Learning & Playing Piano Notes for Beginners

By Jesse Preis
Piano Notes for Beginners.

Understand piano notes for beginners with our help!

Are you a beginner who is interested in understanding how to read and play notes on the piano? Discover piano notes for beginners with Hoffman Academy! In this article, you will learn the piano notes, how to play them, and ways of memorizing the notes on the piano keyboard!

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How can I memorize piano notes for beginners easily?

There are a few helpful tricks when memorizing keys on the piano keyboard. Notice that the keys on the keyboard are arranged in certain patterns. There are groups of three black keys and groups of two black keys. If you look from right to left on the piano keyboard, you will notice that the pattern goes: 3 black keys, 2 black keys, 3 black keys, 2 black keys, and so on. At the very left of the keyboard is one lone black key, which (if it followed the pattern) would have been part of a group of 3, but for some reason is all by itself. 

I like to imagine that the groups of two black keys are like a doghouse. A dog doesn’t need an elaborate house, so it just has two walls. In between the two black keys is the white key: D. What does the word Dog start with? D! Next door on the left of the doghouse is the white key where the Cat sleeps: C. Next door on the right is the white key where the Elephant hangs out: E. 

I like to imagine that the groups of three black keys create an elaborate house where my grandmother can live! She needs a much bigger house than the dog. The white key on the right of E is F (the Front door of grandma’s house), then the white key to the right of F is Grandma’s room. If you keep looking to the right, you will see the white key which is Auntie’s room. And after that? The Back door of grandma’s house!

Here is a fun Hoffman video that can help you remember EVERY KEY on the piano!

How do you read piano notes for beginners?

How can a beginner read piano notes? To understand sheet music and how to play it on the piano, you must first understand the musical alphabet. The musical alphabet is exactly the same as the English alphabet, but only uses the first seven letters: ABCDEFG. Once you get to G, it begins over at A again. 

There are two sets of five lines that you will notice on piano sheet music. Each set of five lines is called a staff. These two staffs can be joined by a brace, creating a grand staff. At the left side of the top staff, you will notice a treble clef, which tells the musician that the right hand will mostly be playing above middle C. You will also notice a bass clef at the left side of the bottom staff, which tells the musician that the left hand will mostly be playing below middle C. 

Following the clefs, you will notice a group of sharps or flats, which are called the key signature. The key signature tells the performer which key they will be playing in: C major (no sharps/flats), G major (one sharp), F major (one flat), etc. 

Following either the clefs or the key signature are two numbers, such as 4/4, 3/4, or 2/4. These numbers are called the time signature. The time signature tells the performer how many beats are in each measure and what kind of note equals a single beat.

The staff is designed to correspond to the musical alphabet. If the notes on the staff are stepping up, the names of the notes are moving forward in alphabetical order. If the notes of the staff are stepping down, the note names are moving backwards in reverse alphabetical order. 

Grand staff with treble clef, bass clef, time signature, and key signature.

Memorizing certain notes on the staff called guide notes can be very helpful when reading sheet music. The guide notes make it easier to figure out new notes too! I recommend starting by memorizing the placement of middle C, treble G, and bass F, because these notes are easy to identify! Once you know these notes, you can count up or down from the closest guide note to identify other notes that you are unsure about. Remember: the alphabet goes forward as you step up and backwards as you step down! It’s important to count both lines and spaces, otherwise you will likely end up on the wrong note!

Canyon C to the Cloud C

Piano notes for beginners: What are the 12 notes of piano keys?

The twelve notes that repeat on the piano keyboard are A, A#/Bb, B, C, C#/Db, D, D#/Eb, E, F, F#/Gb, G, G#/Ab. These twelve notes are called a chromatic scale. Notice that some of these notes have two names listed above. These are called enharmonics. The enharmonic notes listed above represent the black keys on the keyboard: A#/Bb, C#/Db, D#/Eb, F#/Gb, and G#/Ab. Depending on how they are written on the staff, they will be called one name rather than the other. For example, if a treble G has a sharp in front of it, that note will be called a G#, but if the same note is written as an A with a flat in front of it, it will be called Ab. They are written differently depending on how they function within the music. The white keys are simply A, B, C, D, E, F, G. 

What is the fastest way to learn piano?

What is the fastest way to learn piano? The answer is simple – the fastest way to learn how to play piano sheet music is consistent practice! There is no quicker way to be able to play piano, so take your time and practice consistently. 

One good way to strengthen your piano playing is to practice small sections of your piano pieces and make sure that you have mastered them before moving on. Start with easier pieces so you can feel really confident, but once you become comfortable, increase the level of difficulty!

As we say here at Hoffman Academy: be patient and have fun! You will be surprised at how much you can accomplish! Learning music doesn’t have to be difficult or boring. Find music that excites you and you will learn much quicker because you will be engaged in the music that you are learning. 

You can learn piano notes for beginners even faster with a good teacher, and Hoffman Academy has over 300 piano lessons with expert teachers who will guide you from beginner to confident musician. Give it a try!

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