ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

A Beginner's Guide to Beginner's Piano

Updated on July 9, 2015

A Different Language

It seems like forever that I've wanted to learn to play the piano. For a long while, my forté was pecking out "Happy Birthday" with one hand. During this past spring, however, I took a beginner's piano course. Picture this: a small room containing nothing but me, my tutor--who seemed to come out of the womb playing the piano--, and a sleek Steinway piano, like the one in the picture.

I soon learned that my hands spoke a completely different language from the new, formal language that my tutor was trying to teach them. My pinkies--the stubborn things that they are-- always stayed up in the air, and the rest of my fingers tried to imitate the fluid, jazzy motion that they saw on tv. But little by little, I gained more control over my hands and learned to play a few songs with both hands from memory. I've said all of this to simply say that if the piano is new to you, learning it will be like learning a different language. Just as you must learn to control your lips and tongue for French or Spanish, you must learn to control your fingers and hands for the piano. It takes time!

Getting Started with the Notes

Naturally, I started off at a snail's pace. Though years of playing the trombone had accustomed me to the bass clef (the one that looks like half of a heart), the notes of the treble clef (the one that looks like a fancy S or G) are my Achille's heel. However, aside from recognizing the note on the printed sheet music, I think that learning how the notes lay out on the actual piano keys are essential to learning to play. So, here's the first step: get acquainted with the notes and piano keys.

The treble clef notes--the staff on top-- are played by the right hand while the bass clef notes--the bottom staff-- are played by the left hand.


Your Fingers on the Keys

Next comes the part where you actually get to touch the piano. You must know, however, that your fingers have certain positions. To begin, it'll be important to know the assigned numbering for your fingers:

  • Thumbs: 1
  • Index fingers: 2
  • Middle fingers: 3
  • Ring fingers: 4
  • Pinkies: 5

With the numbering in mind, now arrange your fingers on the keyboard according to where they should fall. Start in the middle of the keyboard--the right thumb on what's called middle C. Remember to always keep your fingers curved; otherwise, your thumb might not be able to reach the keys. This was/is my problem. My thumb, with a mind of its own, never wants to stay on the key; it always wants to hang off the edge. Stubborn fingers!

A snapshot of my beginnings

Time to Play

Okay. Now that your fingers are in the right place, I suggest trying to play a simple scale, one hand at a time. For the right hand, move from left to right, or thumb to pinky (CDEFG) and then back the other way (GFEDC). For the left hand, move from left to right, or pinky to thumb.

Now, once you become accustomed to these separate playings, I suggest trying to play the scale with both hands. You should notice that while the left hand starts with the pinky, the right starts with the thumb. Get used to this feeling--this parallel motion of hands. Both hands are moving in the same direction.

After a while, you might then find yourself ready for the contrary motion and then much more complexity. However, I'll leave that up to more experienced musicians. For now, though, my video may help you visualize how the progression goes.

My most recent accomplishment (still a few dings, though)

Parlez-vous "piano"? (Do you speak piano?)

I'm proud to say that I speak piano a little. It's truly refreshing to be able to say that I am accomplishing one of my many goals. Was it challenging? Yes. Was it annoying how the instructor seemed so fluent in the language while I struggled to spit out a syllable? Absolutely. But, through it all, I now can play simple songs like "Alouette" and "When the Saints Go Marching" and am on my way to learning more.

So if you're on this musical journey with me, don't stress out. Take it one key at a time.

The book I'm using

Don't have a piano?

If you don't have access to a piano and can afford it, try purchasing a keyboard with weighted keys so that they'll have the feel of a real piano. Here's the one that I purchased. It works pretty well. No complaints.



    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)