My 7 yr old daughter has been given a Yamaha PSR-60. She starts Piano lessons in a few months, but in the meantime would like to understand a bit more about the keyboard.

How can we tell what the notes are for each key?

I guess something like this would be helpful: example keyboard notes

Many thanks.

  • The picture you posted is what you are looking for, or? which language do you speak at home? – Sergio Jul 27 '13 at 17:41
  • We have 49 keys on the yamaha, but the picture example has only 36 keys. We speak english (UK). – Chris Snow Jul 27 '13 at 18:01

I think that picture is what you need. There is a pattern from C to C, an octave. All the notes are in that octave and then they just repeat themselves. So, actually the picture didn't need to have more than 12 keys, after each 12 keys the pattern repeats itself. I think this is good info for a 7 year old who will start piano lessons.

What that image does not have is the different octaves which in piano we call C0, C1, C2, etc. This means the lower octave (starting in a low C note) is (according to this manual) C1, so the next C on the way to the bright notes will be C2, etc.

You can also call the other notes by their octave name, like D2, F4, etc.

Let me know if you still wonder about something.

  • So each set repeating set of 12 keys is an octave and on my daughter's yamaha keyboard, the octave starts at C1? – Chris Snow Jul 27 '13 at 18:50
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    Yes, to both. According to the manual C1 is the first octave, but this can also be changed by choosing in the keyboard menus. Maybe she just needs to think about the 7 notes of a scale, the 12 semi-tones/keys might be complex to start with. You know your daughter, so you can choose. Good luck! – Sergio Jul 27 '13 at 19:02
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    It might be useful to affix stickers with the note-names onto the keys; even just marking the c's with a dot might provide a useful reference point. – Dave Jul 28 '13 at 2:51
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    Too true ! I'm still trying to remove letters from the keys of my grand after some (un)helpful person used felt tip ! – Tim Jul 28 '13 at 11:17
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    @Chris: What that image also does not have are the (enharmonic) alternative names of the black keys. F# = Gb; G# = Ab; A# = Bb; C# = Db; D# = Eb. – Ulf Åkerstedt Aug 5 '13 at 22:00

As a start point,make up many (and there are) words, using the letters A,B,C,D,E,F and G. E.g. DAD, CABBAGE etc. Then encourage her to play the words on the keys. Each will make its own tune, and for now it matters not which octave each letter (or each word ) is played in.

DO NOT put the letter names on the keys ! They are already in a quite easily understood pattern, so it's a waste of time. A D note, for example, will always be between the TWO black notes, so E is to their right, and C is to their left. There's 3 sorted very easily !

Get her to play a word in 3 or 4 different places, same pattern, and she will soon find her way round the keys.

Incidentally, reading the little black dots on the music has no DIRECT correlation to the black and white keys. So don't try to put this into the equation till the keyboard itself is well known.People will disagree with this statement, but I believe it's true. There is no logic in the fact that bottom line, treble clef is an E above middle C. Convention puts it there, so initially she would be trying to learn TWO different skills. Why bother ?

Even when she IS playing from music, don't worry too much if she plays in tne 'wrong' octave. The tunes will still sound good, and it's sometimes fun to move a tune about.

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