Music Education

Let’s Get Psyched About Piano: Learning the Basics


So you’re spending a lot of time at home right now and you’re trying to find some way to spend the time productively, then you see that instrument in the corner and you have a brilliant idea, but you’re not sure how to start… You’re in luck! Cause my sister recently asked me to help her figure out the basics of piano (from this exact scenario) so I figure I can make a little post to get anyone in the same boat started.


First things first we have to learn the notes on the keyboard and how to read them.

I like to think of the notes as two clusters (separated by the black keys)

Cluster 1 is C D E, there are two black keys between these three white keys.

Cluster 2 is FGAB, there are three black keys between these four white keys.

This pattern repeats through the entire keyboard. The colors above match the pattern, so where the light blue C is, the following light blue is also a C but higher in octave. As we go to the right of the piano the octave gets higher (so the sound is higher). If we go to the left the octave lowers and the sound is deeper.

How to read the black keys:

This is where we get those sharp and flat notes. 

A sharp is notated with a (#) symbol and a flat is more like a lowercase B (b). 

A sharp is simply the black key to the right of a white key. So if we are at C and we go to the black key directly to its right we have C sharp. Right of D is D# and etc…

Flats work the opposite way. If we want to label a black key as flat we just have to take a white key and go to the black key on it’s left. So if we go from D to the black key on the left we have Db. 

This means that a black key can have two names, C# and Db are the same note. Music theory is a lot lol, you don’t really have to worry about it right now but basically it depends on the key you are in which name you would use. But key signatures come later, first let’s just get comfy with the notes.


The last thing worth noting here is that two white keys appear next to each other between ‘clusters’. EF and BC. In these cases sharps and flats still work the same way. Fb is the same as saying E and E# is the same as saying F.

The best way to learn any instrument is to learn some simple tunes, now that you know the notes you’re ready to take on some youtube tutorials with confidence 😀

Until next time,

DJ Psyched