I'm a pianist, but I'm not too comfortable playing on the black keys of the piano. I am comfortable in playing C scale or Am scale. Can you suggest any exercises or a musical piece which can be used to eradicate my shortcomings?

I can play by ear and am not too comfortable reading music sheets. I have trained in Indian Classical Music for five years. But as for Western Classical Music is concerned am quite new to it!

2 Answers 2


You don't specify what you level is as a pianist, but I would highly recommend Chopin's Etude Op. 10, No. 5. It will certainly help you build muscle memory with the black keys, and it's great practice to improve finger dexterity too.

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    i edited the question....am quite new to western style of playing the piano..although am good at playing by ear. Mar 5, 2017 at 15:58
  • Do you know how to play the major and minor scales on piano? That could be a very good exercise... But it would be a good idea to start practicing with reading music sheets regularly, even if you have to read one note at a time. I'm finishing my piano studies now and still have trouble reading a sheet at first sight, but there is no other way to learn good pieces than by reading music sheets. Mar 5, 2017 at 16:02
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    thanks i do need to read music sheets...! can u suggest any easier piece than the above mentioned Mar 5, 2017 at 16:11
  • You can begin with the etudes by Burgmüller, Op. 100. All of them are available online in pdf format, and you can listen to them on YouTube and choose the ones you prefer. All of them are easy or intermediate, and not too difficult to read (but take it easy at the beginning). I think you can have a good time with those, and they are very good practice. Do you think they would be too difficult for you? Let me know and I will try to find something you are comfortable with. :) Mar 5, 2017 at 16:28

Stop playing in C is the first move! Since C was probably the first key you played things in - it often is - you've played things in C more than any other key. You feel safe with no black keys. However, playing in other keys will mean you gain more experience in those. No bad thing, so start by playing scales arpeggios and chords using some, maybe not all, black keys. Realise that with, say, two sharps, the black keys actually help move your hand/fingers, as you now have more space to play in.

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    100% this. The only way to get better at playing other things is to play other things. I would actually suggest going for more black keys than fewer, though. @Kavya In particular try the B Major and E Major scales -- Chopin claimed the former was the easiest to play (easier than C Major), and personally I prefer the latter.
    – user28
    Mar 5, 2017 at 21:54
  • @MatthewRead - there's E, B F# and C#, but don't forget the flats - Ab, Db etc, which use pretty well the same notes (piano keys), but look rather different when written.
    – Tim
    Mar 6, 2017 at 8:32
  • @MatthewRead I will do try to work upon your valuable suggestions...and hope I get better.. Mar 6, 2017 at 20:18

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