Notes on the Keyboard
There are eighty-eight keys on a standard piano, which are a lot of different notes to remember! Luckily, the notes follow a repeating visual pattern to make it easy. The first thing you will notice is that there are two types of keys: the white keys (or naturals) and the black keys (or sharps). As you play the keys toward the right hand side of the piano, the pitch of the notes get higher. If you play the keys at the far left of the piano, the pitch is lower.
If you look a little closer at the keyboard, you will notice that the black keys are grouped together in groups of two or groups of three. The grouping of the black keys in doubles or triples is the visual clue you will use to find any key on the piano.
For practice, play each group of two black notes with fingers 2 and 3 in both the right and left hands. Start at the low notes on the left hand side and work your way up the keyboard to the high notes on the right. Then repeat the process with the group of three black notes with fingers 2, 3, and 4 in each hand.
FIGURE 3-5: Doubles and triples
Letter Names of Keys
Now that you have a repeating pattern of doubles and triples, you can learn the name and position of every key on the keyboard by using the black keys as a reference. The note C is the white key found directly to the left of the group of two black notes. Play all of the C keys one at a time on the piano. The note D is the white key inbetween the group of two black notes. Play all the D keys. The E is the white key to the right of the double black keys. Play all of the E keys. Remember: The notes C, D, and E are next to the double black notes.
FIGURE 3-6: C – D – E
FIGURE 3-7: F – G – A – B
Continuing using the pattern of the black notes as a reference, the F note is directly to the left of the group of three black notes. The G note is the white key in between the triple black notes, toward the left. The A note is the middle right, and the B is directly to the right of the triple black notes. Remember: The notes F, G, A, and B are next to the triple black notes.
Memorize the position of every white key on the piano and its corresponding letter name. You should be able to play every occurrence of any note over the full range of the piano without hesitation. Since there are only seven notes to memorize, it should be easy and it will speed your progress tremendously.