The secret to playing the piano confidently is to first of all learn piano chords. Starting with chords and playing songs you are familiar with from your own record collection gives you that feeling of satisfaction that YOU REALLY CAN DO THIS! There are some terrific tunes and rhythms you can play just by mastering a few simple chords, and the knowledge you gain at this early stage will be invaluable later on.
As you probably know, middle C sits near the center of your keyboard. It is the white key immediately to the left of a group of two black keys. The two white keys to the left of middle C are A and B (from left to right). The next four white keys are D, E, F and G.
The black keys are called sharps or flats, and are named after the nearest white key to them on their left or right. For example, the black key that sits between the white C and D keys is known as C sharp OR D flat.
A chord is simply a group of 3 or more notes that when played together make a complete sound. When this sound is played rhythmically, and chords used in a particular sequence, a background sound is created that can support a melody (the main tune) or lyrics (vocals).
Let’s learn piano chords – by mastering just 4 easy ones you can be playing songs in no time at all. These are the chords of C, A minor (or Am), F and G. These are all played using just the white keys, so you should be able to master this in just a short space of time. To play the chord of C, with your right hand, simply place your thumb on middle C, your middle finger on E and your little finger on G. Play these three notes at the same time – and you are playing the C chord.
If you move the whole shape of your hand along two notes to the left, you will play the chord A minor. Your thumb will be on A, your middle finger on C and your little finger on E. Play this for a while, then alternate between the chords of C and A minor.
Now add the chord of F to your repertoire by moving your hand two more notes to the left of your A minor chord, so your thumb is on F, your middle finger on A and your little finger on C.
Finally, by moving your whole hand shape one to the right, you will be playing the G chord (i.e. the notes G, B and D).
By repeating the chord sequence of C, Am, F and G you will start to get familiar with it. Your hands may hurt a little at first, but this is usual if you are a beginner. Keep at it.
Many popular songs use the same sequence. See if you can sing along to “Blue Moon”, “Red Red Wine”, “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life” or “All I Have To Do Is Dream” as you play the chords. There you go – I told you that if you learn piano chords, you could be making music in no time at all.