A piano has an uplifting effect on your spirit. When you sit on a piano chair, put your hands on the piano keyboard and tap into its keys enlivens a gathering and a sense of relaxation. You as a pianist can reap several benefits in the early stages of learning a piano. Many scientific studies have proven that playing the piano is good for a person’s health and wellbeing. Playing piano can dramatically increase cognitive development.
However, you being a beginner of piano must be aware of the Piano’s Anatomy. Apart from the anatomy we’ll also go in detail of piano lessons, piano music, piano sheets, and many another factor that will help you in understanding and learning a piano.
What is a Piano?
A piano is a musical instrument that is played using a keyboard. The first ever piano was invented over 300 years ago, and it has managed to provide something that hasn’t been equaled by a keyboard instrument before. This device is capable of responding limitless varieties of human touch, producing pleasant harmonies and many shades of sound.
There are many different types of pianos, and each has its distinguishing features. Different varieties are used for different purposes.
How to sit for playing piano?
The most important part of playing the piano is to maintain a comfortable and steady sitting position. If the place is uncomfortable, you may not be able to play well.
- Always sit in the middle of the piano keyboard. Use a typical piano stool or chair that is adjustable. This allows you lifting or lowering the chair at the most comfortable position.
- Sit in an upright state with your shoulders in a relaxed position. You can bend your back, but not too much.
- Your fingers must be in a rounded shape over the keyboard keys. The curved fingers and the wrist must level with your arm. Finally, your both feet must be on the ground.
Once you have learned how to sit to play piano, the next thing is to understand the functionality of its keyboard. The keys of a piano vary from model to model. Suppose if you buy an 88 key piano, there will be 36 black keys and 52 white keys. Similarly on a 76 key keyboard there are 31 black and 45 white keys. In a 61 key piano, there are 25 black keys and 36 white keys. Finally, on a 49 key keyboard there are 20 black keys and 29 white ones.
Being new to piano, you may feel overwhelmed looking at its keys. Moreover, remembering the notes can become tough. Don’t worry, we’ll learn that later!
The notes of a piano keys are A, B, C, D, E, F and G. The note pattern is the same for 49, 61, 76 and 88 key keyboard. In between the white keys, the black keys rests that are bit high. These are termed as D-Flat or C-Sharp, E-Flat or D-Sharp, G-Flat or F-Sharp, A-Flat or G-Sharp and B-Flat or A-Sharp.
When dealing with piano keyboard keys you will also come across a term semitone. It is a half-step or a half tone and is the smallest interval used in Western music. A semitone is a distance between two notes that are next to one another in pitch. For example, the distance between F and F-sharp is a semitone.
Learn How to Play Piano
Now that we have learned the basics i-e “Sitting position” and “Keyboard Keys” the next step is to learn how to play the piano. We’ll proceed slowly and in a step-by-step manner.
Learning the finger numbers is very important part of learning piano. You must be aware of proper fingering for scales, arpeggios, musical passages and chords. With correct finger placement for correct keys playing piano will become a lot easier. You can easily execute multiple techniques, exercise the speed, flexibility and master some awkward playing positions.
If you are doing everything right from the beginning, you won’t be facing any issues in the future. I have seen many piano players who are struggling with playing piano just because of their wrong finger positions. When learning piano fingering position, each note is marked with a number that corresponds to one of your fingers. These numbers help in pressing the right key.
- Thumb: 1
- Index Finger: 2
- Middle Finger: 3
- Ring Finger: 4
- Pinky Finger: 5
Getting familiar with Notes
Music notes may seem strange just as the alphabets when you first came across them as a child. It was your curiosity that made you learned all those alphabets. So, don’t worry if the piano notes seem difficult to you. Just be patient and you’ll be going smooth on them in no time.
Piano notes are the ABC of music. To practice these notes, you can start with the popular tune “The Sound of Music”-Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So-La-Ti-Do. On the music notes, you can see letters marked as A B C D E F G. To start playing the piano notes you have to position yourself in the middle of piano. The note in the center of the staff is Middle C. You’ll also see the black and white keys. Black keys are used to play Sharp (#), and flat (b) notes and they appear in groups of thee or twos. The pattern of the keys is in symmetry. Three white keys enclose two black keys, and four white keys enclose three black keys. You have to find the C note. It is simple! The first note is C Major Scale that continues as C,D, E,F,G,A,B and then back to C. This pattern of notes remains constant on your keyboard and is represented as 12 note octave. They are higher or lower in pitch.
Understanding the Black Key Notes
- 1st black key in the group is C# or Db.
- 2nd black key in the group is D# or Eb
- 3rd Black key in the group is F# or Gb.
- 4th Black key in the group is G# or Ab, and
- 5th black key in the group is A# or Bb.
Start from Left
The left most key on the piano has the lowest note and then it goes higher till the set is completed.
Connecting the Notes
On the piano, the first measure of music sheets consists of three E notes. Two of these are the quarter notes, and one is a half note. You have to play these until you get hang of it. Afterward move on the other measures till you play them in succession and form a rhythm.
Practice and Practice
So, we have discussed a lot in detail about the basics of piano learning. All you need to do is do as much practice as possible. Mastering a piano is all about practicing more and more. When I was a beginner I spent over 6 hours a day in just learning, practicing and implementing things.
Other ways of learning a Piano
Apart from this beginner’s guide we discussed above you can go into much depth of a piano through some online piano lessons or hiring an expert pianist. These paid courses are worth your time and investment. You must ensure that such courses have a great customer feedback.
Reading a Piano Sheet Music
Learning the basics of piano sheet music is as important as learning a piano. If you can’t read a piano sheet music, you won’t be able to play proper notes. This is why I am going to teach you how to read Piano Music Sheets
The symbols you see on a sheet music have been used for over hundreds of years. These symbols represent a particular pitch, speed and rhythm of the song. You can take these notes as letter, phrases and sentences to play on the piano.
Step 1 Basic Symbol of Notation
The music contains several different types of symbols. The most basic ones are staff, clefs, and notes. Every music has these three components, and you must be familiar with these basic symbols.
The staff has five lines and four spaces. Every line and space represent a different letter that in turn represent a particular note. The lines and spaces represent the notes namely A-G and the note’s sequence moves in alphabetical order up the staff.
There are two major types of clefs. The first one is treble clef. It has an ornamental letter G on the far left side. The G’s inner swoop encircles “G” line on the staff. Treble clef notates on higher registers of music. If the instrument resembles a higher pitch like a flute, saxophone or violin, the sheet music will be written in treble clef. Moreover, the higher notes on a keyboard are notated in treble clef.
The lines you see in between two bass clef dots is “F” line on bass clef staff. It is also referred as F clef. Bass clef notates lower registers of music. In case the instrument has a lower pitch like a tuba, cello or bassoon, the sheet music will be written in bass clef. The lower notes on a keyboard are notated in the bass clef.
There are three parts of each note. The notehead stems and the flag.
Every note has a note head that is either open (white) or filled (black). The point where note head sits on staff shows that note you will play. Quite often the note head sits above or below five line and four spaces of staff. In such a case, the line is drawn below or above the note head. This indicates the note letter to play as in B and C notes.
It is a thin line that extends up or down from note head. This line extends from the right if pointing upwards, and from the left if pointing downwards. However, the direction doesn’t affect the playing manner. It serves as a way to make notes easier for you to read.
The flag is a curve-shaped mark on the right of note stem. It tells you how long you must hold a note. A quarter note gets one beat. The open note head with stem is a half note that gets two beats. Finally, the “o” like open note without stem is a whole note, and it normally receives four beats.
How many keys on a piano?
There are different types of piano models with varying keys on their keyboard. However, the modern pianos have 52 white keys and 36 black keys which make 88 keys in total. In these 88 keys, there are seven octaves along with minor thirds from A0 to C8. There are some old piano models with 85 keys but are rarely used. Children piano may have fewer keys.
There are many virtual online piano services available. They are exactly the same as an original piano. You have to play them with your Laptop keyboard or mouse click. It is just for fun or to give a try to different notes. Most of these services are free and great. You can buy some music sheets and try them on a virtual piano.
I hope you benefit a lot from this discussion. I’ve tried to cover every aspect of a piano from its anatomy to learning a piano. Now, you can buy yourself an affordable piano and start practicing today.