Once you have purchased a keyboard of any kind, you probably want to learn how to play the keyboard, and maybe as quickly as possible. However, there are some basics that you may want to get into. I will try to teach you some of these basics by giving you a few useful tips, and who knows, maybe you have learned to play your first melody when you’re done.
I would like to take everything from the beginning so that you learn how to properly play the keyboard. I’m going to show you how to sit and how your arms, hands and fingers should be placed while playing. You will learn to use right and left hand, and experience the feeling when you’re playing your first song with both hands.
Sitting At Your Keyboard
When playing a keyboard, it’s important to think about how you are sitting.
- Set up your keyboard on its own stand or on a table of medium height. Sit facing the center of the instrument and adjust your seat so that your arms are level with the keyboard, or sloping down slightly towards it.
- Support your hands from the wrists. Imagine that you are holding a rather fragile ball and curve your fingers lightly round it.
- With the tips of your fingers, cover any five adjacent white notes in each hand.
Your fingers are numbered outwards from the thumbs, like this:
Before you start playing, familiarize yourself with where to place your hands on the keys. The most important key to look for is middle C. As you can see, the black keys come in groups of two and three. C is always to the left of the two black keys, and the middle C is the C key about right in the center of your keyboard.
Keyboards come in lots of different sizes and usually range from 49 to 88 keys. Take a look at the overview below and find your keyboard size. Also, notice the middle C on red colored keys and where it is placed in the grand staff.
Next step is which notes belong to which keys. Look at the treble staff on the chart below and locate the note showing middle C, and further on D, E, F and G. Then do the same at the bass staff. Locate the low C which is seven tones to the left of the middle C, and then locate low D, E, F and G.
Playing With The Right Hand
The right hand usually plays the melody line in a song and it moves over the keyboard following the notes and tones of the melody. The best is to follow the finger numbers, usually written under or above the notes. When using finger numbers the playing gets smoother and easier, and you don’t risk losing the motivation.
Place your right hand finger number 1 on the middle C and let the other fingers follow each other on D, E, F and G.
Practice Makes Perfect
The coolest way to practice is to play a real song. I think “Ode to Joy” from Ludvig van Beethoven’s 9th Symphony is a great song to practice these five tones. Follow the finger numbers above the notes and place your fingers on the respective keys. As you can see, the song starts with finger number three. If you hold your hand in this position while playing, all five tones will lie beneath each finger. This procedure will keep you playing the right tones all the time. Also, keep your hand and fingers the way you learned earlier.
Click on the link to listen to the song. Ode to Joy – Right Hand Playing
Playing With The Left Hand
The left hand is usually played two ways, either Bass Tones or Chords.
- Place your left hand finger number five on the low C key to play the C bass. Place finger number one on the G key to play the G bass. These are the only fingers to be used, rest all other fingers on the keys between C and G. Make sure to hold this hand position through the whole song and you will play very well.
- When playing chords, several fingers are played together as a unit. Normally a chord is played by three fingers, and which fingers to be used depends on the chord’s name. Below are examples on how the chords are played in our song. You can see which tones and fingers are being used, as well as the finger numbers. A chord gets its name from which bass tone it belongs to. The chord’s name is normally shown with a big letter symbol above the notes.
Bass & Chords In The Staff
- The image below illustrates how bass tones can be displayed in a staff. To support your exercise, I have put letters under the bass tones.
Playing With Both Hands
It’s time to play the song with both hands together. Find middle C with your right hand first finger and the low C with your left hand fifth finger. Let both hands start at the same time and keep a low speed. Hold the beat by counting one – two – three – four over and over until you finish. If necessary, listen to the audio file again and check if you play the same way. If your first try out sounds similar to the audio file, you’ve done an excellent job. When its sounding different, listen again and try once more.
Click on the link to listen to the song. Ode to Joy – Right and Left Hand Playing
You have now learned to play the first song on the keyboard. Good work! I want to tell it is not easy to teach anyone to play an instrument through written instructions. Hope you understood most. If not, feel free to comment or ask questions about what I attempted to convey in this article. I appreciate hearing from you anyway, and especially if you would tell me a bit about how you experienced the lessons. And if you find my content interesting, I’d also love to hear from you and what you’re doing.
Thank you for visiting keyboardplay.com, and the best of luck with your keyboard playing!
Till next time…