd, but Ive actually come across a few parents and students with this idea, so I wanted to address it here first. Buying a piano or digital piano should be seen as an investment in your musical future, rather than an expense. Admittedly pianos are not cheap, but that is for good reason they are very complex pieces of kit with lots of moving parts that are expensive to make.
Its a sad fact that many students take up the piano, dont practice, and wonder why they arent getting anywhere. And how can you practice unless you have your own instrument? Deliberate, frequent practice is the ONLY way you will progress at any musical instrument, especially the piano. You cant go to a 30 minute piano lesson once per week and expect that youre going to improve if you dont touch a piano outside that time.
Theres a very limited amount of work your teacher can do during your lessons. Your lesson should be more of a guidance session your teacher reviews the work youve done in the week, helps you in the areas that youre stuck on and provides guidance on a way forward. Your lessons shouldnt be practice sessions.
Having said this, there are ways for you to get a piano for free. Ill address this later in this section.
Practice Playing Piano With Your Left Hand
To learn piano properly, you want to play with both hands. Place your left pinky on the C below middle C . You should have 5 on C, 4 on D, 3 on E, 2 on F, and 1 on G. Now try playing these finger numbers:
3 4 5 4 3 3 3 4 4 4 3 1 1 3 4 5 4 3 3 3 3 4 4 3 4 5
If you heard the same tune, you got it right!
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