The Secret That is Guaranteed to Make You a Better Pianist

The Secret That is Guaranteed to Make You a Better Pianist

by | May 26, 2017

The Beginning

Talk to anyone who has ever learned to do something and most of the time they will tell you how they started from the beginning. A baseball player will remember back to his first tee ball season where he learned the basics of baseball. An engineer will think back to his science project days when he learned the laws of physics.

While many people start from the beginning, it seems like there is a good number of musicians who don’t. Why is this? Perhaps it happens because we often learn to play our instruments in informal environments. 

You know how it goes. The church needs a drummer and you seem to be the next person in line. You teach yourself and get a little coaching from the worship leader and then you are thrown into the fire. Sound familiar?


Whatever the real reasons are, it’s more of a reality now than any time before it. Never before in history could a teenager pull up a library of 81,941,760 YouTube videos to find a tutorial on how to play just about any song on any instrument. In many ways, it seems like the sky is the limit.

While there are some great YouTube tutors online, there are also many that teach music without starting at the beginning. They skip the foundation for the sake of teaching someone to play a piece quickly.

I’m sure it’s not a surprise to you that you can’t learn the piano in 1 month like some of the gimmicks out their say. Learning to play an instrument well takes many years of dedication.

So where do you start when learning to play the piano? I’m glad you asked. When learning to play the piano, begin by learning the letter names of the piano keys and which note they correlate to on the staff. 

Here’s a great picture to help you visualize it.



The notes on the keyboard are grouped together in a sequence of notes we call scales. While there are numerous scales in music, learning the major scale is a great place to start.

Before we get too far, it’s important to know that each kind of scale follows a certain pattern which is measured by half and whole steps.

A half step is 2 notes that do not have any notes between them. A whole step is 2 notes that have 1 key between them.

scalesThe major scales (also called diatonic) are made up of the following combination of pitches. Whole, Whole, Half, Whole, Whole, Whole, Half (W, W, H, W, W, W, H)

Start on any note of the piano and this sequence will give you a major scale. Here are a couple examples: