Adult piano lessons, Lesson one. The basics.

This first in a series of adult piano lessons will cover what every beginning piano student should know when sitting down at the piano or electronic keyboard for the first time.

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Topics covered are how to sit at the piano, hand position, basic fingering and general practice guidelines.

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How to sit at the piano or electronic keyboard.

The photograph at the top of this page will give you a good idea of how to sit the piano or electronic keyboard.

When learning how to play piano it is important to have the correct posture at the keyboard.

Most piano benches or stools are designed for the average adult or are adjustable.

When you hands are over the piano keys your fore arms should be parallel to the floor as shown in the photo above.

Sitting too high or too low diminishes finger dexterity and add stress and strain to the wrists and fingers.

I think this little guy could use a New York City phone book or two!!

You are never too young or too old to start playing the piano!

Your feet should rest comfortably on the floor with your right foot resting lightly on the sustain pedal. (the pedal on the right)

Adult piano lessons.

Hand position.

Proper hand position allows the keys to be played with the tips of the fingers.

It is very similar to the hand position when typing.

The fingers should remain curved as if holding a tennis ball as seen in the image below.

Finger numbers.

In order to communicate at the piano we will rename our fingers and give them numbers. Thumbs on either hand are finger # 1 and the pinky's are finger #5. See the illustration below.

Adult piano lessons

Keyboard layout

Both Pianos and Electronic Keyboards have the same basic piano keyboard layout.

While the Piano keyboard layout normally as 88 keys, most electronic keyboards have either 49, 61, 76, or 88 keys with 61 being the most common and also the minimum recommended for learning to play a keyboard instrument.

So the first thing we need to know is how to name the keys on the keyboard.

There are a total of 12 notes that repeat themselves from Left to right, or Bottom to top, of the keyboard.

Our approach to teaching adult piano lessons and keyboard is a very visual one so at the end of this first lesson you should be able to find any of the 12 notes in any area of the piano keyboard layout.

Notice the sets of two and sets of three black keys on the keyboard.

Look for the White key that is directly to the left of the set of two black Keys closest to the center of the keyboard.

That note is called Middle C.

Now find, and play all the C's on the keyboard.

Notice how you eyes first found the set of two black keys and then touched the white key just to the left?

That set of two black keys acts like a little signpost saying C note to the left.

I will be pointing our many visual tricks to help you get to know the piano keyboard layout.

Now that you have found the Middle C on your keyboard layout. Naming the white keys becomes easy.

Going up the keyboard, to the right from middle C the next white note would be D, followed by E,F,G, A, B and then C again.

Notice that when you play all the white notes from C to C you will here a familiar little melody called the major scale.

Did you recognize it?

Remember Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, Ti, Do from school.

Don't worry about piano fingering now. This is just to familiarize yourself with finding notes on the piano keyboard layout.

Now if I were ask you to find the white note F you have two options at this point.

Find C and then count up C,D,E,F or, better yet, notice that the F key is right to the left of the set of three black notes.

Now you can quickly find all the F notes by using the set of three black keys a a visual reference point.


Easy right?

Now find all the D notes on the keyboard.

The D note is located right to the right of C and also between the two black notes that are grouped in sets of two.

Again another visual trick to locate D. Take some time now and find each note up and down the keyboard. Good work, You now should be able to find any white note on the piano keyboard layout.

Now for the black notes.

The black notes at first may seem a little confusing as each of the 5 black notes have two names.

What we call these black keys depends on how they are approached for the sake of this lesson.

It I play the play the black key to the right of middle C, the first in a set of two black keys, that key is named C sharp.

If I approach if from the white key D, that same note is called D flat. They may be read as C#, ( # meaning sharp) and Db, ( b meaning flat.)

Confusing?

I know it may be but worry not.

Right now I just want you to be able to find any note on the keyboard.

So we have 5 black notes each with two names ( C#,Db)...(D#, Eb)...( F#, Gb)... (G#, Ab)...(A#, Bb).

We will learn more about sharps and flats as you progress with these free adult piano lessons. Right now it is only important that you be able to correctly identify any of the notes on the piano keyboard.

Quick Review

If you've gotten this far, you should be sitting comfortably at the piano.

You should have numbered your finger, thumbs being one, pointers being two, middle fingers three, ring fingers four and pinkies number five.

You should be able to identify any note on the piano.

You have actually learned quite a bit. CONGRATULATIONS!

Adult piano lessons

Let's play something!

In this first adult piano lesson we are going to learn to play 7 different and very useful chords.

Using the diagram below, place your right hand thumb on middle C (the one closest to the center of the keyboard} and let the other four fingers rest lightly on the adjacent keys D,E,F,and G.

Place your left hand pinkie on the C below middle C and again rest your other fingers on the D,E,F,and G.

This will be the starting position for your some of your first songs.

It is a good idea to play the notes individually both up and down the keyboard with both hands. C,D,E,F,G going up and G,F,E,D,C going down the keyboard.

Play the notes slowly and evenly and try playing softly as well as striking them harder for greater volume.

You will start to gain finger dexterity as well as dynamic expression by doing this simple exercise.

Let's try some piano chords

For the sake of this lesson, a chord is three notes played by either hand together at one time.

If we play finger numbers 1, 3, and 5, on the notes C ,E, and G in the right hand you will be playing a C major chord as seen below.

If we use the same notes in the left hand using finger numbers 5 for C, 3 for E, and 1 for C, you will have a mirror image of the right hand and will be playing 6 notes altogether and have a full sounding C major chord.

Use your your ears, eyes, and fingers!.

The approach we will be using to learn adult piano lessons is based on all your senses.

A traditional teacher would insist that your eyes be on the written sheet music always and for classical music this would be the case.

We will be covering how to read "easy play" or "fake book" music as our lessons continue but for now it is important that you focus on seeing and feeling the chords on the piano.

Move your hand position up the keyboard.

Right now you have both hands playing a C major chord.

If you move both hands to the right, (up the keyboard) one note and keep the same finger spacing, (every other note), you will be playing an D minor chord.

Notice that the chords feel the same to your fingers if you kept the same every other note spacing.

Notice as well that the chords look the same. ( three white keys skipping every other key).

Repeat this hand movement over again starting from C the major chord and you will play the chords. C major, D minor, E minor, F major, G major, A minor and finally B diminished.

Thousands of songs have been written using just a few of these chords.

You will learn more about chord theory later on but for now you assignment is to be creative and notice how the chords sound as you move from one to another.

Try playing the chords in your left hand and single notes in the right hand and for now.....JUST HAVE FUN!.

You are not reading music yet, you are creating it!

Use your personal piano professor!

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By using the lesson progress form below you can help us both by giving me your questions and suggestions.

Let me know how you are doing, ask any questions and request help with anything you may want to know regarding these adult piano lessons.

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To Adult Piano Lesson Fundamentals Lesson Two

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