In this article, we will focus on easy steps to reading chord charts and a some of the steps you need to take to be able to read a simple piano chord chart. This simple approach is particularity best when the younger piano student expresses an interest.
Step 1: Learn A-G On The Piano
The piano is set up in a repeating pattern of keys; alphabetically they are A through G. For piano purposes, we often think of terms of starting with C. Whatever key you start with, the notes repeat every eighth note all up and down the piano. For instance, the key directly to the left of the two black keys is the note C-always. When you can find every C on the piano, and subsequently, the other 6 notes all up and down the piano, you are on your way to reading a chord chart.
Step 2: Reading The Melody
The Melody is usually played in the right hand. Learning the basic notes in the treble cleff is important to this step. When you know the melody of a song in your head, it becomes easier to hear, or to even play by ear, the melody of the song. Most melodys are written with notes on the grand staff. These are basic notes to know if playing any instrument. Once you know these notes you can play a simple melody with your right hand.
Step 3: Getting a “Feel” For The Piano
As you become more familiar with your piano and its notes, you can start to find different notes without looking at your hands. This becomes especially important for the left hand. When you are playing an accompanying bass note or chord, you will need more of your focus on your right hand, so start to learn those same repeating notes by touch, with your left hand. Learn what if feels like to play a C and then a G with your left hand, and start doing this without looking at your hands.
Step 4: Put It Together
Always start slowly; you can always speed up later! Get familiar with the right handed melody that you have chosen to play. After that, you will notice with most music and chord charts, a capital letter above the music. This is what your left hand will play. If there is a big C above the beginning of the song, that is what your left hand plays until you come to the next capital letter in the music. You can either play just a C, or the C chord, which is C-E-G. Practice until you can smooth out the transitions between notes and start to get a feel for how the timing and the music sounds.
As usual, having some piano lessons will give you the basics of reading these notes and knowing what a chord even is. After that, give chord charts-with a melody line, a try!