Let’s begin with understanding the keyboard sounds. Today I would like to introduce you to the keyboard. If you’re just beginning to play a keyboard instrument, this lesson will be very helpful to you. This is not even lesson 1. This is an introduction to the keyboard and how you can make different sounds.
When I start a beginning student, I like to explain to them that there are basically four ways that you can vary the sound on a piano. That’s it! There are only four different options to deal with when you’re trying to figure out how to play a note. We’ll talk later about knowing which note to play, but this is about how to get the different sounds out of a piano.
First we talk about high sounds and low sounds. The high sounds are the higher frequencies, and the low sounds are, of course, the lower frequencies or bass sounds.
On the piano, the further you go to the right, the higher the sound will be. The more you go to the left, the lower the sound will be. And, of course, you have everything in between. When we talk about “going up” or “going higher,” we’re talking about going to the right. When we talk about “going down” or “going lower,” we are talking about going to the left. Easy!
The next thing we talk about is “loud and soft.” In music, we don’t say “quiet,” … we say “soft.” If you want to get a soft tone out of a piano, just touch it gently. Then the more quickly, or the more forcefully you push the key down, the louder the sound will get. Some of the electric keyboards, (a lot of the ones this size… 61 keys… five sets of notes on it), don’t’ have that touch sensitive quality. But any acoustic instrument, one with strings, will definitely have it. And a lot of the keyboards do have it.
So now we have high and low, and loud and soft, and everything in between. Then we talk about short and long. Short is just like it sounds. Maybe you’re only going to play the note for a piece of a second. Maybe it’s going to be a longer note so you simply hold the key down. And then you’ve got everything in between.
The other way to vary the sound is a little bit different. I like to call this “smooth” or “choppy.” Smooth is when you hold one note down until it’s time to play the next one. Choppy can use short or longer notes. You just play one, then the next but you play them detached. (with a tiny break between them)
That’s basically it. Those are the different sounds that you want to get out of a piano. High and Low .. loud and soft … short and long … smooth and choppy.
If you already know how to play the piano but need help learning how to improvise hymns, you can find our series of hymn improvising tips here: The complete course will be available soon.