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The Basics Of Learning To Play Piano

Updated on January 11, 2011

Is it difficult to play the piano?

Learning to play the piano is easier than you think. Really, the hardest part is the initial step is to go and sit behind your piano and be motivated to learn the basics. I have played the piano for many years, since my school days and if it wasn't for my parents buying me my first keyboard when I was ten (-I think it was ten, I do however stand corrected!)...I'm not sure if I ever would have learnt how to play. It sparked a fascination in me for music which led me to select music (-theory and practical) as one of my subjects at school.

This is where I then started to do my grades in music.

I've had people ask me to show them how to play but really without an instrument first and foremost, it's pretty pointless. I've sat down with a few friends and shared the basics with them...like showing them the keyboard, the location of the notes and encourage them to carefully listen to each note being played. Then it's onto showing them the 12 major chords: but I generally show them C, G and D for starters so as to familiarise them with the piano and on how to position their fingers and hands.

I believe that many people think that somehow their fingers will automatically know what to do without any effort on their part. And after running through these basics, I encourage them to go away and practice, taking the time to learn the chords and get their fingers used to playing...It's not guitar players alone who's fingers need to toughen up! I encourage them, once you have gotten used to those basics, come back and I will show you more...

It seems like a few weeks goes past, then I ask them, “I thought you were going to come back for more piano lessons...have you practised what I showed you?” The answer seems to always be the same, “No, it's too difficult, my fingers don't want to move into position properly and they ache after a while!”

Many of these people want to be the masters of incredible music right from the word 'Go', not realising that you have to get these basics in place. Once you learn the basic chords - A, B, C, D, E, F, G - moving forward from there is much easier, and you can start sounding like a real musician! It's getting yourself past the first step that seems to be the biggest challenge for many who desire to play the piano.

I encourage you, as I go through this series of articles on learning the basics of the piano, to keep at it. Don't stop just because you don't sound amazing in 10 minutes. Take the time to properly work at the basics, learning the basic chords for the piano. Practice them daily and get your fingers used to the movements and positioning. However if you cannot even learn a few basic piano chords, there is no point in learning your first song!

The starting point to you becoming a musician is to be willing to take the time to learn your first few initial chords. Practice and repeat, work at it and get your hands used to properly holding the chords so that you can clearly hear each note being played. I hope that this article starts you off with some motivation to learn the piano, next we will discuss your hand positioning and posture in playing your keyboard.

Happy learning :)

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      Johne542 3 years ago

      I all the time used to read paragraph in news papers but now as I am a user of web thus from now I am using net for posts, thanks to web. kkdcdcfkckdd

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      sophie 3 years ago

      Just wondering if you have any musical qualifications as I am trying to justify that this is a reliable source. How long have you been playing or teaching piano chords? Thankyou!

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      Robert 4 years ago

      Thanks for this article. I really need to learn how play a piano. I just bought one at http://www.yourinstrument.com and now am going round the internet to check for helpful articles like this one.

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      lamia 5 years ago

      gracias.....i m fond of music...now ..em playin guitar...my wish learning piano...

    • Indi.kreations profile image

      Indi.kreations 5 years ago

      This is amazing !!!

    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 6 years ago from Australia

      Durbanite thank you so much for your advise. Now that I know that I will check out your other Hubs on finger placement and set up some practice time :-)

    • Durbanite profile image
      Author

      Durbanite 6 years ago

      Hi Agvulpes,

      Thank you for checking into my hub and to answer your question...yes, these chords apply to a piano and an electronic keyboard. The difference between a piano and a keyboard would be the way it looks, and I'm sure you've noticed it too. The not so obvious would be the amount of keys that they have. That and the fact that a piano isn't electronically controlled. Hope this helps.

      Anything else, please do not hesitate to ask and I'll help as much as I can.

      A nice day to you!

    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 6 years ago from Australia

      Thanks for this basic layout of the piano keyboard. I have a question for you ? Can you tell me if your lessons would also apply to an Electronic Keyboard?

    • Durbanite profile image
      Author

      Durbanite 7 years ago

      Thank you!

    • BennyTheWriter profile image

      BennyTheWriter 7 years ago from Northeastern U.S.A.

      Thanks a lot, and same to you!

    • Durbanite profile image
      Author

      Durbanite 7 years ago

      Ha, and what an expensive instrument it is to love :)

      But I know what you mean...I fooled around plenty enough as a kid as well but as I grew up, it stayed with me more and more. Then I got serious about it and did my grades via UNISA. Just a pity I didn't go to Varsity after and continued with it as I wanted.

      But the key to learning anything in life is consistency and yes you said it, patience! Happy learning!!

    • BennyTheWriter profile image

      BennyTheWriter 7 years ago from Northeastern U.S.A.

      Great hub! I think the key to learning the piano and achieving mastery is to love the instrument. I fooled around as a kid at my formal piano lessons, but my love of the piano as an instrument never waned, and today it's like a second language that I'm becoming more and more fluent in every day.

      It's funny--I can also relate to wanting to learn too much too quickly. But I've found that, as in anything, patience pays off big time. Without that passion for the piano to sustain me, I might have never made measurable improvement.