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A Parent’s Cheat Sheet for Pi...

Posted Wednesday, December 26 in Tips and Resources

For those parents who feel like they know absolutely nothing about music, make sure to print off this handy parent cheat sheet for piano! With this simple sheet you will be able to understand the basics of music so you can better help your beginning piano student prepare each week for lessons. Let’s take a crash course together on music essentials!

Knowing the Instrument

The keyboard is divided into white and black keys, with the black keys organized into groups of two and groups of three. Typically there are three pedals on a piano. The far right one, the sustain pedal, is the most frequently used pedal for most students. This pedal, true to its name, sustains the sound when pushed down with the foot.

Knowing Correct Body Position

Your child should sit up nice and straight, with the bench far enough away from the piano that when your child’s arms are extended, with hands in a fist formation, his/her fists just touch the fallboard (front of the piano right about the keys).

Knowing the Hand

Each finger of the hand is assigned a number. Thumbs are always 1,  index fingers 2, middle fingers 3, ring fingers 4, and pinky fingers 5. All beginning level pieces of music are played by reading these finger numbers. For example, rather than reading note names, your child will be reading notes with numbers written above such as  LH: 3, 2, 4, 1, etc.  Correct hand position in an important aspect for piano students. The hand should have a nice “C” shape, fingers gently curved and wrists resembling a flat table.

Knowing Rhythm Basics

Counting a piece of music correctly is one of the most important parts of learning a piece and often one of the most difficult aspects to learn. The following chart shows some basic notes used in beginner piano music:

The quarter, half, whole, and dotted half note are the only notes used for very beginner students. Writing out in your child’s method book how many counts each note receives is an excellent way to help your child learn to count a piece correctly.

Knowing Dynamic Basics

Dynamics are simply how loud or soft the music should be played. Basic dynamics include piano (p) which means quiet or soft, mezzo piano (mf) which means medium loud, mezzo forte (mf) which means medium loud, and forte (f) which means loud.


Remember, if you every have questions, be sure to contact your teacher!  He or she will be more than willing to help you in way that they can.