An Ultimate Guide on How to Play Piano for Beginners

An Ultimate Guide on How to Play Piano for Beginners

February 23, 2024

Are you aspiring to become a master pianist?  

We hate to break it to you, but the piano is one of the most complex musical instruments to learn.  

First, there’s the music theory part to contend with. Then comes even the more rigorous practicals, which call for a great deal of time commitment.  

But with constant practice and implementing the right tips, it may only be a matter of time before you join the league of the greatest pianists. Read below as we share some of the golden strategies for playing the piano as a beginner. 

Free Piano Keyboard photo and picture 

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1. Learn Some Basic Music Theory 

To many people, becoming a master pianist only consists of learning the notes and scales. But as mentioned, there’s the music theory part to start with.  

Learning basic music theory lets you understand the notes you’re playing better. It also familiarizes you with common music jargon that you’ll encounter frequently as you work your way up the piano ladder.  

Fortunately, there are numerous resources at your disposal. You can learn piano theory through books (including hard-cover books, e-books, and audiobooks), magazines, and television documentaries. 

2. Master the Keys 

The first practical lesson when learning how to play piano for beginners is mastering the keys.  

Now, the number of keys in a piano keyboard depends primarily on its size. Full-sized pianos come with 88 keys, while smaller ones have keys ranging from 44 to 72. You could also find larger keyboards with up to 108 keys.  

Besides the sheer number of keys, it’s also essential to distinguish between the white and black keys on a piano keyboard.  

The white keys represented musical tones. They repeat from A to G, with the first key being a C.  

On the other hand, the black keys represent half-step or semitone intervals between various notes. They may be called sharps or flats, depending on whether they produce lower or higher pitches relative to their corresponding white keys. 

Free Music Sheet In A Shadow photo and picture 

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3. Differentiate Between Notes and Scales 

You'll learn dozens of music terminologies during your piano theory classes. But perhaps the most confusing pair of piano-related words are notes and scales.  

Although commonly used interchangeably, these terms have distinct meanings.  

A note refers to a sound with a fixed pitch. They’re represented by the letters A - G on a piano keyboard.  

On the other hand, a scale is a set of musical notes arranged in order of their fundamental pitch or frequency. Standard scales include major, minor, pentatonic, et cetera. 

4. Hone Your Sight Reading and Ear Training Skills 

Sight reading is an invaluable skill for any beginner pianist. It involves playing a new song without much preparation by simply reading the notes.  

Sight reading goes hand in hand with ear training, which involves listening to music to pick out various elements, such as notes, scales, chords, pitches, rhythms, etc.  

Both sight reading and ear training will test your knowledge of music theory. They can be instrumental in polishing your piano skills to a higher level. 

5. Mind Your Posture  

Proper sitting posture is another critical piano playing technique every amateur should learn.  

The best posture when playing the piano is one that guarantees maximum comfort. Straining any part of your body will impair your concentration, distracting you from the important task.  

First, keep your forearms level with the piano keyboard. Ensure that the piano is positioned at the center but the back half of a bench so you can use the front half.  

Most importantly, avoid slouching too close to the piano as that might cause discomfort to your back. Ensure your elbows are perfectly aligned with your wrists and little fingers. 

Free Piano Classical Music photo and picture 

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6. Adopt Proper Hand Positioning 

Your hands and fingers are the most critical parts of your body for piano playing. That underscores the significance of adopting proper hand positioning.  

The best hand positioning technique is where the left side of the tip of your thumb touches a key, whereas the rest of the fingers curl inwards.  

Remember to also implement the 3X3X3 rule, in which you practice thrice with the right hand, greatly with the left hand, and thrice with both hands.  

Needless to mention, keep your right and left hand to the right and left side of the piano keyboard, respectively. That means each hand should play the keys on its half of the keyword. 

7. Prioritize Accuracy over Speed 

A common misconception among many piano amateurs is that the faster you play, the more skilled you are. Well, this isn’t always true.  

Experts recommend prioritizing accuracy over speed.  

As a beginner, focus more on striking the right notes. Remember that speed should only come after mastering the notes, adopting the right fingering, and playing the correct rhythms.  

With time, you can hit the keys as fast as you want.  

If you’re struggling to play the keys accurately, you’re probably practicing with a technical or unfamiliar song. The ideal solution here is to try your luck with a common rhythm or favorite music.  

Free Girl Piano photo and picture 

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Parting Shot 

The above strategies will only bear fruit if you commit yourself to practicing consistently. The conventional wisdom is to practice for 10 - 15 minutes twice daily if you’re a beginner. You can gradually reduce the duration of your sessions as you gain more experience. 



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