From the category archives:

Basic Piano

Piano Scales – Get Acquainted with Music’s Foundation

by Tania Gleaves on December 16, 2014

Piano scales are essential building blocks in music. You will devote a

good deal of your time and effort to learning and playing them.

On following pages I will show you a useful overview, give you an overview of major scales as well as some important beginner exercises.

Students of all levels endlessly complain about piano scales. And I agree, playing a scale is not the most exciting part of mastering your instrument.

Click Here For Quick Piano Scales Tips And Great Beginner Exercises!

But one thing is certain: the scales will progress right along with your skills, but you will always play some if for nothing other than an excellent warm up or workout for your fingers.

In case you belong to the category of those who have hardly touched a piano or never had a teacher, you should know some theory. Don’t worry, I won’t make it more complicated than necessary!

Let’s first answer the most important of all questions:

What is a scale?

In music it’s a collection of notes that belong together and are used to create melodies and harmonic variation.

These notes are ordered in pitch or pitch class. As such they provide a measure of musical distance (whole tone or whole-step (WS) or semitone or half-step (HS)). A scale step is the distance between two successive notes.

whole and half steps Piano Scales   Get Acquainted with Musics Foundation

There are many different types of piano scales, some with five notes (pentatonic scale – popular in blues music), six notes (whole tone) and twelve notes (chromatic – widely used in modern jazz).

The most commonly used in Western music are diatonic scales.

A diatonic scale has seven notes: five whole-tone and two half-tone (or

semi-tone) steps. The half steps are maximally separated. This means that there are two or three whole-steps between each of the two half-tone steps. The pattern repeats at the octave.

The keyboard of a piano (as well as an organ, electronic keyboard etc.) is diatonic, with black keys grouped in twos and threes.

A major scale is also diatonic. The steps in a major scale are:

  • whole-step
  • whole-step
  • half-step
  • whole-step
  • whole-step
  • whole-step
  • half-step

Use this formula and the notes of the C major scale are:

c major scale example Piano Scales   Get Acquainted with Musics Foundation

All 12 Major Scales

Natural minor scales are also commonly used. Here the steps are:

  • whole-step
  • half-step
  • whole-step
  • whole-step
  • half-step
  • whole-step
  • whole-step

Use this and the notes of a C natural minor are:
C-D-Eb-F-G-Ab-Bb-C.

Other important piano scales every beginner should master are melodic minor and harmonic minor scales. No doubt you will get acquainted one day!

Let’s stop here now. You will get a better understanding when you’re playing and hear the difference. However, not only your ears count. Proper fingering of piano scales is equally important if you want to develop your skills and improve as a pianist. But that’s another story.

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Beginner Piano Lessons

by Tania Gleaves on December 15, 2014

Welcome to what I believe is one of the easiest beginner piano lessons you will find anywhere. I’ve built this introduction to piano based on the experiences I’ve had successfully teaching countless others. My method is to keep it simple, make everything make sense, and move at a pace that keeps things interesting.

When you look at the piano keyboard, you see white keys and black keys. Each key represents a note. Notice there’s a pattern; the black keys are arranged in groups of two and three. Everywhere you see the group of three, the white key positioned between the second and third black key is called “A.” If you play an A and read off alphabetically as you play each white key after the A, you will notice that the note after G is also between the second and third black key. It is another A. Notice how the tune of both A’s is identical; one is just higher than the other.

Click Here For Fast And Easy Beginner Piano Lessons!

We call the distance between one A and the next A an octave. “Oct,” the root of octave, means eight. There are eight notes from A to A. The distance from B to B is an octave also, and the same is true for all the notes on the piano.

Find the note “C” on the keyboard. To locate it, you can either count up from A, or I’ll give you a hint: somewhere in the middle of the keyboard, locate a group of two black keys (not three); C is the white key just to the left of the first black key. Now, play the C and each white note to the right of it, reading off the names of the notes – C, D, E, F, G, A, B – until you land on the next C. Congratulations, you’ve played a scale in the key of C!

The scale is the most basic building block for everything we do on the piano. The first note of the scale you played was C. Your scale, therefore, was in the key of C.

You build chords – melodic groups of notes played simultaneously – from the notes in the scale. To play a C chord, you would play a C, E and G together. Go ahead and place your thumb over the C, your middle finger over the E, and your pinky over the G. Press down on all three notes together. That’s a C chord.

While your thumb stays over the C, locate a C two octaves down to the left and play it with your left thumb. Play that note together with the C chord. You’ve just combined bass with your chord. Here comes the tricky part. Counting from the C, move your left thumb to the right until it is over the F. With your right fingers positioned over the C chord, move them to the right until your thumb is over the F, your middle finger is over the A, and your pinky is over the C. Play the left and right hand parts together. That’s an F chord with F for the bass. Finally, move everything one more position to the right – left thumb over G and right thumb over G, middle finger over the B and pinky over the D. Play it all together and you’ve played a G chord with a G bass.

Believe it or not, you’ve just played the basic three-chord pattern of most of the rock songs written over the last six decades!

Get comfortable playing notes and chords and combining them with bass. From here, you can learn to play real songs. Check out the links section to decide where you personally want to go next!

Click Here For Fast And Easy Beginner Piano Lessons!

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Piano Songs Every Pianist Likes To Play

December 3, 2014

Piano songs come in all sorts and styles. Every pianist loves to play some now and then, even if you prefer classical pieces. And although a song usually contains vocal parts, many have been rearranged for performance on piano only. Let’s take a closer look at some great composers of songs you can play as […]

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Basic Piano Lessons – Hmmm…Where Do We Begin?

December 2, 2014

What is the big dilemma? There are more opportunities to learn basic piano lessons than ever before. And on one hand, this is a wonderful achievement since it increases the expose to a truly great medium. On the other hand, it can make finding appropriate lessons a bit more difficult than we’d like it to […]

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Beginner Lessons For Piano – Helpful Tips

November 29, 2014

Beginner lessons for piano will take you far in your quest. But supplementing your lessons with some ‘outside’ or unconventional training will shorten the time it takes to become an expert pianist. It goes without saying that practice makes perfect. However, there are a few additional things that you can do to improve the quality […]

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Time Signatures – An Essential Component to Reading Music

November 27, 2014

Fractions In Music? Oh No! Time signatures in music indicate a song’s rhythm. Sometimes called a meter, the time signature tells musicians the number of beats in each measure of music and what kind of note counts as one beat. Written as music, they look like fractions – but fortunately the only math that you […]

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Easy Ways Of Learning Music Key Signature

November 23, 2014

Learning music key signature is very important in your piano lessons because they add “tuning” to the music pieces you are playing. At first glance, you might say that learning music key signatures is hard to do but actually it’s not. Let me teach you some techniques on how to easily know them by heart. […]

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Top 4 Reasons to Learn to Play Piano

November 21, 2014

The Piano Has Its Own Unique Sound One of top 4 reasons to learn to play piano is the unique sound it makes. No other instrument comes close to the type and quality of music generated by the piano, which consequently, is a good thing. High quality music requires that its instruments sound different from […]

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The Play Piano Roadmap – Your Journey From Beginner To Advanced

November 19, 2014

Whether you already play piano or want to learn, I’m glad you stumbled across this page. It means there’s one more person out there looking for a better way to add music to his or her life, or perhaps to improve on an already established skill set. Either way, welcome. The good new is, I’ve […]

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How to Play Keyboard

November 15, 2014

If you want to learn how to play keyboard like a pro, you need to become familiar with the open chord position. Just what is the open chord position and how can it improve your musicianship? To start off, have you ever noticed that when you are learning to play the keyboard your hands are […]

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