Twelve is the Magic Number

Welcome to lesson #3. I’m very excited about this lesson because… by the end of this lesson we will know every note on the piano! The reason we accomplished this feat so fast is because there are only twelve notes to learn – seven white and five black – and after learning these twelve notes they simply repeat up and down the keyboard. 

You should remember from our previous lessons that there are two groups of black notes: one group has TWO black notes and the other group has THREE black notes. Similar to what we did with the group of two black notes, I want you to place your RIGHT hand over a group of THREE black notes near the middle of your piano. Now, just as you did for the group of two black notes, feel the FOUR white notes just below these three black notes (your thumb on the lowest note and your ring finger on the highest note).

Can you guess the names of these four white notes? In our last lesson we learned the notes C, D and E under the group of two black notes. Therefore, the remaining four notes under your four fingers must be F, G, A and B.

Now I want you to become familiar with the feel and sound of these three black notes and four white notes. I encourage you to play these seven notes however you like, but as you do I want you feel and hear how each note fits among the other notes in this group. And as you play the four white notes, I want you to say out loud their names “F”, “G”, “A” or “B”.

For example, I’m going to play the three black notes first – using my thumb, index an middle finger [play them so they can be heard]. Now I simply slide these three fingers down and slightly to the left so that they fall on onto the white notes F, G and A. I then use my ring finger to play the fourth note B. 

Practice moving your right hand back and forth between the three black notes and the four withe notes. Listen to how I do it.

As a final exercise, we are going to combine both groups of black notes so that we will be playing all TWELVE notes on the keyboard.

I want you to slide your right hand either UP the keyboard (to your right) or DOWN the keyboard (to your left) to the adjacent group of black notes (which can be either two or three). With your thumb on the lowest black note, slide your hand down and slight to the left so that your thumb is on the lowest white note of the group (this will be either C or F). 

Play this group of black and white notes for a while and saying out loud the name of each white note as it is played. When you feel comfortable with this group, slide your right hand either up or down the keyboard to the next group of black notes and repeat the exercise. 

Listen as I do this exercise…

And here is a fun exercise you can do: switch between the C, D, and E white notes and the F, G, A and B white notes. As you finish playing C, D and E with your thumb, index and middle finger – cross your thumb UNDER your index and middle finger to land on the F note. Then, with your thumb on F, move you remaining four fingers onto G, A, and B.

With practice you will soon be flying through all twelve notes of the piano (5 black and 7 white). With this skill under our belt we are almost ready to learn to play chords. 

Listen to the Magic audio clip here.

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