Music Information

Learning to Play the Piano with Chords Part 2

Do you want to learn how to play chords on the piano? Can you already read sheet music or basic notes on the treble and or bass clef?

Do you look at the notes on a piece of sheet music and are unable to name the chords?

Or do you look at a piece of sheet music, see the letter "C" and are not sure which notes to play?

If you answered yes to the first and second question this is easy to remedy. Knowing which chords are being represented by notes in sheet music comes with practice just like reading the basic notes does.

Chords are three or more notes played together. When you see these groups of notes on sheet music start saying aloud which chord is being represented. Of course in the beginning this will go slowly. You could start daily for about 15 minutes and probably quickly become proficient in a matter of weeks (if you are already reading sheet music). You will need a chord chart so that you know which chords you are reading. Visit my website at and go to the free downloads page for a chord chart of the primary chords in each key. This is notation not the keyboard picture. This will help you to quickly see chords in notated music.

If your problem is the third question then this is even easier to remedy. You will be amazed how quickly your hands memorize the positions needed to play chords. Using the chord chart located at in the free downloads page. This chart lists the primary chords in each key in music notation or written out on the grand staff.

Daily practice will also make you more proficient here. But instead of reading the bass clef in sheet music to know what chords look like written out, take an easy song that stays in one key and that lists the chord letters above the melody. Go through the chord chart and find the primary chords for that key. Practice playing those chords several times and then try them with the song. Work on a new key as soon as you feel proficient in the current one. Go through the chords using the circle of fifths or fourths (also a copy of this at in the free downloads page). In no time at all you will be comfortable playing these chords and ready to move on to more!

Kemi is a church pianist and author of the book The Struggling Church Pianist. Visit her website and download some free musician tools at

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