The sustain pedal, or damper pedal is the pedal farthest to the right. Keep your foot positioned over the pedal, ready to put into action, throughout the song. If you are using a keyboard that does not have a pedal, a pedal can be purchased and connected to your existing keyboard.
Using the pedal will do a several very important things:
- The pedal will smooth out your playing and give the piano a full ringing sound.
- It will take the choppy feeling out of your playing because you will be holding each chord until the split second that you play the next chord.
- It will make it easier to get to the next chord because the pedal holds the tone while you move your hands to the next chord position.
Here is the main rule and exercise for learning how to use the pedal correctly. When the chord goes down, the pedal goes up.
The pedal goes up for just a split second before the pedal is back down again.
The other pedals on the piano?
The sustain pedal is on the far right. The other pedals will do different things depending on you piano. Some pedals shift the action to make the piano sound softer, lower a practice felt in front of the hammers, push the hammers closer to the strings to make a softer sound and lifting certain dampers. Do not worry about these pedals at this time.
Use two simple chords to practice.
Start with the pedal down and play the C chord. Let it ring out for 4 beats. On the first beat of the next measure, play the Dm chord and, at the same time, lift the pedal for a split second. This will let the C chord off and hold the notes for the Dm chord. You need to let off the pedal and play down on the chord at the same exact time. This takes some practice and patience. Once you have practiced slowly for a while, it will become very natural.
Pedal Practice Exercise 1
Pedal Practice 2
Pedal Practice 3