Piano Lessons for Beginners: Play the Piano AND Read Music!
4.7 (10 ratings)
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Piano Lessons for Beginners: Play the Piano AND Read Music!

Beginner piano lessons with an experienced teacher
4.7 (10 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
66 students enrolled
Created by Simon Halliday
Last updated 6/2016
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Current price: $10 Original price: $70 Discount: 86% off
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  • 4 hours on-demand video
  • 28 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Play 10 beginner level pieces on the piano
  • Play all the ABRSM grade 1 level scales
  • Understand Basic Pitch, Rhythm and Other Musical Concepts
  • Read musical notation for left and right hands together
  • Play music in 5 different keys
View Curriculum
  • You can watch and learn from the course without a piano or keyboard if you wish, but ideally you will have an instrument to play as you go. Don't worry if it's very simple and basic, or in need of a tune. This course is for complete beginners after all, so you will learn the basics no matter what you are using.
  • You will learn plenty from the videos, but will also need to print out the PDFs as you go along, so make sure you have access to a printer.

This is a complete learning experience of professional piano lessons, delivered by an experienced piano teacher in a real-life environment. You will feel like you're gaining personal tuition, as you follow close-ups of the finger movements and learn from whiteboard lessons. You also have PDFs to print out of all the main learning points and of course the music you are learning. With 30 videos totaling 4 hours of learning (including a bonus piece at the end), and lots of supporting PDFs, you have everything you need here to get off to a flying start playing the piano.

Piano lessons are sometimes started by people just like you and then, due to expense or lack of time or focus, dropped after a few weeks. This is a frustrating experience for both the student and the teacher, which could be overcome if the student could just get a stronger understanding of the basics. This course goes through all the basic concepts and techniques in detail, and provides lessons for not just the ten pieces and grade 1 scales as promised but also four beginning pieces (for right and left hands separately). On top of this there is an extra bonus piece at the end for those who are hungry for more.

Each of the pieces and scales are shown slowly with close-up finger movements and explanations, and there is a custom-made PDF with every piece so you can print them out and improve your sight reading as well as your playing technique. As a committed piano teacher with twenty-five years' experience, I have put everything you need into this beginning 'learn piano' course to make sure you truly benefit from the lessons and resources provided. It should take you about one month to complete the course, although you may wish to keep working on and improving the new skills you have for up to six months.

Who is the target audience?
  • This piano course is for complete beginners. It will teach everything from finger numbers, layout of the piano keyboard, rhythm and pitch notation to grade 1 scales and how to play 10 beginner level pieces. If you have learned the basics before then this course is probably not for you.
  • If you have not acheived any piano playing even though you had a few lessons and tried some books, then this course could be for you. You can learn by following the videos, so it could provide the encouragement you need to get playing, even if some of the basic concepts are already known.
  • There's nothing too hi-tech or 'gadgety' about this piano course, which means you get real piano lessons, with heart and soul! I am giving you the experience of having a real piano teacher, using close-ups of the piano keyboard and work on the whiteboard, supported by PDFs which you can print out. The authentic teaching methods and real-life experience you gain will appeal to anyone who wants to have musical knowledge and techniques really explained to them.
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Curriculum For This Course
30 Lectures
Let's Get Going!
6 Lectures 43:18

This is a short introduction to myself and the course, outlining what you will learn and getting you fired up to start learning.

Preview 02:47

One of the most important things you have to remember are the finger numbers, and it's surprising to me how often people forget these. I've put this learning point first, with video exercises to reinforce your learning, so that you will absorb this knowledge as quickly as possible.

Learn the Finger Numbers

Fundamental to music is a sense of passing time (the regular pulse, or beat), and variations in the length of notes (rhythm). I include this important aspect very early in the course to get you thinking about and understanding both pulse and rhythm in the right way.

Learn Basic Rhythm and its Notation

Simply follow my video exercises and use the supplementary PDFs to be clear about where the notes are. Again, this is fundamental knowledge for anyone learning to play the piano or other keyboards, and should be absorbed as soon as possible.

Learn the Piano Keyboard Layout

Whilst notation of music is not usually the most important learning point of playing an instrument, it's an extremely useful skill to have. Once you've followed my video course and downloaded the accompanying PDFs, you will have all you need to remember basic piano notation. This never changes, although there will be more to add to what you learn here later on.

Learn Basic Pitch Notation

Here's where you can get really excited - your first piano performance! It's easy for us teachers and musicians to forget what it's like when you're starting out, but I always remind myself what it's like playing your first piece. You will be extremely proud once you reach the end of this video and PDF lesson, as you discover you really can play!

Play Your First RH (Right Hand) Piece!
Understanding Left Hand Notation and More Rhythms
5 Lectures 33:15

The sooner you understand the basics of notation for both hands, the better. With this video you will have a good starting point for reading the notes of the bass clef, which is usually used for the left hand notes.

Left Hand Notation

This is a useful part of understanding different musical styles and rhythms. With this video you will learn how to play with swung rhythms. Also you will learn what triplets are and how to play them.

Quavers, Swung Rhythms & Triplets

Very often people tell me they find the left hand more difficult (of course, generally most people are right handed, which reinforces this idea). Yet it doesn't need to be like this. I am left handed myself, and I never found this a disadvantage to playing right hand piano passages. Be confident when following this lesson, and you'll probably find it just as easy as the right hand piece.

Play Your First LH (Left Hand) Piece!

Very quickly you should get used to the fact that there's always more to learn. Any honest musician will tell you they still have more to learn than they have learned so far. So start out with that spirit and avoid getting stuck with a limited mindset. Nothing slows progress more than clinging onto what you've already learned as if there's nothing more to learn. So by the end of this lesson you will have mastered your second right hand piece, and also learned a new kind of note and new time signature!

Preview 07:21

Remember that skills need to develop alongside each other. Just as pitch and rhythm are both necessary, so is the use of both right and left hands. You will be performing your second left hand piece by the end of this lesson.

Play Your Second LH Piece
Playing Hands Together
5 Lectures 45:58

Many people find playing hands together quite a big leap when learning the piano. Coordination is something which can be learned and developed with practise, so don't give up! I introduce this hands together piece by video, teach you to play it, and show how piano notation is written on the 'grand stave'. You will also get a PDF of the piece to download and use in your practise.

Play Your First Hands Together Piece!

You're really getting into this now! By learning and achieving success in your second hands together piece, you will prove to yourself that the sky's the limit and you really can do this!

Preview 11:31

I have given you this interesting little piece here to show how a minor key can sound quite interesting and fun. Later on in the course there will be more explanation of minor scales and keys, but for now you can enjoy the sound of this piece as you play along. There are some more challenging rhythms in this piece which might look tricky on the PDF, but if you follow the video and copy me then you'll be playing this in no time!
Play Your Third Piece - The Snake Charmer

Many people still have reservations about scales, whether from bad experiences of not understanding them, or from bad teaching methods trying to inflict scales onto them like a punishment. Nothing could be further from the truth, as scales are the important building blocks of most of the music which we know and love - from classical pieces to country, folk, rock n roll and modern pop and dance music. In fact, whatever style of music you like, I'd be surprised if the creators of the music hadn't used scale knowledge in one form or another. By the end of this video and PDF lecture you will be able to play the scale of C Major with left hand and right hand separately. I will encourage you to try playing it hands together, although this may take a little longer for some people.

Learn Your First Scale!

Some important skills to learn here, including moving to different positions on the keyboard, playing the scale of C major within the piece, and stretching an octave.

Play Your Fourth Piece - The Can Can!
Understanding Scales and Keys
8 Lectures 59:47

An often overlooked part of music theory in the early stages of learning, which really helps you understand how music works, is the importance of intervals (the distance between notes). Tones and semitones are the first intervals to learn, and by the end of this lecture you will understand exactly what they are and how to use them.

Learn About Tones and Semitones

Just as we did with the pieces we learned, we now develop the learning of scales by learning another one. Like all learning, we create the foundation and then build on it with more knowledge and skills. In music education, it is a firm grasp of these skills which allows for creativity to flow, so the sooner we have them then the sooner we can enjoy where they lead us. By the end of this lecture you will be playing the scale of G Major and understanding the basics of what it is and how it works.

Learn Your Second Scale

In this piece, we learn more about harmony and begin to play some simple chords. By the end of this lesson you will be playing 'Brother John', hands together, including left hand chords. There is a lesson about dynamics in this piece too. Also, you will understand what all this means!

Play Your Fifth Piece - Brother John

This short video introduces you to the concept of keys, and explains what they are. It is good preparation for the the next piece you'll be playing.

Key Signatures - C Major and G Major

Not all teachers explain what intervals are very early on, but I think it's really important to understand the basics at this stage, so here you will learn something useful.

Intervals - 2nds, 3rds, 4ths, 5ths and 6ths

This is a lively, fun tune which many people will have heard before. This arrangement is in the key of G major, and also uses the interval of a 4th, which puts some of your new knowledge from the previous two videos into action straight away!

Preview 08:22

This piece is also in the key of G major. Furthermore it uses chords in this key and also the interval of a 6th.

Play Your Seventh Piece - Lavenders Blue

A continuation of the major scales we have learned so far, this lecture brings more knowledge including what 'flats' are and how to play the scales of F Major and D Major. By the end of this video and PDF lesson you will know all the major scales needed for the ABRSM (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music) grade 1 syllabus, which continues to be a world-leader in music education.

Learn More Major Scales
Developing Your Skills and Learning Minor Scales
6 Lectures 56:02

Here we play in the key of F major, and also learn two more dynamic signs. There is also a stretch for both left and right hand positions.

Play Your Eighth Piece

I thought about just giving you the basic 'natural minor' scales for grade 1 level here, which are all you actually need if you wanted to take the grade 1 exam, but I wanted to give you more. After all, you can always rewatch the video lecture and keep the PDF documents for when you're ready. The fact is there are three different kinds of minor scale, and I give you an overview and lesson on the first two kinds of minor scale here. Don't be overwhelmed by this prospect, as you have time to learn at your own pace. I simply want to make sure you are well-equipped to progress well later on. By the end of this lecture you will have a beginning knowledge of minor scales, and will be able to play the 'natural minor' and 'harmonic minor' scales which are needed at grade 1 level (A minor and D minor).

Learn and Play the Minor Scales

There are so many musical styles to explore, so I wanted to give you a fun blues arrangement to have a go at. The left hand has to work hard here, with finger crosses and lots of moves. Also the hand co-ordination when playing both parts might take some practise - but it will be worth it!

Play Your Ninth Piece

This is a lively, fun and challenging piece, with a few moves to learn and some new chords too. Also, it's in the key of D minor, giving an interesting sound!

Play Your Tenth Piece

This is a great tune, which most people recognise. I have created this simple arrangement as a bonus for you, which hopefully will be manageable for you when you follow the video carefully. There are a couple of new left hand chords too, which might need some work. You also have the PDF with this piece, as with all the pieces, with some useful finger numbers for those right hand moves!

BONUS PIECE! The Entertainer

Congratulations for reaching the end of this course! You have done well to follow everything, as there is quite a lot here for a beginner to learn. Of course, there may still be a lot of work to do on some of the pieces. Everyone is a bit different in how they learn, and some of the techniques will be easy for some people but more difficult for others. The important thing is that if you're struggling with something then you keep working on it. You can go back over the videos you need for more help. Also, make sure you take the short quiz now to check what you have learned and if there's anything you need to revisit. There are a few more teaching points in the quiz, too. Enjoy your continuing piano learning and please contact me or leave a review if you have anything to say at this point. Look out for future courses from me too!

All the best!


This musical quiz will test your knowledge and be good for checking which parts of the course you might need to review!

General Piano and Music Quiz
20 questions
About the Instructor
Simon Halliday
4.7 Average rating
10 Reviews
66 Students
1 Course
Music Teacher and Writer

I worked at a music shop (A&C Hamilton’s near Preston) at the age of 16, demonstrating and teaching keyboards and organs, then was trained and working with ‘Music For Families’ in Blackburn for 10 happy years. I also trained with the Yamaha Music School there, after gaining an associate diploma for organ playing from the Victoria College of Music. I next attained a 2:1 BA Hons in performing arts from St. Martin’s College in Lancaster (now known as ‘The University of Cumbria‘). I passed grade 8 piano with ABRSM with merit. I’ve worked as a ‘supporting artiste’ on various TV shows with well-loved and world-famous people including Peter Kay and John Hannah. I’ve written, performed and recorded songs with voice coach/singer Kelly Sharp and I’m working towards an associate piano diploma with ABRSM. I am currently setting up a music school, which will co-exist with my home visits – lots more information coming soon! I am the resident organist and choirmaster at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church, Cottam, and play for weddings and funerals. I sing in the tenor section with the Lancaster Singers choir throughout the year and also help with the publicity and marketing of the choir. I also write and self-publish children’s fiction and am currently working towards a piano diploma.