Learn To Play ‘Mary Had A Little Lamb’ On The Piano!
I’m going to teach you this song for two reasons. First, so you’ll learn a song, but more importantly to teach you how to train your ear . Let’s start the song on the E above middle C. If we sing the song and pay attention to what the notes are doing, we’ll know that the first change is to step down. By playing along on our piano as we sing we can deduce that the song goes E D C D E E E.
Let’s try to do the next part by ear. It goes down a little bit again, then at the end of the next verse does a little jump. It goes D D D E E G. The whole song is based on that five note stretch from C to G and only uses four of those notes. See if you can figure out the rest of the song for yourself, using the methods I’ve demonstrated.
If you listen you’ll hear that the song tends to pull your ear to the C. The song also uses a lot of notes of the C major scale, so we can make a good guess that the song is in the key of C major. So let’s create some chords to go with the melody.
First, since we are in the key of C, let’s start with a C chord in the left hand. When the second verse starts, the C doesn’t sound quite right. Let’s try the fifth chord of the scale, G. Play it in the first inversion to make the transition smoother. When the melody goes back up to the E note, let’s switch back to the root chord. We do this because the root chord contains an E.
So, with two chords, and four notes, we have played a simple song. But we can play that song in any key. Let’s start on the A this time. We know that in the key of C, the song starts on the third note of the scale. A is the third note of the F major scale, so to start on the A, we need to play in the F major scale. We also know that the second chord is the five chord. This is where knowing your intervals comes in. Using intervals, you can play a song in any key because you aren’t dependent on someone else telling what the notes should be.
I’m going to tell you about half notes as they relate to 4/4, or common, time. In common time, there are four quarter note beats per measure. If you turn on your metronome and play one note per click, you are playing quarter notes.
Since a half note lasts for twice as long as a quarter note, then you should play one note every two beats of the metronome in order to play half notes. There are two half notes in a measure of 4/4 time.
Today I’m going to talk to you about quarter notes. Quarter notes are the basis of 4/4 time, also known as common time. In 4/4 time there are four beats per measure. A quarter note represents one beat in 4/4 time, so there are four quarter notes per measure.
To get a feel for quarter notes, start your metronome. Hit a key on a click of the metronome and play it again on each click of the metronome. Every four times you play the note, you are playing a complete measure.
Keep playing quarter notes for a while to get a firm grasp of it. Since they are the basis of 4/4 time, quarter notes will be used a lot while learning to play rhythm. The count may be doubled to make eighth notes, or cut in half to make half notes. It may be altered even further, making whole notes or sixteenth notes. Either way the base of the time signature is quarter notes.
Today I’m going to talk to you about whole notes, as they relate to 4/4 time, also known as common time. In 4/4 time there are four beats per measure. A whole note, as the name implies, takes up a whole measure.
To understand the proper way to play a whole note, start your metronome. Hit a key on a click of the metronome and hold it for four clicks. On the fifth click, a new measure is starting and you should play the note again. Remember that the click that you start on counts as one click. So it goes: note click click click, note click click click, note click click click, etc.
Keep playing whole notes, holding them for four clicks and repeating on the fifth click until you have a feel for whole notes.
Use This Piano Lesson To Work On Your Ear For The Piano!
In this series of lessons, I’m going to talk to you about playing by ear, and give you tips and tricks and go over the basics of training your ear. I hope to shorten the distance between hearing something in your head, and translating that to the piano keyboard. You may think you are tone deaf, but if you can hear an interval going up or down then you aren’t tone def. You just don’t have an understanding of intervals and how notes go together.
I’m going to go through things like intervals, and understanding how chords move together. I’m going to teach you a bit about understanding scales, and learning how to listen. It’s all about understanding the keyboard as a visual representation of what you are hearing in your head. So, that’s what we will be going through as you view the next few videos. Let’s get started!
Today I’m going to teach you a few finger exercises to help you build up speed and dexterity on the piano. Let’s start our finger exercise in that old standby, C Major. With whatever hand you choose to start with, play the first five notes of the scale, using all five fingers. Work your way from C to G, then back down again. Don’t play as fast as you can just yet. Start off nice and slow and make sure that all of the notes are the same volume. You want steady movements. Don’t flick your fingers, move them steady and in a straight down motion.
Now let’s move on to a full scale, say the F major scale. Start slowly, playing just one octave at first. Play up and down the octave, nice and slowly. Once you are sure that you are playing the notes steady and evenly, you can begin to pick up speed. It’s best to use a metronome for these practice sections. Start at a slow tempo and slowly turn up the pace of the metronome. Practicing this way insures that you will develop a proper sense of musical timing. It’s also a fun idea to practice playing blues scales. When you are playing a blues song it sounds really great to play a fast blues scale at an appropriate part of the song.
The last finger exercise I am going to talk about is arpeggios. An arpeggio is when you play the individual notes of a chord instead of hitting them all together. Play the notes of your chosen chord and then work your way up the keyboard, playing higher and higher octaves of the chord.
Whatever methods you chose for finger practice, remember that starting off slow and building speed is the proper way to insure that you aren’t learning bad habits. As you practice the exercises your fingers will develop the muscle memory required to play the scales faster and faster without having to think about the notes.
A chord progression is a series of chords put together in a pattern. In the beginning of the video, I play a chord progression in the key of F. That progression is F, B flat, C, B Flat, and back to F.
Chord progressions are based around piano scales , so when I say the song is in the key of F, I mean that its chords are based on the F major scale. F is the root of the scale, B flat is the fourth note of the scale and C is the fifth note of the chord. Because of this we can say that F is the I chord, B flat is the IV chord, and C is the V chord. These three chords are the most popular chords in modern music. A lot of the songs you hear on the radio are written with just those three chords, although in a variety of keys.
Play around with the chords on your keyboard. You can put them in any order you like. For variety you can pick out individual notes of the chord instead of playing the whole thing at once. You can also play around with the pattern in which you play those individual notes of the chords, or play around with different inversions.
Let’s build a different set of chords from a new key to help you fully grasp the concept. I’m going to use the key of E major. The root of the E major scale is E. Next let’s hit the II chord, based on the second note of the scale, F sharp minor. From there let’s play the V chord, a B chord. Now let’s return to the E chord for a couple of measures. Another chord we haven’t used yet is the VI chord. The sixth note of the E major scale is a C sharp, so let’s play a measure with a C sharp chord. From there let’s go to the IV chord, which is an A chord, to the V chord, back to the root chord of E.
You can see that we’ve used a variety of chords in that last performance, but all of them are based on the scale of the key that the song is in. There are several common, formulaic, chord progressions, but if you play around with chords and get a feel for how they sound together, you’ll be able to create your own custom chord progressions.
In the last lesson I discussed the proper posture for sitting at the piano. In this lesson I am going to go over the proper hand posture for playing the piano. If you play for any extended amount of time, having the proper hand posture not only insures that you are playing the instrument properly, but helps to reduce fatigue.
The first thing to make sure of is that your wrists are level with the piano. If your wrists are to low, you will have more difficulty hitting the keys properly. If your wrists are to high then you won’t have quite the control that you need, and may find yourself accidentally bumping the black keys. Make sure when you strike the keys that you push your fingers down straight and with even strength; don’t flick at the keys.
Now is also a good time to tell you how pianists number their fingers. You may hear an instructor tell you to hit a key with your first finger or your fifth finger and need to know which fingers those numbers refer to. The first finger is your thumb, and as you may be able to guess, the index finger is two, the middle finger is three, the ring finger is four, and the little finger is five.
That’s it for this lesson. Now that you know the proper way to sit at a piano and the proper way to use your hands, we can get back to actually playing music. When you have the posture down be sure to come back here for the next lesson!
Learn How To Play Piano Sitting With The Proper Posture!
Proper posture is an important part of proper piano playing. In this lesson I am going to give you a quick overview of the proper way to sit at the piano bench. The first thing to make sure of is that you do not slouch. Slouching limits your mobility on the keyboard and will have a negative impact on your piano playing. Slouching also doesn’t look so attractive when you are on stage playing for thousands of people. So be sure to sit up straight every time you sit down to the piano.
The next thing to make sure of is that your elbows are at a 90 degree angle. If your elbows are outstretched further than that, you have your piano bench set to far back. If your elbows are pushed back behind your body, then your piano bench is to close to the piano. Sitting a proper distance from the piano also insures that you will have the full reach and mobility that is needed to play the instrument.
As you get into a song and the emotion starts flowing, you may find yourself naturally leaning into the piano, or hunkering down to really jam out. This can be called artistic movement, and is perfectly acceptable. The guidelines in this document are designed to make sure that you have a solid foundation when you are starting to learn the instrument, not to limit your expression.
Also, check out the video on Proper Hand Posture to make sure you are playing the piano with the proper technique.
When you are beginning a new task or learning something new it is always best to have a starting point. In this lesson you are given a starting point on the piano. That starting point is Middle C.
From there we go up the keyboard using the white keys and make a C Major Scale. From the notes in that scale we are able to build chords. The chords we build are called triads or 3-note chords.
The first chord we build is the C chord which is made up of the notes C, E, and G. The next chord is the F chord which is made up of the notes F, A, and C. The last chord we build is made up of the notes G, B, and D.
After we build the chords we add the root of each chord in the left hand and then play them in succession. Playing the chords like this is called a chord progression. You don’t get too many details, but we give a good starting point for learning how to play the piano.