KEYBOARD BASICS

Learning to play a musical instrument is daunting. And when it comes to the keyboard, most are too scared to start. It looks so complicated – how do they make their fingers move so quickly across the keyboard? Luckily, all of those fancy-sounding songs are usually quite easy to play. So here are some hints and tips to get started by teaching yourself how to play your favourite song on the keyboard.

Choosing A Song

As soon as you have decided what song you want to play, download the guitar chords and lyrics online. We like using  Ultimate Guitar or E-Chords.

How Do I Play the Chords?

Watch this tutorial to learn how to play the primary (1-4-5) chords:

Use the chords you downloaded to play octaves in the left hand, usually keeping the beat. With your right hand you can change between the chords by playing them in triplets. You can download an explanation of what a triplet is and other keyboard basics here. If you are more of a visual learner, head over to one of the following YouTube channels for some excellent keyboard and music theory tutorials:

After you have mastered that, you can play the chords in different rhythms that suit the song and start improvising.

Improvisation

Improvisation is one of the highest and most demanding forms of music composition. It doesn’t come easy and is a combination of instrumental technique and spontaneous response to the audience. It takes time to master, but the more you practice a song, the easier it will be to branch out and try new rhythms or notes.

Improvising really depends on the song and what sounds good. Improvise using the chord that has to be played for the certain part but instead of playing it all at once, break it up. For example, you could play it in a scale or an arpeggio. Watch this tutorial to see how:

Functions on the Keyboard

It is also important that you know how the functions on your keyboard work. Each keyboard is unique and they often do not have the same functions. We’ll cover one or two of the most common functions available. The voice function can be used to change the sound being produced when you press a note. You can also the style or rhythm of the song you are playing. To do this, make a note of what time signature your song is written in. Then you can press the tempo function to change the speed of the music to a tempo you are comfortable with.

It is important that you choose the correct functions for the song you want to play. It’s fun to play around and use your creativity to create a unique sound.

Improvising and testing your creativity takes time. The best way to learn is to practice one new skill at a time and as soon as you have mastered that, go on to the next skill. It would be best to first master playing the chords, after that changing the functions and improvising if you are comfortable enough with it.

Learning to play an instrument very well doesn’t happen over night. Give yourself enough time and make sure you have fun while doing it!

Angela has been fulfilling her dream of teaching piano/keyboard, guitar and singing for more than a year now. She loves helping her students learn how to play a new song and seeing the end product of their hard work.