Music Information

How to Use the Entire Piano Keyboard

There are 88 keys on the piano keyboard. Most pianists use about 1/3 of this number most of the time. Why?

Well, if you're playing sheet music, the answer lies in how the composer used the piano. If you're creating your own music, the answer lies in experimenting with the possibilities.

Now, most of my own music is played near the middle of the keyboard. It's not planned that way but this is the area of the piano I naturally gravitate towards when sitting down to play. Of course, I do and have used most notes available on the piano and it would be a shame not to. But I allow the music to tell me where it wants to go. If I sit down with a predetermined agenda to play high notes, then I am not listening to my intuition.

Although I have to admit that in Lesson 5: "Winter Scene" I wanted to create a crisp wintry sound so I started further up the keyboard with the left hand and played higher register notes in my right. But most times, I will let my intuition guide me and 9 times out of 10 begin at the middle of the keyboard.

There is nothing wrong or uncreative about this at all. In fact, it doesn't really matter where you begin because once started, the heart and mind work together as one bringing you the ideal music. It is the only true music that could come out of you because you listen to what your heart wants to play. If you play a few bass notes to begin with fine. Want to start at the high end of the piano, OK.

The key here is authenticity. Some compositions and improvisations sound contrived because they were - that is they were thought up. There really is nothing wrong per se with this approach - as long as you let the music guide you. For example, you may decide you want to do as I did and create a certain mood piece. However, once you get the general idea for the music, let it guide you to where it wants to go - that is, listen, listen, listen for what is coming next. This approach never fails and will most always yield good results.

Edward Weiss is a pianist/composer and webmaster of Quiescence Music's online piano lessons. He has been helping students learn how to play piano in the New Age style for over 14 years and works with students in private, in groups, and now over the internet. Stop by now at for a FREE piano lesson!

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