Beginner Keyboard Lessons Part 1

Keyboard/Piano Lessons for Beginners

Learning the names of the notes

Piano Keyboards with keys labeled with notes

Please note that this illustration does not show the 88 keys found on acoustic pianos.

The black keys are located between the white keys. They are grouped in sets of two and three. For instance, C-sharp and D-sharp make up a group of two black keys while F-sharp, G-sharp and A-sharp make up a group of three. This two-and three-group black note sequence is consistent up and down the keyboard. The black keys are called sharp keys because they're slightly higher (sharper) than the white key that precedes it. For instance, the black key C-sharp is slightly higher in sound and pitch than the white key C. When playing in flat key signatures, the black keys are also called flat keys.

The note called middle C is located approximately in the middle of the keyboard. Actually, it's a little left of the middle-slightly left of the manufacturer's brand name on the fallboard. If you count up from the lowest note on a keyboard instrument that has 88 keys, middle C will be the 40thnote up from the bottom.

Applying Your Fingers to the Keys

Looking at your right hand, let's assign numbers to each of your fingers.

  1. thump

  2. index finger

  3. middle finger

  4. forefinger (ring finger)

  5. smallest finger

Two-finger exercise

This first series of exercises will use only your first two fingers: your thump (1) and your index finger (2).

Place your thumb on middle C, press down on the key, and release it. Repeat this action a number of times. Place your index finger on the D key and do the same. Play D a number of times. Using your thumb to play middle C and your index finger to play D, alternate playing both notes in the following sequence: C, D, C, D, C.. Try to play the two notes evenly with the same measured time for each note. Keep playing this simple two-finger exercise until it feels comfortable and sounds good.

Three finger exercises

Now let's add your third (middle) finger to the exercise. Place your third finger over the E key (key 3) and press and release it a few times. With your thumb positioned above middle C, your second finger above D, and your third finger above E, play the following sequence of notes: C, E, D, E, C, E, D, E, C, E, D, E... Another way of thinking and playing this exercise is to use the corresponding number of your fingering sequence: 1, 3, 2, 3, 1, 3, 2, 3, 1, 3, 2, 3....

example 1:

It's important to note that the middle C on your keyboard corresponds to the written quarter note C, located on one ledger line below the staff. This note is the first written note.

Now play reading the music. Your fingers and hand stay in the same position, so you don't have to look down at them. Instead, keep your eyes on the music. Keep repeating this exercise until it feels good and sounds good.

Using the same three fingers, place your thumb above the D key, index finger above the E key, and your middle finger above the F key. Play the following sequence of notes: D, F, E, F, D, F, E, F, D.... The corresponding numbers of your fingering sequence is exactly the same as 1, 3, 2, 3, 1, 3, 2, 3...

example 2:


You have just played the first in a series of sequential exercises. The fingering configuration - 1, 3, 2, 3, 1, 3, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, - can be played on any group of three piano keys.