Welcome to the first chapter of our piano lessons series destined to help you gradually build your skills and music vocabulary through elementary music theory and practice and support you in your musical journey.

For this first lesson let’s have a basic approach to the keyboard and go through some useful principles such as fingering, hands coordination, timing, the C major scale, and chord progressions.




  • Strength and smoothness
  • Left and right hand coordination
  • Chord progressions
  • Sense of timing
Exercices from this video

Exercice 1
1:00 Simple finger exercise
First we look at moving the fingers between C and G. Moving up and down the notes evenly. This develops strength and smoothness in the playing.

Exercice 2
4:12 Arpeggios
A similar exercise but using arpeggios, or broken chords. This is amazing because now we venture into the realm of actual music. (sample of “Someone like you” by Adele)

Exercice 3
6:27 Triad
A simple triad (set of three notes forming a chord) and work on a few ways we can keep a steady rhythm going. This is great for developing your sense of timing.

Exercice 4
8:22 Simple Chord progression
The fourth exercise uses this first chord and moves it around to different positions on the keyboard to realise a chord progression: (C- G-Am-F). This will be our first piece of actual music!

Exercice 5
11:13 Chord progression variation
A little bit of left and right hand coordination using a basic variation of our first chord progression.



  • The octave
  • The scale
  • Major and minor chords
  • Chord Inversions
  • Chord progressions

Exercices from this video

Part 1
0.18 The keyboard
First let’s have a quick overview of the keyboard and identify all the C notes, particularly the middle C, from which we will play the C major scale with the right hand.

Part 2
1:34 The C major scale
Presentation of each note composing the C major scale.
(The fingering used to perform this particular presentation should not be took into consideration)

Part 3
2:27 Fingering exercise
Now it’s time to play the C major scale with a simple fingering technique.

If you feel ready to practice this exercise with the left hand (1 octave below),
the fingering corresponding to each note would be:
C(5) - D(4) - E(3) -F(2) -G(1) - A(3) -B(2) - C(1)

Part 4
3:00 Major and minor chords (triads)
Now that we are more familiar with the C major scale, we will discover the formula that makes a chord major and how it becomes a minor chord by lowering one single note by a half step.

Part 5 (exercice 2)
4:51 Chord inversions
Another way to change the sound of a chord, but this time without affecting its quality , is to invert the position of each note. We will see how in that section.

Fingering for the left hand (1 octave below):
Root position: C (5) - E (3) - G (1)
1st inversion: E (5) - G (3) - C (1)
2nd inversion: G (5) - C (2) - E (1)
Next octave = root position

Part 6
6:09 Chord progressions
By transposing the C major triad shape to F and G as new root notes, we obtain the 1 - 4 - 5 progression, used in countless of popular songs such as La Bamba, Guantanamera, Louie Louie, etc…

Part 7 (exercice 3)
7:27 Inversions in chord progression
In this exemple, we will apply the principle of inversions in this particular form:
C major: left hand plays C(5) and G(1) / right hand plays in root position C(1) E(3) G(5)
F major: left hand plays F(5) and F(1) / right hand plays in 2nd inversion C(1) F(3) A(5)
G major: left hand plays G(5) and G(1) / right hand plays in 1st inversion B(1) D(2) G(5)



  • What this chord progression is all about
  • Breakdown of each individual chord
  • Put the chord progression together
  • Chord inversions
  • Rhythm and special tricks
Exercices from this video

Intro: The 1-5-6-4 chord progression
This is a chord progression you’ll find when listening to artists throughout the ages. You might find those chords flipped in their order, or using a different starting position (inversion), but the sound of the “one,” “five,” “six,” “four” is unmistakable.

Exercice 1
0:50 Breakdown of each individual chord
In the key of C, the chords are as follows: C - G - Am - F. We first play each chord in root position in which they have the exact same shape and same fingering.

Exercice 2
1:40 Inversions
Now we recommend you to go through each inversion of those 4 chords, practicing anywhere on the keyboard with the right hand. Next you can add the root note at the left hand with the following fingering: C(1), G(3), A(2), F(5)

Exercice 3
3:02 Putting the chord progression together
Now let’s adapt the inversions we went through in the previous video (Part 7 - exercice 3) by adding the A minor chord on the second position, move the F major chord on the fourth position, and using a different fingering on the left hand:
C major: left hand plays C(1) / right hand plays in root position C(1) E(3) G(5)
G major: left hand plays G(3) / right hand plays in 1st inversion B(1) D(2) G(5)
A minor: left hand plays A(2) / right hand plays in 1st inversion A(1) C(2) E(4)
F major: left hand plays F(5) / right hand plays in 2nd inversion A(1) C(2) F(5)

Notice the differences in shape and sounds of the next two variations.

Exercice 4
3:57 Timing & rhythm
We start playing each chord and count 4 beats for each one, with a slow tempo.
Then we will use different patterns such as split chords and arpeggios. Try to make your own variation of these patterns and see what you can come up with!

7:00 Final advices
Advices about adding a melody and the importance of transposing to different keys , which we will see in the next lessons.

This music lesson was created by Mathieu Aupitre, PFCF music advisor and PFC band member