Motivation and where are the keys?

"Hey Tom, I'm struggling with my motivation to learn the piano and keep getting confused about where everything is"

Having trouble starting to learn the piano? A lot of my new students find themselves with a lack of motivation or just a huge pile of confusion when they first start. So, if this sounds like you, don’t worry! You are not alone, I promise you that.

I was going to take about the importance of posture and sitting at the piano today. I’ve just been practicing and I noticed how much my back is aching after my first ever GRIT work-out yesterday- wow. Intense. But, then I thought that this might be something you already know a lot about after my first ever lesson about posture. If not, go check it out.



As I first said when I started this website, learning any instrument (especially the piano) is going to be tough. It relies a lot on your ability to sit there and practice.

  • Find your ‘why’

  • Get into a routine of practicing for 10-20 minute EVERY day.

For those of you wanting to learn in order to be able to play for that someone special, it’s so worth it when you sit down and play. Even if you make the odd mistake or two, just go for it. If anything, it adds to the performance as the non-pianists listening will appreciate how hard you are trying! The toughest part for me is finding the ‘why’ in my motivation and then sticking to it. If it’s to be able to play for your wife, great. If you want to impress your friends, fantastic. If you simply want to unwind and concentrate on something other than the world around you, amazing. Find that ‘why’ and you’ll find your spark.



The notes.

When I first looked at the piano, I was overcome by some kind of dyslexia type confusion and all the keys blurred into one. Not only is it difficult to move your hands and look at something to play at the same time, the added pressure of playing in front of a tutor or teacher really made me nervous. So, something to practice (ideally when you’re on your own) is just getting to know where everything is.

Source: Google Images

Source: Google Images

Using the photo above, learn how the piano is set out. As you’ll be able to see, we have groups of black and white keys. The easiest way (I find) is to concentrate on the black keys. We have a set of two and then a set of three- all the way up the piano. You’ll also notice that this structure is just repeated up the piano with a change in the pitch as you move around.


Below the first set of two black keys, we have the following notes “C,D,E” and then the following set of three black keys are surrounded by the following notes “F,G,A,B,”. This really is the simplest place to start. An extra tip here would be to go to your piano and draw in the letters with a whiteboard pen to make sure you know how the keys correspond to the photo.

Source: Google Images

Source: Google Images

The next photo shows you the “musical language” we musicians like to use in order to communicate compositions. This really is tricky, but once you get your head around it, you’ll ace it I’m sure! Make sure once you know where the keys are, you know how they correspond to the notes on the page. It’s just like learning to read another language- that’s what is so impressive when you can do it!

As ever, please comment and like this lesson to let me know how to improve! I thrive on your questions and comments so please keep them coming...

Disclaimer: I do not own this video, but enjoy!

Tom Perks

Online piano tutor.