Piano Tabs for Beginners

Should beginners use piano tabs at the early stages of learning?

Well, this is a great question that can be use to kick start an exciting debate. I know that a large number of individuals who learn to play piano the formal will say no. But the result for those individuals who would say “yes” to the question might even be more interesting. However, I am not here to develop a debate, but I am here to share some information as to how tabs are used to teach melodies or chords on the piano.

The use of tabs to teach individuals to play melodies and chords on the piano is not really a new concept. However, it is totally different from the formal methods used to teach melodies or any musical piece on the piano.


First, let’s take a look at the word “tab”. The term “tab” is short for the word Tablature. Tablature is a musical notation system that is focused on fingering rather than musical tones or pitches. Tablature can be traced back as far as the Renaissance and Baroque period. However, it is used more often today in popular music.

Click here to read more on the history of tablature.

Personally, when I first heard about the concept of tabs in music, I always think about guitar tabs rather than piano tabs since it was a common practice used by guitarist.

I must confess that I am not so eager to use tabs during my piano practice sessions. But I must say that it is an effective method to use when you are learning the keys on the piano. So I do not have any problem with beginners exploring and using tabs to learn simple melodies or songs.

Here are some of the basic things you should know about piano tablatures.

Here is a frequently asked question. What are the numbers at beginning used for?

Numbers (such as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc.) are used to indicate the octave in which the phrase or melody of a song should be played. The number would normally appear at the beginning of the piece.

Symbols such as vertical lines (|) are used to indicate measures or bars in the song and dashes ( - ) are used to separate the notes and also to indicate the length of the note.

If you are interested in learning how to read piano tabs click here!

Here is an example of the song “Mary Had a Little Lamb” written for the piano in tablature.


While others may enjoy using this system, I personally prefer to use piano notes to teach melodies and chords to my students. Here is how I use the letters or piano letter notations to teach the same song (Mary Had a Little Lamb) to my students.

Instead of using bars I just place each letter under each word or syllable that are used to create the melody of the song. This is an effective way to learn melodies easily. But by now you should know that this is also an informal method of teaching melodies in music.

If you should compare both methods, you will realize that there are more similarities than differences. However, both methods work well.

Below are some popular websites that have a lot of piano tab sheet for different genre of music including popular music.

Tabnabber.com and 911tabs.com - 911tabs has a great number of tabs for piano and guitar players and I must let you know that a lot of the songs there are from the popular music category. So if you enjoy using tabs to practice you can go there and download you favorite songs.

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Free Piano Tutorials for You on this website!

Simple Kids Songs for Beginners

Jesus Loves Me

Morning Has Broken

In Moment like These

Amazing Grace

You Raise Me Up

Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart

God Will Make a Way

Don Moen Piano Tutorials for Beginners

Chris Daughtry – What About Now

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