If you ever wanted to learn how to play the piano but had absolutely no clue how to actually begin the process of learning, don’t worry—we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’re not only going to show you exactly how to play piano, but we’ll also ease you into the learning process bit by bit so you don’t get overwhelmed or frustrated by the information.
So, without further ado, let’s jump right into it.
- If you’re interested in learning how to play piano or keyboard in a fun and interactive fashion, then look no further then Piano for All. This course features 10 in-depth eBooks that contain 200 video lessons and 500 audio lessons. And best of all, the course works on PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, or any Android phone or tablet. Get your copy of Piano for All today while supplies last!
And if you’re interested in getting a new piano, please look at our interactive table below to compare some of the best selling digital pianos on the market against one another:
Do You Already Have a Piano?
It may seem obvious, but the truth is that there are lots of people that are on the fence about playing a piano. They may want to learn, but they think it’s too difficult, so they haven’t even made the plunge to buy a new keyboard. Well, if you fall within that category, here’s a bit of advice.
First, choose a budget keyboard that delivers well on the basics (61 keys are fine, but know that a 76 or 88 keys is much more ideal). And if you go with 61-keys, and you find that you enjoy playing piano and are slowly progressing in your abilities over the course of months or years, you’ll likely end up having to buy a second keyboard/piano to keep up with your maturation process.
Now, if you’re thinking to yourself, “I’m totally committed to becoming a pianist,” then try to invest more money into a full-size 88 weighted key digital piano that offers features that are appreciated by the intermediate or advanced player, even if you won’t fully enjoy their potential as a beginner.
Methods of Learning
Not so long ago, if someone had the desire to play the piano, the course of action would have been clear and simple– find a piano teacher and start lessons.
Now however, even deciding which method of learning is right for you can seem a daunting task.
So let’s take the fear out of it by breaking down the core learning methods available to the beginner pianist:
The Traditional Teacher Approach
I guess we could say that the jury is still out as to whether a beginner musician is better learning with a teacher or without a teacher. Taking regular lessons certainly comes with many advantages, and can also minimize risk of injury. Repetitive strain injury, tendonitis and carpal tunnel are all real risks to musicians of any level. A good teacher will be able to correct posture and tenseness and notice any initial signs of potential injury, a feat much harder for the beginner who is going it alone.
That being said, learning to play the piano with a teacher also comes with its drawbacks. In fact, let’s take an overall look at the pros and cons of this method of learning:
Advantages of the Traditional Teacher Approach
- Encourages commitment (if you know you have a lesson next week, you’re going to practice!)
- Eliminates the risk of developing bad habits (these become much harder to break in the future)
- Opens up the option of taking music grade exams (and perhaps participating in recitals to gain confidence).
- Ensures a logical and systematic approach to learning.
- Allows the beginner to receive answers to their questions, to repeat challenging exercises and to receive immediate feedback on their progress.
- Teacher-Student rapport can provide encouragement and musical friendship that can last years into the future.
- Risk of injury due to over-straining, bad posture and so on is greatly reduced.
Many teachers are in-the-know when it comes to piano stores and wholesalers, so when it’s time for you to upgrade they can often get you either an acoustic or digital piano discount.
Disadvantages of the Traditional Teacher Approach
A day and time needs to be devoted each week to the lesson.
Piano lessons are generally expensive, especially for teachers with a good reputation.
Some teachers have a set agenda for each student, which may not meet your own personal preferences.
Using Books to Learn How to Play
Even though we live in a very digital world, there are still a relatively large amount of people who appreciate the old-school methods, and that includes paperback books! I’ve noticed that not all beginner musicians are of the younger generation—in fact, even someone at the age of 80 can learn how to play “Fur Elise” if they commit themselves.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that not everyone who wants to learn the piano by themselves will want to go down the online or technology-driven route. If you find yourself fitting into this category, then the course I have recommended time and again is the Alfred’s Adult All In One Course.
Here’s why I like this option:
- 3 Great Volumes (Book 1, Book 2 and Book 3) that take you from hand position and posture in Book 1 to tackling Tchaikovsky and Schubert in Book 3.
- Various music styles are presented, including folk, classical and contemporary.
- A friendly and clear feel that makes the beginner feel comfortable as they read, play and learn.
I must note that whilst this course has been designed for use with a teacher, it is so well written and designed that I would still find it a good option for those who wish to learn by themselves.
Learning with Music Software
The Internet is full of software and online courses that promise to have you fulfilling your musical potential in no time. Are the claims well founded? Well, they certainly can be if your committed. For the student that is committed and dedicated to the learning process, music software can fulfill the role of a traditional teacher in many ways.
Below, I’ll outline some of the advantages and disadvantages of music software. I should mention that I’m basing my “Advantages List” on the good music software available—things such as Piano for All that has been created, designed and impressively tweaked to offer the best for self-learners.
Advantages of Using Music Software
- Often designed for the complete beginner with a host of exercises to drive home the basics.
- Audio or video features allowing the player to instantly see or hear what they should be playing.
- Designed to build a solid musical foundation which can then be carried across to a chosen style of music.
- Allows the learner to benefit from the expertise and experience of a team of musicians who created the software.
- Often teaches the beginner to develop the skill of playing by ear, as well as following sheet music.
- Offers flexibility—the speed and depth of progress are determined by the user.
Disadvantages of Using Music Software
- Lacks teacher-student rapport.
- Requires commitment and dedication on the side of the musician.
- Taking piano exams or participating in recitals is more challenging.
- May seem overwhelming to those who are not tech savvy
Mapping Out a GamePlan to Learn
Whether you’re a young budding musician in the making, or you’re weighing up your options and are feeling pulled towards the path of a traditional teacher, there are a few important things that each beginner musician must stick to, regardless of their chosen learning method:
Have a Plan for Yourself
Do you simply have the desire to be able to tinkle a few sweet melodies on a summer’s evening, or are you hoping to play along with your friends in their recently-formed rock band? Look at the map and decide your destination before you start.
If you simply want to be able to play piano as you sing your favorite songs, then a chord approach is your first port of call. If you’re day-dreaming about mastering some of the simple classical works, then a more theoretical approach will have you reaching your destination in the quickest fashion.
Whether it’s watching some of the incredible pianists showcasing their talent on YouTube, or visiting a local restaurant where the house piano player mesmerizes everyone with their perfectly refined skills, find the thing that inspires you and use it.
Listen and Musically Connect to Everything
Once you start on the journey to becoming a musician, you need to start hearing music in a totally different light. Every song you hear on the radio, catchy tune you hear on commercials and even those all-too-familiar TV theme tunes—they all have a base on those black and white keys that you will soon be sitting at.
Listen to a melody, hum it, feel it and then try to find it on your instrument. Exercises like this are not only great tools for learning, but prove to be a lot of fun at the same time.
So there we have it—having the desire to learn the piano is a wonderful thing. In fact, if you are really passionate about learning, you’re already half way there. Now, all you need to do is outline your goals and priorities, choose a learning method that can best fulfill them, commit to your practice, and then enjoy the fun, creative and satisfying world of piano playing – welcome!
- If you’re still interested in learning how to play piano or keyboard, get your copy of Piano for All today, which features 10 eBooks, 200 video piano lessons and 500 audio piano lessons!
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