Is It Hard to Learn Piano? 5 Factors That Can Contribute

How hard is it to learn piano?

Are you eager to learn a new talent, such as playing an instrument? If you’re still in the research phase, you may be wondering, is it hard to learn piano? Or, how hard is it?

The answer to this question is not as straightforward as you might think, since several factors contribute to the ease with which you can master this musical instrument. Here’s a look at the factors that make the piano harder to learn, so you can avoid them if at all possible.

Trying to Learn Without a Private Teacher

Learning to play the piano with the help of a private teacher is the best way to learn and progress quickly.

It’s always easier and quicker to learn the piano with expert guidance. If you’re not ready for private lessons, try group classes on TakeLessons Live. Classes are perfect for beginners, they’re easy to take from home in your free time, and you can take as many classes per month as you like. Sign up now for a free 30-day trial. 

A private teacher helps by doing the following:

  • Establishes good habits: A large part of playing the piano successfully is learning the correct posture, hand position, and finger movement. While working under the instruction of a piano teacher doesn’t guarantee you will become a concert pianist, you certainly don’t want to pick up bad habits that are hard to break later on.

  • Makes stylistic corrections: Piano music sounds best when 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 recognize your own mistakes without the help of a private teacher by your side to point them out. This one-on-one feedback is impossible to get from a textbook and is the key to progressing to the next skill level.

  • Provides teaching materials: If you’re having trouble reading music or comprehending other parts of music theory, it’s unlikely that you’ll assign yourself homework. A private teacher, on the other hand, can recognize where you’re struggling and recommend extra exercises to help you improve. Without this extra push, you might struggle with music theory for much longer than necessary.

  • Holds you accountable: How easy is it to set a New Year’s resolution… only to give up after two weeks? You’re much more likely to achieve your goals if you have someone to hold you accountable. In this case, that role is played by a piano teacher. Your teacher will set certain expectations and hold you accountable for them, making it more difficult for you to give in to the temptation to quit.

4 Factors That Determine How Easy or Hard It Is to Learn Piano


1) Being Unwilling to Practice

Is it hard to learn piano? Well, that all depends on how willing you are to 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 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.

2) Not Having Any Musical Background

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 positive!

[Related: Yes, you CAN learn the piano on your own.]

3) Attempting to Practice on a Cheap Keyboard

It may sound silly, but without a proper 88-key piano, you’re limiting yourself and making it more difficult to learn the instrument. The last thing you want is 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 is an upright piano. There’s nothing quite like playing on a concert grand, but an upright piano is more budget- and space-friendly. If you go to your piano teacher’s home or studio, it’s likely that they offer instruction on a real piano as opposed to a digital keyboard. Having an instrument at home consistent with the one you use in your lessons can certainly help.

The next best option is an electronic keyboard with weighted, touch-sensitive keys. If you opt for a digital piano, make sure it’s a high-quality keyboard with the full 88 keys and a sustain pedal. Without these features, you’ll be setting unnecessarily limitations on yourself from the very beginning.


Having Too High or Too Low of Expectations

Keep your expectations in check: don’t start piano lessons thinking you’ll be playing Rachmaninoff tomorrow! It’s important that you get the basics down 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.

Let your piano teacher guide you in choosing songs that correspond with your skill level. You would be surprised how impressive and fun “simple” songs can sound when you master tempo changes, dynamics, and other techniques that give the song more feeling.


[Related: 15 Easy Songs to Learn and Impress Friends]


At the same time, you don’t want to let yourself plateau at your present skill level, fearing to try anything harder than your comfort zone, or you will never progress to the level you want to be. A great way to progress and learn pieces at your skill level is to choose a piano book and master several pieces at one level before moving onto the next one.

With these factors in mind, it’s easy to see the benefits of taking private 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 learning a new musical instrument.

Becoming a good pianist is easy for those who have reliable advice, good practice habits, and a growth mindset (a willingness to make mistakes and learn from them).

Photo by ju han



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