How to Use Piano Foot Pedals


There are three foot pedals included on most standard pianos and keyboards. It is important to practice and master the basics of piano playing before moving on to use of foot pedals, as it requires a more advanced amount of coordination and skill. Ultimately, learning how to use piano foot pedals to augment your playing will help add expression and depth to each of your performances.

Step 1

Learn to distinguish between the three different food pedals on the piano and to associate which foot should be used to play each. The most commonly used pedal is the sustain pedal, which is located on the far right and accordingly played with the right foot. Both the soft pedal, located on the left, and the sostenuto pedal, located in the middle, should be played with the left foot.

Step 2

Study the appropriate use of each of the piano foot pedals. The sustain pedal is the most commonly used pedal. Its purpose is to hold continuously any of the notes that are played on the keys while the pedal is held down. The soft pedal tones down the volume of the notes being played as it is held down, while the sostenuto pedal, though rarely used, virtually mutes the sound altogether.

Step 3

Keep the heels of your feet flat to the ground at all times while using the piano foot pedals. Your heels should always be touching the ground, regardless of whether you are pushing or releasing a pedal.

Step 4

Press down on the pedal using the ball of your foot and hold it while simultaneously pressing the corresponding piano keys you would like to enhance. The pedal's effects will last only as long as it is hold down and will immediately stop once you release the ball of your foot from the pedal.

Step 5

Create harmonies by holding down the sustain pedal as you press multiple keys at once. Learning to play the piano scales is fundamental to understanding how to form harmonies. Mastering the proper use of harmonies will add a significant level of sophistication of to your playing, as the blending of the notes together will create a much fuller sound.

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