Often times people interested in learning to play the piano are deterred before they even get started because of the misconceptions that it will take a long time or the process will be boring. Whether you are learning how to play on a portable keyboard or a baby grand piano, there are several ways in which you can go about learning. Some people will teach themselves to play by ear while others may hire an instructor. Whatever you choose to do, these simple steps will help you in your endeavor in becoming a great pianist.
1. Familiarize yourself with the music notes. Before you know how to play piano you have to start by learning the basic fundamentals of music. Learning music notes may seem like you have just been asked to learn a foreign language but after you get the hang of it, it will be like you just learned the alphabet. A good way to think of music notes is to imagine that they are the alphabet. After much practice, you will be able to recite the notes like you can with the alphabet.
There are seven natural keys on a keyboard. They are C-D-E-F-G-A-B. In addition, there are five accidental notes per octave which can be either sharp or flat. The left hand is known as your bass clef and the right hand staff is known as the treble clef.
2. Learn and get comfortable with the piano keys. No matter what type of piano you are learning to play on, the keys are going to be the same. There are 88 keys on a piano. White keys are known as naturals as they make a natural note when pressed and black keys are known as accidents as they make sharp or flat notes when pressed. Finger placement is essential to learning how to play the piano. The best way to get used to finger placement on any keyboard is to purchase a beginner’s piano book. In the book, the fingers are numbered. For example, your thumb will be number one and your pinky is number five. The book will show you how to play each note by which number and finger to use. This is the simplest way to memorize the keys and get used to playing.
If you do not want to purchase a piano book, you can teach yourself about the keys by doing some research and simple memorization. The black keys will play the sharp (#) notes. The flat (b) notes will appear in groupings of 2 or 3 and will also be played by the black keys. To get started, find the set of five black keys in the center of your piano. There should be a group of 3 keys together and another group of 2 keys together. The white key to the left of the grouping of two black keys is known as the Middle C. Go ahead and place your right thumb on to the Middle C key. Now, if you proceed to move up and down the length of the piano, you will the key to the left of any set of two black keys is a C. The best way to learn this is to study the notes on a music sheet and match them up to your piano keys.
3. Starting to play. After you have learned the musical alphabet and have familiarized yourself with the piano keys, you can then begin to play. The best way to begin is to start out by playing do-re-mi or playing scales. To do this, be sure that you are familiar and comfortable with the notes and sounds of each scale. The best way to do this is to play music while you read along with your piano book. This will help you learn where the notes are located as well as what they sound like. When you are first starting out, play the scales one hand at a time. Once you have mastered this, then try playing together. After a while these notes and sounds will be committed to memory and become second nature.
4. Music Notes and timing. Sometimes people find that by playing on a good digital piano that they are able to learn quicker because of the LED screen. The ability to see what you are playing as well as the song lyrics at the same time is a method that is used to help people memorize notes and sounds and how they correspond with a song. If you do not have a digital piano, an instructional book can be helpful as well.
Now that you have learned the notes, sounds, and are comfortable with the keys, you can begin to play. Find an instructional book or a digital keyboard with some of your favorite preloaded songs. You will find that the learning process will be more enjoyable if you like the songs you are playing. Start out by practicing your favorite easy song first. A good song to start out with is Jingle Bells. One you have memorized the song and where the notes are, you can then move on to harder songs. The easiest way to begin is by starting with C Major and then slowly work your way through the minor keys. Practice this repeatedly until you feel comfortable enough to play it with your eyes closed.
Finally, when you are learning new music, start out by playing the melody and bass lines for each hand separately and on their own. When you feel more comfortable with the song, practice with both hands.
5. Practice. Practice makes perfect. It is unrealistic to think that you can pick up learning to play the piano and not practice what you have learned. As with anything, the more you practice, the better you will be and the more confidence you will have in your ability to play well. When first starting out, many instructors recommend that you practice playing the piano an hour a day so that you can get very comfortable with keys and hand placement. After you have mastered this and are able to read sheet music well, you will still be encouraged to practice so that you can continue to improve.