1 Kathy Clancy Piano Method page 1 The Kathy Clancy Piano Method This booklet will assist you in learning how to play the piano using the Kathy Clancy Piano Method. Addition training techniques, documents and hands for learning will be provided in a face to face class room environment. What is a piano and how do you play it? pi an o 1 /pēˈanō/ noun A large keyboard musical instrument with a wooden case enclosing a soundboard and metal strings, which are struck by hammers when keys are depressed. The strings' vibration is stopped by dampers when the keys are released, and it can be regulated for length and volume by three pedals. Origin: early 19th century: from Italian, abbreviation of pianoforte which translates to soft and loud The piano makes sounds when you press any of its eighty eight black or white keys with the fingers on your right and left hand. If you don t have a piano then you can use an electric keyboard. This keyboard is an electronic version of the acoustic piano which may have additional tones, supporting drums beat rhythms, pre-programmed songs, recording capabilities, computer connectivity and in many cases, a varying number of keys much less than the standard 88 keys of the piano. This is what it looks like inside a piano. This is what it looks like inside an electronic keyboard Weight right there! One difference between a piano and a keyboard is the resistance factor of the keys, also known as weight. Pressing a piano key feels heavy to the touch. Keyboards are light to the touch. Keyboards can be upgraded with weighted keys. Now that we have seen the inside and outside of both the piano and the electronic keyboard let s move on to music.
2 Kathy Clancy Piano Method page 2 What is Music? Music is sound combined in such a way that it resonates beautiful, harmonic and expressive emotion. So what is that sound? The sound, or the pitch and tone, that is produced when you press a piano key is also referred to as a note or a chord. Pressing one key on the piano produces a note. Pressing two or more keys simultaneously produces a chord. A note in the scientific sense is the frequency (pitch) of vibrating air that creates a sound (tone quality and strength) that you hear in your ear when the strings are hammered on the piano when pressing the key. We will assume that your piano is in tune, that is to say each key produces the correct frequency vibration that is intended. Electronic keyboards are always in tune and they do not use hammers to hit strings, instead they play recorded tones that mimic a piano, an organ, violins, trumpets, and a long array of sounds preprogrammed into the keyboard. Grand Piano is a preferred tone setting. Eighty Eight Piano Keys Eighty Eight piano keys come in either black or white and are laid out in a repeating pattern that aligns with harmonic semitones of the musical scale where each key triggers the sound of a single note. Within each repeating section of keys there are 12 semi-tones produced by pressing any of the 7 white keys or 5 black keys. The highlighted pattern looks like this; white, black, white, black, white, white, black, white, black, white, black, white Just to note that there are two places where white keys appear twice; that is between the 5 th and 6 th keys position and the twelfth and first keys where the next or previous repeating section occurs. Have a seat maestro. When you approach the piano sit comfortably facing towards the middle of the keyboard and adjust your seat to a height that allows your wrist to be slightly bent downward, as if typing at a computer. Bending the wrist upward will make it difficult to play and will cause discomfort over time.
3 Kathy Clancy Piano Method page 3 Middle C The key to playing is; knowing where to begin. Staring at a piano for the first time can be quite over whelming. To simplify it, If you look closer you can see that the black keys are organized in groups of two black keys and three black keys interspersed amongst seven white keys. This represents a musical scale starting in the key of C. A scale s key is the first note played in a scale. Scales will repeat moving up and down the keyboard in a higher and lower tone. So, let s begin by finding the one note that is the relative starting point for almost every lesson, Middle C. You will know that you are pressing Middle C because it is the white key to the left of the group of two black keys in the center of the piano keyboard. The tone of Middle C is a sound that is in your vocal range. Low C is the key located eight white keys to the left. This is also known as an octave. An octave is a series of eight notes occupying the interval between and including two notes (Middle C and Low C) having half the frequency of vibration of Middle C. The sound of Low C is a deep bass sound in you vocal range. High C is the key located eight white keys to the right or the octave above Middle C having twice the frequency of vibration of Middle C. The sound of High C is a high treble sound in you vocal range. Let s Play it! Learn where Middle C, Low C and High C are on the piano and play them with your right hand s index finger. Listen to YouTube to hear what it should sound like:
4 Kathy Clancy Piano Method page 4 The Right Hand and the Musical Scale. A musical scale is a set of seven ascending or descending notes or tones or pitches that repeat up (to the right) or down (to the left) on the keyboard. The musical scale in the key of C, or starting on any C note is the simplest of all scales, its simply pressing the white keys, starting at Middle C and pressing the next 7 white keys in either direction. The notes in the Key of C are; C, D, E, F, G, A, B, and pressing the eighth white key resolves the scale on the next C note. The right hand; let s take on pressing notes and playing scales. When you play a scale, you will be using our Right Hand. The fingers on your Left and Right hands are numbered; 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 starting with each thumb and leading to each pinkie, as follows. PLAY THIS! To play the scale of C, place your right hand thumb (1) on Middle C, then press each white key with the corresponding numbered fingers as follows; Play Note C : Finger 1, then D:2, then E:3,!!! ATTENTION!!! SHIFT YOUR HAND TO THE RIGHT!!! Why? Because we don t have eight fingers! So move your hand and lets continue playing; F:1, G:2, A:3, B:4, and finally resolve the scale to the next C note with your pinkie (5). PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT! YouTube: What it should sound like! Play the C Scale up and then down, and again and again until you can do it without looking. Peeking is allowed of course.
5 Kathy Clancy Piano Method page 5 Cheaters Alert: Piano Stickers DO NOT USE ANY OF THESE PRODUCTS. IT WILL SLOW DOWN YOUR LEARNING PACE! Chroma-Note Stick-Ons Here is a tool that will help you remember where the keys are located. You put Chroma-Note Stickers right on your keyboard. Z Play Today Key Stickers Keysies
6 Kathy Clancy Piano Method page 6 The Left Hand, Bass Chords. Your left hand is used to play combinations of notes, or chords relative to the Low C note. The key to playing a chord with you left hand lies within your number 2 finger, the index finger, aka the left pointer finger. If you re playing a chord by default it is major. When we play C, F or G, it is the same as playing C Major, F Major or G Major. This is how it looks Place your index finger (2) on Low C, place your number 1 finger, i.e. the thumb. two white keys to the right on the E note then put your number 5 finger, i.e. your pinkie, three white keys to the left on the G note. Now press all three at the same time and you will produce the C chord. This is also known as the C Major chord or CMaj. Sounds nice! PLAY THIS! The C, F and G chords all use the same fingering pattern. Move your pointer finger (2) to the F note and play the F Major chord. Now move it to G and play the G chord. Now more it back to C and play it. Repeat this again and again and again.
7 Kathy Clancy Piano Method page 7 Reading Sheet Music Walk up to your piano and play the C chord with your left hand on Low C. Now press individual notes with your right hand near middle C. Congratulations, you just played a song. So you want to share your new hit song with your music friends? How do you do it? You can meet them and play it for them and show them what you are doing. You could record it and send them a link and they could download it and listen to it and try to figure out what you did to play it. Or you could write it down and it to them and they could play it themselves. But first you would need a standard music notation system. Sheet music is a universal notation used worldwide for charting out the notes to play in a song. It has been around since the 7 th century. Below is an example of music notation with lyrics, i.e. the words to the song. We sing the noted melody. The notes are placed on staffs. There are two staffs for piano music, the Treble Clef or G Clef and the Bass Clef or F Clef. Clef is the French word for Key. So we have the treble key and the bass key indicative of the pitches of the notes you will play; i.e. the bass clef is for the lower notes and the treble clef is for the higher notes. Original sheet music by Bach.
8 Kathy Clancy Piano Method page 8 Lines and Spaces Sheet music uses the G clef for charting the notes of the song s melody, typically the part that is sung. This is played you re your Right hand. We use the F Clef or Bass Clef for playing the chords of the song it is played with the left hand. Why G and F? The circle part of the G Clef or Treble Clef symbol circles the location of the G note on the staff as indicated in red below. The double dots on the F Clef or Bass Clef flank the F note on the scale. Put them together and you have stand sheet music for piano. For our leaning approach we will initialal focus only on the G Clef or the Treble Clef, that is your right hand. Individual notes are written on the lines of the staff or in the spaces in between. Each line and space represents a specific note on the piano. In our example below we are in the key of C and will only play the white keys on the keyboard. Starting with middle C, play up with right hand and down with your left to find each not on the staff.
9 Kathy Clancy Piano Method page 9 Reading the C scale and aligning it with the keyboard. The C scale starts at middle C and goes up (right) on every white key until you reach high C. Help me. What are the notes on the staff? A quick way to find the notes on the Treble Clef is to look at the lines and the spaces. The spaces on the G Clef spell out FACE while the lines on the Treble Clef spell EGBDF which can be remembered as Every Good Boy Does Fine or Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge. On the Bass Clef the notes in the spaces spell ACEG which can be remembered as All Cows Eat Grass and the letters on the lines of the F Clef spell GBDFA remembered by Good Burritos Don t Fall Apart. Don t worry about learning the notes on the Bass clef. We have a simpler approach for them coming up.
10 Kathy Clancy Piano Method page 10 Bass chords noted. First half of the challenge! Music notation is like the alphabet where you just have to practice to remember the order of the notes as they fall on the staffs. The sooner you can recall the placement of the notes, the sooner you will be able to master reading and play sheet music on the piano. For now learn FACE and EGBDF on the G clef, the Right hand. Now that I can read the melody, how do I play it? As promised, to simplify your learning experience, this instructional guide will focus on playing the Treble or G Clef with the right hand. For the bass clef, we will play only chords. You are not expected you to read the notes on the bass clef. Instead we will put the name of the chord above the notes of the song. So when you see G, this means to play the G Major chord also called the G chord. When you see and F, you will play the F chord with your left hand. For example, in 1824 Beethoven wrote the music for Schiller s 1785 poem Ode to Joy. You will play chords with your left hand and melody with your right hand.
11 Kathy Clancy Piano Method page 11 Our First Song PLAY THIS NOW! You will be using the C, F and G chords you learned earlier. You may want to practice those first alone. Then try just the melody alone with the right hand.. Then put both left and right hands together and play them both at the same time. Playing the melody- Right Hand First align your right hand with your first finger (1 thumb) on high C. The first note in the song is E. Press E with the 3 rd finger (middle finger). Now play the E note. Play the next note up the scale on just the white keys and try to follow along. YouTube what it should sound like (use our left hand chord forms) : Cheaters Alert: Pencil in the melody notes until you re proficient at site reading Now play the chords Left Hand Let s learn the Chords for the Ode to Joy which include; C, G and F. Let s refresh and the play C chord. Place you left hand pointer finger(2) on the note for the name of the chord, (Low C), Then place your thumb (1) two white keys to the right and your pinkie (5) three white keys to the left. The key to playing chords it the index finger, always put the number 2 finger on the name of the chord!!! Notice that the Chord formation is the same for all three chords. You are just changing the pointer finger position to be one the name of the chord.
12 Kathy Clancy Piano Method page 12 Major Chords on the white Keys Play the C chord Play the F chord Play the G chord Remember: The key to playing chords it the index finger!!! Good luck with ODE to Joy, once you master it you can reast assured that you know can play a piece by Beethoven! Congrats! Great Job!
13 Kathy Clancy Piano Method page 13 Major Chords with sharps Star * of the day, who will it be? Now that we have mastered the C, F and G Major chords, it s time to try the other chords for the left hand; D, E and A Major. If you recall C, F and G are always played on white keys. Now it s time to meet the black keys. These are the Sharps and Flats. There are 5 black keys on the piano; B flat, E Flat, A flat, D flat and G flat. These are also called known as; C sharp, D sharp, F sharp, G sharp and A sharp. A symbol for flat is b and another symbol for sharp is #. What is a sharp and what is a flat when they are both the same note? Simple, it is relative to what I expected to play but note that when I needed to shift 1 semi-tone (a single key) up or down the scale I play the sharp or the flat. For example, If I m playing G and want to shift up one semi-tone, I write and play G sharp. If I want to shift down one semi-tone, I write and play G flat. Same thing for A, I can play A # or A b. Even though technically I could play Ab where I need to play the G#, because they are the same note, it would just to confusing for the music reader. So for our sake of learning we will focus on sharps. That is the keys one setp to the right of the name of the note. We will learn: C#, D# F#, G# and A#. When fingering the D, E and A chords, these chords all have one sharp using the thumb. So if you follow the same chord model for the C chord. First find the D note with you index finger 2, place your pinkie (5) 3 white keys to the left and now press the black key to the right of the white key two to the right with your thumb, bam! You just made the D chord. Play the D chord
14 Kathy Clancy Piano Method page 14 Play the E chord Use the same pattern as the D chord and point to the E note with your pointer finger. Play the A chord Use the same pattern as the D chord but this time point to the A note. Another A. if you point to the A that is lower than LOW A, technically this is also an A chord but the sound is very muddy and too low. Try to play your chords as close to Low C as possible. BB! A CHORD WITH TWO SHARPS ## Now for the last chord B. B has two sharps, one on the thumb(1) and one on the pinkie(5). Locate the B note with the pointer finger (2) then form the chord with two sharps. Bravo! You have now learned all of the Major Bass chords for the left hand.
15 Kathy Clancy Piano Method page 15 Practice, Practice, Practice Let s practice our chord scales until we are proficient in forming the chord shapes using your left hand. Here is a handy notation system to help us remember the number of sharps in the chord. Refer to the Chords Scale below and notice that a chord with one star * above the chord name means the thumb is sharp and a chord with two stars ** above the chord name means the thumb and pinkie are both sharp. * * * ** C D E F G A B C Minor chords Does it sound Happy or Sad? Major chords are the happy sounding tones on the left hand of the piano. So far all we have played is Major or happy chords. Now learn to play a sad chord or a minor chord. Note that Major is always capitalized and minor is always lower case. Technically C Major is the same as C, we imply a Major chord at all times. Notation for the chord A minor is Am. To form a minor chord; move your thumb down 1 note or one semitone, i.e. one key. We just learned that D, A and E all have a sharp thumb, i.e. the black key. If we drop the thumb down one note to the white key (same patter as C Major, we are now playing the minor version of these chords. Play D minor Play Em
16 Kathy Clancy Piano Method page 16 Play Am Recall that the C, F and G Major chords are only payed on the white keys, if we drop the thumb down one key to the left, to the black note, i.e. we play the first finger flat, then we automatically form the minor chord. For C, F and G, drop the thumb down one semitone to the black key to the left. This is C Major This is C minor, play Cm Play Fm
17 Kathy Clancy Piano Method page 17 Play Gm The last minor chord to learn is B minor, to play Bm, place your index finger on the B note, place your pinkie on the sharp black key and drop the thumb down 1 semitone or one key to the left onto the white note. This is BM, remember two sharps! This is B minor, play the thumb flat, i.e.; the white key to the left one semi-tome. Play Bm Congrats again! You have just learned to form all of the Minor Chords, or the Sad chords using flat notes. Practice your Major Chords. Remember the stars tell you how many sharps are in the chord. One is always the thumb and two is the thumb and the pinkie. * * * ** C D E F G A B C
18 Kathy Clancy Piano Method page 18 Practice your Minor Chords. Form the minor chord by making the thumb (1) note flat. Now let s mix it up! Play the following chords; Flats and Sharps What is a flat chord or what is a sharp chord? Am Bm Cm Dm Em Fm Gm * ** * * A Am B Bm C Cm D Dm E Em F Fm G Gm Ok now it s time to kick it up or down a notch. A sharp or flat chord is a chord that starts with your pointer finger on a black key! There are only five flat chords; Db, Eb, Gb, Ab and Bb. They are also called C#, D#, F#, G# and A# respectively. Form all 5 flat or sharp chords using this chart. To form flat chords, we will be placing our pointer finger (2) onto a black key to the left of the named chord. To form sharp chords, we will be placing our pointer finger (2) onto a black key to the right of the named chord.
19 Kathy Clancy Piano Method page 19 Play B Flat (Bb) also called A Sharp (A#) 1 BLACK KEY - Place the pointer finger(2) on the black key, C#, your thumb(1) goes on the white key, your pinkie(5) goes on a black key. You have 2 fingers on black keys, refer to the chart. Eb or D# 1 BLACK KEY Ab or G# 1 BLACK KEY Play D Flat or also called C sharp 1 BLACK KEY
20 Kathy Clancy Piano Method page 20 *** F#/Gb is the exception chord, noted in the chart with 3 BLACK KEYS Gb or F# Major Scales If I play Major and minor chords, can I also play major and minor scales? Yes you can! Just like with chords, when we say the C scale, we mean C Major. Remember the scale we learned on the white keys starting with Middle C. That is the C Scale or the C Major scale. Notice there are no flat or sharp symbols on the scale. Practice makes perfect. Play the C Major Scale. This time notice the pattern of the semi tones, i.e. account for all the keys, counting both the black and the white keys. You will see a distinct pattern that we follow for every major scale as follows; Major Scale = 3/4 and 7/8 Every note in the major scale is 2 semitones away from the previous note, that is you count the black keys in between. The exception is in between notes 3 and 4 and between 7 and 8, the notes are only one key apart.
21 Kathy Clancy Piano Method page 21 C Major scale: C D E F G A B C This rule applies to all seven scales. Note that in all scales below, I did not mark the black keys as flat or sharps. Play the; D Major Scale. D E F# G A B C# D E Major Scale: E F# G# A B C# D# E F Major Scale: F G A Bb C D E F G Major Scale: G A B C D E F# G
22 Kathy Clancy Piano Method page 22 A Major Scale: A B C# D E F# G# A B Major Scale: B C# D# E F# G# A# B Practice your Major Scales! Go up the scale and down the scale. Pick a note at random and play the scale from there. Minor Scales We refer to the happy chords as the major chords and now we can say the happy scales are happy scales. Inversely we also refer to the minor chords as sad chord, therefore, you guessed it, we also have minor scales. The fingering pattern is the same for every minor scale, where we play a note, skip 2 keys including both black and white keys then play the next note. There are two exceptions between notes 2 and 3 and notes 5 and 6 we play the next key. C Minor scale: C D Eb F G Ab Bb C Minor Scale = 2/3 and 5/6
23 Kathy Clancy Piano Method page 23 D Minor Scale: D E F G A Bb C D E Minor Scale: E F# G A B C D E F Minor Scale: F G Ab Bb C Db Eb F G Minor Scale: G A Bb C D Eb F G A Minor Scale: A B C D E F G A (Hooray! All white keys!)
24 Kathy Clancy Piano Method page 24 B Minor Scale: B C# D E F# G A B Practice! Play a Major Chord with your LEFT HAND and play the corresponding Major Scale with your RIGHT HAND. Start with C then continue through D, E, F, G, A and B. Hint: You must know your left hand chords at this point! If you do not, then go back and practice all of the major and minor chords. C Major Scale: C D E F G A B C D Major Scale. D E F# G A B C# D E Major Scale: E F# G# A B C# D# E F Major Scale: F G A Bb C D E F G Major Scale: G A B C D E F# G A Major Scale: A B C# D E F# G# A B Major Scale: B C# D# E F# G# A# B Major Scale = 3/4 and 7/8 More Practice! Play each Minor Chord with your LEFT HAND and play the corresponding Minor Scale with your RIGHT HAND. Minor Scale = 2/3 and 5/6
25 Kathy Clancy Piano Method page 25 C Minor Scale: C D Eb F G Ab Bb C D Minor Scale: D E F G A Bb C D E Minor Scale: E F# G A B C D E F Minor Scale: F G Ab Bb C Db Eb F G Minor Scale: G A Bb C D Eb F G A Minor Scale: A B C D E F G A B Minor Scale: B C# D E F# G A B Forming the All Chords Using the third finger (middle) and adding two down from the number two finger (pointer) creates a seventh chord. This form applies to both regular and minor chords. Major Chord Minor = #1 (thumb) 1 down Maj 7 th = #3(middle finger) down 1 7 th = #3(middle finger) down 2 9 th = #3(middle finger) down 2 and #2 (pointer) up 2 6 th = #4(ring finger) 2 from bottom Sharp 5 th - #5 (pinky) up 1 Flat 5 th - #5 (pinky) down 1 Suspended - #1 (thumb) up 1
26 Kathy Clancy Piano Method page 26 HOMEWORK: Using the chart fill in the notes of the chords that are blank
27 Kathy Clancy Piano Method page 27 Forming Chords with the Right Hand If you are a singer and prefer to sing the melody, you can play the chords with both hands. To form any chord with your right hand, the key finger is your Middle Finger (3)! Follow the same chord shape, relax you pinkie and stretch your thumb Practice Play the C chord with you left hand, then your right hand then both hands. OK you can sing a melody too. Now try Cm, D, Dm and all the rest of the chords you know until you can do them all with both hands.