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The Basics of Playing Piano!
Many people likely remember their childhoods of being forced to learn to play the piano, and highly dislike it. Some of these may decide to give learning another try, just for the thrill of learning a musical instrument. Even though it’s hard at first, with a basic understanding playing the piano can become second nature with time and practice.
All the black and white keys may be scary when you first sit down at the piano, but don’t worry – most of them won’t be used at first.
The hammer that each piano key is connected to makes its sound by hitting a string when you press a key, and each key has its own note. On the left-hand part of the keyboard, the strings are longer, and thus the notes are lower in pitch. When you go along the keys to the right, the notes get higher, and to play piano you have to know where your hands need to be. The first thing to know is where you need to have your hands placed, and to understand this you need to know the basics of music notation.
There are 88 keys on a piano, which is a wide range of notes. Middle C is the most basic note you’ll start with, and the brand name of the piano is usually near this middle C. There are seven notes starting with A and going to G, then back to A to repeat the cycle.
There’s a rather noticeable pattern of black keys – three black keys alternating with white, two adjacent white keys, then two black keys alternating with white, then two more adjacent white keys, after which the cycle repeats. The white keys are your natural notes – A, B, C, D, E, F and G. On the other hand, the black keys are the tones in between those natural notes. With the exceptions of B to C or from E to F, there’s going to be an accidental between every pair of two notes. The progression goes, for example, A, A sharp/B flat, B, C, C sharp, D, D sharp/E flat, E, F, F sharp, G, G sharp. There is no B sharp or E sharp because those two notes are actually C and F, respectively.
So, to find C on a piano keyboard, look for the white key that’s set just to the left of two black keys. First, you’ll learn a basic scale – the “do re me fa so la ti do” sequence that you’ve likely heard is a scale, or a progression of notes from one octave to the next.
To place your hands on the keys right, curl your fingers and move your thumbs inward so the nails are facing one other. You can play between the black keys this way, as well as using the thumb to strike notes that you can’t get to with your other fingers. If you leave your thumb at its natural position, you may end up playing notes next to the ones you’re trying to play.
Now, to play a simple C scale, starting with your left middle finger, play C, then D with the left index and E with the thumb. Then, you reach over the thumb with the middle finger and repeat for the next three notes, and again for the last two. Going back down the scale is the mirror image of this technique. If you opt to play with the right hand, start with the thumb and reach under the middle finger to continue up the scale