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Monday, September 10, 2007

Learn to Read Piano Music

Simple Step By Step Piano Lesson. If You Cant Learn Piano From These Lessons Then You Cant Learn Piano Anymore


         >>  Dont Even Think Of Trying Other Prodicts untill You Read This <<


Jan Durrant

Making Music Now's Mini Course

Making Music Now's Mini Course
A Music Basics Guide for the Beginning Musician

Hello! Welcome to the wonderful world of music. Have you always dreamed of being able to learn how to play the piano, keyboard, guitar or any other instrument? Well, your dream is just about to come true with this Free Music eCourse. This dream of yours is not something so far away that it cannot become a reality in a very short while.

This is not rocket science but it does take a genuine commitment on your part to read all seven chapters of this Free Music eCourse in order to learn the music fundamentals that will apply to any instrument. Be sure to STICK WITH IT!

Make it a point to pace yourself. The course has been written with the
intention of going through it in order, with one chapter building on the next. Now that you have laid the groundwork for your plan, let us begin! Whatever instument you are studying or plan to study in the future, each one of those instruments has a history. Let's take a moment to learn a very brief history of keyboard instruments.

Did you know that pianos in some form have been around for over 500 years? Some of the first instruments of this kind were called clavichords. They had a very light, metallic sound because the small hand-pounded 'hammers' were made of very light weight metal-like material. These hammers struck strings of varying lengths to create different tones or pitches. The next cousin to the clavichord was the harpsichord invented by Cristofori in Italy around 1450 A.D. This keyboard instrument had a mechanism in it called the plecktrum which 'plucked' the strings and produced a slightly stronger sound than its predecessor.

Whether you are playing an acoustic instrument, which is the closest relative to the history just mentioned, or an electronic keyboard, you are now participating in a centuries old musical art form.


Piano or Keyboard?

Does it matter if you have a keyboard or a piano? Certainly not. The only real difference is that a full size piano has 88 keys (counting both the white and black keys). Keyboards come in several different sizes. Some have 60 keys, some even less. There are also 88 key electronic keyboards and digital pianos that produce very realistic acoustic sounds. Whatever size your instrument may be, remember that the ARRANGEMENT of the keys and the ORDER of the KEY NAMES is the
same on both instruments. Rest assured that your basic knowledge of the fundamentals of music can be learned quite effectively either on a keyboard or a piano. The only missing ingredient is your own persistence and determination to persevere through the entirety of the material in this course with regular practice sessions. Do that and your success is assured!


Please take a moment and give serious consideration at to WHERE you practice in your home. Make sure that you are not within earshot of the television. Even if you are used to 'watching TV with your ears' while you do other things, it will definitely be a roadblock to your learning to Play Piano Now! Also, make sure that you can sit down at your piano or keyboard comfortably. If you have a piano and a bench which came with it when you bought it, then you are in great shape. Seating at a keyboard can prove a little more difficult. Just make sure that you are not reaching too high up or stooping down too low for the keyboard. Finding a chair that is the right height is the key. The right height chair will allow your arms to be a an almost perfect right angle (45 degree) from your body to the keyboard. Don't worry too much about this. If you have the wrong height of chair your back will start screaming at you to change your position!!! Please make any adjustments to keep your back straight and your arms at a 45 degree angle and you enjoy hours of music in one seating.


Please practice as long and as often as you like. I am not going to recommend a particular practice schedule for anyone. You will find your own pace. Sometimes people ask me how long it will take to learn to Play Piano Now. I simply answer with the question of how much time are you willing to put into it on a daily basis. Since this is an introductory piano course for beginners, I think it would be very effective to work at 30 to 45 minute intervals on a daily basis. The longer you put in, the more quickly you will learn and progress. However, your mind needs a while to 'soak up' the information and will work best when you have some hours or a day or so in between practice sessions. The main thing is to make up a schedule and stick to it! The longest journey begins with the first step!

As a convenience for you I have created a practice chart and placed it below. Please feel free to make copies of this practice chart and use it daily. As I am sure you have heard before, a habit of doing anything takes root much better when we write down the thing that we are doing on a daily basis.

Take advantage of this practice chart by placing it beside your piano or keyboard and filling in your practice times on a regular basis.


Week of _____________, 2003
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Week of _____________, 2003
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Week of _____________, 2003
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
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Week of _____________, 2003
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
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Week of _____________, 2003
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
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Week of _____________, 2003
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
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Week of _____________, 2003
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
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Week of _____________, 2003
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
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Week of _____________, 2003
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
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Let's begin our musical study with a review of the main musical terms you will need to be familiar with to proceed with your music education.

BAR LINE - A vertical line which separates notes into groups

DOUBLE BAR LINE - A set of two (2) vertical lines which stand for the end of a piece of music

REPEAT SIGN - Double bar with two dots at the end of a section or piece of music which
indicates that section is to be played twice.

MEASURE - The distance between two bar lines.

TREBLE CLEF - The S-shaped symbol which stands for notes played with the right hand.

BASS CLEF - The reversed C-shaped symbol which stand for notes played with the left hand.

STAFF - The five lines and four spaces of both the bass and treble clefs.

QUARTER NOTE - Musical symbol with solid note head and stem which gets one count.

QUARTER REST - Musical symbol resembling a sideways W which gets one count.

HALF NOTE - Musical symbol with hollow note head and stem which gets two counts.

HALF REST - Solid half block sitting on third line of the staff which gets two counts of silence.

DOTTED HALF NOTE - Musical symbol with hollow note head, dot and stem which
gets three counts.

WHOLE NOTE - Musical symbol resembling a circle on the staff which gets four counts.

WHOLE REST - Solid half block hanging from the second line on the staff which gets four
counts of silence.

CHORD - Two or more notes played together.

BLOCKED CHORD - Two or more notes played at the same time

BROKEN CHORD - Two or more notes from the same chord played in sequence

INTERVAL - The distance between two notes on the musical staff


5 4 3 2 1 1 2 3 4 5






WHICH FINGER IS #4???????????


It is very important to use curved fingers while playing any keyboard

instrument. This simply means to try and play on the finger tips

instead of on the finger pads. Keep the fingers relaxed while slightly

rounding them as if holding a soft ball in the palm of each hand. Hold

the ball gently and keep your arms and hands as relaxed as possible

while playing.


Are you ready to play your first piano piece? Let's start with a right
hand finger exercise. Place your right hand thumb on any white key in
the middle of your piano or keyboard. Then simply place each finger
numbers 2, 3, 4 and 5 (pinky finger) next to each other on the next white key. Each finger should have a key of its very own to strike. Never put more than one finger on a key. Now start with your thumb and plan the white keys in sequence. Say 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5- 4 - 3 - 2 - 1 as you play each of those fingers. Repeat this pattern three times.

Now place your left hand thumb on any white key of your piano or
keyboard and go through the same exercise. Be sure to say the fingers
number as above. Say the finger numbers reinforces the fact that
thumbs are one and pinky fingers are five. This will especially helpful
to you later as you will be saying counts instead of finger numbers.


Take a look at your keyboard and notice the pattern of two
black note groups and three black note groups repeating itself all up
and down your keyboard instrument. This is the same way that
these black note groups look on your piano or keyboard. Please take a
moment at your own keyboard and find the two and three black note groups in the following sequence:

2 Black 3 Black 2 Black 3 Black 2 Black 3 Black 2 Black 3 Black
(bottom of keyboard) (top of keyboard)

When I refer to the 'bottom' of the piano please go down to the left-
hand side of your instrument. Obviously, when I refer to the top of the
piano please go all the way up to the right hand side of the piano.
Using the diagram above, go to your keyboard and practice moving in
both upward and downward directions.


Following are two finger exercises:
The first exercise will introduce the two black note group. Please use finger numbers two and three (remember your right hand thumb is finger number 1, your right hand index finger is finger number 2, etc.).
Repeat the finger number sequence below as you practice on your keyboard or just on a table top. Just say the finger number that you are using at that moment. Use your RIGHT HAND FIRST and play evenly. Then use your LEFT HAND and repeat the same pattern:

2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3

The second exercise will introduce the three black note group. Use finger numbers 2, 3 and 4 on this exercise. Again, be sure to whisper the finger number as you play and keep an even rhythm.

Even though these are just finger exercises, it is still very important to practice evenly and clearly without rushing through. Use these two exercises daily to warm up your fingers and develop finger independence and strength. Use RIGHT then LEFT hands:

2 3 4 3 2 3 4 3 4 3 2 3 4 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 4 3 4 3 2 3 4 3 2 3 4 3

Be sure to pracitce doing these finger exercises daily for just a few minutes. It will really help your finger independence and facility in the weeks ahead.


There are only seven (7) letter names used on the piano:


It is interesting to note here that no matter what instrument you play,
whether it is piano, tuba or violin, ONLY the seven letter names above
are used in the entire realm of music!

There are two very easy ways to visualize and remember the names of
the white keys on your piano and keyboard. Remember, the note names on an electronic keyboard are the same as on the acoustic piano.
Since it is not possible to include a graphic in this format, simply remember that the 'CDE' note groups in always located directly underneath the two black note group. The letter name 'D' in the white key always located directly inbetween the two black key note groups. ANY TWO BLACK NOTE GROUP on the piano has the letter name 'D' as the white key located inbetween them.

Go to your keyboard NOW and start to play all of the C-D-E groups
from the lowest (bottom left) to the highest (top right) on your
keyboard. Say C - D - E as you play each key.

Now we will learn about the F - G - A - B note groups. Simply located any three black note group on your piano or keyboard and realize that the F-G-A-B white keys are located directly beneath them. Directly outside of the three black note groups are 'F' on the left hand side of the three black note group and 'B' on the right hand side of the three black note group. Just fill in the outer 'F' and 'B' with G and A and you are done!

Go to your piano or keyboard NOW and find all of the F-G-A-G white keys underneath each three black note group. As above, play slowly and evenly saying the letter names as you play the F-G-A-B groups from the bottom of the piano or keyboard (low left hand end) to the top of your piano or keyboard (top right hand end).

Congratulations! You now know ALL of the white key names on the piano!


Both the Treble and Bass clefs each have five lines and four spaces. Learning the actual note names of each line and space (the spaces between each line) is very simple. Please memorize the sentences below for the Treble Clef Line and Space Notes:

Treble Clef Line Notes(starting from the bottom line and moving up)
Every Good Boy Does Fine (the first letter of each word helps you remember the order of the notes)

Treble Clef Space Notes (starting from the first space and going up)
Just remember that the treble clef spaces spell the word 'FACE'.

Bass Clef Line and Space Notes are as follows:
Line Notes: GBDFA
Great Big Dogs Fight Animala
Space Notes: ACEG
All Cars Eat Gas

Now you know all the names of the white keys on your piano or keyboard. You also learned today the acutal letter names of each line and space on both the treble and bass clefs


Both the Quarter Note and the Quarter Rest get one beat. The Quarter Note has a filled in note head and a stem. The Quarter Rest is a vertical musical symbol which resembles a 'W' turned on its side.

The Quarter note symbol stands for a note that is played for the length of one beat. In other words, play any key on your instrument right now and simply hold it down while you say 'one'. It is what we would call a short note.

The Quarter rest is a musical symbol which stands for one beat of silence.

In other words, beats of silence in music are counted just like beats of sound. The only difference between these two musical symbols is that there is complete sound for one beat during a Quarter Note and complete silence for one beat during a Quarter rest in music. Start off your experience in rhythm by simply clapping the rhythm pattern of quarter notes and quarter rests in the following exercise. Make sure that when you say 'one' you ARE clapping both hands together on that beat and when you say 'rest' you are holding your hands apart on that beat. BE SURE TO SPEAK THE WORDS 'QUARTER NOTE' AND 'QUARTER REST' AS YOU CLAP OR MOVE YOUR HANDS APART ON EACH BEAT.
'QN' - stands for Quarter Note
'QR' - stands for Quarter Rest



A melody is nothing more than a string of notes played one after the
other to create a tune or melody. How many times have you asked someone how a tune goes? Please whistle that tune for me.........Well, that, my friend, is a melody.

When you first sat down at a piano or keyboard and tried to pick out the correct sequence of keys to your favorite melody, you were
actually playing short melodies or tunes. Go to your instrument now and use the information you have learned today about Quarter Notes and Quarter Rests and make up a new melody all your own!


Harmony is simply defined as notes, chords or other arrangements of notes that accompany a melody to make a fully developed piece of music. If one person sings a vocal solo, that would be a melody. Two people singing together is called a duet. When the second person sings different notes than the first person, that would be creating harmony with the melody. So it is in any other musical ensemble. The melody is the part of the music that we remember the most and even sing to ourselves later.

One of the most basic forms of harmony in piano music is the chord. A chord consists of two or more notes played together in either hand which can create harmony when played along with any given melody. You will notice that either hand can play the harmony, just as either hand can play the melody. In the Challenge Pieces Section of Play Piano Now (www.MakingMusicNow.com) is a piece entitled
Moonlight Melody'. The melody starts out in the right hand, then goes
to the left hand in the middle section and, finally, ends up in the right hand again to end the piece.


A chord is defined as two or more notes from a scale played together at the same time. Chords may be played in either blocked chord form or broken chord form. A blocked chord simply means that two or more notes are played at the same time. A broken chord is created when that blocked chord is just played one note after the other in sequence.

The first chord we will study is the C Major chord. The notes of the C Major chord are C, E and G. Try this C Major Chord Exercise by placing fingers 1, 3 and 5 of each hand down on your desk or table top right now(remember that the thumb is finger number 1, the middle finger is number 3 and proceed to the pinky finger which is finger number 5). Press down all three fingers (1,3 and 5) at the same time. You have just played the C Major BLOCKED chord. Use this same table top method right now and similarly press down each finger 1,3 and 5 in sequence (one after the other) to create a BROKEN chord.

SPECIAL TIP** Remember, a chord with stems up means the right hand is playing and a chord with stems down means the left hand is playing the chord.

Please practice this C Major Chord Exercise with Right Hand Only:
'QR' - stands for Quarter Rest or one beat of silence
'Ch' - stands for the C Major Chord.
(Again, use your table top and press down 1,3,5 together for 'Ch'. Say 'Chord' each time you press down your fingers on the table top. Also, when you come to the 'Qr' symbol simply lift your hand off of the table top and say 'Rest')



An Interval is defined as the distance between two notes (Refer to Chapter 2 of this course: Musical Terms). The first interval to consider is the interval of a Second, notated as '2nd'. The second is also referred
to as a 'step' in music reading because it is the distance you can travel on your keyboard or piano from one key to the very next key.

It is important to learn to read music by INTERVAL rather than by FINGER NUMBER because the fingerings will not be available on all pieces of music that you encounter. Also, learning to read music by interval enables you to be a much more well rounded pianist because you can start on any given note and read your way through any piece
of music. If you concentrated too much on just C Position or Middle C Position, you would soon become less able to read notes in other areas of the staff.

Now look at the series of letter names below. This series of letters corresponds with your piano or keyboard. Keys C, D and E are in that sequence right next to each other on your keyboard. Moving from one note to the next either up or down in a sequential manner is moving by Seconds. This exercise is written is centered around the concept of the Second, or step. Place your right hand thumb (finger number 1) on a table top or on your keyboard in front of you. Your thumb will be resting on C, your second finger will be resting on D and your third finger will be resting on E. You will be playing interval or distances of a Second throughout this exercise. Be sure to practice this exercise two different ways:

1. Say the Letter Names as you play.

2. Say 'Step up' or 'Step Down' as it is written on the music.


C D E D / C D E D / E D C D / E D C D / C D E D /


The next interval we will learn is the interval or distance of a third or 3rd. This is also referred to as a Skip because we are actually skipping over one note to reach the next note on the piano when we play an interval of a third.

Intervals of thirds can be read easily because they go from one line note to another line note. They can also be from one space note to another space note. In the following space note exercise ALL of the intervals of thirds are both either line notes or both space notes.

Practice the following exercise using thirds the following three ways:

1. Place your right hand in the C Position (RH thumb on Middle C). You will be using note names C, D, E and F with finger numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4.

2. Say the Letter Name of each note as you play

3. Play again and say Skip Up' or Skip Down' as the music indicates.


C E C E / C E C E / D F D F / D F D F / C E C E


Larger intervals of fourths (4ths) and fifths (5ths) are also found a lot in music. We will explore these intervals and corresponding exercises later on. Keep in mind that intervals of fourths and fifths can be identified by the larger distance between these two note intervals. The interval of the fourth (4th) involves one line note and one space note with a larger distance between them than you found in the similar interval of the second (2nd).

The interval of the fifth (5th) involves either two line notes or two space notes. Again, this interval of a fifth is similar to a third except there is a greater distance between the two notes than there was between the interval of a third.


The vehicle for expression in music comes through the context of dynamic markings. Since the Italians were the ones to first write marks of expression in their music as well as print the first music manuscripts on paper, all of the marks of expression or dynamics are from Italian words. Please look over the list of dynamic markings below and familiarize yourself with them. This is by no means an exhaustive list. Only those basic symbols are included here that pertain to the pieces within the Play Piano Now piano course.


Piano - Italian word for soft. symbol used in music: p

Pianissimo - Very soft; symbold used: pp

Mezzo Forte - Medium Loud; symbol used: mf

Forte - Loud; symbol used: f

Fortissimo - Very Loud; symbol used: ff

Crescendo - Gradually getting louder; symbol used: <

Decrescendo - Gradually getting softer; symbol used: >

You can also learn more about the Play Piano Now piano course at:


All the best in your future musical endeavors,

Jan Durrant, Publisher

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