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Piano Playing Fundamentals

If you want to learn to play piano, there are many ways to do it, by looking for a piano teacher, finding a piano DVD or online piano lessons course, or teaching yourself piano by learning by ear. Any way you choose to learn to play piano will have a generally set path for your learning, and this would apply for any instrument. Some of what you’ll need to learn are proper hand positions, posture, musical theory, the note alphabet and how scales and chords work. These are all necessary to any music education, especially the piano. The piano is an exacting instrument, given how it’s built, so gaining skill in playing it takes a while.

When you first start learning to play piano, the keys may look confusing. They’re simple to learn though, if hard to master. The white keys are normal notes, and the black keys are accidentals in between the normal notes. Unless a piece calls for it, you won’t use the black keys a lot. You first need to become comfortable with the piano before you really start to learn the methods of playing. Proper posture should be learned first; lean slightly into the piano. Also you should learn proper hand positioning, ie all muscles relaxed and your fingers somewhat curled in. Move your thumbs inward toward the palm so they’ll line up with the rest of your fingers, so you can play notes with your thumb without having to worry about striking nearby keys.

A few basic scales are next on your learning agenda. Starting on a white key immediately before two black ones, play along the white keys with your right thumb, right index, and right middle finger. The next five notes of the scale are the same and you’ll play back down them in a mirror image of this progression. Move your thumb underneath your middle finger when you transition your hand, or ‘walk’ along the keyboard.

You can easily start playing a scale one-handed this way. Learning how to play the piano is best done at first without sheet music, so try learning TV show themes. If you know one note, you can figure out the rest of the notes by working your way along the keyboard slowly to get to the proper intervals. Learning by ear is often done this way.

First, to learn a song by ear, play its first note as middle C, even though it may or may not be that actual note. That doesn’t matter for right now, you’re mainly focused on getting proper intervals. Like said above, go with trial and error to learn the song, and when you’ve got it learned you can transpose it to its proper key.

Of course, you’ll learn sheet music later on in your musical education. It gets to be almost second nature even if it’s a little frightening at first. Once you start learning how to read sheet music, you’re getting better at playing the piano, and then you have to learn to read and play at the same time, or sight-read.