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Piano Lessons For Beginners: Lesson Four

JohnMello is a writer, composer, musician, and author of books for children and adults.

A New Hand Position

In this fourth lesson, we're going to spread our hands out a bit. If you missed Lessons One, Two or Three, follow the links to review them now.

This time, place the thumb of your right hand on middle C, and the little finger of your left hand on the C below middle C. Check out the diagram below if you need a reminder.


This is the C position, where both hands play the notes C,D,E,F, and G. Put your hands in the same position on your keyboard and play the notes with each hand a few times. Then when you're ready, move on to the next section.

Note Review

Once you get used to placing your hands on the keyboard in this new C position, you'll find it easy to play. Just remember that your hands are mirror images of each other. So the right hand plays C with the thumb, while the left hand plays C with the little finger.

Before we get down to business, take a moment to refresh your memory about the notes and their values. We'll be using the quarter note, half note and whole note for this lesson. Here's a picture of them to help get you going.


Right Hand Warm-up

Okay, now let's start playing.

Here is part of the right hand for the song we'll be working on. Notice that the first section starts with finger 3, and the next with finger 1. Also note that not all of the finger numbers have been written in. Can you figure them out?


There's a break after the first bit of music. You won't find that in the full song, but it's there in this exercise. Use it to prepare yourself for what's coming up next.

Play through this exercise a few times before continuing.

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Left Hand Warm-up

Now it's time for the left hand. This time you only have to play two notes - C with finger 5 (your little finger) and G with finger 1 (your thumb). It's fairly easy, but make sure you take your time and understand what you’re doing.

Of course, things aren't so easy when you put both hands together. So make sure you go slowly and practice each hand separately a few times. You can always come back and repeat a step if you get stuck.

Watch out for the final bar!


A Bit of Beethoven

How did you do? Ready to continue?

Below you’ll find the whole song, which is the theme from Beethoven's 9th symphony known as the "Ode to Joy." The trick to playing this well is to take your time and follow the music carefully.

It may be more complicated playing with two hands, but the way the music is written makes it easy to tell when the left hand comes in. So in one sense it's actually better like this.

Be patient and see if you can manage it.


Who's a Budding Pianist?

Congratulations! You should be pleased and feeling a bit proud of yourself.

The hardest part about learning to play is sticking with it. If you give up, you've got no chance. You can see that it's not impossible with the right approach. So stay at it and enjoy the journey.

Lesson Five takes us away from the key of C major into a slightly more complicated style of playing. But you shouldn’t be worried: you can do it!


allsynergy from Finland on September 07, 2012:

Very useful for beginners.

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