Learning to play piano is a fun and rewarding endeavor for musicians of all levels. The piano is one of the most popular and commonly played instruments, and there are dozens of benefits that come along with learning it.
Keep reading to find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions when starting online piano classes. We’ll share how long it takes to learn piano, some tips for buying a piano, and more!
A lot of people wrongly believe that the piano is a difficult instrument to learn, when in fact, starting up piano classes isn’t hard at all! Learners of all levels and backgrounds can easily grasp beginner piano concepts.
Challenging topics like reading music will take a little more time and effort to master, but with the right resources and strategies, learning the piano doesn’t have to be hard.
Make sure you stick to your practice schedule, set reasonable goals, and have an experienced and knowledgeable piano teacher. Each one of these tips will make mastering the piano easier than you think!
The answer to this question all depends on the student. Different students have different learning styles and goals. The amount of time available in your daily schedule for practicing the piano will also greatly affect how long it takes you to improve.
If your goal is to simply to be able to play a few songs comfortably on the piano, then you can expect it to take roughly one year to reach that level. However, if you want to become a concert pianist, that could take 10 or more years.
As long as you can move your hands and fingers, there’s no wrong time to start learning the piano! For most children, this is typically around age 5. If you’re a parent wondering if your child is too young to take piano classes, here are some things to look for.
- Hand size - Will your child’s fingers fit comfortably across five keys?
- Finger dexterity - Can your child comfortably move each of his or her fingers?
- Desire to learn - Does your child already enjoy music?
If you’re an adult wondering if you’re too old to learn the piano, we have some good news - it’s never too late to explore your musical side. Your ability to play won’t be limited by your age, but by your persistence and determination to learn.
Here are eight practical tips for adults learning the piano that will help you successfully develop your skills.
Are you an avid jazz listener, classical enthusiast, or pop pianist? Narrowing down what piano style you like best is a critical first step, as it will help you find a teacher who specializes in that style.
Not only that, but it will also keep you interested in lessons. If you’re learning music that you don’t even like, it can be hard to stay motivated. Not sure what piano style you like? Check out the Ultimate Guide to the 5 Most Popular Piano Styles.
A great teacher will not only inspire you to become better than you ever thought you could be, but he or she will also expose you to new ways of learning, practicing, and refining your skills.
Take some time to evaluate a teacher’s credentials. At TakeLessons, each of our expert piano instructors is experienced and knowledgeable. And with TakeLessons Live, you can try out a piano teacher for free with a 30-day trial before making a long term commitment.
Determine whether you want to invest in an acoustic piano or a keyboard, as both have their benefits and drawbacks. An acoustic piano is typically much more expensive than a keyboard, but it can be financed with no interest under rent-to-own programs.
Digital keyboards, while less expensive, can lack the “feel” of a real piano. The keys don’t feel as heavy or as responsive as an acoustic piano. Keyboards do have several benefits though, such as the ability to use headphones, play with multiple backtracks, and change your instrumentation.
Learning to read music is very important when learning piano as an adult. If you don’t already know how to read music, there’s no better time to start than now! Begin with a few notes on each clef and gradually work your way to reading and memorizing more and more.
Ensemble playing is highly beneficial in developing your musical ear as a pianist. However, pianists can sometimes struggle to find suitable ensembles. Check your local community college to see if they have a non-audition orchestra that you can sit in on.
You can also check local studios to see if they have any piano bands. Chamber music is another fun option for classical music enthusiasts!
It can be hard not to overly criticize yourself when learning something new, especially as an adult. You may find that you aren’t able to do something as quickly as you might have thought, but keep in mind that learning to play the piano is a process.
Make sure that you mentally acknowledge your accomplishments – however small they may be – so you don’t become frustrated throughout the lengthy process of learning.
Learning to play an instrument is like being on a diet. You have to carefully track your progress, what you’re practicing (and when), and maintain your discipline daily. Keep a practice log to write down what you’ve worked on, for how long, and on what day.
Make sure to practice at least 30 minutes to an hour per day. Practicing in this manner yields results much faster than trying to cram 3 hours into only one day per week.
Playing by ear isn’t super important in a classical setting, but it’s absolutely necessary in the jazz world. If you can “hear” what you want to play in your head before you play it, you’re well on your way to becoming an impressive soloist.
Practice some of your favorite songs by ear and try to figure out the melody to the best of your ability. If that’s easy for you, try figuring out the accompaniment too! Learning piano as an adult can be intimidating, but don’t let fear deter you from learning a fun, new hobby.
The benefits of playing piano extend far beyond the simple joy of having a new and fun hobby. Keep reading to explore all that you have to gain, mentally and physically, from learning this wonderful instrument.
- Better academics - Studies have shown that musical education leads to improved math and reading skills in young children, and even higher SAT scores.
- Improved memory - Learning an instrument like the piano is believed to improve memory and concentration among learners of all ages.
- Less stress - Playing the piano is an excellent stress reliever for both adults and teens.
- Better dexterity - For children, learning to play the piano will drastically improve fine motor skills. For adults, it will help you maintain strength in your hands as you get older.
- Stronger discipline - Parents will reap the benefits of their young pianists’ newfound discipline gained from repetitive piano practice.
- Increased confidence - Piano recitals and performances in front of large crowds are a great avenue for boosting your self esteem.
There are two options when it comes to buying a piano. You can either purchase a piano new from a music shop, which is the preferred route, or you can purchase a slightly used piano from a private seller.
You have a few advantages when you choose to buy a piano from a piano store, such as a manufacturer’s warranty, help relocating the piano after you purchase it, and sometimes - a complimentary tuning.
A sales associate at a piano store can also help educate you on the differences between piano manufacturers. Some popular brands are: Mason & Hamlin, Schimmel, Kawai, Steinert, Yamaha, and Baldwin.
Although prices are more affordable on used pianos, there is a bit of risk involved. To be safe, you should have a piano technician thoroughly examine the instrument to see if there are any repairs needed before you buy it.
Learn more about how to buy your first piano here.
The cost of a piano varies depending on the size and type of piano you’re looking for. There are pianos available for purchase anywhere from $1,000 for a used, upright piano to $100,000 for a concert grand piano.
Digital pianos are available in the $500 range, if that suits your style and budget more. When shopping around for a piano, keep in mind that often times the cost of the piano bench and delivery charges are not included in the price tag.
There are a couple accessories that will help make your practice sessions easier and more comfortable. Here are a few of the most commonly used piano accessories.
- Piano bench - You’ll want to make sure you have a comfortable piano bench, preferably a padded one, to sit on as you play.
- Stands - If you have a digital piano, you’ll need both a piano stand and a music stand to help you maintain good posture while practicing.
- Piano lamp - Good lighting on your piano is essential to be able to read sheet music while playing, especially if you have a large piano that is difficult to move around.
- Metronome - A metronome can help you develop and improve your rhythm, ensuring that you’re playing at the right tempo.
Unlike other instruments, tuning a piano is a complex process that takes about an hour and requires multiple tools that the average person doesn’t have on hand. Because of these factors, it’s best to find and pay a piano technician to tune your instrument.
The cost of tuning a piano is usually around $100. However, you could save a lot of money by booking a technician in advance for future tunings. Many technicians offer deals if you purchase a bundle of tunings together.
If you play the piano often, it’s a good idea to get it tuned at least twice a year. Be sure to factor this cost into your budget for piano classes or lessons.
In order to understand all the notes on an 88 key piano, you should first start by finding what’s called, “middle C.” When sitting directly at the middle of the piano, middle C will be right under your chin. It’s the white key that is just before a set of two black keys.
After middle C, the following white keys are D-E-F-G-A-B. The A-G pattern then repeats all the way down the keys. Now you’re probably wondering, what about the black keys?
The black keys are also named after the first seven letters of the alphabet, but they can be either “sharp” or “flat.” For example, the key just to the right of middle C is “C sharp,” but it can also be “D flat.”
After that, the following black keys are D sharp or E flat, F sharp or G flat, G sharp or A flat, and A sharp or B flat. This pattern repeats all the way down the keys as well.
It’s important to keep in mind though, especially when learning to read music, that piano keys are not normally referred to by the note that they play. This is because each key on the piano can actually play multiple notes.
Learn more about reading piano notes here.
At TakeLessons, we believe the best way to learn how to play the piano is with the guidance of an experienced and knowledgeable teacher. A music teacher can help develop a plan that caters to your specific needs as a student.
He or she can also help catch mistakes in technique that you’re making early on, to ensure you have a solid foundation of piano skills to build on. In a group piano class, a qualified teacher will be able to personally answer your questions and provide feedback on your playing.
You’ll also be able to grow alongside other students, learning from their mistakes and successes. Private piano lessons are another another good option if you’d like to have more one-on-one time with a teacher.
Outside of your piano classes and lessons, the best way to improve your piano playing skills is actually to play slowly. Playing slower will help reinforce proper technique in five different ways.
- Identify troublesome spots - Practicing your piano exercises slower will make it easier for you to spot challenging areas that you need to spend more time perfecting.
- Improve your muscle memory - Establish proper finger technique and placement by taking your time and not rushing through a piece.
- Develop precision - Better accuracy sets you apart from other pianists, and the easiest way to improve your accuracy is by slowing down your playing.
- Improve your posture - Playing slowly allows you time to correct your posture, relax your shoulders, and position your hands over the keys just right.
- Understand the music - Don’t miss out on dissecting all the unique elements of the piece you’re playing, including repetition and the range of dynamics.
If you want to become a better pianist, it’s crucial to make sure you’re practicing efficiently. Follow this routine to get the most out of your practice sessions in between classes or lessons.
- Warm up - Spend five minutes loosening up your fingers and hands with some basic exercises. Your piano teacher should provide you with a few simple drills.
- Technique and theory - Spend 10 minutes doing technical exercises like scales or chord inversions to reinforce your knowledge of piano theory.
- Song assignments - Spend 10 minutes practicing songs assigned by your music teacher.
- Free play - Spend 5 minutes, or more, either playing a song you’ve already mastered, or trying out a new song you enjoy for fun.
When practicing the piano, remember to take your time on the more challenging parts of a song and break them down into smaller pieces if needed.
Learn more about the best way to practice piano here.
There are hundreds of easy songs that sound beautiful when played on the piano. Check out the following resources for some excellent song ideas for beginners.
Piano apps can be an excellent tool to practice your skills in between online piano classes or private lessons. Here are a few of the best piano apps available to supplement your learning.
- Metronome teaches you basic rhythm and will help you stay on tempo while practicing the piano.
- forScore helps organize your sheet music and, if you have a tablet, is an excellent companion for “turning the pages” while you’re playing.
- Tenuto offers exercises and quizzes to sharpen your music theory skills. Impress your piano teacher at your next class with all you’ve learned!
- MusiClock makes practicing scales fun and teaches you how to play in different keys.
- Piano Dust Buster reinforces skills learned in your group piano class with fun games, making it a very popular choice among young learners.