Step-by-Step on How to Play the Piano & Keyboard

Pianos generally have more resistance in the keys than keyboards.

When learning to play the piano, there are several elements that must be included in any practice routine. To develop skill, the musician should practice daily and pay careful attention to how they approach playing. It is important to go at a slow but steady pace to avoid injury. Practicing too much can create injury while practicing too little will delay development. Most beginning piano players should aim for 30 to 45 minutes of practicing per day. Whether you are playing on a keyboard or a piano, there are basic steps that can be taken to improve your skill.

Finger Independence 

Develop finger independence by practicing exercises. Every practice session should begin with a finger independence drill. One good exercise is to place all five fingers on the keyboard or piano and use each finger to press down on a note. When pressing down, aim to prevent movement with the other fingers. Over time, you will be able to move each finger without involving other fingers.

Interval Training 

Practice playing thirds on the piano with both the left and right hand in octaves. Start at the bottom of the piano and crawl up the piano with both hands. With the right hand, the thumb should come under the hand to play the next note in the series, while the left hand should jump to allow the index finger to play the next note in the series.


Practice playing scales. Students should purchase a method book that shows the fingering for each major and minor scale. Learning the scales before playing etudes will make it easier to play music correctly.

More Finger Exercises

Practice additional finger exercises. Purchase a book with finger exercises such as Hanon exercises. Start with the first exercise and slowly increase your speed until you can play the exercise at the recommended tempo indicated in the book.

Play Real Music

Play etudes and songs once you have learned your major and minor scales. When you get to this level, add an extra half hour to your training regimen so you can begin to learn to play music. Clementi has a book of progressive piano works that are intended for young pianists to learn.


Do not attempt to play faster than you are capable of. Slowly increase the tempo of exercises so that you can develop proper form. Concentrate on each movement until the exercises become easier. Speed should come only after the exercise is learned adequately.


Do not play too much. You can strain the muscles and tendons in your arms and hands. Start with a light schedule and slowly add more time as your strength increases.


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