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Beginning Piano Lessons - Finding the Names of the Notes on the Piano

In this episode, Ms. Jennifer shows you how to identify and remember the names of all white keys on the piano keyboard.

Beginning Piano Lesson - Identifying Notes on the Keyboard

- contributed by Jennifer H.


(00:07): Hi, my name is Jennifer Hoover and I teach piano and voice here at the Louisiana Academy of Performing Arts in Mandeville. Today, I would love to show you a quick way to find the note names of the white keys on the piano. Oftentimes when children or adults start taking piano for the first time, they have a hard time remembering which note is which, especially on all of these white keys. Most pianos, if they're full size, have 88 keys, that's a lot to keep track of, right? Well, there's a quick and easy way to find them. And if you are thinking about taking piano and you never have, because this just seems so overwhelming, I hope this helps you realize it's not so bad. So, most of the time piano literature is going to help you learn where your first note is, middle C. It's going to be the closest to the middle of the keyboard.

(00:54): That's a C, but you're saying, "But you didn't say how to find the C yet. How will I know?" Great question. So what you really want to look for anytime you want to find the C note on the keyboard, and there are several, you want to look for the two black keys. Now notice the pattern on the keyboard. You may have noticed it before, but never put much thought to it. It goes two black keys, three black keys, two black keys, three black keys and so on. And then the white keys fall in between. But it's really a helpful pattern to help us find our notes. So most of the time when you're looking for a C the best way is going to be defined any of those sets of two black notes, and then it's going to be this first one to the left, right there. So if I want to find a C that's up high, grab those two keys, there it is. And maybe I want the lowest one on the keyboard, just because I'm feeling curious.

(01:46): Okay. So we have one note. Another way to find the next note that I usually teach my students, especially if they're a beginner, is to look for the three black keys. You notice that pattern as well. And you're going to look for those three keys. And then the first note to the left, that'll be F, always. That's what's nice about this. It's constant, right? Two keys and to the left always C, three black keys and to the left, always F. So we can use it anywhere on the keyboard to help us find it. Okay, now you're saying, "I only know two notes on the keyboard. There are so many more I need to know." You're not wrong. In the musical alphabet, we have A, B, C, D, E, F, G. There's no H, I, J. There's no more notes. That's it. We start over A, B, C, D, E, F, G and then we start again with A.

(02:41): You may never have realized that, but actually that's only seven letters to remember. I think you can handle it. So, if you know how to find C from your two black keys, and then the first key to the left, you've got your alphabet in order to help you out. And if you've learned your alphabet, which I hope you have, you should be able to do it quite easily. C, D, E. Look at that. So now you know all those neighboring notes, right away, just from looking at the two black keys, and you can do that anywhere on the keyboard C, D, E.

(03:11): And so I think of that set of two black keys and three white keys as sort of a little family right there. And that's easy for me to visually grab. And then I can also do the same thing with the three black keys and the four white keys. So, you're looking for those three black keys, you find your F and you use your alphabet to help you find the rest. [inaudible 00:03:33] What happens after G? We start over, A, B. So you're always going to know three keys, F, G, A, B, two keys, C, D, E. That works well for me and for many of my students. And I hope it helps you feel more confident in your ability to find the notes on the piano keyboard. Thanks so much for watching. We'll see you next time.

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More About Piano Lessons

Check out some additional blog posts below or stop by one of our three campuses in the Greater New Orleans area!

  • Blog: "Diction Exercises for Vocalists"
  • Blog: "How to Read Standard Sheet Music Notation"
  • Blog: "A History of Mandeville" - Interested in the History of our fair city? Learn more here."
  • Blog: "How to Play Open & Closed Position Chords on the Piano."
  • Blog: "Piano Recital Tips for Beginners"
  • Learn more about music lessons.
  • Learn about Piano Lessons in Harahan.
  • Learn about Piano Lessons in Kenner.
  • Learn about Piano Lessons in Metairie.
  • Learn about Piano Lessons in New Orleans.
  • Learn more about the Louisiana Academy of Performing Arts
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