Interested in taking beginner piano lessons, but worried you’re too old or too busy? These are just two of the common reasons that might keep you from learning piano. Here, online piano teacher Crystal B. debunks a few of these common excuses and myths…
Most everyone has thought about taking piano lessons at one point or another, but there are a few common myths have keep new students from taking the first step to actually getting started. Today, I’d like to address these five myths and help you make an informed decision about taking beginner piano lessons.
Myth #1 – “Piano lessons are boring!”
I think people imagine sitting at the piano with a mean piano teacher who keeps yelling at them to play the same scale over and over. The truth is, most of us aren’t that scary at all! Learning a new instrument is a challenging, but extremely rewarding journey. And my goal as an instructor is to make that journey as fun as possible! Different instructors have different approaches for accomplishing this, so it’s important to find someone who is a good fit for you and your learning style — and who also understands your goals.
Yes, there are some things that everyone needs to learn — such as theory and scales. But learning these things doesn’t have to be boring! What if there were a way to show you how scales fit in to your favorite songs on the radio? And how knowing music theory will empower you to quickly learn the songs that you love? Even when you’re learning things that seem difficult and may not seem like fun, work with your instructor to find creative and practical ways to incorporate this new knowledge. You’ll be amazed at how easy it becomes to learn — and how much fun you’ll have doing it!
Myth #2 – “If you don’t start piano lessons by age 11, it’s too late.”
I’ve actually heard this myth attached to several different ages, and many variations of thought, such as, “You can learn the instrument, but you will never be able to reach your full potential” or “It will be much more difficult to learn if you start after a certain age.”
I am living proof that this is just a myth. I didn’t start taking piano lessons until I was 12 years old. But once I started lessons, I couldn’t get enough of the piano! I practiced and played constantly, and I had a great teacher who encouraged me and kept me challenged. Because of this I was able to start teaching my own students by age 15, and playing professionally by age 16. The point is, age really doesn’t matter. It’s about your passion for music, desire to learn, and the dedication to invest time in practicing and honing your craft. So don’t be discouraged — it’s never too late to start learning the piano!
Myth #3 – “I don’t have time to take piano lessons.”
Several years ago, the only option for taking lessons was to travel to a teacher’s studio or home each week. These days, there are many options to accommodate busy schedules while still enabling students to learn just as much as they would in a traditional setting. Here are a few options that might work if you feel your schedule is keeping you from enrolling in piano.
- Online Lessons – This is how I personally teach several of my students. It enables you to take lessons from the comfort of your own home, while still giving you a true one-on-one customized lesson. This option also gives you the opportunity to work with an instructor who is located anywhere in the world! Lesson times are usually more flexible, with a lot of instructors offering weekend or evening lessons via Skype.
- Mobile Instructors – A lot of instructors now offer the option to travel to your home for lessons. This is a great way to avoid traffic or time spent waiting around for a lesson to be over. You would still need to set aside a day/time that would work for the lesson, but sometimes this is easier if you have the convenience of being in your own home.
Myth #4 – “I can’t start piano lessons because I don’t own a piano.”
Although there are few things I love more than playing an actual piano (especially a baby grand!), the truth is, you don’t have to have a piano to start learning. There are many different types of affordable keyboards that are great to start with, especially for beginners. If the student is a child, I actually recommend taking this route if you don’t already own the piano. Even kids who love music will often want to try a few different instruments before settling on one. Starting out with a keyboard will allow him or her to try piano without you having to make a serious financial commitment.
There are many great websites where you can find amazing deals on lightly-used keyboards. If you decide you would rather buy new, most music stores offer these options as well. The bottom line is, no matter what you start learning on, the most important thing is to get started!
Myth #5 – “Trying to play ‘by ear’ can actually hinder your progress in learning piano.”
I have heard several stories of students being told not to use their “musical ear” to assist them while reading notes. And for some reason, many students feel like they need to choose to be either a “note reader” or an “ear/chord chart player.”
While most people are naturally inclined one way or the other, I believe it’s equally important for a student to develop both skill sets. I like to incorporate ear training exercises for all of my students, in addition to note reading. I believe this helps to creative versatile, well-balanced musicians who can adapt to any situation. Your ability to hear what music should sound like will also prove extremely valuable in correcting mistakes as you are practicing on your own throughout the week. So to sum things up, playing by ear will definitely not hinder your progress in learning piano. In fact, quite the opposite!
Even if you don’t want to become a professional musician, taking beginner piano lessons can add great enjoyment to your life. If you’ve let piano lesson myths keep you from starting lessons in the past, maybe it’s time to try it out! Happy playing!
Photo by easylocum