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An

Accelerated Piano
Course
for

Adults and Older Children

J Carl Eden

1
Table of Contents
Introduction ........................................................................................................................................4
Practice.................................................................................................................................................5
Posture .................................................................................................................................................6
Hand Position .....................................................................................................................................7
Finger Numbers .................................................................................................................................7
Note Names and Black Key Groups .............................................................................................8
Your First Tune ..................................................................................................................................8
High and Low .....................................................................................................................................9
Rhythm and Beat ...............................................................................................................................9
Rhythm Examples .......................................................................................................................... 10
Bars, Bar Lines and Time Signatures .......................................................................................... 10
The Grand Staff .............................................................................................................................. 11
Your First Piece ............................................................................................................................... 12
C Five Finger Position (Right Hand) .......................................................................................... 14
C Five Finger Position (Left Hand)............................................................................................. 16
D Position ........................................................................................................................................ 18
E Position ......................................................................................................................................... 20
F Position ......................................................................................................................................... 22
Treble C Position ........................................................................................................................... 24
Bass G Position ............................................................................................................................... 26
Note Review ................................................................................................................................... 28
Note Quiz ........................................................................................................................................ 29
Quavers (Eighth Notes) ................................................................................................................ 30
Dynamics .......................................................................................................................................... 33
Starting to Move Around the Keyboard .................................................................................... 35
Thumb Under/Finger Over ......................................................................................................... 37
Staccato Playing ............................................................................................................................... 39
Slurs ................................................................................................................................................... 41
Dotted Notes ................................................................................................................................... 43
Key Signatures ................................................................................................................................. 45

2
Table of Contents (cont.)
Extras ................................................................................................................................................ 47
Pedaling............................................................................................................................................. 47
Anacrusis .......................................................................................................................................... 47
Putting it All Together ................................................................................................................... 48

Copyright © 2019 by J Carl Eden

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distrib-


uted, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopy-
ing, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the
prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quo-
tations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses
permitted by copyright law.

This publication may be downloaded and printed out in full for the express
use of working through the online Accelerated Piano Course available
through Udemy.

Printed in the United Kingdom

First Printing, 2019

ISMN 979-0-9002995-0-5

carl@carlspianolessons.net

www.carlspianolessons.net

3
Introduction
As well as leading music departments in various schools, I have been a piano teacher for over
30 years and a full time one for the past five. Over that time I have done a lot of complaining
about the quality of piano primers (those books I use with my beginner students). I found
them either too easy, too hard, or that they presented concepts in the wrong order for my
teaching style. They were either too old fashioned or too childish. Eventually my students start-
ed to say, ‘Well why don’t you stop complaining and write your own then!’
So three years ago I started to write my own primer, the result of which you hold in your hand,
but then I thought, why stop there? Why not create a complete piano course with explanatory
videos and opportunities for feedback?
Therefore this book is primarily intended for use with my Accelerated Piano Course available
on Udemy but can also be used with a teacher of your choice.
Learning piano is not just about absorbing skills and knowledge but also about gaining feed-
back on your progress so that you can move forward confident that you are doing things cor-
rectly. For this reason if you’re using this book as part of my course I would strongly advise
you to join my piano lesson Facebook group at facebook.com/groups/carlspianolessons.
Here you can ask questions and post videos for constructive feedback which I would recom-
mend you do regularly. Joining such a group will also make what can be an isolating experience
more of a social one as you will have the opportunity to discuss piano and piano-related topics
with other students at a similar level to yourself.
Learning piano can be an intensely rewarding experience and one that can provide years of en-
joyment. I look forward to being able to help you begin your musical journey.

J Carl Eden BA(Hons), PGCE, AVCM

For more information and further resources go to


http://carlspianolessons.net

4
Practice
When I first started learning to play the piano, I got lots of instruction about how to play but
very little about how to practice. My progress was slow until my third (yes third!) piano teacher
asked me how I was practicing. I didn’t even understand the question but once he showed me
these simple rules, my progress really took off.

Little and Often


My university piano teacher once told me about practice, ‘If you miss a day, you notice. If you
miss two days, your family notices. But if you miss three days, everyone notices!’
There is no point leaving the piano alone for four days then trying to cram a couple of hours
practice in in the hope of making up the time; that’s not how practice works. If you’re strug-
gling for time (and most of my adult students are) then ten minutes practice, six days a week is
more effective than thirty minutes twice a week. Try to find a routine that allows you to prac-
tice at the same time each day as you are more likely to stick to it.
Of course, ten minutes should be regarded as a minimum but don’t get obsessed with clock-
watching. And particularly, don’t say to yourself, ’I must do half an hour a day.’ Practice until
you have done what you need to do or you have had enough. And it’s ok to give yourself one
day off a week, in fact, it can be beneficial.

Purposeful Practice
Never sit down to practice without a plan. That plan might involve tackling a section with diffi-
cult fingering or a part with rhythmic challenges but you must always know what and why you
are practicing.

Focussed Practice
It’s almost never a good idea to practice more than four bars at a time and it is often beneficial
to practice in even smaller sections—two bars, one bar or even a few tricky notes. Tighten your
focus as much as possible. Once you have mastered the problem notes, you can contextualize
your practice by including a short section of preceding music.

Don’t Confuse Practice with Performing


Performing isn’t about having an audience and it’s perfectly possible to perform to yourself.

5
The difference between practice and performance is a state of mind. In practice we work on
short focussed sections with the aim of making them more fluent, confident or expressive. In
performance, we take the piece as a whole, playing from start to finish and ignoring any mis-
takes. (Apart from mentally marking them for future practice.) It’s the difference between
working on a car engine and taking it for a test drive.
Therefore, don’t keep playing your piece through aimlessly and think you’re practicing—you’re
not and you’re playing won’t improve.

Practice is a Journey
Why do you want to play the piano? Is it because you fell in love with a particular piece of mu-
sic and dream of playing it one day? It’s good to have long term goals but if that’s all you have
then you won’t make it past the first few months.
Learning the piano is a journey and can bring rewards right now. Enjoy engaging with each
challenge as it arises. Enjoy learning about new concepts. Really engage with your practice. The
best practice is where you get lost in yourself and don’t know where the time went. Practice
time is ‘you time.’

Posture
• Keep your feet planted firmly on the
ground to help with balance.
• Try not to slouch. Shoulders should be re-
laxed but not too forward.
• Don’t sit too near the piano. Elbows should
be in front of you.
• And, while we’re on the subject, relax those
elbows! Arms should be guided by the
wrists.
• Try not to stick your head forward when
looking at the music. If you can’t see the
notes either get better glasses or bigger
notes!
• The golden rule is comfort! You are going
to spend a lot of time at the piano so adopt
The author in his studio a relaxed but alert posture from the outset
and, if anything aches, change position!
6
Hand Position
The best way to get your resting hand position is to stretch your hands out in front of you, fin-
gers stretched, and then to gently relax into a neutral position. Turn your hands over on to the
keys and they should look something like the diagram. Notice that each knuckle has a gentle
bend to it. You need to avoid straight knuckles and finger tips that buckle the wrong way.
Having said that, I have taught
many adult students who don’t
want to give up their carefully
manicured long nails. It’s per-
fectly possible to play the
piano with long(ish) nails
but some adaptations
will be necessary. Always make
sure that the finger connects
with the key and not just the nail and try not to play with fingers so flat that they end up be-
tween the black keys. Experiment and see what you can achieve but remember that sometimes
we have to make sacrifices for our art!

Finger Numbers

4 3 2 2 3 4

5 5
1 1

Left Right

We number the fingers 1 to 5 starting from the thumbs. When you see small numbers over
notes, these indicate which fingers to use.

7
Note Names and Black Key Groups
M
I
D
D
L
E

A B C D E F G A B C D E F GA B C D E F G A B C D E F GA B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C

Every key on the piano has a letter name between A and G and these letters go up in alphabeti-
cal order repeating seven times with an extra A, B and C at the top for good measure.
The black keys are grouped into alternating twos and threes (with one rogue key at the bottom)
and this allows us to locate specific white keys. For example, notice how every C is just to the
left of a group of two black keys. In the same way, every letter name is always in the same place
in relation to the black keys—D between every group of two black keys and A on the centre
right of every group of three black keys, for example.

Your First Tune


You now have everything you need to play your first tune. Just place your right 1 2 3 5

hand fingers on the black keys as shown on the chart on the right and then follow
the music below to play Merrily We Roll Along.

3 2 1 2 3 3 3 2 2 2 3 5 5 3 2 1 2 3 3 3 2 2 3 2 1

5 4 3 1
And now with the left hand

3 4 5 4 3 3 3 4 4 4 3 1 1 3 4 5 4 3 3 3 4 4 3 4 5

Left Hand Right Hand


5 4 3 1 1 2 3 5
And now with both hands at the same time! (The left hand plays an
accompaniment to coincide with the note above it.)

Right 3212333 222 355 3212333 22321


Left 5 1 5 5 1 5

8
High and Low

Low High

Keys are arranged on the keyboard in pitch


order from low to high. I used to wonder
High why a flat keyboard could be described as
low at one end and high at the other.
It makes more sense when you look at the
grand staff (the framework on which we
Low place our written notes). Low notes are in-
deed physically low and high notes high.
We’ll come back to the grand staff soon.

Rhythm and Beat


Rhythm describes the duration of each note we play. A rhythm can consist of long notes and
short notes but, underlying that rhythm, there will usually be a steady beat. The beat is the
pulse of the music; it’s steady like a ticking clock. The duration of notes are described in terms
of how many beats they last for, therefore:

is called a CROTCHET or QUARTER NOTE and lasts for 1 beat

is called a MINIM or HALF NOTE and lasts for 2 beats

is called a DOTTED MINIM or DOTTED HALF NOTE and lasts for 3 beats

is called a SEMIBREVE or WHOLE NOTE and lasts for 4 beats

9
Rhythm Examples
Try to clap or tap these rhythms. Remember to maintain a steady pulse.

Count: 1 1 1—2 1 1 1—2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1—2

Count: 1 –2 1—2 1 1 1 1 1—2 1—2 1 –2—3—4

Count: 1 1 1 1 1—2—3 1 1—2 1 1 1—2 1—2

Bars, Bar Lines and Time Signatures


In reality, music is divided up into groups of beats called BARS or MEASURES. Bars are sepa-
rated from each other by BAR LINES. There are usually the same number of beats in every
bar and so every piece of music has a TIME SIGNATURE at the start which tells us how
many beats are in each. Notice how, in each case, the music ends with a DOUBLE BAR LINE.

4
4

3
4

2
4
10
The Grand Staff
M
I
D
D
L
E

G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F

G A B C D E F G A B C(LH) C(RH) D E F G A B C D E F

The grand staff (shown above) consists of two five line staves (staffs) joined by a curly bracket.
The lines of each staff are numbered from bottom to top 1 to 5.

5
4
3
2
1

Notes can be written on lines or in spaces.

Notice that the stems of the notes point upwards if they are below the 3rd line and down-
wards if they are above it. Notes on the middle line can point either up or down.
The upper staff is usually played by the right hand and the lower staff, by the left.
In the middle we can see two C notes. The one marked C(LH) is played by the left hand and C
(RH) is played by the right hand but, as can be seen from the diagram, they both represent the
same note on the keyboard. Notice also how they are both written on a short line of their own
(a ledger line.) This note is called, not surprisingly, MIDDLE C.

At the start of the upper staff is a treble clef also known as a G clef since it marks where
the note G is and is, in fact, itself based on the letter ‘g’. A staff which has a treble clef shows
notes above middle C.
The lower staff begins with a bass clef also known as the F clef for the same reason
(particularly if you imagine the two dots connected to the main body of the clef!) The bass
clef represents bass notes lower than middle C.
Using first the left hand then, at the change of staff, the right, play all the notes shown on the
grand staff above with your 3rd fingers.
11
Your First Piece
Your very first piece of music is based on the right M
I
D
hand notes of middle C, D and E (using fingers 1, 2 D
L
E
and 3 respectively) and left hand notes C, F and G
(using fingers 5, 2 and 1.) C F G C D E

Learn to play this with each hand individually and in


two bar chunks. Only attempt to play hands together
when you have mastered separate hands!
Play slowly and deliberately and don’t forget to count
the beats.
The warm-up is designed to orientate your fingers to the correct notes so do master this first.

Warm Up

(1)

12
Here are two more pieces which use the same notes.
When you practice, try to connect the notes smoothly. Use a see-saw action between your fin-
gers. Don’t forget to do separate hand practice first and put hands together in two bar chunks.

(2)

(3)

This piece is in 3 time so remember to count in threes and not fours.


4

13
C Five Finger Position (Right Hand)
We talk about our hands being in positions. Being in M
I
D
the C position (in the right hand) means having your D
L
E
thumb on C and your other four fingers covering the
next four notes, ie. D, E, F and G. C F G C D E F G

The left hand forms an accompaniment but we will


go into more detail about the left hand in the next
section.
Aim for a solid, even speed and try to hit each note
at the same medium volume.

Warm Up

(4)

Notice the shape of the melody—the way it moves up and down. Be aware of your fingers
moving up and down the keyboard and try to associate the two things.

14
(5)

As you learn the next piece, notice that notes which move from line to line or space to space
are separated by one note and notes which move from line to space or space to line are next
to each other.

(6)
Notes which are vertically aligned on a staff form a CHORD. A CHORD is when we play two
or more notes at the same time as in the left hand part of the next piece.
The finger numbers under the first chord are arranged so that the lowest number belongs to
the lowest note (C) and the highest number belongs to the highest note (G).

15
C Five Finger Position (Left Hand)
The left hand five finger position is named after the M
I
D
note underneath the 5th finger (since the 5th finger of D
L
E
the left hand, like the first finger of the right hand, is
on the lowest note.) C D E F G C D E F G

Therefore the left hand C position has the 5th finger


on the C and the remaining four fingers over the adja-
cent notes D, E, F and G.

Warm Up

(7)

In this piece the melody is in the left hand. Try to bring out this melody by playing the right
hand accompaniment more softly.

16
(8)

Here, both the right hand and the left hand are playing the same notes. This is called playing
in UNISON. Aim to hit both left hand and right hand keys at exactly the same time. This will
create the effect of one ‘thickened’ line of music.

(9)

The TIE—notes of the same pitch which are joined together by a curved line
are said to be tied. Just play the first note as normal but, instead of striking
the second note, keep it held down. In this way it is possible to play long notes across bars.

17
D Position
M
By moving our hands one note to the right, we are I
D
D
now in the D position which introduces a new note in L
E

each hand (A). C

D E F G A D E F G A
Now the 1st finger of your right hand and the 5th
finger of your left hand will be on D. Try not to let
this confuse you!
You should always try to look at the music rather than
your hands.

Warm Up

This can be played separate hands or hands together. The dots at the end combine with
the double bar line to create a repeat mark so, when you get to the end, play from the be-
ginning again

(10)

18
(11)

In this piece, the left hand lags behind the right by one bar in a technique called IMITATION.
Notice the symbol in the first bar of the left hand. This is called a whole bar REST and indi-
cates a bar of silence.

(12)

19
E Position
M
The E position covers the notes E to B in both hands. I
D
D
L
For these next pieces, we are going to be playing the E

note F# (F sharp) rather than the usual white-note F.


C

E F G A B E F G A B
SHARP means that we play the next note to the
right (usually a black note) instead of the original
note.
You can see the
sharp notes on the
left. But what about E# and B#?
C# D# F# G# A# Well, the note to the right of an E is F therefore the note F can
also be known as E#. Similarly, C is also known as B# since C is
immediately to the right of B.

Warm Up

Although we say F sharp and not sharp F, when we write sharp notes on the staff, the sharp
sign goes in front of the note as seen here.

(13)

20
(14)

In this piece, the hands move in CONTRARY MOTION. This means that the hands mirror
each other and the finger numbers are the same for both hands.

(15)

When we place a sharp in a bar, all further notes of the same pitch will remain sharp until the
end of that bar, therefore we only need to sharpen it the first time. This can be seen in bars 1
and 5 in the right hand and bar 3 in the left hand. In all cases, the second F is also sharp.

21
F Position
M
The F position covers the notes F to C in both hands. I
D
D
L
For these next pieces, we are going to be playing the E

note B (B flat).
C

F G A B C F G A B C

FLAT means that we play the next note to the left


instead of the original note.
Here are the flat
notes and, of course,
we can have F flat
D E G A B
and C flat too.
You will realize by now that the black keys actually have two
names—one sharp name and one flat name and later on you will
see that every key on the piano has more than one name!

Warm Up
Like sharps, flats are placed in front of the note. When placing your hands in position, try to
cover the flat notes with your 2nd (left hand) and 4th (right hand) fingers rather than the white
notes.

(16)

22
(17)
Try not to play black keys with a straight finger but with a gentle curve. Play as near to the end
of the key as is comfortable and aim to make contact with the pad of your finger for maxi-
mum control.

(18)
Try to bring out the dotted minims in this piece and let the crotchets take a back seat.
Work on the change of hands at the half way point to create a smooth changeover. You could
do this by practicing bars 4 to 5 in isolation.

23
Treble C Position
M
The treble C position starts one octave above middle C. I
D
D
Notice how G is in the space above the 5th line. L
E

These next pieces focus on the treble C position in the


C

C D E F G
right hand but explore a number of previous left hand
positions.

Warm Up
This is a warm up for the right hand only and provides a good workout for your fingers. Try to
keep the notes smooth and even.

(19)
Here the left hand is in the F position while the right is in the treble C position. Be careful with
the repeated notes across each bar line.

24
(20)

Here, the left hand is in the D position while the right hand provides accompaniment in the
treble C position.

(21)

This variation on the treble C position involves an F# with the 4th finger.
The pedal mark means hold down the right (sustain) pedal for the duration of the
line (in this case all the way through the piece.) Play delicately for a dreamy quality.

25
Bass G Position
M
On learning the notes of this low left hand position we I
D
D
now know all the notes found from the bottom line of L
E

the bass clef to the space above the top line of the tre- C

ble clef. The trick now is to remember them by reading G A B C D


as much music as possible.

Warm Up

This left hand warm up is a bit of a finger twister! Don’t forget to observe the repeat mark at
the end of the line.

(22)
The minim rest looks very much like the whole bar (semibreve) rest we saw earlier. To remem-
ber the difference: minims grow out of the mountains and semibreves hang down from the
skies! (This doesn’t work quite so well when we talk about half notes and whole notes!)

26
(23)

Another piece in unison, this time with both hands in G positions. Practice slowly and accu-
rately aiming for precision between the hands.

(24)

Lots of music is based on patterns and divining the pattern can make practice easier. Can you
see the pattern in the left hand (hint: it involves the 1st and 3rd notes of each bar) and how it
relates to the right?

27
Note Review
Here are all the notes we have learned so far. We normally present the notes on lines separate
from the notes in spaces for easier memorizing. We also use mnemonics for the same reason.
Notice how the notes in the treble clef spaces spell FACE.
There are 5 ‘other’ notes above and below the staves which you will need to remember, also.

Treble Clef
Lines

Every Green Bus Drives Fast

Spaces

F A C E

Others

Middle C D G

Bass Clef
Lines

Good Boys Deserve Fresh Apples

Spaces

All Cows Eat Grass

Others

B Middle C
28
Note Quiz
Name these notes

__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __

__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __

Write these notes on the staves. Don’t repeat any notes at the same pitch!

F C B E A D G F B A C E D

D E A F G C B G C B E A G

Name these sharp and flat notes

__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __

__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __

29
Quavers or Eighth Notes
We can subdivide the crotchet to create half beats. These half beats are called quavers or
eighth notes. We can join two quavers together to show they add up to a whole beat but,
as we shall see soon, we can use quavers on their own too.
Using the two lines below:
1. Clap the crotchet line immediately followed by the quaver line and repeat. Make sure you
don’t change the speed of the beats.
2. Clap the crotchet line while your teacher claps the quaver line then swap roles.
3. Clap the whole thing with your teacher in the style of a round.

4
4
4
4
Count: 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and

Have a go at clapping the following rhythms then pair them up so that you and your teacher
are clapping different rhythms at the same time. Notice how adjacent quavers can be joined to-
gether in groups of 2 beats.

30
Warm Up

Focus on counting and keeping a steady beat. Start off by clapping the rhythm. Then learn the
notes and apply the rhythm last if necessary. Learning a piece of music is like peeling an onion
where every layer adds something extra, so don’t try to do everything at once.

(25)

31
(26)

This is another example of contrary motion so the left hand fingering is exactly the same as
the right.

(27)

Once you can play this, you can experiment with volume. For example you can try playing it
loudly or quietly or just play every second bar quietly so that it sounds like an echo.

32
Dynamics
DYNAMICS is the word we use to talk about volume in music. We can obviously play loudly
or quietly but we can also play other grades of dynamics such as moderately loud and moder-
ately quiet as well as very loud and very quiet.
Words related to dynamics are in Italian and are often abbreviated. Here are the ones we will be
working with from loudest to quietest:

Italian Abbrev English

Fortissimo Very loud

Forte Loud

Mezzo forte Moderately loud

Mezzo piano Moderately quiet

Piano Quiet

Pianissimo Very quiet

Warm Up
You can practice grading your dynamics both separate hands and hands together. When playing
quietly don’t hit the keys slower - rather, use less force.

33
(28)
The next two pieces require quiet and loud playing. Learn the music first before you try to ap-
ply the dynamics.

(29)

34
Starting to Move Around the Keyboard
So far, each piece of music we have encountered has kept to one hand position, that is, each
finger is assigned to one particular note throughout. In most music, however, the hands will
move up and down the keyboard and the fingers will play different notes depending on the
hand position at the time.
One way of moving about is by using extensions where adjacent fingers stretch to play non-
adjacent notes as in the pieces on the next couple of pages.

Warm Up

(30)

35
(31)

This piece introduces us to the new right hand note B (below middle C). Here, we play this
note by stretching our right hand thumb down to the B whilst leaving all the other fingers in
their original positions.

(32)
In this piece, an alternative fingering in the left hand would see the 3rd finger replaced with the
4th in all instances except the second half of bars 3 and 7. Experiment to see which one feels
better. Notice the new note, D next to middle C, expressed as a bass note.
Rall. or rallentando means gradually slowing down and is often used at the end of a piece of
music (as well as rit. or ritenuto which mean the same thing.)

36
Thumb Under/Finger Over
We can also change hand positions by putting our thumb under and across our fingers. For ex-
ample, we can start with our thumb on a C, play D and E with our 2nd and 3rd fingers and
then put our thumb under to play F, establishing our hand in the new F position.
To move down, we can put our 3rd or 4th finger over our thumb for the opposite effect.
Try it out in the warm up below.

Warm Up (Right and Left Hands Separately)

(33)
In this piece, the right hand moves in the same way as the warm up and the left hand is in an
extended position which never changes.

37
(34)

(35)

There are lots of changes of right hand position in this piece but try not to look down at your
hands. In your left hand, ‘anchor’ your thumb to the A and extend your 3rd and 5th fingers to
find the second chord.
is a dynamic mark and means gradually getting quieter. The musical term for this is diminuen-
do, often shortened to dim.

38
Staccato Playing
Staccato is the Italian word for short/detached. To play staccato, lift your finger off the key
immediately after playing it. A note which is to be played staccato is shown by a dot above or
below the note head.
This lesson also introduces us to the crotchet rest. This is the rest that we use when we need
to count one beat of silence and looks like this:

Warm Up

(36)

39
(37)

The challenge in this piece is to keep the left hand as smooth as possible while playing staccato
notes with your right.

(38)

In this piece the right hand starts in an extended position before changing to a five finger posi-
tion at bar 3. This time keep the right hand legato (the technical name for playing smooth and
connected notes) while you play the left hand staccato.

40
Slurs
A slur is represented by a curved line encompassing a small number of notes. All notes under a
slur should be smooth and connected with the last note detached from what follows. In order
to achieve the correct articulation, think ‘DA-dum’ for a 2 note slur, ‘DA-A-dum’ for a 3 note
slur, etc.
The wrist should drop on the first note and roll on to the last before lifting again.

Warm Up

(39)

41
(40)

Keep the left hand light and lift it together with the second note of each slur.

(41)

This short little piece contains a number of challenges including slurs, frequent changes of po-
sition in both hands and a repeat.

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Dotted Notes
A dot after a note adds a half of the value of the original note back on so, for example, a dot-
ted crotchet lasts for 1 (the crotchet)+½ (the dot) = 1½ beats. A dotted minim consists of the
minim (2 beats) plus the dot (a half of 2 beats which is 1 beat) added together to make 3 beats.

Warm Up

Treat this as two separate four bar exercises first. Once you can do each, try going all the way
through without stopping. Write in the counting for the second line.

1 (2) + 3 4 1 2 3 (4) + 1 (2) + 3 + 4 1 + 2 3 (4)

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Most pieces will have some sort of speed indication at the start. Some may be in English as
here but most tend to be in Italian. Many speed directions describe the ‘feel’ or mood of the
piece as well.

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This piece introduces the dotted quaver—semiquaver rhythm. Notice how the dot adds
length to the quaver and the extra beam shortens the semiquaver.

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Key Signatures
You will notice that, in some pieces we have played, every F is sharp or every B is flat. Normal-
ly where this is the case, we avoid writing all these sharps and flats by using a KEY SIGNA-
TURE at the start of each line.

Here we see a key signature of one sharp (F sharp.) Notice the sharps’ place-
ment on the staves. This key signature means that ALL F notes that we come
across will automatically be sharp.

This is how we write a key signature of one flat (B flat.) Again, notice the flats’
placement on the staves. This key signature means that ALL B notes in the piece
will be flat.

The hard part, at least to start with, is to remember the sharp or flat notes in the key signature
as there will be no indication within the actual music that they are altered.

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Like dynamic markings, tempo markings are primarily written in Italian. Andante means ‘at a
walking pace.’

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Grazioso is an Italian term that means graceful and smooth. Notice how the tempo is left to
the discretion of the performer.

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Extras: Pedaling
No piano primer would be complete without introducing indirect pedaling or possibly
pedalling depending on where you are from!

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Extras: Anacrusis
An anacrusis is where the music starts on a beat other that 1, in this case 3.

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Putting it All Together
To finish with here is a longer piece to test your skills! Well done for sticking with it and I wish
you many years of happiness with your piano playing!

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