5 Minute Piano lessons: Learning the White Keys part 2

As a teacher of twenty five students, I highly recommend private lessons.  For those on the go, wishing to learn what they can, this is the place for you.

It takes years of study to play the piano correctly.  I will only be touching on the finer points here.  Feel free to post any questions pertaining to this lesson at the bottom.

In our previous lesson we noticed that the black keys are divided in groups of twos and threes.  We also learned that C was the white key before the two black keys and F was the white key before the three black keys. It’s time to discover the other five white keys.


Take a trip down memory lane

The ABCs teach us that letter D is after C and letter B is before C.  The same logic applies here.  The D piano key is right after the C piano key and the B piano key is right before.  So you will find that the D key is the white key right in the middle of the two black notes, pretty easy to find really.  B is the white key at the end of the three black notes.

Four down and three to go!  Find E, G, and A on your own using the ABCs and process of elimination.

Just to be sure you got it C, D, and E surround the two black notes.  F, G, A, and B surround the three black notes.

This is a good trick to first learn the placement of the notes.  It is not the way that you memorize them.  Use it as a tool until you know the notes by heart.


Learning them by heart

The way you learn them all for good is by using the ABCs and process of illumination to locate one of the seven keys.  Then you notice where it surrounds the black keys.  For example: the A key is one of the four white keys surrounding the three black keys. It is third from the left.  Now find all the A keys on the piano by using your visual understanding of how it relates to the black keys.

We have already done this exercise for C and F (Just finishing it with the A).  Do it all for the D, E, G, and B.  Remember, find the white note using the ABCs, see how it relates to the black note, and use that relationship to find all of them on the piano.

You will be very surprised at how intuitive it is to pick up which note is which.  In fact, it is harder for me to explain it than it is for you to actually do.

Check your work

Use the diagram below to check your work.

This diagram is only a tool, training wheels so-to-speak, that help move you towards learning it by heart.  Our minds are quite capable of knowing the notes.  With the visual sight of where they are and the textual  feel of them, you can eventually find the white keys without any help at all!

Do not ever write the letters on the keyboard itself.  This will only become a crutch to you. Memorize them by sight.  What I am teaching you is the technique professional piano players have used for hundreds of years.  It is the fastest way to visually discern and know the white keys.


For practice

Find the lowest C (on the left hand side of the piano).  Play and say the names of all seven notes beginning with C and ending with B. Repeat this until you play all the white notes on your piano.  Don’t forget to actually say the letter names of the notes as you play them.  Notice the placement of each key and how it relates to the black keys.

For those playing on a full piano keyboard please ignore the lowest single black note while doing this exercise.

Now start at the top of your piano (which just so happens to be a C).  Name and say all the white keys going backwards from right to left.


Other piano lessons to peruse at your leisure


Happy piano playing

2 thoughts on “5 Minute Piano lessons: Learning the White Keys part 2

  1. I am starting from an elementary level. I want to know more about my use of fingering. I would think that I would start out with my 5th finger on the treble clef to play a G but my book is showing #1 to play G. I am playing There is Power in the Blood. I can’t seem to manage my playing because I am not sure how the fingering goes.

    • Are there any sharps? If there is a single sharp than it is in G major. But the song can be transposed into C which would only use the white keys! You must also take into consideration your voice. Are you a soprano range or alto?

      I can help with the transposition but just to be sure. Is your song, “There is power power wonder working power in the blood, of the lamb?”

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