The things that you will learn in this post are real facts and data that we experienced and learned. We will be sharing amazing discoveries that we learned on our journey, learning how to play the piano. If you don’t know us, our journey began when we tackled a new challenge to learn the piano on our own.
When I was young, I’ve always thought that learning how to play the piano is difficult to do and that I would never be able to do it. I think it was the look of the music sheet, notes, and all the music jargon that intimidated me. When I finally had the opportunity to try the piano at a church one day (20 years go), I ended up being frustrated. I said to myself that I could never learn to play the piano.
Now, I am learning how to play the piano as an adult. Deciding on this journey is one of the best decisions that I’ve made in my life. Thanks to my daughter for showing me the light.
We are sharing our journey in the hope that we can inspire people who are in the same boat as I was. My goal is to help bring light to the things that intimidated me about learning the piano growing up. I hope that it can help you continue to move forward with your ambition of being able to play an instrument, playing your favorite songs. I am sharing valuable things that I’ve learned as well, which are easy to follow using simple terms.
Here is a recap of what I’ve learned in my first 1 hour and 45 minutes of practice.
Day 1 – 1 Hour of Practice
My family uses an online piano app to learn the piano on our own. Speaking of which, I highly recommend using an app. There are great apps to choose from online. You’ll surely find one that will fit your needs. I was amazed on my first try on learning how to play the piano, in the first 30 minutes of lesson I’ve learned three notes already. Notes C, D, and E. I was overenthusiastic when I was finished.
One of my goals on this journey was to be able to read music notes. I know that I had to start from the basics. I was very excited when I learned the first basic notes of the piano. Science proved how learning music notes has a lot of benefits. It’s like learning a new language.
Finding Middle C and Finger Numbering
After a full hour of learning, I got to meet middle C and learned about finger numbering. When you first start to learn the piano, the first group of keys that you’ll focus on are the ten keys in the middle. Here is a picture of an 88 key keyboard.
The keys boxed in red are the first set of keys that you will learn first. There are songs out there that use just these ten keys, and I’ll show you a sample below. The middle C is named this way because it is a C note, center-most of the keyboard.
As you’ve seen in the picture above, your focus at first, are these set of keys on the middle of your piano, You’ll be using your ten fingers to play these ten keys. Here’s how the finger numbering works:
1. Thumb – will always be number 1
2. Index finger – will always be number 2
3. Middle finger – is always 3
4. Ring finger – is always 4
5. Pinky finger – is always 5
The finger numbering is something all piano teachers would use at the beginning of their lessons. The number method will help you remember better how to place your fingers on the piano. It’s rather like learning to type. However, after a few lessons, the finger numbering will slowly transition into actual notes names, then vanish forever.
At the end of the lesson (in just one hour), I learned the following:
- First 5 notes, notes C, D, E, F, G
- How to position my hand on the piano
- Practicing to play with my right hand
- I played my first song
Day 2 – 45 minutes of Practice
On the second day, I was looking forward to playing the piano again after I got off work. Because the first day was a success, I felt like a little child in an ice cream shop. I was hungry to learn more about notes and techniques.
What I learned on the second day:
1. Octave – this fancy name fascinated me for a while. Octave came from the Latin word eight. An Octave is simply an interval between the same notes. Piano keys consist of letters A through G. They are repeated over and over throughout the piano scale. As I mentioned earlier about why middle C is named middle C because it’s a C note in the center of the piano.
So for note C for example, an octave is the distance between a note C to the next C on the piano.
If you push these keys on your piano, from left to right, you will notice that they sound more similar than C and F or any other note. The only difference is the pitch.
2. Rhythm – I’ve heard this term before, and I thought this should be self-explanatory.
The dictionary defines rhythm as “a strong, regular, repeated pattern of movement or sound.”
With the piano, there are different roles to follow with regard to rhythms.
In this 45 minutes of play, I learned the following
- Half note – is played with two beats
- Quarter note – is played with one beat
- Rest – means you don’t play for one beat
Here is the full list of Rhythm theory that you will eventually learn as you continue your progress with your piano lesson:
3. Treble Clef and Bass clef – I had an aha moment when I learned about the clefs. I have seen a piece of sheet music before but have no clue what these two figures are.
When you are using sheet music, the treble and bass clefs identify the notes. The lines and spaces of sheet music are called the “staff”.
Treble Clef (also called G clef)
The treble clef is for the higher sounding notes. These notes are the keys to the right side of your piano and are playing with your right hand.
The black circle that you see in the treble clef is the note G. This is only for the note G closest to the middle of the piano. Think of it as middle G (similar to middle c). The term “middle G” is not used in music, but it helps me remember. After you find the middle G, it will be easier for you to read and understand the other lines and spaces of the staff.
Bass Clef (also called F clef), pronounced as “base”
The bass clef, on the other hand, is for the lower sounding notes. These are the notes below middle c on the left side of your piano, usually played with the left hand.
Again, similar to the G clef/treble clef, bass clef surrounds a particular line on the staff shown in the picture below. There are three total indicators for note F in the Bass clef:
- The circle that surrounds the line on the staff
- The two dots that you see on the white area of the staff
- The shape of the bass clef that looks like a stylized letter F
I guess people tend to forget note F in the bass clef that they made sure they put enough reminders for it.
A song I can play at the end of day 2
Here is a sample of what you can do in just after about 2 hours of practice. You will be able to play basic melodies. You won’t be pounding on the piano without making any sense of what you are doing anymore. You can make your music. As you push these first few keys that you just learned, you will feel a sense of purpose and know what note each key represents.
Share your Journey with Love ones
If you can, try to share this journey with someone, could be your life partner, grandparents, a friend, an online piano group, or anyone in your life. I am happy to share this with my kids. This journey of learning to play the piano together is creating loads of sweet memories that we will treasure forever. Of course, if you prefer to do this alone, that’s fine too.
Learning the Piano on Budget
I know It can be hard on the budget sometimes to pay for piano lessons. I wrote an article about what other options (including free lessons) are out there. Not being able to afford is no longer an excuse in this day and age. Check out my article here.
I hope you found this article helpful. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.
Good luck and happy playing!