Looking to master the white keys on piano?
Then jump in pal, we've got the only guide you'll need to learn the white keys on piano.
Looking to learn the black keys on piano?
Want to learn more about music theory and piano?
Check out our other tutorials.
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Let's get stuck in shall we?
The white keys on piano are known as the ‘natural' notes.
Now don't get too caught up on this. It's simply a name for the note because of how it sounds to the ear.
Natural notes… sound natural, as opposed to flats or sharps of the black keys on piano.
WHITE KEYS ON PIANO: Where To Start
When playing the keys on piano we always want to start with finding where the ‘middle c' is on the board.
So we're going to do that right now.
What we want you to do is find the bottom C note on your piano or keyboard (some may start on A, so find the next C up from that).
After this, you want to count up to the 4th C you see on the piano board. This key on the piano is ‘middle c', otherwise known as ‘C4' (the 4th C).
Now, you want to rest your (right hand) thumb on the middle C, while allow the rest of your fingers to rest on the keys above C4 (middle c).
With your left hand you want to find the C key that is 1 octave below middle C (the one you've currently got your thumb resting on). Just count 8 notes down from middle C (including C) and that's where your left hand should be.
With the key located, you want to rest the pinky finger of your left hand on that ‘C' note. Now the rest of your fingers should be placed on the notes above that C.
If you've got it right,
you should have your fingers resting on these keys on the piano:
C, D, E, F, G
On the right hand, your thumb on C and your pinky on G.
On the left hand your pinky on C and thumb on G.
In total there are 11 keys in an octave (more on that below).
7 of those keys are Natural notes.
Those notes include:
C, D, E, F, G, A, B (C major scale)
Here you'll notice something…
If you look closely, you'll see that the keys on piano rise in alphabetical order from A. Once they get to G, it repeats.
A, B, C, D, E, F, G (A minor scale)
Want to learn more about scales?
If you count 8 notes (white) from any C on the piano, you'll find yourself back at another C.
This is what is known as an octave.
When first learning piano, it can be overwhelming. We understand that, so well done for making it this far.
One thing that you really need to iron out before you start to play and learn more is the right finger positioning.
If you don't, you'll end up learning bad habits and they're harder to un-learn… trust me, I had to un-learn this particular bad habit and it wasn't fun!
So let's get it sorted right now.
I want you to place your fingers back on the piano, with both hands resting on C, D, E, F, G.
Now this part is crucial…
The tips of each finger should be pressing onto the key. An easy way to do this is to imagine you're holding a tennis ball in your hand. When you're holding a tennis ball you have to curl your fingers to make sure you don't drop it! Funnily enough, by doing this, the tips of your fingers will be pressing the keys on the piano.
Here's an example of what to do and what not to do:
Once you've got this down, you can start playing!!! But remember to make sure that, when playing, the tips of your fingers remain like this.
Sometimes it can be hard to hold this position, but you need to persevere! Your hands will grow strength in time.
WHAT CAN I DO NEXT?
Now you've mastered the white keys on piano, it only makes sense for you to move onto the black keys on piano.
We've actually written another article about that and you can find it here.
Other than that, that'll be it for today!
Thanks so much for reading and give yourself a big pat for crushing it.
With over 8 years of hands-on experience in the music industry, Harry has run successful raves, played alongside industry heavyweights such as Max Chapman, DJ EZ, DJ Zinc and more (pictured below), had music played on national radio, DJ'd on live radio, produced until he hated every song, mixed until his ears bled, created sample packs from scratch using just a Zoom H1n and some sound design skills… and pretty much anything related to music production – he's done it, tested it, tried it.