Now Playing
Five Finger Folk
"Five Finger Folk" is  two folk songs, "Some Folks Do" and "Skip To My Lou" in
the key of C, played back to back. They are simple two chord folk songs. We
are going to use them to begin to learn how to play piano. The melody is
played with the thumb and four fingers of the right hand and the chords are
played with the thumb and four fingers of the left hand. We will call the thumb a
finger so that is five fingers for each hand. Both hands are kept in the same
place as you play. That plus keeping all single notes to the right hand and
multiple notes to the left hands is an introduction to my easy keyboard method.
In this lesson I will begin to show you how to use your right hand. This example
will play twice. Click on the play button of the player below to hear it again.
Using The Lessons
People that come to these pages through search engines enter on different pages. I
would recommend that to get the full benefit of these free music lessons, you visit every
page at least once. This is a totally new approach to learning music. The focus is on
How Music Works". That page that you miss could be the one that contains the key
information, that you need. These pages are full of music tips and music info that you
probably won't find anywhere else.
Fingering A Piano Or Keyboard
A lot of people learn to use computers but don't learn the correct fingering to use on the
keys. That's fine on a computer key board. You can start and stop and go back and
correct mistakes. But a little time working with a typing tutor to get good keyboard skills
pays off big time in developing speed and accuracy at the computer keyboard. When
you play piano or music keyboard, you need that speed and accuracy. You are now
playing in real time. There is no stopping and starting and going back to fix mistakes.
With conventional piano or keyboard lessons, you read music with the correct fingering
suggested, until hopefully it sinks in. My lessons are going to explain the logic behind the
fingering of different songs and exercises so you can work out good fingering for any
thing you wish to play. With a thumb and four fingers available between your two hands,
you could play ten notes at the same time. In the lessons on harmony, I will show you
how to use notes played at the same time to back singing, melody played on your key
musical keyboard or other instruments. In this lesson we will focus on playing one note at
a time for melody and scale exercises.
The picture to the right gives you the
numbers for the fingers of each hand. As
you can see, you start with the thumb as
finger number 1 and then you continue
consecutively from there until you get to
the pinkie as finger number 5.
©2004 - 2009
Easy Piano
Numbering The Fingers
Learning Music With A Piano Or Keyboard
As we continue to learn how music works, we need an instrument to try out our
examples. A real piano is very expensive.  A keyboard is best. Keyboards are easy to
play and some don't cost much. You may even have one kicking around. Almost any
keyboard will do to get started. Cheap keyboards are as easy to play as expensive
keyboards. The better ones just have more features and better sound. Another
instrument that we will be learning to play is the guitar. But unlike keyboards, cheap
guitars not only don't sound as good, they are also very difficult to play. Also just
learning to play any guitar is more difficult then learning to play a keyboard or piano.
With Or Without Music
People often  want to learn to play without music. They think music is just too hard to
learn. In free music lessons one through five, I show you how to play without music as I
teach you how music works. I'll review what's in those lessons in a little later on in this
lesson. One level of reading keyboard music would be to read a full arrangement for
the left and right hands. This is difficult and requires a high level of music reading skill. I
am going to show you an easy way to read music to learn songs. It combines using lead
sheets with an understanding of how music works. A standard way of presenting music
for a song is the piano vocal arrangement. It has a full piano arrangement but above
that the lead sheet. The lead sheet gives you the melody, the words and tells you what
chords to play. I will discuss the lead sheet in this lesson and point you to other lessons
where we have discussed it and used it.
Playing Five Finger Folk In C
We have already played the two songs "Some Folks Do" and "Skip To My Lou" without
music. Some Folks Do" is in free music lesson 1, "
Music Is Easy"  and "Skip To My Lou"
is in free music lesson 2, "
Schools Of Music". You need to study or review those
lessons for three reasons. First, they introduce you to playing keyboards. Second, they
are the first two lessons that reveal music's secrets and explain how it works. Third,
they teach you a method of playing without music. In this lesson we will be using music.
We will learn to play from lead sheets. You will be able to compare the two methods.
Below is the lead sheet for our ""Now Playing" song, "Five Finger Folk". It has the
melody notes for the for the right hand. It has chord symbols above the music. That is
all experienced musicians needs to create back up for the melody. Below the staff, I
have one verse of the lyric. I have added two teaching features that you wouldn't find
on a normal lead sheet. Above the music I have the right hand fingering for the melody.
Below the music, I also have the song in terms of the solfegio note names, beneath the
verse. So on one small page, we have everything we need to learn the song. Contrast
that to all the pictures and explanation it took to learn the song without music Below the
song I have the lead sheet midi for this song. Below that, I explain in detail how to use
the lead sheet for playing the melody.
Using The Teaching Lead Sheet
First you need to know what note to play. You already learned the notes for the two songs
"Some Folks Do" and "Skip To My Lou" that are part of "Five finger Folk" in C, without
music. You've just reviewed them in free music lesson 1 "
Music Is Easy" and free music
lesson 2, "
Schools Of Music". In free music lesson 6, "Reading Music Is Easy" you learned
about lead sheets. In free music 7, "
What's That Note" you began to learn the notes on
the staff. You also learned about key signatures and solfegio. You need to review those
lessons before you do this one. The above song uses c, d, e, f, g which in the key of C is
in terms of solfeggio do, re, me, fa, so There is one addition. In the "Skip To My Lou" part
the note b or ti in the second space below the staff is used. In playing without music, it was
difficult to show which b or ti to play. Is it the one below middle c or above middle c. With
the music it's easy. Finally, we have to know the timing of the notes. In free music lesson
8, "
Timing The Notes", we learn that it is the style of the note that gives us the timing. In
"Some Folks Do" you learn the one beat quarter note, the two beat half note and the four
beat whole note. In "Skip to My Lou" you use quarter and half notes. In addition the half
beat eight note is introduced. You also need to study go back and study that lesson
before this one. With all the back ground of these preceding lessons, you should be able
to read and play the melody of the above song as music in the key of C, from the lead
Fingering Five Finger Folk
Why do I call this exercise "Five Finger Folk"? It's because by placing your thumb or finger
1of your right hand over the key note, you can play the melody in many keys. The first
song in the exercise is "Some Folks Do". In Sofeggio terms it uses do, re, me, fa, so of the
major scales. This matches up with fingers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 of the right hand. See "Numbering
The Fingers" picture below. It's the same for "Skip To My Lou" with one addition. The note
ti below do is played by stretching out you thumb or finger 1. Don't change your hand
position. Just stretch out your thumb for that one note, then bring it back for the rest of
the song, The keyboard picture below shows the notes for both songs. The key note or
do is of course c. Now let's look at "Five Finger Folk" in some different keys. I know you
can play the song by ear but play it looking at the lead sheet above.
keyboard note locations for playing Skip To My Lou, key of C
Five Finger Folk In The Key Of G
The lead sheet for "Five Finger Folk" in the key of G is below. Notice what is the same as
the key of C.  The fingering is the same. The solfeggio is the same. The timing is the
same. It will have the same melody. What is different? The actual notes are different.  
When you played the song in the key C above,if you matched the pitch of the midi
sample, you were playing from middle c. When you play the song in the key of G below if
you match the pitch of the midi sound sample, you are playing from g above middle c.
Notice that the melody sounds the same but it is higher. In the key of C do, re, me, fa, so
are c, d, e, f, g and ti below do is b. In the key of G do, re, me, fa, so are g, a, b, c, d and
ti below do is a black keyboard key, f sharp. If you don't understand the secret of how
music works, you need to go back and study the free music lesson series starting with
Music Is Easy". It's the spaces between the letter name notes that make the
melody, not which notes they are.
For the spaces to be in the right place when g is do,
you need to have f be an f sharp. You can see the f sharp in the key signature for our
lead sheet in G below, That means that every f in the song is sharped, not just the one on
the f line of the staff. Doing our exercise in C and G you have learned the letter names of
the notes on the staff from d two spaces below the staff up to d on the fourth line of the
staff. But the important thing is not just the letter name of the note. When you look at a
piece of music, you have to know what the letters are in terms of solofeggio. In the key of
C, the letter c is do. In the key of G, the letter g is do. Once you understand music in
terms of what key you are in, reading music is easy. To understand all this better, you
need to review free music lesson 7, "
What's That Note". There you will learn all about
keys, key signatures, and the letter names of the notes on the staff.
keyboard note locations for playing Skip To My Lou, key of G
Five Finger Folk In The Key Of F
When you choose f as do, the b has to be flat to put all the spaces between the notes
in the right place. The keyboard below shows the notes. You are not learning any more
notes on the staff as f is one note below g. The pitch of the midi sound sample is
playing from f above middle c. Remember, as you read the notes you need to associate
them with their solfeggio equivalents. Then you are not just reading letter notes, you
are learning the key.
keyboard note locations for playing Skip To My Lou, key of F
The Free Piano Lesson Series
The free piano lesson series is going to use music the way many musicians use music.
One way to use music is to play from full arrangements, with every note that you play
specified on the treble and base clefs. This requires a high level of music reading skill
and restricts you to playing the song the way the arranger wrote it. An easier and more
creative way that gives you the freedom to play it your way is to play from lead sheets.
Playing from lead sheets with a full understanding of how music works makes music
easy. Before you do the free piano lessons series, you should have mastered the
material in the free music lesson series. There are nine free music lessons. Free music
lessons one through five starting with "
Music Is Easy" reveal the secrets of how music
works and teach you how to play some songs without reading music. Free music
lessons six through eight starting with "
Reading Music Is Easy" introduce the
fundamentals of reading music. Free music lesson nine "
Piano Guitar Voice" compares
music written for piano with music written for guitar. It also gives you the vocal range of
all the different types of male and female voices.
Navigating The Lessons
The navigation bar to the right will take you to any lesson. The navigation bar will be
repeated all the way down the page so you can easily and quickly navigate to any
lesson. All lessons will have the same navigation bar system, so that you can easily get
back to the lesson that you are working on. In addition links to suggested lessons for
study or review will be right in the paragraphs, when appropriate. But remember, you
can go to any lesson with the navigation bar links.
Transposing Music Is Easy
In this free piano lesson, we learned how to play the melody of our two five finger folk
songs in three major keys. Playing the same music in different keys is called transposing.
It's not hard when you know how music works. You saw how the fingering is essentially
the same for the three keys. The song in terms of solfeggio is exactly the same for the
three keys. The timing of the melody is exactly the same for the three keys. You just
move to a different spot on the keyboard, making sure you substitute the correct black
key called for by the musical key that you are in. Not only should you be able to play the
song as you look at the music for it in each key you should be able to look at the music in
one key and play it in the other keys. Try it. Play the song in G and F while looking at the
music in C. Try playing in the other keys as you look at the music in G and F. Being able
to transpose a song by sight is a valuable skill.
Backing The Melody
In this lesson you learned to use the lead sheets to play the melody. In free piano lesson
4  "
Harmony And Chords", using the lead sheets, you learn how to accompany or back
your right hand melody or your voice as you sing the song, with your left hand. In the next
lesson, free piano lesson 4, "
Scales, Steps And Melody", you learn how music works using
the keyboard and how to play major scales in three keys C, G and F. You also learn to
play the melody of "Tom Dooley" from lead sheets in C, G and F
Learn to play songs by and in the in the style of
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