Sharps, flats, octaves oh my! These words may sound overwhelming, but the fact is if you’re just starting to learn how to play piano—you’re going to want to know how to identify piano notes on the keyboard, and these words can help! Allow me to break it down for you. Watch this quick video below to get started then keep reading to find an in-depth, written explanation on the topics covered!
Piano notes and keys for beginners
There are only 12 unique notes on a piano: A B C D E F G (white keys), plus sharps and flats (black keys). These 12 notes are repeated seven times on a full size piano—but let’s just focus on finding our first set for now. Instead of starting with A, I think it’s easier visually to start with a C note, and group the notes this way: C, D, E, F, G, A, B.
Finding Middle C
First, let’s take a look at a keyboard. Notice that the black keys alternate in sets of two and three? Good—you can find Middle C by first locating the “middleist” (ha! maybe “centermost” is the better word) set of two black keys, then finding the closest white note down and to the left. Pretty straightforward huh!
White notes: Playing C through B
Black notes: sharps and flats