digital pianos

Too Many Piano Key Neckties and 14 More Problems Only Pianists Understand

No matter how much you love playing the piano, it can also drive you crazy! Can you relate to these common piano problems?

1. When you’re practicing and you need to turn the page.

Someone please invent a way to turn the page without having to stop playing! Luckily, if you own an iPad, a music app like forScore can help organize your music and turn the pages while you play.

2. When your fingers won’t listen to you.

Sometimes you know in your head exactly what you need to do to play a piece, but your fingers won’t cooperate. Take a deep breath and try again. Eventually, you’ll get the hang of it.

3. When you’re trying to play with cold hands.

When it’s cold, your fingers can feel stiff or even numb, which doesn’t do your piano technique any favors. If you practice in a cool room, or you’re performing in a chilly venue, bring a hot drink to hold before you play, and wear a pair of fingerless gloves. Warming up before you play is even more important when it’s cold, so keep those Hanon exercises fresh!

4. The horrible feeling of guilt when you miss a day of practice.

It happens to the best of us. Life gets busy and suddenly it’s the end of the day. As your head hits the pillow you realize you didn’t get a chance to practice. Forgive yourself, once, and vow to play tomorrow. Daily practice is the best way to improve!

5. Always wishing your fingers were just a little bit longer.

Even if you’re lucky enough to have hands that span an octave on the keys, there will always be challenging pieces that require more of a stretch. If you’ve got smaller hands, stretch your fingers out before you play and incorporate larger interval reaches, such as octaves, ninths, and tenths, into your warm up.

6. When you memorized a piece last night but forget it in the morning.

How does this happen? Sometimes when we are over-tired or simply aren’t practicing with enough focus, new pieces can slip our minds overnight. The good news is, if you learned it once you can definitely learn it again!

7. And when you nail a piece in practice but mess up at your lesson.

You play it perfectly all day, but the instant you start to play for your teacher your fingers turn into Jell-O. Try to stay relaxed at your piano lessons and take time outside lessons to practice playing in front of other people. We tend to make more mistakes when we’re nervous, just as we play more beautifully when we are relaxed.

8. When the key signature has five flats.

Take deep breaths and proceed with caution! Some keys are trickier than others, but with patience and perseverance you’ll master those tricky sharps and flats.

9. When someone is playing the piano in a movie…

…and you can’t help but criticize their technique. If only there had been a piano teacher on set!

10. When you own all of the piano key neckties…


Piano shoes…


Piano mugs…


…and piano everything all the time. You wear your heart on your sleeve, and your heart just happens to be a piano. Whether you got these piano items as gifts or you buy them yourself, you can’t help but notice you are surrounded.

11. When you visit someone’s house and you notice they have a piano.

“Do you mind if I play for a minute… or an hour? You know what, if you need me, I’ll just be here with your piano.”

12. When your piano gets out of tune.

Suddenly, nothing sounds quite right and your practice time becomes increasingly frustrating. Getting a new piano tuned four times a year for the first year and twice a year following that should keep the off-key blues away. Some pianists recommend having your piano tuned when seasons are changing, as changes in temperature and humidity can affect the tune of your instrument.

13. When you’re transposing difficult music.

Transposing can be tedious work! Keep your Circle of Fifths handy and give yourself plenty of time to work through the music.

14. When you have to move your piano.

Pianos are big and heavy, so moving your baby is a serious chore. Whether you’re rearranging your house or moving across the country, moving your piano can be quite a headache. It’s best to avoid moving your piano if you don’t have to. If you must move it, hire a professional mover to make sure nothing gets damaged.

15. When you realize you can’t live without piano!

In spite of all these piano problems, you love your instrument. You’ve got a true passion for tickling the ivories and you wouldn’t have it any other way!

Is there anything we missed? Tell us all about your piano-playing problems in the comments below!

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6 replies
  1. Nicole says:

    1: I tape together ribbons of 4-5 pages at a time to help with this issue (since I’m mostly a collaborative pianist and scores can get very long). At least, then, you might only have 2-3 potential page turn disasters per piece.
    3: Huge problem since I have poor circulation in my hands and feet. But Hanon is not the answer–it’s just a good way to get injured.
    5: NO NO NO. Trying to “stretch” your hands will almost inevitably lead to injury. Be sensible about the type of repertoire you can play with the hand span God gave you.
    8: If you learn to “think in keys” this should be no problem. Think of scale degrees rather than “oh gawd 5 flats…”
    11: totally unnecessary if you have a notation program like Sibelius and can create a new score in the new key. And I’m a collaborative pianist who you’d think would have to deal with this often. The few times I’ve been asked to learn selections in a new key, though, there has always been a new score available, either through Sibelius or some sleuthing on the part of the teacher.

  2. robert rubino says:

    I need practice with diatonic scales –runs in all keys I DO have a Blues scale book –but id like to make ‘runs’ like the pro’s (Kenny Barron) :) I am ‘self taught’ what do I need??

  3. robert rubino says:

    im tryg to get in with a trio bass and drums– this will ‘inspire ‘ me more to play like the pro’s– but I need ;discipline–and more theory practice ineed to play scales in jazz ???

  4. Vivian says:

    I love the tone & easy touch of my piano…and when I play the piano at our group’s monthly “gig”….it makes such a difference in my playing. Also, I don’t know why I’ve ALWAYS had such a problem playing “sharps”….it’s so much easier for me to play “flats”, so except for the key of G, I change the key of D to D flat….E to E flat…..etc……?

  5. Leona says:

    How about when your kids put a whale beanie baby on the cover, then open it so the whale is lying on the strings where you can’t get to it and 4 of them won’t play? Then, when the piano tuner comes and asks, “What’s the problem?” you have to tell him, “There is a whale in the piano.” That doesn’t make you look crazy at all.

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