Start Playing Piano Today

Now that you have an understanding of how to work out musical notes, and how to read the time signature there is little to stop you from starting to play your first piece of music. Practice makes perfect so do not be discouraged

Start with the first three bars only of this version of Ode to Joy. Print this article and get out your pencil. Can you identify the middle C notes? If you can’t re-read the article ‘Learning how to read piano notes’ and work from it to determine all the notes on the treble and base staffs.Piano NotesNext we need to determine how long each note should be held for by looking at the way it is depicted. Remember that the sum of all notes will need to tally to the top of the time signature.

The following table is a guide to four of the most popular note types you will find as a beginner pianist. Have a go and see if you can identify two of these notes in the above piece.

Quarter note Half note Full note Eighth note
Quarte Note Half Note Full Note Eighth note
Four quarter or ‘fourth’ notes are required to make up a whole note. So you would play one note per beat in the piece above. Two half notes make a whole note. So in the piece above, you would play a half note for two beats. A full note is the full length of the measure, so in the piece above would be played for four beats. The eighth note, is effectively as it sounds, an eighth of a full note, or half of a quarter note. Basically half a beat.

Counting the rhythm in your head will assist you in learning the length of notes, for example with a time signature of 4/4 you would count one, two, three, four evenly. Playing with your right hand (treble clef) starting above with your middle finger (3) on the E above middle C, you would play each note as you say each number for the first three bars.

Why not attempt this now? Play each note as it is displayed ignoring the left hand, then when you can play it as evenly as possible give the left hand a go. Your little finer (#5) should be on the C one octave below Middle C.

Hold that first C down and count to four, then play the G and count to four and finally play the E and count to four.

When you feel confident try the piece with both hands.

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