This course was an experiment in which I tried guide beginning students to learn and practise some fundamental aspects of piano playing without the need to learn to read music notation. I can't say that I fully endorse this course any more. There are certain aspects of it that I think people have found confusing, and the progression of difficulty is probably not as well suited to a beginner as I would have liked. However, I have decided to keep it available for now on the off chance that someone finds it interesting of finds some value in it.
The final lesson in Step Two lets you practise playing on all the white keys. This, of course, does not mean you will play on every white key, just that the patterns you play in this lesson cover both the group of three white keys and the group of four white keys. The music in this lesson is for Flute and Piano. Though the patterns you play in this lesson are quite simple there are many to learn so be prepared for a lot of practise and memorisation.
Step 1. Listen to the lesson music. Although your part is not the leading part in this piece it does play a fairly prominent role, so it should be quite easy to hear.
Step 2. Next, listen to the patterns you will play. You will notice that, like in Lesson 4, the beats marked out by the percussion are not so simple here. In Lesson 4, you counted two beats, each divided into three sub-beats, “1, &, a, 2, &, a...”. In this lesson you will also count two beats but they won’t be equal in length. One beat will be divided into four sub-beats, the other into three. To count along to this track, therefore, you will need to count “1, e, &, a, 2, &, a, 1, e, &, a, 2, &, a...”. Take some time to practise this. As you listen to this track, count along, both out loud and silently. You might also want to try singing your part as you listen.
Step 3. When you are ready, play the patterns along with the percussion accompaniment. Play this in a few different ways. For example: playing while counting aloud, playing while counting silently, playing while singing, and just playing.
Step 4. Now listen to the lesson music played without the flute. Though it is by no means necessary, when you listen to this track try to visualise playing your part, that is, practise playing in your mind. I also recommend singing your part while doing this. These sorts of recommendations, while their use may not immediately be clear, will help you to build skills that are essential for any musician. Therefore, even if you can’t see the benefit in doing them, please try. At the very least you can consider them just another form of practise.
Step 5. Play your part now along with the piano accompaniment. Always remember too that your playing should express something. Don’t simply play the notes. Feel the music and play in a way that communicates what the music makes you feel.
Step 6. And finally, play along with the full version of the lesson music.
This concludes Step Two of the First Steps in Piano course. Here you learnt about the layout of the keyboard while expanding on what you learnt in Step One. While it might have seemed like a lot of trouble to go to just to learn the layout of the black and white keys on the piano keyboard, keep in mind that learning the keyboard layout wasn’t the true purpose of this step. The true purpose was to get you playing music. Organising these lessons in the way that I have is really just a way to ease you gradually in to more advanced playing. In Step 3 you will learn the different ways in which a musical line can move around the keyboard.