A Complete Guide To Learning The Piano in 2021
With so many resources available everywhere, learning to play the piano should be a piece of cake, right? Wrong.
If you’re eager to learn the piano, you’re probably scouring through the Internet because you don’t know where to start. So many tips and guides, yet not one that will give you the true rundown that you need.
Luckily, you’ve stumbled across the right post - ours. In this article, we’ll give a complete overview of everything you need to know about learning the piano in 2021.
Ready to dive in?
A Complete Guide To Learning The Piano
Learning the piano consists of quite a few steps that you need to go about chronologically. Here’s how you should start.
Determine The Type of Music You Want To Play
Okay, you want to learn the piano. But what kind of music do you want to learn? You have a number of genres to choose from, including classical, contemporary classical, R&B, blues, country, and jazz.
Your choice will depend on the type of music you love, how it sounds on your piano, and the difficulty level of playing it. For instance, contemporary classical music like Yiruma’s ‘River Flows in You’ is easy to play and sounds beautiful on the piano.
On the flip side, jazz music can go from very simple to extremely difficult. Likewise, depending on your skillset and how much time you’re willing to invest, playing classical music composed by Beethoven or Mozart will take months of practice, if not years.
Once you know what you want to play, you can start your journey as a piano learner. Having a piano instructor to guide you along this path will make your life a lot easier, which brings you to your next step.
Find A Professional Piano Teacher
In this world of a zillion online courses, you might wonder if getting a piano teacher is worth it. Here’s how you can weigh the outcome yourself.
Online piano courses will not cater to your needs as a piano instructor would. These courses will not identify your strengths and weaknesses and curate lesson plans based on your skillset.
Moreover, maintaining a routine can be extremely difficult without a piano tutor. Online courses offer too much flexibility for your own good. It might be 5 hours of piano practice one day, followed by little to no practice in the coming week. With the help of a regular piano instructor, you have both flexibility and accountability.
The Best Piano Teachers is at your service for just that. From our database of 2700+ teachers, you can find a piano instructor suited to your needs. Moreover, you can also select a piano tutor based on their expertise in the type of music you want to learn. Both in-person and online lessons are available, and you’ll be able to choose an instructor near your location. As a piano learner, you can sign with us for FREE!
Get To Know The Fundamentals
If you have no prior experience in playing the piano, it’s better to start with the basics. No, we don’t mean learning the chords or reading sheet music - not yet. Getting the basics right starts with properly positioning your hands and arms. It’s about setting your gesture and posture right. This may take only a minute to master, but it will serve you for a lifetime.
Make sure your hands are aligned with your forearms while your fingers are gently slanted downward. Your piano teacher should help you find a comfortable posture first, especially if you plan to practice for hours at a stretch.
Next, number your fingers, with your thumb being ‘1’ and your pinky being ‘5’. You’ll often come across small numbers above your notes. They actually tell you which finger to place on that note. This allows a smooth transition from one note to another without you having to jump or twist your fingers in the process.
Learn To Read Sheet Music
The next step to learning the piano is learning to read sheet music. Once you master reading the notations, you can glide your fingers across the keys effortlessly.
To start with, learn to play five notes with your left hand and then five notes with your right in the same practice session. Many learners make the mistake of focusing too hard on the right-hand notes, after which they struggle with their left hand. So, when you learn both hands at the same time, coordination becomes a lot easier.
When you learn to read sheet music, you’ll also get to know about note values, i.e., the number of beats a note is worth. Moreover, you’ll learn about dynamics, articulations, rhythms, scales, intervals, and tonal systems. As you learn the piano, you’ll learn all of the things that belong to ‘music theory.’
Practice Piano Chords
If you want to learn to play the piano swiftly, you have to pay special attention to the chords. A chord generally consists of three notes that are played at the same time. In total, there are 24 basic chords, twelve major and twelve minor.
When a series of chords are put together to form a pattern, it is known as a chord progression. In this case, the distance between each note remains the same. If you learn to play the chords right, you’ll be able to learn several songs within a short time.
Practice Fingering Techniques
Initially, you might feel all awkward and clumsy while playing the piano. Your fingers might move way too fast at one instance and way too slow at another. While it may seem overwhelming at first, you need to take one step at a time, and that starts with practicing fingering techniques.
If you want to master fingering, start with learning piano scales. Scales refer to a series of related notes. They also help build finger dexterity. First, learn a scale individually in each hand. Next, practice them together and keep at it until you play them right. You can also learn different hand and finger exercises to develop strength and finger dexterity.
Too often, piano learners make the mistake of playing as fast as they can. But in the process, their learning curve gets badly affected. Playing fast is not always equivalent to a better skillset. In fact, there is no point in going too fast and repeating the same mistakes without even realizing that you’re playing wrong.
Practicing slowly, on the other hand, allows you to address your mistakes and rectify them accordingly. When you have mastered an entire song correctly at a slow speed, you can then move on to increasing the tempo bit by bit.
Avoid Always Starting From The Beginning of A Song
Let’s say you practice the piano for an hour every day. You sit down, open your music sheet, and start from the beginning. But how much can you actually progress from it?
Starting from the very beginning of a piece is not always ideal. Consequently, you get better and better at the start of the song, but with very little practice, you often end up messing up the middle and end sections. As such, it is important to start from different points of the song. After days of practice, if you have mastered the intro today, start with the chorus tomorrow. Once you get that right, practice playing the entire piece at one go.
Address The Difficult Bits First
When you start your practice session, you should ideally start by warming up your fingers. Begin with a piece you know by heart. Once you’re warmed up, address the most difficult bits of your lesson for that day, and keep practicing those till you have perfected them.
Moreover, it’s better to tackle these parts at the start of your practice session than at the end when you start getting impatient. Divide the difficult parts into smaller parts, and practice one section at a time.
Learn Each Hand Separately
It might feel overwhelming to learn both hands at one go. Moreover, you’ll have a difficult time getting the coordination right. As such, learn one hand at a time and keep practicing till it gets easier for you. Slowly, use both hands together. Increase repetition and decrease your tempo. Remember, patience is key in this aspect.
Invest Time In Your Lessons
Playing the piano requires some commitment on your part. The more you commit, the more you make the most out of your piano lessons. Don’t be super enthusiastic one day and all demoralized the next. Consistency is key.
It’s good practice to set a fixed time of the day to practice the piano. Your piano tutor can help you set up a routine and create a list of goals for you every day. This way, you’d be able to track your progress and achieve your target.
Learning the piano can feel unnerving, but we believe with a consistent guide and the right amount of time, dedication, and practice, your journey as a piano enthusiast can be a lot easier. If you need more assistance in learning the piano, feel free to contact us!
Which of these tips has helped you the most? Let us know in the comments below!