What I love about the piano is that anyone can play, and unlike many other instruments like the violin, the trumpet, or the saxophone, you don’t have to spend months just learning how to make the right sound.
With the piano, anyone can learn – no matter what skill level you are currently at!
One of the most popular styles of music to play on the piano is boogie woogie, and with this tutorial I want to show you how anyone can play it right now without the need for years of personal tuition or playing boring scales for hours and hours.
Here’s my guide on how to play piano boogie woogie – for beginners…
Here’s how to find the notes
First of all, let’s start by looking at an overhead picture of my own piano so you can see where to navigate with your fingers –
You will notice that I have put some of the letter names of the notes in red on the keys, as well as some finger numbers. These are the only notes we need to play some awesome piano boogie woogie!
Now, before we continue you need to be happy that you know which finger numbers are which, and I know this might sound silly but it’s easy to get the left hand numbers wrong if you don’t follow this correctly. The simply rule is that your thumbs are number 1, your forefingers are number 2, your middle finger is number 3, and so on.
It’s quite easy to forget sometimes and assume that your little finger on your left hand is number 1, but don’t forget that would be your 5th finger.
If you are going to try this on a keyboard or piano, you need to locate where ‘middle C’ is. You will see that in the picture of my own piano I have indicated where the middle C is, and to find that on your own keys you need to just find which C sits to the most middle part of your piano or keyboard. The C is the note which sits to the left of the two isolated black keys.
Let’s play with the right hand
Let’s start by constructing the chord you are going to play in the right hand. We are going to play a C chord which consists of three notes – C, E and G. First of all, place your thumb on the C and sit all of your remaining fingers of your right hand on the rest of the keys to the right of the C. You should notice that all of your fingers are now nicely sitting on a total of 5 keys.
Make sure your 3rd finger sits on the E, and the 5th finger sits on the G. Now play these 3 notes all at the same time and you will here a C chord. If you are a complete beginner, practice playing this chord a few times before you move onto the left hand, ensuring that each time you play the chord all three of the notes play at the same time creating a nice solid chord sound.
If you read music, here is what the right hand looks like –
Let’s play with the left hand
Moving over to the left hand we are going to play lower down now on the keys. This time we are only going to play two notes at a time which consist of C, G and A. Place your 5th finger (little finger) of your left hand on the C, and your thumb on the G. Now play the C and the G together followed by the C and the A, constantly moving between the two. This is a standard boogie woogie left hand, and one which was made famous by the great Jerry Lee Lewis.
Here is what it sounds like –
And here is the sheet music for this fantastic left hand boogie –
Let’s play with both hands
Finally, now that you’ve practiced the left and right hands separately, it’s time to put them together to make an awesome piano boogie sound – one that Jerry Lee Lewis would be proud of!
To play this correctly you need to play the left hand first followed by the right hand chord, which is played in between the left hand each time. Here is what it will sound like –
And here is the sheet music –