One wise music teacher said that the piano is not only a wonderful instrument to play it is also the best way to learn music. He explained that the idea of music – different sounds or tones – is laid out in front of you when you look down at a keyboard.
You certainly don’t have to learn everything there is to know about music in order to play the piano. In fact, it may be better to play some simple tunes and enjoy the keyboard rather than weighing yourself down with music theory and other complex subjects. But even if you just want to start with the basics so you can entertain family and friends you will be pleasantly surprised at how much you learn about music in general.
Start at the Beginning
Let’s assume you have never played the piano before, not even a few lessons when you were nine years old. How do you choose a program or plan that will take you from a beginner to an average piano player? You should probably decide on one of two paths: online/self-study or “live” lessons with a local teacher.
If you choose a teacher you won’t have many decisions to make. The best teachers take you from the beginning stage step by step.
If you decide to teach yourself, learn from online instructions or from a video course, there are a few simple ingredients to include. The first item is a “don’t.” Don’t get stuck in a piano program that forces you to play scales and finger drills over and over, unless it balances this with some fun activities as well.
You should also decide if you want to learn to read sheet music as you learn piano. No matter what the “old school” players tell you, it isn’t absolutely necessary to read sheet music. But then again you might want to be able to read the melody line of sheet music even if you don’t go any further down that road.
Decide on Some Songs
Many people feel that they can “play piano” if they learn half a dozen of their favorite songs and can play them from memory. If this is what you set as your goal, that’s fine. Focus on songs you like, learn to play them well and add to your list as you go.
Here are a few basics to include as you start learning to play piano:
- Listen to songs and find the notes on the piano. You’ll be surprised at how much you can recall.
- Use the computer. There are songs you can listen to and online piano instruction programs designed specifically for beginners.
- Practice every day. If you don’t spend 30 minutes or more practicing, even if it’s from a basic book, you probably won’t make progress.
- Learn a song two or three measures at a time. Don’t try to memorize an entire piece and get frustrated.
The best advice ever given on how to play piano is this: Start with the simplest instructions and be patient.