We are told to develop hobbies throughout our lives to ‘make us a more rounded person.’ So we try out many different things- From horseriding to sewing, we all try to pick something up. For many people, it’s an instrument, and the most popular one is the piano.
Admittedly some people don’t pick it up till later in life. Mainly this is because when they were younger, they weren’t interested. Whatever age you try to learn piano, it will always be difficult if you are self-taught rather than a qualified teacher.
Today, I will provide you with tips and tricks to make learning the piano a piece of cake!
Learn the notes and Keys on your Piano
The first thing I would suggest is to try and learn the notes on the piano. And I don’t mean learn every note straight away as you can put stickers on the piano. However, understanding the general placement of where those stickers go helps. Plus, you’ll need to read the sheet music when you want to play the beginner songs as we all do.
So there are two sides of a piano, the left and right sides. On the right side is the notes which belong to the treble, which are bright and happy, and on the left are the notes that belong to the bass clef, which are lower.
And when you have three keys together. Anywhere on the piano, you create a chord that can either be Major or Minor. Knowing that they belong to the bass or treble clef will help you know which side you are meant to play with, which hand to use and which way you will eventually sight-read.
Middle C and note reading
Now, this is where the middle C comes in! The middle C is the note in the piano’s middle that connects both sides. It is an important note in your arsenal. The middle C can help you landmark where you are on the piano and start learning letters and side reading. It can help you work out the notes and where they are on the sheet and then on the piano. The middle C helps with everything!
When you start sight-reading, it will look intimidating. But don’t worry, once you get the hang of it, it’s easy! The first thing to remember is that the middle C is between the bass and cleft note. You will see it as an O with a line through it.
You will see the treble and bass clef on the sheet, and those will go to the right and left hand. Between both sides will be five lines and four spaces. Below you will see acronyms that will help you learn those notes.
Treble clef lines
Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge (EGCDF)
Treble clef spaces
FACE (The notes make up the word face, so we don’t need to add a fancy slogan)
Bass clef lines
Great Big Dogs Fight Animal (GBDFA)
Bass clef spaces
All Cows Eat Grass (ACEG)
Always remember to read these notes from the bottom. As this explanation is all written, you might need a visual look at it, and this is where I recommend Pianote to visualise what I’ve written down.
Before you practice playing the piano, always do a warm-up with your hands and fingers. We do this to loosen up the muscles and joints in your hands. This enables you to have that extra bit of flexibility, which will help you reach notes on the piano more efficiently and help the muscles handle the speed and harshness you will move across the instrument.
You can warm up by improving the chords and notes you play for a couple of minutes. Or you can sight-read a new piece or practice an old sheet of music at different speeds. Whatever world for you!
Now you’ve read scales and probably think about the stuff you find on a fish or the kitchen equipment. I’m pleased to say that those are not the scales I’m talking about!
Scales on the piano are five notes (including the small black ones) next to each other on the board. It is recommended that you put your thumb on middle C, play the five notes along, move along the following notes, and put your thumb on the last note played and continue across the area.
If you get bored doing it with one hand, try it simultaneously and move across the board more fluidly.
Using scales gets you used to the pressure you tap keys and how both hands should move across the board!
Pick easy piano music
When playing a tune on the piano, don’t try to go out of your skillset as a beginner.
You won’t have the flexibility or timing in your hand to reach all the notes, plus you won’t understand the timings of the notes on the sheet music, and you will get confused and overwhelmed. Going too fast too quickly will be demotivating and will make you want to give up!
Start with something like twinkle twinkle little star and work your way up! I can also suggest an accessible piano version of ‘The First lie’ from Stranger Things, and it has a video tutorial you can follow on Youtube.
I hope these tips have helped make learning piano easier and give you a good starting point!
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