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Piano Lessons For Beginners: Lesson Two

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

Welcome to your second piano lesson and more black key magic! Before moving on, make sure you understood everything in Lesson One and that you've played it enough to know what's what.

In this lesson we're going to stick with the three black keys and use them to play a whole song.

Numbers and Notes

On one level, playing the piano is easy. Music uses the numbers 1 to 5 and the letters A to G. So now let's take some numbers and put them with some musical notes.

You'll recall last time you played the first part of the song "Three Blind Mice" using fingers 2, 3, and 4. Here's what that looks like as a rhythm.


Pause means Rest

You'll notice that where I asked you to pause (in Lesson One) there's a squiggly line. That's called a rest (a one-beat rest or a quarter rest) and simply means don't play for that count. If you feel like it, take a minute to play through this piece again before continuing, one hand at a time.

[Hint: It’s the same as what you played in the “Your First Song” section of Lesson One.]

A New Challenge

So now you’re ready to play a complete song using only fingers 2, 3, and 4. All you have to do is follow the rhythm and use the fingers indicated above each note.

Try the exercise below, one hand at a time, and see if you can do it. Remember just to do ONE HAND AT A TIME at this stage. Place your three center fingers above the black notes on either side of middle C, just as you did in Lesson One, and follow the finger numbers. Play it a few times if you need to before moving on.


Get your Hands Set

How did you do? Hopefully you found it easy enough. So let's get down to business and attempt to play the song in full.

Below you'll see a picture of a keyboard showing middle C and two groups of black keys, one group on either side of middle C. Place your hands on your piano in the same way and play the keys to get used to what you're doing.


Share the Load

Good work! Now it's time to go for it.

In the picture below you'll see the rhythm for the whole song, "Merrily We Roll Along." It's been split between the two hands, so you can start with the right hand playing the first line, then move on and play the second line with your left hand.

Scroll to Continue

Try each line on its own a few times until you get used to everything. Then, when you feel comfortable, have a go at playing the complete song all the way through from start to finish.



I hope you were able to play it easily enough. If you had any trouble at all, don’t worry! It takes time to get everything coordinated and working together, so be patient.

In the next lesson you're going to start reading music notation. That's a big step, so make sure you only move on when you're ready to do so.

See you in Lesson Three!


Becki Rizzuti from Indiana, USA on March 22, 2012:

Well, piano is a stringed instrument ;) My big problem is that my fingers don't like to stretch for the chords, but I'm thinking about reversing my strings and trying to play left handed. I do about half of the activities in which I participate left-handed (such as bowling, billiards and golfing) so there might be some benefit in this approach, even if I do write with my right hand!

JohnMello (author) from England on March 22, 2012:

Thanks! I know what you mean... never could get to grips with any string instruments other than guitar myself.

JohnMello (author) from England on March 22, 2012:

Thanks! Nice to know someone appreciates it :)

Becki Rizzuti from Indiana, USA on March 21, 2012:

Very nice little piano lesson here! I taught myself to play years ago and now I'm teaching myself guitar, which is a good deal harder because my fingers have to learn a whole new way to stretch (I play piano and flute, which require similar positions from my hands). Voted UP, useful and interesting!

Rosa Marchisella from Canada on March 21, 2012:

What a great idea for a hub series!

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