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Piano for Complete Beginners: 5 tips to get you started

Updated: Sep 13, 2022


online piano classes
online piano classes

If you know nothing about the piano and want to learn piano online, you've come to the right place. This guide will teach you:

  • Learn your way around the keyboard

  • Learn about finger numbering

  • Learn about correct hand positioning

  • Learn how to play the scale C major


But first, a refresher on the basics, such as what piano notes and chords are.


Learn your way around the keyboard | learn piano online


Before we start piano learning, we must introduce you to the piano. Sit down by the piano if you are lucky enough to own one. If not, save the image below and print it as a guide.

All these black and white notes will be very confusing to someone who has not yet started learning, such as yourself! We've added all of the note names to the piano image above for your ease. You can also buy some note stickers for your piano.


Your piano is made up of notes. A note is a symbol that represents the pitch of the sound produced by the instrument you are playing.


You'll notice a pattern of TWO black notes followed by THREE black notes - over and over - with white notes in between on your piano. In this guide, we will only look at the WHITE notes. From A to G, the notes are in alphabetical order, and they repeat up and down the piano in cycles. What's confusing is that note C is officially the start of the cycle. Each cycle contains EIGHT notes: C, D, E, F, G, A, B, and C again.

We will only look at 1 cycle of eight notes for this lesson. See below.


Here is some guidance on how to start memorizing the note placement:

- C is to the LEFT of the two black notes

- E is to the RIGHT of the two black notes

- F is to the LEFT of the three black notes

- B is to the RIGHT of the three black notes



The three remaining notes are D, G, and A.


As you can see, these fall between the black notes. Try the following exercise. This will help you to remember where the notes are on the keyboard.


Finger numbering | online piano classes


Next, there's finger numbering. Once you can play pieces, deciding which notes to play with which fingers will become important. So, let's get started on counting our fingers. Check the diagram below to become familiar.


Simple, right? Now try this exercise.


B with finger 3

F with finger 1

A with finger 1

C with finger 4

G with finger 2

E with finger 5

E with finger 5

B with finger 3

D with finger 4

C with finger 2


Now, try it in your left hand.


Hand positioning | online piano classes


This tip is important! If you adopt the wrong position, you can seriously injure your hand, wrist, and forearm. The right way to position your hand is shown below, as is the wrong way.


  • Your hand should rest in a semi-circle shape on the keys.

  • Maintain a level hand on the floor. Don't lower your wrist.

  • Keep a very loose wrist.


The C major scale - part 1


It's time to get started!


Firstly, what is a scale in music?


Scales are collections of musical notes arranged by fundamental frequency and pitch.


C major is the most basic and widely used scale. A C major scale has EIGHT notes: C, D, E, F, G, A, B, and C. We'll just practice the scale with your right hand.


Task 1: Find C on the keyboard. If you remember, it's to the left of the two black notes.


Task 2: Place finger 1 on C, finger 2 on D, and finger 3 on E using your right hand.


Task 3: Practice each note separately, up and down, up and down. Start to speed up as you gain confidence.


You now know the first THREE notes of the eight-note C major scale!


We must now master the remaining five notes.


The C major scale - part 2

You've so far played C, D, and E in the C major scale. F, G, A, B, and C are the next notes to be added.


With finger 3, we finished the first half on note E. The next note is F, the white note to the left of the three black keys. Here, the best way to play F is with finger 1, your thumb.


How do we do that?


Task 1: Tuck your thumb underneath your three fingers to F, as shown below.


Task 2: After that, play G with finger 2, A with finger 3, B with finger 4, and C with finger 5.


Task 3: Practice each note separately, up and down, up and down. Start to speed up as you gain confidence.


Task 4: Practice putting both halves of the scale together until you have nailed it.


Final Words


Congratulations if you've made it this far! You've mastered the basics of piano playing. Usually, this part is the most difficult during the learning process. Revisit these exercises from time to time to keep what you've learned fresh in your mind.

Also, if you're interested in learning the piano, get in touch with Mela Music School for piano lessons for beginners.


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