It is possible to sound great on the keyboard and only play a few chords. An automatic accompaniment can be played just by holding down one note a left hand finger while playing a simple tune with the right hand.
This is the quickest way to play the keyboard but I think many people will want more of a challenge and a greater feeling of achievement by learning to play properly with both hands!
Perhaps the most important tip anyone can give about keyboard playing is to learn to read music. Of course this takes some time and is a gradual learning process over a long period. Being able to read music means that you will eventually be able to play most pieces of music first time, without having to memorize the music.
Start with simple tunes that have step or scale-like motion – Spanish Eyes is a good example. Use sounds that sustain such as strings so that long notes won’t decay and left hand chords will remain sounding.
It is good to have a jack socket in the keyboard for a sustain pedal. This makes playing similar to a piano so that notes can be kept ringing – sounds much better than without the pedal!
Rhythms and Accompaniment
Most keyboards will also have accompaniment rhythms that play both drums and instrumental sounds by holding down one left hand note.
It is also great for composing your own music and you can produce backing
tracks for vocals on the computer.
Learning to accompany songs and vocals, rather than only playing melodies, will add a new dimension to your keyboard playing.
Being able to play lots of chords and understanding harmony will help greatly in becoming good at accompanying singers which, if you sing yourself, would be a great ability to have.
Using The Full Range Of Sounds
Another aspect of keyboard playing is that you can simulate the sound of other instruments. You can be a brass section or string section as well as a piano player.
All of these have their own playing style and that makes the keyboard a very demanding instrument when played at a higher level.
If you are just starting out, it’s best to treat it like a piano. Most piano courses are great for learning to play keyboard too.
There are some keyboard model with small keys – choose one with full size keys, and if possible, touch sensitive. This means that the touch of the keys is similar to a piano – the harder you press down the key, the louder the note sounds.
This will enable you to play better phrasing and the tunes will sound more expressive. Combined with a sustain pedal, a good keyboard can sound almost exactly like a tradition piano!
A keyboard stand is an essential addition for the best height and position.