piano chords for beginners

If you’re a beginning pianist, you probably feel like you’ll never get your left hand to cooperate with your right!

Hand coordination is a challenge for many beginning pianists, so you’re not alone.

However, I promise that things will fall into place eventually!

One way to speed up the process is by learning basic chords.

Today, I am going to teach you the best piano chords for beginners and give you a basic foundation for chord theory.

Ready to make new strides in your piano abilities?

Let’s get started!

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Reasons Why Beginning Pianists Need to Learn Chords

Many beginning pianists don’t see the need to learn chords.

After all, you’re still working on the notes! Isn’t it enough to just get those lonely notes right?

Although learning to read the notes on the staff is your top priority at this stage of your music career, you’ve probably already begun to notice a few chords in your music.

For example:

You might have seen a chord or two on the bass clef.

Usually, the first one you’ll find is a C, E, and G all stacked up.

It can feel uncomfortable to play, at first, and you probably have to stare at it for a while before you can think of how to play it.

Until you have practiced the song many times, it is hard for your fingers to remember how to play those notes.

This is where chords come in!

What do I mean?

When you see a C, E, and G stacked up on the staff, those notes look pretty random at first.


They are not random.

Together, they make the C Major chord.

If you can recognize a C Major chord and know how to play it, then you have just made dozens of beginner songs so much easier to play.

The Most Essential Chords for Beginning Pianists

The C Major chord is just one of many chords you will learn how to play in your piano career.

There are virtually endless chord combinations out there, but don’t worry:

Right now, you just need to know a few essential piano chords for beginners.

Before we dive into these, note one important thing:

The name of any chord is the same as the root note of the chord.

You’ll notice that the lowest note in the C Major chord is, of course, a C!

If you can remember this, everything will be much easier to learn.

Ok, let’s get started on the basic chords!

C Major Chord

You already know the notes of the C major chord.

This chord is made up of the notes C, E, and G.

If you are using your left hand to play the chords, put your pinky on C.

Now, put your middle finger on E.

Finally, your thumb goes on G.

Press all of them down at the same time.

Good work!

Now, try it with your right hand:

Thumb goes on C, middle finger goes on E, and pinky goes on G.


Now, let’s learn a new chord:

G Major Chord

The G Major chord, like all the chords in this lesson, is shaped the same way as the C Major chord.

The notes you will use for this chord are G, B, and D.

To play with your left hand, put your pinky on G, your middle finger on B, and your thumb on D.

To play with your right hand, your thumb goes on G, your middle finger on B, and your pinky on D.

D Major Chord

Let’s move on to something a little more challenging!

Don’t worry – it’s not too bad.

This chord is just like the others, with one additional factor:

It uses a black key!

For the D Major chord, you will play the keys D, F# and A.

Again, use your thumb, middle finger, and pinky to play these keys.

F Major Chord

The F Major Chord uses the notes F, A, and C.

Position your hand just like you did for the other chords.

You’re starting to look like a pro!

A Major Chord

This is another chord with a black key.

The A Major chord uses A, C#, and E.

We only have one chord left to learn!

Keep reading:

E Major Chord

Whew, you’re almost done!

Master this one in addition to the others, and you will know every chord that beginning piano players need.

The E Major chord uses E, G# and B.

Nice job! We’re done!

A Few Words on Advanced Chords

Before we move on, there are a few important things you need to know:

These 6 beginner chords will allow you to play almost any popular song, but you should keep learning chords as you progress in piano.

Don’t worry about it now, but do keep a few things in mind:

First, you may have noticed that every chord we learned had the word “Major” as part of its name.

Major chords aren’t the only game in town.

Each note also has a minor chord, which is a melancholy-sounding version of the major chord.

You’ll learn these later.

Another thing you should know is that chords have variations.

This might sound scary, but it’s an easy thing to learn once you get the basic formations down.

If you see a chord variation, it will look like three stacked notes, but they won’t be in the same form as the ones we just learned.

Sometimes, the root note is not on the bottom.

Here’s why I am telling you this:

You should try to think of chords based on all the notes they encompass.

Don’t define them by the note at the bottom of the chord!

Thinking this way will help you learn new chords later on.

Again, don’t worry about these things now.

You did a great job learning the basic piano chords.

Keep practicing these, and you’ll be playing tougher songs with ease in no time.

Tools to Help You Get Better at Chords

There are 2 main tools that can help you learn chords:

Piano lessons and sheet music.

Find songs with chords in them to help you integrate chords into your musical abilities.

Any beginner piano lesson book will have some chords, or you can find sheet music online.

playground sessions logoTaking lessons will also help you to improve your chord abilities.

You can take lessons in person or online.

You can get both sheet music and lessons through a software called Playground Sessions.

This is an online lesson program that will help you improve in all aspects of piano.

Including chords! Find our full review of this tool here.

I hope this brief chord lesson was fun and informative.

After reading this, you should be have the foundational information to play beginning piano chords.

You should also be able to play with both hands together with more and more ease.

But don’t stop here!

Check out Playground Sessions or another music program to keep learning and growing.

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Breana Johnson
Breana Johnson

I’m Breana, long-time piano player and casual guitar strummer. I grew up on Moezart and the Beach Boys, and I love all types of music! My day job is writing, but I moonlight as a piano teacher and occasionally play for events.