It isn’t hard at all to learn beginner piano and once you learn the basics, you’ll discover that the rest of your journey is a straightforward process.
Learning can be intimidating to people who have no experience with piano music at all, but it can even intimidate musicians who are used to playing a different instrument as well.
The good news is that everything starts to get a little easier with practice and understanding that it’s relatively easy after you learn how to read music notation.
Interpreting music notation, whether for piano, the bass guitar, or the saxophone, is “required reading” because it not only communicates emotion from a composer, it familiarizes the player with the basic structure of all music.
Once you can read and play piano notation, you can usually go on to play more advanced notation for the violin, the flute, and a host of other instruments.
The basics start with understanding its 88 pitches — the tones produced by striking each key.
The white keys are named by the A, B, C, D, E, F, and G letters while the black keys — the sharps and flats — change the pitch of the white keys with a slightly higher or lower tone.
Each set of white keys starting from the very left (A, B, C, D, E, F, and G) is called an octave, and at first, you may learn to play a song within a single octave. In more advanced notion however, you may play songs with both hands in different octaves at once.
Of course to make a series of notes sound like a song, you will need to learn about note duration. Note duration is also one of the first beginner piano lessons you’ll learn, and it will introduce you to whole notes, half notes, and quarter notes.
Holding down a piano key for the duration of an entire beat plays a whole note, while holding down a piano key for the duration of half a beat plays a half note. The variation of these beats and tones is what creates a tune or a song.
At this stage, you’ll mostly learn simple songs like “Row Row Row Your Boat,” or “Hot Cross Buns” because they provide a gentle introduction to the piano keys, key pitches, and note duration.
In advanced music notation, you’ll find more complicated note durations indicated by dots or ties.
Understanding what the time signature means is another important beginner piano lesson, as it determines the constant rhythm that an entire song should follow. Two numbers that look like a fraction represent a time signature in music notation.
The number on top tells musicians how many beats are in a measure (a group of notes in sheet music) and the number on bottom tells musicians what kind of note qualifies as one beat.
The most common time signature for beginners is the 4/4 signature, and it tells musicians that there will be four distinct beats in each measure and that the quarter note counts as one beat.
As you practice the beginner piano more and more and start to listen for these characteristics in classical music, you’ll start to pick up on some pretty common patterns.
Most simple songs are played within conventional time signatures and octaves, so by training your ear to listen for them, you’ll improve each time that you sit down to play the piano yourself!