Beginner Piano Lesson

If you’re looking for a beginner piano lesson, this is the place you’re looking for!

Hey there! This beginner piano lesson teaches basic skill-building through learning the piano keyboard layout, along with the name and location of each of the keys.

Another super-basic lesson is the one you'll find on this page. That lesson is actually a precursor to the one below. If you feel you prefer a more basic level, or if you just want to be thorough, by all means, visit that page and start with that lesson. Otherwise, feel free to move forward with this lesson and give it a shot. You can always back up, if needed.

Please note: This piano lesson is based on a full, 88-key piano keyboard.


Beginner Piano Lesson 1, Exercise 1

This exercise is the one from my beginning piano lessons that I mentioned above. It’s posted here because it’s the foundation to the other exercises on this page. It’s also such an important skill, it’s not like you can practice it too much. Use your own keyboard to follow along or refer to the diagrams if that helps you.

  • Step 1: Find the lowest note on the keyboard, which is the A key.
Piano Keyboard diagram for a beginner piano lesson
  • Step 2: Press that low A key down and say, “A.”
  • Step 3: Now, move to the next key up (to the right). Say “B” while pressing that key.
  • Steps 4-8: Continue like that (pressing the key and saying it aloud) on up to the next key-C, then the next key-D, the next key-E, the next key-F, and finally the G key. 

Now, keep going like that per the notation I’ve provided below. Play the notes on your keyboard, but refer to the diagram above, too, if it helps.

A B C D E F G | A B C D E F G | A B C D E F G | A B C D E F G | A B C D E F G | A B C D E F G | A B C

At the end of the keyboard, if you wind up on some other note than C, some note was skipped or played twice. Repeat the process above until it is easy for you and you are certain of your movements. As you proceed, be sure to say the notes out loud, so you get the hand-eye-ear connection, too.


Beginner Piano Lesson 1, Exercise 2

Now let’s do the same thing, but start from the top of the keyboard, on the far right side. Start from C, the highest note on the keyboard, and do the same thing, only this time, you’re going from right to left (top of the keyboard, down). Here are the notes:

C B A | G F E D C B A | G F E D C B A | G F E D C B A

| G F E D C B A | G F E D C B A | G F E D C B A 

Keyboard diagram for beginner piano lesson

As the massively-oversized arrow above indicates :-), you’ll be moving from right to left, which will be a bit more difficult. It doesn’t feel as natural as playing the keys from left to right, so you’ll definitely need to practice. Use the notation above and play it on your piano or use the diagram for reference, if desired. Be sure to say the notes aloud as you go and continue the exercise until it is easy, fluid, and you feel certain of it.


Check It Out

You are probably wondering by now why the note names repeat themselves over and over. This may be confusing and it may not seem to be a very well thought out system. Well, you are right about that. Let’s try a couple of exercises that might help with that bit of confusion. Let's go.

Beginner Piano Lesson 1, Exercise 3

Now we’ll repeat the exercise above but with a special twist. You’re going to press the key and say the name, but this time, we’re adding the number of the octave, starting at the bottom of the keyboard. 

A1 B1 C1 D1 E1 F1 G1 | A2 B2 C2 D2 E2 F2 G2 | A3 B3 C3 D3 E3 F3 G3 | A4 B4 C4 D4 E4 F4 G4

| A5 B5 C5 D5 E5 F5 G5 | A6 B6 C6 D6 E6 F6 G6 | A7 B7 C7 D7 E7 F7 G7 | A8 B8 C8 

Again, say the note names out loud, look at the text if you need to at first, but get to where you can do this easily, with certainty, and without having to look at the text.


Beginner Piano Lesson 1, Exercise 4

Now we’ll use the exercise above with a twist. You’re going to start at the top of the keyboard and work your way down. See if you can do this just by reading off the sheet. If not, feel free to use the diagrams. Good luck!

C8 B8 A8 | G7 F7 E7 D7 C7 B7 A7 | G6 F6 E6 D6 C6 B6 A6 | G5 F5 E5 D5 C5 B5 A5

| G4 F4 E4 D4 C4 B4 A4 | G3 F3 E3 D3 C3 B3 A3 | G2 F2 E2 D2 C2 B2 A2 | G1 F1 E1 D1 C1 B1 A1 

Again, say the note names out loud, look at the text if you need to at first, but get to where you can do this easily, with certainty, and without having to look at the text.


Sections or Octaves and What’s Up with Those

You might have noticed that throughout these exercises, I’ve split the keyboard up into eight distinct sections, seven sections consisting of seven notes each, plus one three-note section. I refer to these as “octaves” although, technically they’re not. An octave usually includes eight notes and these are only seven. I’ll go into more of this in more detail later, but here, I’m calling these octaves for simplicity’s sake.

piano keyboard octave diagram for beginner piano lesson

Take a look at the diagram above. Please notice, I’ve made each section into groups of seven notes, with the exception of the last. So we have Octave 1, Octave 2, Octave 3, and so on, 4, 5, 6, 7. The last three notes we call Octave 8. That last C note is the highest pitch that can be produced by a piano with current technology.


Let’s Play Something!

By now you’re probably good and sick of all this drilling, so let’s make some music with this.

I’ve chosen songs everybody knows as I’m not concerned with rhythm or with fingering at this point. That’s material for a later lesson. Play the tunes as you’ve heard them or go to YouTube and listen to them if you can’t do it from memory. I don’t care what fingers you use, you can just poke it out with your index finger for now if that suits you. Learn them with both the left and right hands.

A Couple of Songs to Play

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

C4 C4 G4 G4 A5 A5 G4.

F4 F4 E4 E4 D4 D4 C4.

G4 G4 F4 F4 E4 E4 D4.

G4 G4 F4 F4 E4 E4 D4.

C4 C4 G4 G4 A5 A5 G4.

F4 F4 E4 E4 D4 D4 C4. 

The periods indicate a pause or stop. Think of each group of notes as a sentence and the whole piece as a paragraph. Once you have learned it as written, then learn it starting on C1, then C2, then C3, C5, C6 and C7. Write down the notes and numbers as above for each of these.


O Come, All Ye Faithful

C4 G3 D4 G3.

E4 D4 E4 F4 E4 D4.

C4 C4 B4 A4 B4 C4 D4 E4 B4 A4 G3 G3.

G4 F4 E4 F4 E4.

D4 E4 C4 D4 B4 A4 G3.

C4 C4 B4 C4 D4 B4 G3.

E4 E4 D4 E4 F4 E4 D4.

E4 F4 E4 D4 C4 B4 C4 F4.

E4 D4 C4 C4.

Again, once you’ve learned it, move forward by learning it in C1, then C2, then C3, C5, C6 and C7. Write down the notes and numbers as above for each of these. Why? Because it’s also another way to commit things to memory. It’s another channel for solidifying a skill.


Congratulations! You’ve just completed a beginner piano lesson here on BeSharpPiano.com. Give yourself a pat on the back. You should be proud. Feel free to visit again and again to repeat this or any other free piano lesson on the site. We’re creating new stuff all the time.