Piano 101: How To Play Piano For Beginners

piano 101

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Piano can be a daunting instrument if you’re planning on starting for the very first time.

There are many things to focus on when learning the piano like:

  • Hand-eye-foot coordination
  • Rhythm
  • Reading notes
  • Dynamics

And many other important things to make a piano sound amazing.

That’s why in this piano 101 course I am going to teach you the foundations you are going to need so that you have a better understanding of how to focus on playing the piano efficiently and effectively.

You can think of this blog post as your continuing education classes for college non music majors so you will be able to play the piano.

Piano is an instrument that can be both fun and challenging. There are many piano lessons for beginners on Youtube and piano teachers in your area, but the piano can seem daunting with so much to learn at once. That’s why this blog post will cover what you need to know when starting out as a beginner piano player!

So let’s get started.

Piano 101: Start With Learning How To Read Music Notes

The very first thing you should learn when playing the piano is how to read notes.

Although you can start playing right away with those Synthesia videos from Youtube, without knowing how to read piano notes, you’ll be very limited and this is because many artists compose their songs via a piano sheet.

So learning the essentials like quarter notes, half notes, rests, and measures will only help to further your skills in rhythm and even basic music theory.

For piano beginners learning music, it’s best to start with learning the piano notes first before you get into songs.

This is because it will make your foundation that much stronger and help your skills in rhythm tremendously because music is nothing without good timing!

Learn Your Most Important Major And Minor Scales

The next thing you want to learn in our piano 101 guide is to learn the most common major and minor scales.

If learning how to read notes is like the alphabet, then learning the scales is like learning the most common words in your language.

These piano scales will help you know your most common triads, which are the chords that get used in a lot of piano songs.

The major scales you should learn are Major C, Major G, and Major D.

When you learn right away, it will not feel normal because everything is going to feel brand new.

But over time, if you truly practice your scales, you are going to notice that over time, as you are learning more pieces that it’s easier to recognize and play them.

Think about it like this.

If you are learning a foreign language, you can brute force your way by memorizing a bunch of sentences even if you don’t know half of the words.

But if you learned the most common words and tried memorizing the same sentences, you are going to notice it’s a lot easier to memorize because you notice the patterns of the most common words.

That’s why every single teacher stresses you to play your major chords even if it isn’t the most fun in the beginning because it helps build your foundation even if you are playing the piano for fun.

That’s why if you focus and do deliberate practice with these common major scales, your piano learning will improve exponentially.

Develop Your Sense Of Rhythm

This is usually either going to come to you naturally or it’s going to take some time for you to develop…

But everyone can develop this skill, as all it takes is time and deliberate practice.

The reason rhythm is important is that rhythm makes us stay in beat and enjoy the music without getting out of the trance.

Just like playing the wrong note, playing off time can be a very disruptive experience for the listeners and make it difficult for people to enjoy listening to any music.

That’s why in this piano 101 guide I’m going to show you an effective way to develop your rhythm.

The best way to develop your rhythm is to play the songs with one hand at a time.

When you play with one hand at a time, you are going to notice that it’s easier for you to keep on time with the music and stay on beat.

You also want to play slowly so that it gives you time to think about your piano playing.

During the process, you are going to notice that it’s easy for a beginner piano player like yourself to slip up and start losing track of where you’re at with the beat.

That is completely normal! It means there’s still room for improvement in your rhythm, which will come from deliberate practice as mentioned before.

Then you can slowly start incorporating your second hand where you will slowly but surely get used to the feeling of rhythm. This is because you are learning to multitask which is similar to playing the guitar and trying to sing at the same time!

It takes practice, but it’s one of those foundations you need to practice if you want to get good at piano.

Piano 101: Playing With Dynamics Is Also Important And Adds Personality To The Song

The next step in this piano 101 guide is to learn how to add dynamics to your song.

What dynamics mean is that you add flavor to your music when you are playing a piece.

This means you can have different expressions for the same song or music depending on how it’s played.

That means that when you play a song, there will be times where you have to hit the piano keys harder or softer, depending on how it’s used.

If you listen to your favorite musician playing piano songs, whether they’re pop, jazz, classical, etc., notice that they either:

  • Slow it down
  • Speed it up
  • Play it louder
  • Play it softer

The dynamics are important because it adds emotion and personality to the song…

And adding emotion to the song is important because it makes piano songs more interesting to listen to and can help the piano player convey their emotions in the song.

In piano, dynamics use different symbols above or below a specific note that either show you how hard or soft you should play it.

You want to look for these two symbols: crescendo and decrescendo.

Crescendo is when the piano player gradually plays louder and decrescendo means they play softer.

You can start by playing crescendos at the beginning of your song or a few seconds before you want to go loud in your piano song . And then practice changing back down to soft again for dynamics which will show.


As piano is one of the most popular instruments in music, it has many benefits from improving your coordination to helping you express yourself through piano songs.

The piano also helps develop hand-eye coordination and rhythm, which are essential skills that everyone should learn for every instrument they play, whether musical.

It’s a lot easier to memorize things when you play piano songs as well because it helps your brain memorize the song along with what comes next in the piano sheet music.

So if you’re thinking about learning piano, I recommend taking piano lessons and finding a piano teacher who will show you how to play right away instead of trying to self-taught yourself which can take many years to fix any bad habits you develop.

Whether you’re playing the piano for fun or wanting to become an experienced player, it’s always important to focus on the foundations.

If you have questions, let me know in the comments below!



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anthony nebel

Hey, I’m Anthony. I’m an experienced musician with 10+ years experience (mainly piano and guitar) and a vocal coach with 3+ years experience transforming his own voice and other students who never sang before.

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