Learning the names of the notes - Keyboard

Learning the names of the keys is an important early step to learning piano/keyboard. Eventually students need to recognise the keys instantly, like learning the letters of the alphabet. Here is a strategy I have found helpful in training up that instant recognition!

Piano keys grouped in two (green) and three (yellow)

Initially I ask students to identify the pattern by looking for the groups of two black notes and playing them all. Then repeat for three black notes.

Then I start with the keys C, D and E. I ask the students to say these letters out loud in that order. C, D, E. Then using the Tenuto app or www.musictheory.net the students take a minute to recognise each key at random. The app and website can be customised to only allow the keys you want. This means students can build confidence very quickly with the notes next to the two black notes.

If doing this without the app, use the keyboard and have the keys written on a piece of paper in the correct order. Eg;

Keyboard with a piece of paper containing C D E

The order may seem obvious but depending on the age of the student, the alphabet is mostly known in context as in, starting from A and going all the way up to Z. An exercise for another day might be saying the "musical alphabet" starting from any other letter eg, "C D E F G A B C." Or saying it backwards can be another challenge.

The only thing left to do is repeat with FGAB.

1. Say it out loud, F G A B

2. Practice with the App or on the keyboard.

3. Test knowledge by adding back in C D and E

Once this is solid you can go on to do the Sharps and the Flats. With the app you can customise to show only sharps or flats which is ideal! I've used the website since University and it has so many great exercises I definitely recommend checking it out. (This blog is not sponsored by anyone!)

Here's a screenshot from the website:

Screenshot from musictheory.net showing the keyboard recognition game.

Thanks for reading and good luck!


#Keyboard #Learning #Music #Musictheory

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