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Full disclosure: I’ve struggled with anxiety for most of my life. And mental health is very important to me.

Even if you don’t struggle with depression or anxiety personally, there are plenty of things in life that gives us stress.

From pandemics and natural disasters to parenting and work, we all need to slow down and take care of ourselves on occasion.

In this lesson, I’m going to show you how to feel better by playing music. No previous piano experience required!

Serene landscape of mountains and water.

A relaxing exercise on the piano…

Step 1: Find C

We’ll start by finding a note called C. It’s located to the left of the group of two black keys.

Use any finger to play a steady rhythm with C (I use my pointer finger). If you have a pedal, hold it down to create a dreamier sound.

Step 2: Add some thirds

Next, use your right hand to play two white keys that are two notes apart.

The beautiful thing is, you can play any two white keys with this shape on top of your C and it’ll sound great!

There are no wrong notes. Yay!

Once you’re comfortable, experiment a little.

Step 3: Try different patterns

Vary your rhythm. Play faster, play slower. Play syncopated.

Or, break apart the notes on your right hand and try other bass notes on your left. (Hint: A — the next note I try — will sound very nice.)

You can also try different shapes on your right hand. We’ve been playing thirds, but try fourths and fifths.

Step 4: Relax

You don’t need to be super skilled to feel amazing at the piano.

This exercise helps you feel in control, and feeling in control can help with anxiety.

So take a break from your day, sit down at the piano, and just relax and see where your fingers and ears take you.


Mental health resources (if you need them):

More free Pianote lessons related to mental health:


Lisa Witt has been teaching piano for 19 years and in that time has helped hundreds of students learn to play the songs they love. Lisa received classical piano training through the Royal Conservatory of Music, but she has since embraced popular music and playing by ear in order to accompany herself and others.



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