Everyone has the dream of sitting down at a piano and playing any piece of music, but few adults have the courage to take piano lessons for beginners. The assumption is that only kids can learn to read music and play an instrument, but the joy music brings is worth the effort to find a good teacher and adopt a new hobby. Envision the shock on the faces of family members when you play a familiar song while everyone sings along at the next family gathering! With some encouragement and the help of an effective piano teacher, you can learn to play the piano as a lifelong hobby.
Embarking on the adventure of learning to play the piano can be a private journey because there are so many websites that offer piano lessons for beginners. Another way to learn is with a teacher who will provide lessons at weekly intervals for a reasonable fee. With some determination and consistent practice on the piano, anyone can learn to play music with some level of proficiency.
The most important attribute of a musician is discipline to continue to learn nuances of the hobby without being deterred by people (or yourself) who might be less than encouraging. New pianists are often discouraged because learning to read music can be similar to learning a new language. Proficiency at interpreting the printed music will directly affect the musician’s enjoyment of the new-found hobby. Music terms are Italian in origin and consistent review of these terms as they appear in each musical composition will make the understanding of the musical notations second nature.
The History Of Piano
Italian Bartolomeo Cristofori built the earliest known piano in Florence, Italy in 1705. Over the next hundred years piano manufacturing focused on building stronger frames and actions that largely resemble modern day pianos. Sebastien Erard introduced the double-action piano mechanism in France in 1823. This action is still largely in use today.
The piano quickly gained fame with well-known composers such as Mozart, Beethoven and Chopin. The piano has ever since been a cornerstone of music greats spanning classical, jazz, big band, rock and roll and pop-synth genres. Few instruments can lay claim to such pervasive fame and substance.
Did You Know?
- The first piano was derived from the harpsichord and clavichord.
- The piano is known as the “King of Instruments” based largely on its tonal range and large size.
- There are over 7,000 parts that make up the working section of the standard piano.
- Piano keys were made with ivory until the 1950’s; hence the term, “tickle the ivory“.
- A concert grand piano weighs in at about 1,400 pounds! Imagine trying to move a grand up a flight of stairs!
Piano Lessons For Beginners – Getting Started
While most people love to play on a piano because of the natural response from the keys as each note is played, an electronic keyboard is a less expensive way to get started as you take piano lessons for beginners. If a piano is available in the home, spend the money to have the instrument professionally tuned. The maintenance of the instrument is essential for enjoyment over the years.
Printed music is essential and can be acquired through the websites that offer lessons. Another source of music is a local music store, and some used bookstores have collections of great music that was printed years ago. Consult with a friend who plays the piano or ask a music store employee which books would help you get started. The books you choose should have some basic music theory information that will enhance your ability to learn to read music.
Written exercises may seem remedial, but when children take piano lessons they learn so quickly because of those simple questions and the blanks that must be filled in prior to each weekly lesson with the teacher.
Startup costs for learning to play the piano can range from a couple of hundred dollars for a used keyboard while using free lessons on the internet to thousands of dollars because of the purchase of an heirloom piano. Piano lessons and rates for beginners vary, but many music stores can provide the connection between a new student and appropriate teacher.
If you have decided to embark on learning to play the piano, commit to a full year of piano lessons for beginners without any breaks in the practice schedule. Within three months you can be playing simple musical compositions of familiar music, but your skills will develop over time. Be realistic in your expectations because hours of practice are required to master any musical instrument.
Steps To Playing The Piano
You’ll obvious need access to a piano or keyboard. You’ll also want to buy or borrow some books of piano lessons for beginners. This is really all you need to test-drive the hobby. You may want to play around a while to see if you enjoy piano but if you do, your best bet will be to invest in some lessons.
Once you’ve made up your mind and decided to pursue piano as a hobby, you should invest in some lessons. These can be from a formal piano instructor or even a friend who’s good at piano. Like many other activities, lessons provide you with a solid foundation and help instill good habits and form before bad habits appear.
The most important step in piano is practice. Playing the piano can be frustrating in the beginning but it’s important to keep practicing. Through practice you’ll start to reinforce mental and muscle memory that will make it easier to focus on reading the music rather than finding the keys.
One of the most important habits to develop each time you sit down at the piano is to review the music from the previous practice session prior to playing a note. Look closely at any written notes you made in the difficult sections of the piece and remember the places that need some additional work. Play the challenging phrases three times with each hand, and then go back to the beginning of the piece and start at the top.
If you miss notes, continue to play through to the end and then work on the places that need review. Purchase a metronome to keep the rhythm and speed for you while you learn to play a piece. Consistent timing is essential to training your hands to play the music that is written on the page. Most people learn much more quickly when some part of the composition is familiar. Choose some musical pieces that are familiar from various categories, including: popular songs, hymns, classics, patriotic, and TV show tunes. Simple versions of these songs are available on the Internet for small fees or free of charge.
Piano Tips And Tricks
The following tips and tricks can help you learn piano faster and enjoy the hobby more…
- One of the most important activities when learning to play any instrument is to attend concerts. When a professional sits down at the piano the instrument comes to life. Your own ability to play will improve when you listen to a master pianist. Even recordings of beautiful piano music will encourage you to stay with your new hobby and improve your skills.
- Listen to the music, but also watch the hands and the face of the pianist. Where are the eyes focused when the music is fast and difficult? Muscle memory in the hands and arms will take over when the music is familiar. Memorized music will stay in the muscles and mind for years with consistent practice.
- Maintain a personal repertoire of musical compositions that vary in level of difficulty. Revisit the easier pieces on days that you are not in the mood to practice. Great encouragement is gained from realizing that your skills have grown.
- Learning to play the piano adds untold joy to life. Choose a good instrument and find a teacher who can draw you forward and challenge you to learn. Take every intermediate step, and you will become an effective pianist sooner than you think.
Expanding Your Piano Playing Skills
As you gain more experience playing the piano and want to take your hobby to the next level, consider the following ideas…
- Take your piano playing skills public! You can play piano for your church or help out with school productions such as plays or concerts.
- Write your own music! There’s something quite gratifying about writing your own music and being able to play it for others.
- Join a band! Look for local bands in need of a piano or keyboard pro.
- Learn how to tune a piano. Tuning a piano is very complicated and often best left to experts. However, if you want to learn more about your instrument, learning how to tune your piano can be an interesting side-hobby.
The following can help you get the most out of your piano hobby…
PianoNet – The official website of the National Piano Foundation. You’ll find interesting piano history, noted artists, important publications and more. PianoNet is a resource for piano pros and novices alike.
PianoMart – An interesting site that matches buyers and sellers of used pianos.
PianoStreet – A great community forum for students, teachers and pianists. PianoStreet discussion topics cover instruments, teaching techniques, learning the piano and more.
Related YouTube Videos
Check out the following videos to learn even more about starting this hobby.