Learning to play the piano (or keyboard) is not exactly an overnight endeavor. Many adults wish to learn to play. Time constraints can make learning difficult, if not impossible, for them to learn the “traditional” way: i.e., finding a teacher, attending weekly piano lessons, finding time (or motivation) to practice, etc.
Some choose to learn to play piano by ear, which probably isn’t the best way to learn to truly play and understand music and the piano. Maybe you’re one of those people who believes that you can’t learn to play the piano.
If you’re someone that doesn’t think they can learn to play a piano, I have two things to tell you:
1) You CAN learn to play piano
2) It will require some time, but perhaps not as much time as you expect.
“How long does it take to learn piano?” you may be asking. Well, that depends upon YOU.
In this article, we’ll talk about the five easiest ways to learn to play the piano. Then, you can choose which of these ways, if any, would be the best method for you. In a nutshell, the five easiest ways to learn are:
- Find a teacher and learn the ‘traditional’ way;
- Find a website or download an eBook and learn online;
- Follow video lessons on YouTube;
- Find an adult method book series and teach yourself;
- Use all of the above.
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If you’re in the market for a brand new digital piano, then check out the table below, where you can compare some of the best digital pianos on the market against one another:
Find a Teacher and Learn the ‘Traditional’ Way
It’s easy to find someone willing to teach piano. However, it isn’t always easy to find a GOOD teacher.
“What’s the difference?” you may ask.
In my experience, there are thousands of people who play piano and play it well, but their teaching methods and approaches are abysmal. If you want to learn from a teacher in individualized instruction, you need to spend some time finding a reputable teacher who understands the workings of music and the keyboard.
Your local music store may be able to help you with this search. Many piano stores keep lists of teachers, sometimes dozens of teachers. Unfortunately, it’s up to you to figure out which ones really know what they’re talking about. These teachers understand music theory—kind of the relationships between musical elements that make music work.
If you choose to go this traditional route, make sure to find a teacher who teaches music theory as well as actual piano/keyboard technique.
Find a Website and Learn Online
If you prefer to keep your study of the piano very private, this may be the quickest way to learn to play the piano or keyboard. Thousands of websites are out there, promising to teach you to play quickly and effortlessly. Well, sorry, but to learn to play any instrument, you have to put in the effort. I’ve found three websites which I believe can help a novice learn to play the piano fairly quickly.
Piano for All is a popular series of eBooks you can download and begin learning how to play the piano. With about 200 video lessons and 500 audio lessons, this set of ten eBooks for a very reasonable price will help you begin to feel confident in playing the piano in no time.
Yousician is a website which allows a learner to utilize their Smartphone to learn the piano. They offer a free version, as well as a premium version that you can try on a trial version before they charge you. One of the advantages of Yousician is that they offer training on more than just the piano; you can also learn guitar, bass, ukulele, and even to sing.
Joytunes partners with teachers to help you learn to play the piano/keyboard. Also accessible by Smartphone or tablet, Joytunes allows a learner to receive instruction and feedback from their on-staff teachers to solidify the concepts that a learner undertakes on their website. It’s kind of a ‘best of both worlds’ concept, for those who would like a measure of accountability by working with a teacher occasionally or receiving feedback from qualified teachers.
Piano in 21 Days might sound a little far-fetched, but it might be the easiest to navigate of all the web sites I researched. Of course, you won’t exactly be Rachmaninoff or Liszt after 3 weeks, but that probably isn’t what you’re looking for anyway, is it? They offer a speed-learning course (faster than 21 days?!) called “Learn to play 36 songs in 5 days.” Be prepared to immerse yourself for those 5 days, but who knows? This may be the fastest approach out there.
Any website will have its advantages and disadvantages, of course. Accountability is a huge factor when it comes to learning to play the piano correctly, so if you require accountability to motivate you to learn, perhaps Joytunes is a better choice for you.
If you desire to have the option to learn other instruments besides just the piano, Yousician would likely be your best choice. If you want to learn as quickly as possible, Piano in 21 Days would probably be the website for you.
Visit all three and see which one might suit your needs before you make a decision. Don’t be afraid to spend some time on each site; ultimately, your time is your most valuable commodity. If you decide to learn to play the piano by utilizing web sites specifically aimed at teaching the piano, make certain that you choose the web site that would best suit your needs and time frame.
Follow Video Lessons on YouTube
YouTube has become the go-to website for virtually everything. You can find piano lessons on YouTube, as well. Whether you want to learn to play a specific song or whether you want to learn sequentially to play any instrument, you can probably find what you’re looking for on YouTube.
The good thing about YouTube is that, in many cases, the videos are free. Of course, there are ‘channels’ on YouTube for which you can pay. But unless you plan to make learning to play the piano a long-term endeavor, why bother paying for videos when there are literally thousands, if not millions you can access for free?
Of course, the drawback to YouTube is that a viewer has no idea how ‘expert’ the instructors may be. You may spend a good bit of time watching and studying a video before learning that the method advocated by the instructor is faulty.
Don’t be afraid to compare YouTube videos before you undertake learning from one or more. If you have friends who play the piano or keyboard, you might ask them to watch any videos you’re considering studying to determine if the techniques demonstrated would be worth your while. It would be a sad thing to invest a great deal of time and effort following a YouTube instructor who doesn’t have a clue about playing the piano.
Put in the time and effort to investigate the videos before you decide to emulate them. It will be worth it in the long run.
Find an Adult Method Book Series and Teach Yourself
Believe it or not, this can actually work! If you have a good ear for music—i.e., if you can hear when something is played correctly or incorrectly—this might be a good way for you to learn to play the piano/keyboard.
My favorite adult method book is the Alfred series of piano books. These books follow a linear learning pathway, which is my favorite way to learn anything. The Alfred methods use a chord approach for adults, which allow rapid learning.
These books are available on eBooks and online, as well. I advise purchasing the “All In One” version of the Alfred books, which includes the lesson material, theory lessons, and technic (which is really technique). The technique lessons give information on strengthening and protecting the fingers and hands as you learn. Alfred even has a “Self-Teaching Adult Piano Course,” which is a fairly new addition to their library.
Another best-selling method series for adults is Hal Leonard. These books also incorporate theory and technique. They are not the Hal Leonard methods of your childhood, however.
They are updated and beautifully illustrated with fun pieces to learn. If you studied piano as a child and are hoping to return to piano study, Hal Leonard offers a refresher method book called “Returning to the Piano.”
A third best-selling method series for adults and for kids is the Faber method books. These books are a fairly recent addition to the method books for piano genre. They are colorful, somewhat whimsical (for kids), and quite informative as to theory and technique as well. Faber also offers an “All-In-One” method book for adults. This book offers online support, as well as method, theory and technique.
All of these method books offer sound piano instruction, technique and theory for adults, children, and teen-aged learners. If you have children or teenagers in your household, it might be fun to have a family learning session using the books of one series as guidelines for you and your children/teenagers.
Make certain that humor is the over-abiding factor in your learning with your kids! Laugh at yourself and show them that making mistakes is quite all right when learning to play the piano.
Use All of the Above
If you want to learn to play the piano/keyboard really quickly, the best way might be to use all of the above methods.
Finding a local teacher whom you can see every week provides accountability; learn from your mistakes and enjoy that process. Find a teacher who uses methods that provide online support to help reinforce the concepts that he/she teaches you at your weekly lesson. Most teachers are now onboard with the idea that online support and technology can help “re-teach” concepts they teach during the weekly piano lesson.
Supplement your learning by using YouTube and other websites which offer new ideas and creative ways to practice and learn. Use your technology to record your efforts and play them back. You may be playing piano better than you thought you are! You may be making mistakes that you don’t hear while you’re playing. Maybe you’ll even find that your learning is a combination of the two ideas.
Don’t be afraid to browse your local music store for music that you may want to learn. Sometimes the best motivating factor is the song you heard on the radio or on iTunes! Arrangers have jumped on the bandwagon by providing arrangements for beginners of the old and new songs that adult learners love to hear.
Maybe, as you learn about chords and music theory, you will try your hand at arranging songs that you hear however you listen to music. This journey can be rewarding and confidence-building, if you decide to give it a try.
Consider studying piano/keyboard with a friend. Doing so provides a measure of accountability without the pressure of ‘performing’ for a teacher. Be really smart and choose a friend who already knows a little about playing the piano. You can help each other improve while you study and motivate one another to keep trying.
Learning to play the piano/keyboard is a process, not an event. It’s an everlasting process, if you’re lucky. Most of all, DON’T BE AFRAID TO TRY.
It’s the only way you’ll learn!
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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