Have you decided you want to learn piano but don’t have a clue when it comes to music or music theory? Do words like sheet music, musical notation, rhythm, etc. mean nothing to you? Don't worry! All will be explained...
Once upon a time only the very rich had the means to employ a private piano tutor and play piano. However, nowadays almost anyone can hire a piano teacher and learn to play piano thanks to on-line tutoring platforms offering competitively-priced piano lessons.
If you don’t feel comfortable with music schools, you can now learn how to play piano from the comfort of your own home. You can also learn how to read music with the help of a private tutor or by taking piano lessons online. You can even learn where to put your fingers thanks to on-line tutorials.
Whatever your goals are, here’s some advice for beginners...
Learn the Basics to Learn Quickly
Before you've even had your first piano lesson, you’ll probably be tempted to try and learn everything as quickly as you can. In fact, patience is a virtue when it comes to being a piano player. When it comes to learning a musical instrument, it’s nothing like your usual classes in school.
There are a few things you should know about making things easier when playing piano.
Work on learning how to play piano with each hand and reading. These techniques are essential when it comes to learning to play piano and improving. If you don’t master these basics, you’ll find all your practicing going to waste.
It doesn't matter if it’s your cousin’s birthday in a few weeks and you were really looking forward to playing something amazing for him. He’ll just have to make do with you sitting at the piano playing “chopsticks”! It's better than nothing, right?
Choosing a well-known song is a great way to start. You’ll have surely heard it thousands of times and it won't matter if you play it on a piano or keyboard. The rhythm and melody are probably already ingrained into your head. You’ve already absorbed the piece.
There’s more than just knowing the song, though. To speed up the learning process, you can also learn thanks to the free piano lessons online or with the help of qualified music teacher.
While you may think that learning the piano with a private tutor is the only way to go, don't forget that there are also private online piano tutorials! Your “virtual tutor” can show you how to play a song and how to go about reading music. All you have to do is find the song you want to learn.
One more thing: Don’t forget to have fun while you learn! A frustrated pianist will always struggle to learn a song. This'll slow you down and discourage you. Relax and give yourself regular and achievable goals...
Believe me, you'll soon realize that you can play anything if you're enjoying yourself.
Learning Piano as an Adult
Despite popular belief, it’s not harder to learn to play the piano when you’re an adult. The learning techniques are different, that’s it. More and more adults are deciding to learn a musical instrument. Never think you’re too old to become an accomplished pianist!
However, if you want to learn how to play a beautiful cinematic masterpiece in a day, you’re probably setting your sights too high... find some simpler piano music with simpler melodies.
You have to learn to be patient and take everything in your stride. You won’t learn at the same speed or in the same way as you did in elementary school.
When it comes to learning music, you have to make sure you set aside enough time to practice. Work and family life will make it more complicated to find this time but you have to give yourself a few hours at the keyboard so you can practice your scales and arpeggios. Try scheduling a few hours a week and sticking to your schedule.
Motivation is hugely important. Don’t give up at the first sign of struggle. Don't start by choosing a song you like and then changing your mind 3 days later when it starts to get complicated. You can always overcome any difficulty if you put in the effort and take your time. You’ll see. Learning to play the piano will teach you how to be patient!
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Choose a simple song to start so that you won’t get discouraged. Consider something with simple chord progressions recommended for beginner piano lessons. Leave the more advanced songs for later on. Beethoven’s 5th or Ravel’s Boléro are not for a musician who's just beginning piano lessons!
If you know you're not very good at motivating yourself, you should consider starting to learn the piano with your friends or even calling a private tutor. They’ll know how to help overcome any problems when learning the basics.
What Are the Best Books for Learning How to Play the Piano?
Self-teaching is more and more popular among beginners and books are often the best place to start. These books can teach you the basics or be used to complement your private tutorials. They can also be useful as a reference.
But which books should a beginner consider getting?
In fact, the books you choose are very important. There are thousands to choose from. The best books to learn piano are those that match your expectations.
For example, there are:
Books on music theory. There are plenty of books that can help you understand how to play the piano and music theory in general. These books teach budding pianists how to read sheet music and the fundamentals of music itself. Roger Evans books are highly recommended for this.
Books to accompany your studies. These types of books are useful to have at hand to accompany a piano course.
Books on learning piano by yourself. If you’re busy and you prefer to learn on your own, you should look for books that explain the techniques like positioning, fingering, have a list of piano chords, etc., without needing a tutor. Again, Roger Evans has books on this.
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The most important thing to remember is that when starting out, you need to choose a book that’s clear and easy to understand. There has to be a good balance of text and visuals so that you don’t spend more time reading than playing.
However, these books can never fully replace a teacher with their experience and expertise when it comes to playing the piano. However, you can’t take your tutor everywhere you go.
How Can You Learn to Improvise on the Piano?
You can’t just make it up as you go along! It might sound weird but you have to learn how to improvise by studying music theory and mastering the piano before you can start improvising. Let the rules guide you.
There are plenty of improvisation techniques when it comes to playing the piano and it can take a while to learn them.
As a beginner, you’ll need to know at least your scales.
What are they?
Scales are a series of notes. In western music, we tend to focus on major scales, minor scales, and chromatic scales. It’s important for any budding pianist to know their scales before attempting to improvise.
Even beginners need to have a bit of confidence. Improvisation means you need to know both the theory and your instrument in order to put the theory into practice while breaking a few rules. You can use your left hand to play the melody instead of the chords, for example.
You can also expand your musical repertoire. As well as listening to Mozart, Bach, and Chopin, you can also listen to more contemporary artists like Olivier Messiean or Lang Lang. As well as expanding your repertoire, you can also branch out into different styles and genres.
There are no limits to musical improvisation. It’s about expressing your own feelings in a very personal way. Create your own interpretation and become the next great virtuoso. Even if it’s just at your cousin’s birthday party...
How do You Tune a Piano?
When it comes to the piano, there are two types of beginners:
Those who want to learn for the simple pleasure of playing, to do so while they sing, in order to play in a band or a group, or just to pick up chicks.
Then there’s those who want to deconstruct music and their instrument like a mechanic does to a car!
The latter is the type of person who’d ask how they could tune a piano.
Firstly, don’t forget that you can also call a professional piano tuner to do this for you. However, this can be costly... Don’t forget, it’s not the only option. You can also tune a piano yourself!
Tuning 220 strings and 88 requires wide range of tools. To make sure your piano is well tuned, here are the tools you’ll need: a tuning fork, a tuning table, a chromatic tuner, tuning keys, tuning levers, a light, time, and plastic clips!
Once you have these things, you’ll have everything you need to tune a piano.
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