5 Tips That Will Help A Beginner Learn Piano!
Are you eager to learn to play an instrument like the piano? If you’re still in the research phase, you may be wondering: is it hard to learn piano?
1. Learning Without A Piano Teacher
A piano teacher can make learning the instrument easier by…
Establishing good habits: A large part of playing the piano successfully is learning the correct muscle memory of posture, hand position, and finger movement. While working under the instruction of a piano teacher doesn’t guarantee you will become a concert pianist, it can help you not learn those bad habits.
Making stylistic corrections: Piano music sounds best when it is played at the proper volume, rhythm, and tempo. It’s also easiest to play if you incorporate the correct fingering and hand movement. You may not realize your own mistakes without the help of a piano teacher by your side to point them out for correction. This one-on-one feedback is impossible to get from a textbook or online tutorial and is key to progressing to the next level.
Providing teaching materials: A private teacher can recognize specific areas where you’re struggling and recommend extra study exercises to help you improve. Without this extra push, you might struggle with a certain part of music theory for much longer than necessary.
Holding you accountable: You’re much more likely to achieve your playing goals if you have someone to hold you accountable. Your piano teacher will set certain expectations and hold you accountable for them, making it more difficult for you to give in to the temptation to slack on practice or quit.
2) Take the Time To Practice
Is it hard to learn piano? Certainly, but how hard it is depends on how willing you are to practice! The bulk of advancement in playing is done away from your teacher during regular practice. If you only practice once or twice between your weekly lessons, you probably won’t progress at the pace you wish. It’s a waste of money to hire a teacher if you refuse to put in the time in between lessons.
As a general rule of thumb, strive to practice for at least 30 minutes every day. You have to put in the time if you want to see improvement from week to week. Seeing yourself improve is rewarding and motivating and makes it all worthwhile.
3) Be Patient and Consistent
It’s not impossible to learn the piano if you have no prior musical experience; just expect it to take you a little longer at the start to master the fundamentals of reading music. After all, everyone needs to start somewhere! Be patient with yourself, stay focused, and remain focused and positive!
4) Practicing on a Cheap Keyboard
Without a proper 88-key piano, or at the very least an 88 key weighted keyboard, you’re limiting yourself and making it harder to learn the instrument. Why add an extra element that could frustrate you as you attempt to learn piano?
The best option to give you the most authentic playing experience possible as a beginner is an upright piano. There’s nothing quite like the sound of a concert grand, but an upright piano is more economical for your budget and space. If you travel to your piano teacher’s home or studio, it’s likely that they give lessons on an acoustic piano as opposed to a digital keyboard. Having an instrument at home consistent with the one you use in your lessons can certainly help.
5) Having Too High or Too Low of Expectations
Keep your expectations realistic: don’t start piano lessons thinking you’ll be playing Beethoven tomorrow! It’s important that you learn the basics first and build a strong foundation. That means learning one-handed songs and basic melodies before you ever move to more complicated works. If you jump into a piece that’s well above your skill level, you’ll likely get frustrated and have the urge to quit.
With all of this in mind, it’s easy to see the benefits of taking piano lessons as opposed to learning on your own. Just about every factor that impacts the difficulty of learning the piano ties back into whether you have a private teacher at your side, helping you as you hone your new skills. In this way, finding a qualified teacher is the first step toward mastering a new musical instrument.
How Hard Is Learning The Piano As An Adult?
As a piano teacher in White Plains, NY, I’ve seen many adults get excited about the possibility of learning how to play the piano. There’s a lot to look forward to — playing songs for your friends, reading through classical scores every evening, sitting down and writing your own songs at the piano, and more. But how hard is it to reach that point?
The piano is one of the most difficult and rewarding instruments to learn; not only do you have to learn to read notes and translate them to the keys, but you have to do it with both hands at the same time. You’ll also have to learn to play with correct technique or you could face injuries in the future. The piano takes time and dedication, but with the right amount of practice, you can become a fluent pianist. Keep reading to learn more.
How Long Does It Take The Average Person To Learn The Piano?
Your First Six Months At The Piano
If you are new to the piano, we’ll lay a strong musical foundation during your first half year of lessons. You will learn the notes, learn the keys, and get comfortable with your posture and hand position at the keyboard. You will also be able to play some simple music with both hands, and you’ll learn a few scales as well. If you are very dedicated, you may end the first six months able to sight read simple music.
By The End Of Year One
If you’ve practiced consistently, you should have some simple pieces that you can share with friends or family at this point. You’ll know all of the notes and keys, and you will probably even recognize a few key signatures (theory is always incorporated into my lessons). You may also have achieved a sense of independence — since you can read music, you’ll be able to find your own music and learn it outside of lessons.
By The End Of Year Two
Adults who can allot a significant amount of practice time to the piano may be able to play early intermediate piano repertoire by this point — think of teaching pieces and simplified versions of popular classical works. You should also be able to play a popular tune along with simple accompanying chords off a lead sheet, if that has been an area of focus for you during lessons.
By The End Of Year Three
If you’ve continued taking lessons and practicing almost every day, you will now be nearing the level that you probably envisioned when you first enrolled in piano studies. You should be able to sit down and play intermediate repertoire musically and fluently (not sight reading — this is literature that you’ve been practicing), and your sight reading level will have increased to late beginner level music. It’s unlikely that we’ll continue using any method books by this point — books like Alfred, Faber, etc.
Year Four and Beyond
By your fourth year, your progress is really up to you. You can start increasing your speed capabilities and the difficulty level of your music if you are willing to practice, and you should be able to sight read early intermediate music. If you’ve been learning to play by ear and improvise during lessons, you might be getting to the point where you’re ready to share your gift with others!
Piano Progress Is Up To You
If you enroll in piano lessons and then practice for only a few minutes per week, you could go three years with hardly any progress. On the other hand, if you practice every day (and follow you teacher’s instructions), you could quickly out-class your peers. Remember that learning piano is like learning a language — it takes consistent effort, and you just have to let time do its thing. Thirty minutes of practice per day is better than practicing 2 hours every Friday, for instance.
Steps For Learning The Piano As An Adult
What progression should you follow to learn the piano as an adult? Here are some benchmarks to shoot for, and remember, each item takes slow and consistent practice.
- Learning the notes on the grand staff (bass clef and treble clef)
- Learn proper posture and hand position
- Learn the notes on the piano keyboard
- Learn to sight read
- Learn chords and scales
- Learn to play melodies by ear and add chords as accompaniment
- Learn the elements of musical notation (dynamic markings, articulations, and more)
Is It Ever Too Late To Learn Piano?
The short answer is no, it’s never too late to learn. You need to have realistic goals relative to the amount of time you can invest in the piano, but you can start playing at any stage in life. The progress a committed adult can make on the piano is incredible!
So Exactly How Hard Is Learning The Piano As An Adult?
Compared to many other so-called hobbies, the piano is an extremely difficult undertaking. It’s also one of the most rewarding pastimes you could pursue. The best part is that the journey of learning to play the piano is just as exciting as the arrival point, and if you’d like to get started, please get in touch. I offer piano lessons in Westchester County, White Plains, and online, so don’t hesitate to reach out.
How Hard is it to Learn Piano?
Almost everyone who can’t already play the piano would love to be able to. Imagine what it would be like to just crack the knuckles and bash out a few tunes that everyone knows. Piano players can entertain and move people. They can create incredible atmosphere and even carve out professional careers doing something they love.
As an instrument, the piano has been associated with some of the biggest names in music. From Mozart to Billy Joel, the piano has been at the heart of classical and popular music for hundreds of years.
People who have studied the piano usually have a great understanding of musical theory. They have developed their skills over time while also seeing the literal progress of their time studying. It’s an instrument that has limitless potential for the player.
Many students begin their musical journey with piano lessons. Some take to the instrument like ducks to water; others use what they have learned and move onto other instruments, but how hard is it to actually learn to play the piano?
Let’s find out.
Why is Piano a Good First Instrument to Learn?
As stated above, the piano is often the first instrument that many music students have anything to do with, and there are actually a few good reasons for this.
Develops a Solid Musical Foundation
In order to begin playing the piano, a student must develop a certain level of musical knowledge. They need to figure out how the instrument works and how to turn the pressing of black and white keys into music.
The way a piano is structured also helps to pick up some of this musical knowledge very quickly. The notes (keys) are placed very intuitively, one after the other. This is much less complex than an instrument like a guitar.
Even if a student doesn’t venture too far beyond the basics, they can still transpose what they have learned to a multitude of other instruments.
Improves Coordination For Other Instruments
There are very few popular musical instruments that don’t require some sort of coordination between the hands. Most of them involve both the left and right hands doing different things, and sometimes even the feet need to be doing something.
From the very beginning of piano lessons, a student has to learn how to play different things on each hand at the same time. Often, in the beginning, the right hand is playing a melody while the left hand is playing simple bass notes.
The experience of coordinating the hands will help if a music student wants to later switch to another instrument. The concept of doing two different things with the hands at the same time becomes much less alien to them, so it’s less daunting.
Learn Basic Melodies Quickly
One of the biggest reasons the piano is such a great first instrument is the fact that most students will receive a kind of instant gratification. The time between learning the basics and being able to play a simple melody is relatively fast.
Most piano students remain interested in their lessons straight away because they can see their progress in each lesson which is an incredible motivator. Compared to other popular instruments like the violin or the guitar, it can take a really long time before a student is able to play a basic song, and even then, having that basic song sound pleasing to the ear is not a guarantee.
What Makes Learning Piano Hard?
The piano is a relatively easy instrument to learn, but every new skill has its challenges. Below are some of the factors that might be hard for students learning to play the piano.
Playing Chords and Complex Movements in Your Non-Dominant Hand
The first challenge novice piano players face is the fact that both hands are used while playing. Traditionally the left hand takes care of the bass notes and chords of a song, while the right hand takes care of the melody and higher notes.
While playing, both hands are required to play not only different notes but also in different rhythms and at different times. This is a little bit like that old game where a person tries to rub their stomach and pat their head. It takes a lot of concentration, but it’s not impossible.
This part of playing the piano can add extra challenges depending on the dominant hand of the student. If they are left-handed, they will need to train their right hand a bit more, and if they are right-handed, they will need to work on the left.
Learning to Read Music
It is completely possible to successfully play the piano without ever learning to read music. However, most students should at least learn some of the basics of learning to read sheet music.
Learning to read music isn’t easy. It’s basically like learning a whole new language. A student who learns to read music needs to discover a whole new vocabulary and decipher symbols that are assigned musical values. Sheet music doesn’t really read the same way that written language does, so it can be challenging for even the brightest students.
One of the biggest benefits of learning to read music is that it allows a person to read almost any piece of music, written at practically any point in history and play it on any instrument they know how to play.
Playing Different Parts With Both Hands
This point leads off from what was mentioned earlier. While playing the piano, both hands are doing different things, so there is an issue of coordination. There is also a level of dexterity required to be able to play the piano well.
Skilled piano players have trained their non-dominant hand to become as reliable and dextrous as their dominant one. This is not an easy task and can take years before a student sees a marked improvement.
Learning to Play by Ear
It is possible to play the piano by ear, but it’s much more difficult than doing the same thing on other instruments. There’s a great deal of knowledge required to know how to turn a single note on a piano into a chord. To play by ear, a student needs to be able to hear a chord in a song, then somehow find each individual note in that chord and replicate it on the piano keys.
This kind of feat is entirely possible, but it’s very difficult, and there aren’t that many people around with perfect pitch.
Starting to Learn With Basic Songs
Most students get into learning the piano because they want to play their favourite songs. They want to be able to hop up to that free piano in the metro station and wow the other travellers with their incredible rendition of a slowed-down version of ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ (well, maybe not everyone). Instead, they might spend weeks mastering ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.’
This can be a bit of a boring period for piano students, and sometimes this can be the reason they give up.
What Will Help You Successfully Learn Piano?
Now that you know why the piano is a great instrument and also some of the things that students might struggle with, it’s time to look at some things that might help someone successfully learn to play the piano.
Learning From Teachers
There’s a reason why the traditional method of learning with a teacher, in person, is still around today; it works. Taking lessons from a professional teacher will give a student consistent guidelines to follow on their musical journey.
Having in-person lessons has also been shown to sometimes improve the frequency of practice and study a student will put in on their own.
A personal teacher is also able to adjust the curriculum to meet an individual student’s needs.
Using EdTech Resources to Learn
The world is currently experiencing an exciting boost in the way technology is being used to assist in education. EdTech (as it is called) harnesses the interconnectivity of the globe and advancements being made to make particular subjects more accessible.
One of the biggest benefits of EdTech is that it’s helping students have access to studies they never previously had before. In the past, if a kid wanted to learn the piano but their family didn’t own one, or there wasn’t a piano teacher available in the local area, this desire would continue just being a dream. Now with the help of EdTech, they can learn piano from the comfort of their own living room without the need for expensive equipment. More on this later.
Accessing Wider Online Resources
There are an infinite amount of additional resources available online that can help piano students at every level.
The internet is home to things like online lessons, chord charts, sheet music, YouTube tutorials and forums. There’s no limit to the amount of information available at any given time of the day.
There’s a saying that it takes at least 10,000 hours to become an expert at something, and there’s some truth to that. When it comes to playing a musical instrument, it is a process that involves both the brain and the body. Regular practice keeps both of these elements in a ready state.
Another saying most people have heard is that once you know how to do something like riding a bike, you will never forget it. While you don’t forget how to do these things, you can become incredibly rusty, and anyone who’s hopped on a bike for the first time in 20 years can attest to that.
Creating a Regular Learning Routine
Setting a regular learning routine will help a student excel at an incredible pace. One of the biggest factors in the success of any long-term goal is consistency. Setting a regular learning routine and sticking to it will help make piano study and practice a normal part of every week.
Focus on Developing Technique
The term technique in piano refers to all the physical elements that bring a piece of music to life. These include things like how hard or soft the keys are played and for how long. It also involves things like the relationship between the hands at different times in the music. Technique is what it takes to make the right sound at the right time.
Technique is what actually drives piano playing, and it takes time to master. It’s important to devote time to looking at the ‘how’ of piano. It’s a bit like wanting to be an astronaut. Simply looking at the sky won’t get someone to space; they need to do the work.
Maintaining Drive and Commitment
Every student experiences a honeymoon period with a new study. There’s a time when it’s all new and exciting. After a while, the reality of exactly what goes into learning the piano sinks in, and it can sometimes feel overwhelming or unachievable.
It’s important to do whatever it takes to maintain drive and commitment in piano students. This might be through simple rewards; it could also be through taking the time to regularly look back at how far the student has progressed.
The important thing to remember is that all students need to work hard, but they also need to still remember why they wanted to play the piano and that it still is fun for them.
Set Realistic Expectations
With all music students, it’s very important to set realistic expectations. It helps students to work towards goals, and sometimes they need to be reminded of how important it is to keep those goals a little bit smaller.
After the first year of piano lessons, a student is not going to be able to perform a solo rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody, but they will certainly be able to read music and accompany their own singing to some simple songs. The actual ability is still pretty incredible, and if a student knows this, they can learn to manage their expectations and be able to find comfort in their progress.
Is it Better to Learn Piano With a Teacher?
There are many students who manage to successfully teach themselves how to play piano, but it is much easier to learn from an actual teacher or from an actual curriculum.
The biggest benefit of commencing formal lessons is that there aren’t any areas of musical theory that might be missed. There’s less chance to develop bad habits that go unmissed.
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