Keyboard Lessons To Start Out
Let’s start our keyboard lessons with the most basic of basics, namely finding the locations of the different notes on the keyboard.
When you are reading this, you should be seated at your piano or keyboard so that you can see what I am talking about. Studying something without that something being available so that you can see or touch it can be very hard on a student.
Almost all of these beginning piano lessons/drills will require that you be seated at the piano.
Let’s start by locating the groups of black keys on the keyboard. There are 7 Groups of 2 keys each. Play these with your index and middle finger, going up and down the keyboard a few times.
There are also 7 Groups of 3 keys each. Play these with your index, middle and ring fingers, up and down the keyboard a few times. You’ll notice that there is one lone black key down at the bottom of the keyboard, this is the upper 1/3 of a Group of 3.
Now, starting with the very bottom white key on the keyboard, play it and say “A”. Go to the next white key, play it and say “B”.Go to the next white key, play it and say “C”.Go to the next white key, play it and say “D”.Go to the next white key, play it and say “E”.Go to the next white key, play it and say “F”.Go to the next white key, play it and say “G”.Go to the next white key, play it and say “A”.
You will notice that you have played 8 keys and that the 8th key is referred to by the same note name as the first. This span of eight notes in music is referred to as an “octave” (octo=eight for those of you who are math inclined).
About a thousand years ago some music theorists decided that the human ear perceived two notes that are an octave apart as the same pitch. This is why the note names repeat up and down the keyboard.
Now repeat the above step and note where each of the notes are in relation to the black keys. Chopin once said something to the effect that “the black keys are the islands, the white keys are the ocean”. This is just a poetic way of saying that the black keys are landmarks that one can use to find his/her way around the white keys.
Now start at the very first A (lowest) and play the white keys up to the second A.
Now start at the second A and play the white keys up to the third A.
Now start at the third A and play the white keys up to the fourth A.
Now start at the fourth A and play the white keys up to the fifth A.
Now start at the fifth A and play the white keys up to the sixth A.
Now start at the sixth A and play the white keys up to the seventh A.
Now start at the seventh A and play the white keys up to the eighth A.
Now play the last two keys which are a “B” and a “C”.
You will now see that the piano has a little more than 7 “octaves” of notes. This is referred to as the “range” or”compass” of any instrument.
Now, using the black keys as guideposts, do the following:
Find all the “C”s on the keyboard. Find all the “D”s on the keyboard. Find all the “E”s on the keyboard. Find all the “F”s on the keyboard. Find all the “G”s on the keyboard. Find all the “A”s on the keyboard. Find all the “B”s on the keyboard.
If you have any trouble with this step, back up and repeat the earlier steps paying special attention to the relationship between the white and black keys.
Now start at the bottom “A”, play and say the note name of each white key as you go all the way up the keyboard to high “C”.If by the time you hit the highest note you are saying something other than “C” you missed one or added one. Do this until you are comfortable with it and can do it easily and fluently.
Now start at the top “C”, and repeat the above going down the keyboard. (“Up” equals to your right, “down” equals to your left.)
Now do both of the above with your eyes closed, until it is easy and fluent. Once you have mastered this you’re well on your way to the next stages in your keyboard lessons. We have already looked at how to learn Piano Chords and scales here.
Piano Keyboard Sticker Method
One of the easiest methods to assist is piano key stickers. These are removable but are ideal for all ages.