keyboard lessons for beginners

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[Music] so a lot of people don’t know what to do on piano first to just get going and there’s not a definitive order you have to do things in on my first lessons with students i like to try and cover a few things naming the notes is obviously an important thing you want to do at the beginning so if you still need to do that or need to get quicker at it then check out the description down below because i’ve got some links to videos that are going to help you out but mainly i like to just get people actually playing something using their fingers and using their ears a bit as important as the theory side and reading and everything is i think that learning by actually doing it and getting a feel for it is the best starting point so there’s four main aims here getting a feel for the notes and using your fingers and hands getting familiar with the keyboard starting to use your ears a bit and just being musical and enjoying playing music first thing we need to do is just get some basic familiarity with the keyboard i’ll try and do this bit as quick as i can so we can get straight on to playing and if you kind of already know this i’ll put timestamps in the description so you can skip on to the first exercise so this part is still called a keyboard even on a real piano a full size one has 88 keys this one’s only 73 as it’s just a bit more practical for filming this is the low end this is the high end there’s 12 different notes on the piano one two three four five six seven eight nine ten eleven twelve and then there’s higher and lower versions of the same note each of those will look the same now you also obviously need to learn the names of those notes but like i said i’ve got links to separate note naming videos in the description which you should check out so for this video i’ll just quickly remind you how to find a c so everything on the keyboard can look like a bit of a blur to start with so we need to kind of find a pattern to help us so the pattern is that we can see easily the blocks of three and two black notes like that so every block of two black notes if you go to the white note on the left they’re c’s every one they’re like higher and lower versions of the same note the one that’s most in the middle of your instrument is called middle c and it’s important to know that marker so we can tell how high or low we’re playing something remember to think of the actual keys as the buttons to play the notes and they look like they kind of make this shape but try and see them as being in a straight line like that it’s just kind of hard to see because the black notes don’t go all the way to the end and there’s nothing different about the black notes either this is just the way the keyboard is laid out to make it more playable and then when you’re playing music you always want to be aware of how the range you’re playing is affecting the sound of the music so for example we can make something big by adding some really low notes on [Music] or make something sound a lot lighter by playing higher up [Music] we just need to go over some really important basic technique things before we start that will help you get the most out of what we’re doing sorry if you’ve heard this in another video but it’s really important to mention it here as well and again you can jump ahead slightly but to be honest after teaching beginners for many years these kind of things need some reinforcement until good habits form so it’s probably worth another watch anyway these things won’t all go perfectly to begin with but it’s important to keep them in mind so you can get off to a good start on the right track all these things i’m about to go over will help you play keeping your wrists and arms and fingers and everything relaxed and free from tension as that’s what we’re after to avoid injury but also to help keep the most control over everything you’re doing make sure you don’t sit too close to the piano pull the stool back so your arms can reach out about this far and sit more towards the front edge of the stall being too close can restrict your movement and use of your body get the stall to the right height so that when you’re sitting upright and your arm is relaxed in this position your elbow should be just above the keyboard this helps you get over the top of the keys and hold your hand in a better place plant your feet firmly on the floor about shoulder width apart to help your balance and control this all helps with what i feel is the most important thing that i often see beginners not doing when they first start make sure your arms feel like they’re holding themselves up using the bigger muscles that way your hands and wrists are relaxed and free to float over the top of the keyboard and you get maximum mobility your default hand position will usually want to look like this with a kind of arch going down your wrist to your fingers don’t curve your fingers too much or play too flat or raise your wrist too high or drop it too low and bend it backwards most of the time this makes it harder and more awkward to play this position helps you touch the keys with the right part of your fingertips we don’t just push keys down with fingers on their own so you don’t want to be doing this it’s more like we direct arm and wrist weight through the fingers you have to control the weight of your arm coming up and down letting your fingertips just grip the key this gives you maximum mobility to move around and play cleanly people often dig too much weight or rest too much weight into the key bed and that’s how the keys get stuck down and it becomes really awkward when you’re moving around to begin with playing can feel a little bit awkward and cumbersome but all these basic technique things i went through will help you work towards a place where it feels a lot more smooth and clean and comfortable so there’s a million things you could start playing first on the piano this one is really common but it’s just simple and effective just first i want to quickly mention finger numbers because it’s going to help me communicate with you how to play things and pianists choose these all the time you see them written on sheet music and stuff like that so for example i can say things like i’ll put finger five on this note finger one on that note we number our thumbs number one and then we go outwards two three four five when we’re playing to move up and down comfortably and not getting a muddle we need to use our fingers and our hands cleverly so we use finger blocks so one bit of something might be in one finger position and another bit might be in another finger position and then we have to move smoothly between them but to start with we want to just be working in one finger block and start getting your fingers moving up and down so that’s all five fingers in one position each finger assigned to one note so you could do this anywhere on the white notes really but it sounds good when you start and see so take your thumb finger number one put it on middle c and then keeping your hand as relaxed as you can just let your other fingers fall into place that kind of wants to be your default finger block so finger two will be on the d finger three on the e finger four on the f and finger five on g so remember one of the things you really want to try and do is to stay in place and not move out of hand position like that so to help that you can just keep your fingertips touching the keys but make sure everything feels relaxed so whilst you’re touching them your wrist can still move around a bit it’s like each finger is assigned to that note now so this is just doing right hand first at the moment we’ll do left hand as well in a minute so i aim with this first exercise is to just go up and down the keys playing each note nice and individually and cleanly picking up the previous notes so you don’t hear two notes sounding together like that which is what you might do by accident at first so if you do find yourself doing that try and relax everything lift your weight up and down between each key so the previous note comes off like that make sure you’re not going too fast because that is probably the number one beginner mistake that people make if you can try and keep the timing between each note nice and even remember not too fast though and then as you push each note try and feel the weight of your hand going on top of that finger so as i’m on my third finger here trying to get my center of gravity over that finger and pay particular attention to your fingers at this end because this is the area where people tend to do something like this as they get towards here they lean their hand down so this is the area the most where you really want to make use of your wrist and your arm going up and down and you just feel a slight bit of firmness in your fingers to help control it so it doesn’t buckle so first of all start off slowly like that then you can try and speed up a little bit go up and down keep going up and down if you want you can try something called staccato which is like short stabby notes like that you can try loud and soft [Music] and have a play with that and get a feel for how controlling how much weight you push down on the keys can make a difference to the sound so the next thing is to just do exactly the same thing in your left hand but because your hands are mirror images of each other you’re going to start on finger five on c and do the exact same thing fingers falling into place on the next five notes c d e f g and repeat all the same steps and then once you can do that relatively comfortably on both hands separately then you want to try hands together so for this it’s going to take a bit more coordination because it’s weird for your brain to start with to actually push your little finger down at the same time as your thumb if you were going opposite ways then it’s actually a little bit easier but we want to try and get used to a bit of hand coordination right from the beginning so think more about your hands as one unit controlled by your arms moving in the same direction and remember shift your weight over the top of the key so if you do that together that might help a little bit shift your weight there remember keep fingertips just touching the notes but don’t dig your weight in or rest your weight on the keys because that’s what’s going to cause you getting stuck and doing things like that don’t go flat-fingered because that’ll do it as well keep your wrists up at that nice angle and shift your weight over the top keep relaxed and also don’t try and go too fast i know i’ve said that a couple of times but sometimes people do tend to keep doing it by accident so it’s good to be reminded so once you can do that comfortably up and down try a little bit faster we don’t have to work on you don’t have to work on going that far straight away that’s kind of pointless at the moment then i would try and have a muck about with it maybe you could try experimenting with some rhythms so instead of just going you could go [Music] or or you could do two hits on each note [Music] and down again i think something beginners sometimes don’t do enough of is experimentation and have a little play with stuff and just get used to how moving in different ways feels under your fingers and with your wrists and remember always bear in mind to try and make the sound the sound of the notes sound nicer than not pushing together and keep nice even timing if you can start trying to think about that stuff if you try a new thing and it feels weird you can’t do it hands together go back to hands separately [Music] and then and then try it together so the next exercise is going to use that same hand position but it’s just going to be improvisation based to help your fingers move around in different kinds of ways relax more and kind of start using your ears a little bit as well so these five notes that we’ve been using they’re actually the first five notes of something called the c major scale i’m not going to talk about scales too much at the second the only thing i’m going to say is that a scale is basically a group of notes that you can use to make music with this one starts on c and the c note is the note that sounds like home so if i go down the scale well down these five notes of the scale it sounds finished on that c so that’s going to be like the home sounding note if you’re unsure improvisation just means that you’re coming up with what you play in the moment not playing a set thing you’re speaking the language of music for yourself it’s often within certain boundaries in this case we’re locked into that hand position all i want you to do is to start experimenting and exploring this part of the scale and what sounds you can make with it let your inner ear guide you and make decisions on whether to go up or down or to hit the same note again how long to hold a note for how loud or soft to play it at this stage really don’t worry if you don’t think it sounds like much or if the rhythm’s not that great it’s mainly just about getting a feel for things and you’ve got to start somewhere so there’s no wrong answers with this just bear in mind the same things as you were before about playing notes nice and cleanly and individually getting your weight over the top keeping the wrist and everything nice and relaxed make sure you feel like you’re holding your arm above the keys it’s holding its own weight up start off nice and slowly if you want you can use the going up and down as like a launching pad for some improvisation so you could go up so that was a variation that kind of sounded like a melody so i just went up and down and did a bit of a pattern on the way down so you can experiment with different leaps so not always going in what’s called seconds which is next door i would play mostly slowly for now but you could put the odd little fast little bit in like for example starting off slow and have a little fast run at the end if you want to experiment with that just don’t try and run before you can walk though and try something like and once you got bored of that you can try that with your left hand as well i wouldn’t try this hands together though but to take it further something you can do with both hands that will sound really nice is to keep like a drone going on the note c in your left hand if you just keep that note going everything you do in this position is going to fit nicely with that note so a couple of ways you could do this the first is to sort of play this note and then fill in the gap and then if you want you could try and keep this note as a constant rhythm and go in between it something like this [Music] you could also try that with a c and a g in your left hand again those notes are going to fit with everything you’re doing here if that’s too hard to keep a constant thing going in your left hand and stay in rhythm then don’t worry so much about it at the moment i just wanted to give you some idea of how you can take it further if you want to but really there’s no real wrong answers it’s still good for you to have a go and practice getting your hands moving together using your ears sticking in that finger block keeping your wrist nice and relaxed and just getting you playing it’s making a start and developing some of those skills that you use to play piano which is the most important thing so the next thing is holding some basic chord positions down to get you used to holding more than one note at the same time so we’re going to start off with what’s called a c major chord i’m not going to get into the theory on how these chords are built at the moment all i’m going to say is that we’re going to start on a note which is the name of the chord so in this case c and then we’re going to play every other white note so it would be c skip d play e skip f and play g now there’s different fingers you can use for these kinds of shapes sometimes you’ll use one and sometimes you’ll use the other it depends on like what you’re playing and where you’ve come from and where you’re going to to start with you might just want to do fingers one two three that’s probably the easiest way it’s in a lot of people tend to do that to start with and occasionally you might use that but i like to get people using the finger positions that they wouldn’t think of using to start with that are probably going to end up being most useful so you can have a go at that first but the one i really want you to try is it’s actually two first of all fingers one three five so one on c three on e and then five on the g and then try pushing all those down together and what you’ll find is you might end up actually hitting these other notes in between the d and the f with these fingers that aren’t being used that’s pretty common to do that by accident so try and keep your fingers in that naturally curved position firm enough to hold but still relaxed don’t force the extra fingers up because you’ll just get tense that way and then in that position use your arm to bring those three fingers down together so the notes all sound at the same time don’t push your fingers out individually or let them bend it will probably take a bit of practice to get used to the trick is really to be relaxed enough so that your spare fingers don’t push the other notes down so the other position is one two and four and in a minute we’re going to do a chord progression that switches between the two positions so try fingers one on c two on e and four on g so it’s using the other two fingers that you weren’t using before sticking with your thumb on the beginning one like that and everything that i just said about the last position applies about using your hand to bring everything down together all a chord really is is playing multiple notes together in harmony we’re using chords called triads because they have three notes in if you want to try that in your left hand as well then you can do that again i’m going to say you try and use fingers it’ll be backwards this time five three and one you might won’t be tempted to try that first you can do that as well because sometimes you’ll want another finger free up here and you can try one two and four as well so the next thing we’re going to do is play a chord progression all a chord progression is is playing a series of chords in a row and what that does is it adds some movement and structure to a piece of music so starting on the c the first one i want you to use fingers one three and five and then we’re going to move down and make the same shape starting from the note f but this time we’re going to switch to fingers one two and four and the reason i want you to switch is because it’s good practice to move around hand positions when you’re moving around if you jump around which you can do on using the same hand position it works but it can just be a bit rigid it’s good practice to move hand positions it’s kind of smoother so c one three and five to the same shape from f one two and four and then we’re gonna make the same shape again from a every other white note so that’ll be a c and e and this time i want you to go back to one three and five this chord is an a minor by the way we have major and minor triads um even though they look like the same shape there’s a different amount of notes in between those notes which makes them a different kind of pattern really don’t worry about that at the moment i’m going to explain that properly in another lesson because it’s something you want to know but for now it’s good practice to just focus on one thing at a time it’s really easy to go down rabbit holes when you’re learning piano but it’s kind of counterproductive so the next chord in the progression will be a g so the same shape again stuck from the note g and we were just on fingers one three five on the a minor so i want you to go to one two and four look they just fall into place there and then your thumb goes down [Music] so just to recap that we’ve got c fingers one three five f one two four a one three five and then g one two four again as you’re doing this you wanna make sure that you’re getting on top of the new chord by literally moving your arm over the top of that position don’t try and stretch and reach anything make sure that you are getting yourself into the optimal position right over the top of the cord and that will help you get your weight down on it much easier now the tricky thing is probably for most people at the beginning is going to be switching from one three and five to one two and four that’s going to take some brain power to start with because it will feel completely unnatural normally when people haven’t played an instrument before there’s nothing else they would have done that’s really anything like that so it feels weird to start with but you do get used to it you just have to start trying to practice it and really think about it and make sure that as you do one you can see that you’re doing the right thing so to start with don’t worry about timing get the fingering right first don’t worry if it takes ages to find the next position and then once you can do it comfortably then try and count evenly so let’s start getting some rhythm going so just do two slow even beats on each uh chord so just count like one [Music] two three four one two three four go as slow as you need and then when you’re comfortable see if you can go a little bit faster one more tip is to try and think ahead this is a really important tip for piano playing in general to have your brain ahead of where your hands are so after you’ve played this chord you’ve done it you don’t need to worry about it anymore start looking at the next position and then when you’re on this one start looking at the next one so the next thing we’re going to do is add something called root notes in our left hand to those chords often when we’re playing an accompaniment kind of style piano we’ve got some kind of chord position in our right hand and we’ve got uh bass notes in our left hand and the first place to start is just using a single note in our left hand and the single note is nine times out of ten going to be the starting note from the chord which we call the root so the first chord was a c so it means we’re going to play a c in a bass so drag your thumb on the next c down remember this is middle c so the next octave down an octave is when you jump from one note to the next same note like that because it’s eight notes one two three four five six seven eight eight octave so push those together like that and then the next chord was an f so you’re in this hand block here so you can reach the f without moving out of hand block so use your fifth finger that’s good practice to the f and then the next one was an a minor so you can reach the a minor from this hand block here so go up to finger three and then it’s down to a g so again you can reach that and then practice moving around like this so make sure when you’re doing this you’re using those same finger positions one three five to one two four one three five to 1 2 4. just to point out if you are actually playing this chord progression in a song you most likely wouldn’t be using this way of playing the chords every time you’d be spreading the notes out of the chord in different ways but this is just a good exercise to get you understanding what the chords are and how you can get your fingers wrapped around them so once you can do that comfortably then it’s time to try and take it up a notch so i want you to actually start trying to play a rhythm that you might use to play in a song so when we’re playing piano piano is actually a percussion instrument technically so we want to think about our hands going back and forth when they meet together when they’re going separately so we’re going to create a pattern using those exact positions and those same fingers and everything that you just used this is a really common kind of pattern to use we’re going to go together and then left and then right and then left again and then we change chord and we do the same pattern so if i speed that up a bit we’ve got together left right left if we were counting we could count one and two and and then we change chord and go three and four and don’t try and count as you’re doing it at the moment it’s just good to know that that’s what it matches up to so try and go through the whole chord progression continuing that pattern without stopping and if you can keep everything nice and even so eventually you want to be doing things like this to metronomes to get your timing spot on but to start with that’s too hard do you just want to get a general feel for it before you try anything like that so together left right left move position together left right left together left right left together left right left and then loop it round and round so practice that loop it round and round see if you can get a little bit faster don’t try and get too fast at the moment and then it actually starts to sound like music then that is an actual pattern that you might play accompanying someone or accompanying yourself so you’re literally exactly learning one way that you can be playing the piano doing that exercise so the last thing i want to do is a bit more free and a bit more fun it’s an improv on the black keys so everything that i said about playing the white keys is also true for the black it just feels slightly different because they’re a little bit narrower so it’s good to get used to a feel for that and also when you’re in this hand position like this finger one two three four for example if you play these notes too close to the edge you’re going to be bringing your thumb away so you need to go higher up like that so you can reach everything so for this we’re going to start off in one hand position again but then afterwards we’re going to move about a little bit so we’re going to start off with our finger or number one thumb on e flat we’re gonna call it e flat instead of d sharp at the moment finger number two is for g flat three for a flat four for b flat and then although you don’t want to be hovering over it because it’s a stretch when you need it you can move up to fifth finger on d flat like that and by the way i’m just using a rode sound for this which is just an electric piano you don’t have to but i just kind of prefer it for something sometimes so the reason we’re using the black notes for this is if you’ve ever done this on a piano [Music] it always sounds really nice the black notes form something called a pentatonic scale which is just a scale that has five notes in you don’t need to remember the name of that at this stage but the reason we’re using it is because it’s freeing to experiment and improvise with as all the notes fit really nicely together when you play around with them it’s easy not to hit any wrong sounding notes and therefore when you move in and around the scale you’re practicing using your ears and sense of musicality really comfortably we’re going to play two chords back and forth whilst improvising to make it sound a bit more interesting so in my left hand i’m going to be playing what’s called an e flat minor chord so it’s just a minor chord starting from e flat i’m going to use finger four on the note e flat and then two on g flat and then thumb number one on b flat like that again you don’t need to think about how this chord’s built or anything like that at the moment for this exercise and then we’re going to switch to another chord which is a different shape at the moment and this would be a g flat major but the notes are in another order um and all you have to do is switch this finger for this finger on that note so lift up the e flat and play d flat keeping these two notes here like that and we’re going to go back and forth nice and slow so like four beats on each like that and then in our right hand we’re just gonna try and do some improv there’s no wrong answers here this is literally an exercise in exploring the piano in my next video on beginner piano exercises that sound good there’ll be more of a focus on some techniques you can use to form more coherent musical sentences and phrases when you’re improvising but for now the only thing i really want you to think about is to leave some gaps between your improvised lines it generally sounds better but it also gives you some thinking time about what to do next and it helps to make each thing you play sound like a complete phrase so when you’re doing this you’re really trying to get your ear used to actually listening to what you’re playing use your ear to decide whether you want to go up whether you want to go down whether you want to stay on the same note how far up or down you want to go what rhythm you want to play how loud and soft you want to hit the note whatever you’re playing it’s really important to start trying to develop some sort of connection between the sound of something and how you’re playing it on the piano try and keep things on the slower side for the moment because it’s important to get a good sense of touch and feel and control over your hands and rhythm before you speed things up otherwise it might just start sounding a bit messy just hold some notes for a longer amount of time and then once you start to get a feel for it then you can start trying to do a few quicker things but having said that you want to also let loose and have some fun just try and keep everything nice and relaxed as you’re playing it in terms of your wrists and fingers and everything so you can use what i’m doing as a starting point to get you going but then i want you to quickly try and start coming up with your own ideas but just to give you a quick demo of the kind of thing you might want to start trying to do using this one hand block remember in your right hand maybe just start off with this four these four and then once you get more comfortable stretch up to there so starting off with really slow long notes add some more rhythm so after you’ve got comfortable with that you can start experimenting with different ranges on the piano so to get from here to up there you can do a finger position change so don’t over think this i don’t want to talk about specific finger blocks at the moment but basically when you’re thinking of your own fingering for piano if you’re improvising or something like that you’re trying to look ahead at a group of notes that you want to play and then mould your hand into that block so for example if i’m using these notes which we were the hand just molds into that comfortably but if i want to use these notes i might get into this block here for example so we could move from here to there so if we did something here [Music] and then up here and then up here maybe move down back to where we were and then you can do things like dipping out of a finger block so you don’t really want to come lower at the moment because you’ll get in the way of your left hand but you might want to use this note so i mean one way is to move hand block but if you just want to go there for a second you can like turn over your thumb and then back to the other one so [Music] but if you want to stay there for a while you might want to move handblock so just remember to try and trust your inner ear as to what to play make sure to just have fun with it experiment with patterns and rhythms this is mainly just about getting an initial feel for playing and exercises like this and experimentation are one of the things that’s going to start developing your ear and being able to hear what it is that you’re playing for a long in-depth video on everything else beginners can be working on check out my how to play piano for beginners guide in the description below there’s loads of really important information in there on the beginning stages of your learning so i hope you enjoyed these exercises and remember i’ve got a whole other video with loads more and ways you can develop them linked in the description and those ones have got backing tracks to play along to as well [Music] remember using your fingers like this is pretty alien for most people if you haven’t played an instrument before and it might feel a bit wobbly and uncontrolled for a while but that’s pretty standard because your brain’s just not used to that sort of thing yet but it will be and the more you play the more of a feel for it you get so make sure to stick with it hopefully some of these exercises got you started developing some of those core piano skills though let me know in the comments how you got on and which exercise you like the best if you’ve got something out this video please give it a like subscribe if you want more content to help you keep developing your piano skills and see in the next one [Music] [Music] oh …

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