Imagine you are on a stage and playing the piano like Mozart and the mouths of your audience are all agape, waiting for the next series of notes you’re going to play. I guess you will be so much delighted if that is true. Yet, even if it is not true, you should remember that nothing is impossible in this life. If you can put in the needed time and effort to become a good pianist, you can indeed become one. Moreover, becoming a great pianist starts with learning the basics of piano playing.
Learning to play the piano also requires discipline. You need to spend time and exert effort day in and day out to master the fingering of keys. Sometimes you need to spend lonely nights on your keyboards, trying to learn the intricate arrangement of notes of a musical piece. Yet, this should not daunt you from learning the piano. Instead, you need to take it as a challenge; for once, you’ve learned the basics of piano playing, everything else becomes a bit easy afterward.
Besides constantly inspiring yourself to enhance your playing skill, you also need to have a good and workable keyboard without which you can’t even practice. If you cannot afford to buy an acoustic piano, you could start with a digital piano that nearly simulates the acoustic piano keys.
Basic Techniques to Learn How to Play the Keyboard
Once you’ve availed yourself of a working keyboard, you’re good to go in learning the basics of keyboard playing. At the onset, however, you should learn the following basic techniques on how to play the keyboard:
1) Tinker with the Keyboard’s Essential Features
Keyboards come in a wide variety, some of which have almost the same features, while others have more advanced features. As someone aiming to master the keyboard, you should first try to learn the essential functions of the keyboards you are toying with. If your keyboard, for example, is the Yamaha YPT-240, you can be sure that it is a great keyboard for beginners. With its 61 keys that could sound naturally, you can also check its other available sounds and effects.
Don’tDon’t be gun-shy when tinkering with the different functionalities of your keyboard. Try to learn its essential features and controls. Make your keyboard a part of your being by making yourself comfortable in using it. Try to figure out how you can best maximize the use of your keyboard to learn as quickly as possible.
If you can connect it with your iPhones or computer, do it so that you can access a wide range of musical pieces to play with. You should also master its basic functions like the EQ function and its stereo function to produce nuances in sound.
Check for its built-in metronomes as well as its record and playback functions. You can also check for its accompaniment tracks as well as its visual aids for scales and chords. Mastering how to toy with these features will facilitate the learning process for you.
2) Learn the Correct Posture and Positions of Fingers and Hands
At the onset of your piano tutorials, the first thing your tutor would orient you about is the proper posture of your body when playing the keyboard. So, don’t be shocked if you would first learn about how to sit on the keyboard bench. The keyboard bench doesn’t have back support nor height adjustment knobs. So, you need to sport the right posture and make it a habit to assume that posture most of the time when playing the keyboard.
So, before even trying to tinker with the keys of the keyboard, try to shop around for the perfect bench. Once you’ve got one, your tutor will teach you how to position your legs and knees under the keyboard. Your tutor will also tell you to keep your feet grounded. You can find the most comfortable position for your legs by adjusting the bench as needed.
Afterward, your tutor will teach you how to position your hands on the keyboard. Position your fingers on the white keys while keeping your hands off the keyboard. Relax your hands and position your fingertips slightly downward. Maintain your arms and forearms at a right angle. Your body should not be tense enough, and you should move your body forward, using only half part of the bench.
3) Learn the Different Notes
Whether you are using an acoustic piano or digital piano, you will find the same notes on the keys. Each key represents a certain musical note and a unique pitch. Seven notes comprise the musical alphabet. These notes are A, B, C. D. E, F, and G or do-re-mi-fa-sol-la-si. As a beginner, it would be helpful if you would mark each key with its corresponding note. In this way, you will easily remember each note on the keyboard.
Master the position of the notes on the keyboard. As you practice more often, the position of each note will sink into your subconscious mind, and it will become second nature to you to locate the notes. The learning and memorizing of these notes and their placements are the most basic learning process you need to imbibe before you can move on to higher learning processes.
4) Understand the White Keys
After gaining some rudimentary knowledge about the notes, you will also come to learn about the white keys of the keyboard. The white keys represent whole notes without any accident. Accidentals are sharps and flats. These white keys represent the seven natural notes (C, D, E, F, G, A, B). The sequence of notes above belongs to the Key of C.
The Key of C consists of the above-mentioned notes. If you want to know which notes are played in any given song, you can check out its key. So, if you have a song in the Key of C, then you would get an idea that all the notes that you would play belong to the Key of C.
5) Understand the Black Keys
The black keys indicate sharps and flats. You may find them hard to understand at the onset because they could also be whole notes, depending on which Key you are using. In western music, however, two notes do not have flats or sharps. These notes are the E and the B notes. Hence, you will see no black key before and after these two notes.
A cursory look at the keyboard will let you notice two black keys adjacent to each other. These keys correspond to the C# and D#. You will also notice a series of 3 black keys that correspond to F#, G# as well as A#. As you further learn about notes, you will also learn the A major and find its triad at A, C#, and E. It is a good thing, however, that you can learn many songs that do not entail you to use black keys that much.
6) Practice the Notes
You may play the piano without learning to read notes. As long as you know the right position of the chords on the piano keyboard, you can play a song. However, if you want to advance in your learning further, you should learn how to read music.
It will be of great help if you learn various notations for this will make reading notes easy. At first, your tutor, of course, will get you acquainted with the different notes like whole notes, half notes, quarter notes, eighth notes, and so on. Each of these is differentiated from each others, and memorizing them will help you understand their differences.
The whole note, for example, is represented by an empty circle and is played using four beats. A half note, on the other hand, is represented by an empty circle marked by an upward line on its right side, and it is played using two beats. A quarter note, however, is like the half note, but with a filled-in circle, and is played using a beat.
You can practice by playing a whole note like the C whole note. You can press it down, for example, and count four beats before releasing it. Then, you can practice with half notes and quarter notes. As you get familiar with these different beats, you can transition to more complicated music lessons.
7) Practice the Major Scales
The major scale, in Western Music, is often utilized. It consists of seven notes. The eighth note that follows the seventh note is a duplicate of the first note but with a twice faster frequency. The easiest and simplest major scale is the C major. It does not have sharps and flats. As such, it is easy to write.
Learning the C major lets you tinker with chords and melodies as well as with arpeggios. It is played starting with the C note. Afterward, you play the succeeding key until you reach the seventh key, which is the B. Once you’ve completed playing each key of the C major, you are done with the C Major scale.
You should familiarize yourself with the C Major scale. Practice it as often as possible until you’ve mastered the finger placement and the transition from one key to another. Aim to develop good natural flow. It may be difficult at the onset, but once you get the hang of it, you can surely perfect it.
8) Learn and Master the Chords
When you play the C Major Scale, you are simply dealing with individual notes at a time. But as you learn the different chords, you learn how to play various notes at the same time to produce a cohesive musical sound. If playing the C Major Scale requires several practices, learning the chords require constant practice. When you play a chord, you press on the selected white and black keys at one time. So, it is more complicated than playing a single note. You should memorize the different chords one at a time.
Some Major chords are easy to learn, and once you’ve learned them, you can play a lot of simple songs without flinching. The basic chords more often consist of three notes strung together in a chord. The C chord, for example, has three notes. So, I would suggest that you start learning it first.
To play the C chord, you will use your thumb, index, and pinky fingers. Start with your right thumb pressing the C note, and the index finger pressing the E note. Then, press the G note using your pinky finger. To sound the C chord, you should press the three notes at the same time.
Now try to learn the D chord and the A Major chord likewise. Then, try to transition from C Major Chord to D Major, then, to A Major. As you get the facility of transitioning from one chord to another, you are surely on your way to learning how to play the piano.
At the onset, your progress in your study of the piano may be slow. You may find memorizing the notes and chords a bit boring. Yet, as you further progress and master scales and chords, you would begin to appreciate your hard work and effort. You should remember that nothing substantial is achieved without sacrifice. Hence, as a beginner in piano playing, you should have already acquired the habit of delaying gratification for future satisfaction. This is because most of the time, you need to forgo some good times to indulge in lonely practices to enhance your piano playing skills.