Whether you took lessons as a kid or you’re brand-new to the piano, there has never been a better time to learn.
This video lesson will give you a complete practice routine, broken up into seven days. We’ll teach you all the basics, from navigating the keyboard and playing scales to building chords and playing your first song!
You can follow this routine day-by-day or do it all at once, it’s up to you.
First, let’s learn how to find our way around the keyboard.
Use the groups of two and three black keys to find the note called C and the note called F.
You’ll notice that we name notes after letters of the alphabet. After C comes D, E, and so on, but the musical alphabet stops at G.
Test yourself by finding all the Cs with your right thumb (finger 1) and left pinky (finger 5).
Then, align your left and right hand fingers to the C position by covering C-D-E-F-G, one finger per key.
The same idea applies to the D position (D-E-F-G-A), A position (A-B-C-D-E), and so on.
On day 2, we’ll develop finger dexterity by playing the five-finger scale.
To play the scale, put your hands in C position and play the notes (C-D-E-F-G), one after another.
Then, try this in a different position, such as G position (G-A-B-C-D).
Play these scales hands apart. Then, try playing both hands together.
If this movement feels weird at first, that’s totally normal and will go away with practice 🙂
Now let’s play something more song-like! Using the hand positions we’ve learned, we’ll play fifths, which means we’ll play with fingers 1 and 5 on both hands.
Try playing fifths in the following positions: C > G > A > F. Play hands apart, then hands together.
If this sequence sounds familiar, you’re on to something! This is a very common chord progression, used in a lot of pop music.
Now try something a little more challenging: hand independence.
Get into C position. On your left hand, play and hold the C. Then, play four steady fifths on your right hand on top of it.
Try this in different positions and experiment with fifths in both hands too.
Next, try breaking up the notes in your right hand.
If you want to go further, explore the other notes under your right hand. Get creative.
Once you know fifths, you’re already halfway there to playing chords. Just add finger 3 to your existing fifths and voilà, you’re now playing triads!
Try playing the following triads:
C-E-G > G-B-D > A-C-E > F-A-C
Then, switch up the order. Try:
C-E-G > F-A-C > C-EG > G-B-D > A-C-E > F-A-C > C-E-G > G-B-D > C-E-G
On to something exciting…let’s learn how to play “Imagine” by John Lennon!
But first, let’s take a look at the “Imagine” chord charts. If you look at the lyrics in our video, you’ll see letters above the words like “C” and “G.” These letters represent chords. “C” represents the C triad we just learned (C-E-G), and “G” represents the G triad (G-B-D).
Play the chord and sing the melody on top of it. Switch to the next chord when it comes up in the lyrics.
You can also hold down the root note (C in the C triad or G in the G triad) with your left hand while you add some rhythm on your right hand. Like you’re strumming a guitar!
When you get to the chorus, play the notes after the slashes as your left-hand bass notes.
Can you believe how far you’ve come? In just seven days, you’ve gone from never touching a piano to playing “Imagine”!
Let’s flesh out “Imagine” a little more. I’ll show you how to play the iconic intro so that even if you don’t sing, everyone will recognize what song you’re playing.
By the way, if you want to go more in-depth with “Imagine,” we have a full and detailed tutorial here. We also have beginner-friendly tutorials for other pop songs like “Let It Be,” “Just the Way You Are,” and “Happy Birthday.”
In just seven days (or less), you’ve learned how to navigate the keyboard, play a simple scale, make chords, and play a song. Just imagine what you can accomplish a month or a year from now!
You can learn how to play the piano at any age as long as you have fun. When you’re ready for the next step, take a free but in-depth beginner piano course and join our Pianote community to connect with other beginners.
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Learning chords is a great way to improve your piano skills without any music theory. And Lisa Witt’s “Chord Hacks” series will show you how to play the most popular chords, so you can play many of your favorite songs on the piano!
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