Being bad at any endeavor has become a taboo topic in our social media-obsessed world.
We only post our highlights, best angles, and most triumphant moments.
And thanks to the vast reach of social media, there is plenty of extreme talent across all possible realms.
In contrast, you won’t often see reels of failed attempts at anything unless it’s posted simply to make you laugh.
Based on social media scrolling, it would seem that there are only two options for any pursuit: excellence or a failure so comedically significant that it should be entered on the next episode of “America’s Funniest Home Videos.”
There is no middle ground.
But where does that leave you, the curious person who wants to learn new things?
Are there good reasons to pursue something, even if you’re terrible at it?
Today’s post explores why being bad at something is extraordinary and why your emotional wellbeing demands getting out of your comfort zone.
But before we dive into why you need to embrace beginner status, let’s bust a common myth that might be holding you back from trying something new.
The Talent Myth
Everyone is born with a little bit of talent.
And talent can vary widely from person to person and across different activities.
Talent, or a perceived lack of it, holds countless people back from trying new things every day.
Thanks in part to social media, people believe they must already have a natural affinity before trying any new skill.
Although natural talents can give you a boost when you’re first learning a skill, they can only get you so far.
Hard work is what takes you from “talented” to “extraordinary.”
And in some cases, talent can even hold you back from reaching new heights.
Talent can make the learning process easier.
But it’s also true that “talent” is tough to tease out from “practice.”
In other words, what can seem like talent is actually hours upon hours of practice.
And even the best athletes, musicians, and artists must start somewhere.
Everyone starts as a beginner.
No one kicks off a new endeavor as a master of the craft.
Even people the world considers prodigies have hours of methodical practice under their belts before their discovery as a prodigy.
Mozart, for example, was surrounded by music from an early age.
His father set up a rigorous musical education program for him beginning when he was a toddler.
Even the concept of being born with perfect pitch is now being debunked by research.
Studies have shown that exposure to certain types of music education at a very early age often results in the child eventually being able to name a specific note when played or sung (perfect pitch).
It bears repeating: EVERYONE starts as a beginner.
There are no exceptions.
When starting any new hobby, creative work, or sport, there is a period in which you will be awful at that thing.
The key is to keep pushing forward.
At this point, you might be asking yourself why you should put in hours of work only to feel like this new pursuit is a complete waste of time.
Although it may feel pointless, learning any new skill has incredible benefits for your brain health, emotional wellbeing, and, in some cases, social interactions.
Benefits of Being a Beginner
Do you remember being in elementary school and being asked to draw a picture?
Maybe it was of yourself, your house, or your family.
You may have had all these ideas about how you wanted it to look.
You thought about it, then put pen to paper, giving it your absolute best.
And how did it look when you were done?
I’m willing to bet that it looked terrible.
Your final drawing looked nothing like the thing you imagined.
But regardless of what it looked like, you brought it home to your parents.
And your mom gushed over your artistic endeavor like it was the best thing she had ever seen.
In fact, you brought home an endless supply of terrible drawings, and your parents couldn’t get enough of them.
Your parents loved your drawings because they came from you.
Also, they had zero expectations for how your artwork should look.
They were simply happy that you gave it a shot.
It’s the same for any new learning experience.
When you first start something, you will be bad at it.
You’re not supposed to pick something up and immediately excel at it.
And that’s ok!
Embracing the beginner experience by letting go of unrealistic expectations is one of the best ways to drop your guard and dive headfirst into something new and exciting.
Knowing that the expectations couldn’t be lower is an incredibly freeing thought!
Succeeding at anything in life requires that you push through hard stuff.
Regardless of what you pursue, there will be difficulty.
And when you encounter difficulty, you always have a choice.
You can certainly choose to give up when things get tough.
Sometimes, pushing through to the end result isn’t in your best interest.
But at other times, navigating a new challenge is exactly what you need.
Overcoming barriers builds resilience.
It gives you the kind of self-confidence that some people only dream about.
With every new triumph, you build your reserve of resilience, making the next challenge more attainable.
Resilience is what gets you through the hard times.
And what better way to work on resilience than by pursuing something new?
Stop Caring What Anyone Thinks
Did I mention that we live in a social media-obsessed world?
Sometimes, it feels as if the world runs on “likes” and “shares.”
But it really doesn’t.
Being a beginner means you don’t have to post anything on social media.
You can do your own thing regardless of what anyone else does or thinks.
You’re free to learn and grow on your own.
There’s no one to impress.
You decide who knows about your new endeavors.
And not everyone has to know about it.
You can shed external validation and start validating your own achievements.
What could be more empowering than that?
Other Reasons to Embrace the “Suck”
No one likes being a beginner.
But it’s hard to deny some of the benefits that come with beginner status.
There are no expectations.
You get to practice being more resilient, a skill applicable to all aspects of life.
And because you’re so bad at whatever you’ve started, you have the freedom to let go of the opinions of anyone else.
Here are a few more benefits to embracing the “suck.”
Your Brain Needs It
Using your brain in new and different ways expands your ability to think and process information.
Your brain loves streamlining.
But when you challenge it by trying something new and completely different, you build new pathways in your brain.
New pathways mean a new perspective.
It’s an opportunity to problem-solve from a completely different mindset.
And keeping your brain active as you age is one of the best ways to combat cognitive decline.
When was the last time you did something for the sole purpose of having fun?
It can be easy to get stuck in a rut of “to-do lists” and productivity.
Everything becomes a task that you have to cross off your list.
But that kind of mindset can be a fast track to burnout.
You need activities you enjoy, but that doesn’t necessarily serve a purpose other than fun.
Focusing on enjoying something rather than your ability to do it is one of the best ways to start living life rather than passively experiencing it.
If you struggle with perfectionism, learning that it’s ok to be bad at something is one of the greatest gifts.
Although perfectionism might seem like a positive trait, it’s a toxic, self-defeating mindset in many cases.
Instead of seeing a world of possibilities, many perfectionists see giant walls at every turn.
These walls keep them from expanding their horizons due to a fear of subpar performances.
Perfectionists may procrastinate and become overly critical of their abilities, often leading to depression and anxiety.
But releasing oneself from any expectation is incredibly freeing!
In other words, having one activity you simply do for fun can set off a chain reaction of self-acceptance.
It takes mindful practice, but learning to focus on fun instead of skill can help you begin shedding the self-criticism keeping you from truly enjoying life.
It’s Your Turn
Hopefully, this post has inspired you to get out there and try something at which you’re absolutely horrible.
Try something completely different than you’ve ever tried in the past.
It’s a great way to start releasing your fear of failure and dive in!
And let me know what new and exciting hobby you’re trying in the comments below!
For more great inspiration, check out one of my previous posts:
My Struggles with Effective Practice
I emphasized quantity over quality in the practice room for a long time.
Endless repetitions were a staple of my practice routine.
This was even the case when I studied piano in college.
However, I could never achieve the performance stability I was searching for by mindlessly practicing endless repetitions.
Even after playing specific pieces for months, I still experienced constant memory slips.
It was incredibly frustrating!
But recently, I had an epiphany.
I realized that all the “mindless” repetitions were a waste of time.
The only way to truly learn something on a deeper, more secure level was to use my brain as much as possible while practicing the piece.
And I know that sounds like a really “duh” statement, but knowing something to be true and applying it in real life are two very separate tasks.
Since then, I have fully embraced being 100% focused during practice.
I’ve taken time to understand why I lose focus and developed simple tricks to achieve more focused sessions at the piano.
If you, too, are ready to uplevel your practice quality, keep reading because I’ve got all the secrets!
Why does the quality of your practice matter?
Quality practice means better results, often in less time.
Staying mentally engaged with the music is the best way to improve the quality of your music practice.
In many cases, 5 minutes of intensely focused deliberate practice is better than an hour of mindlessly plunking away at the keys.
Better focus means you can intentionally work on problem areas by setting a specific goal and working towards achieving it.
Staying focused gives your brain a chance to stabilize all that hard work, resulting in more secure performances and higher overall satisfaction with your progress.
What causes a lack of concentration in the practice room?
The better question might be, “What doesn’t cause a lack of concentration in the practice room?”
As you probably already know, SO MANY factors can interfere with your ability to stay focused during practice sessions!
Lack of Progress
Sometimes, the feeling that you’re not getting better interferes with your ability to improve.
When it comes to playing the piano, it’s incredibly easy to focus on what needs to be fixed.
And it’s easy to lose sight of all the progress you’ve made in the past.
This can make it feel like you’re stalled and will never get better.
Focusing on your goal of playing the piano can be tricky when negative self-talk is constantly running through your head.
As a busy mom of 3 kids and 1 very spoiled Goldendoodle, I have extensive experience with how distracting interruptions can be!
Being a mom is one of the best things of my life, but it doesn’t always jive well with my other goals.
As an introvert and a pianist, I long for those practice sessions where I lose track of an extended period of time.
I love the sessions when I get into “flow” because of how focused and efficient it makes me feel.
But those types of sessions don’t happen with constant interruptions.
As a general rule, your brain wants to coast.
It doesn’t want to work hard.
But quality practice requires focus and effort from your brain.
And every time you get interrupted, your brain must work even harder to hone back in on a task.
Several interruptions in one piano practice session can result in a complete lack of focus, making progress impossible.
Whether it’s about playing in front of a group of people or an upcoming work deadline, anxiety can completely derail any practice session!
Obsessive and intrusive thoughts can make focusing on that Beethoven sonata feel hopeless.
When your brain is focused on fear over the past or the present, your brain can’t retain any new information about what you’re trying to practice.
Considered from a different angle, your brain’s main job is to keep you safe.
And when it comes to a threat, your brain can’t tell the difference between a real or imagined threat.
The same stress hormones flood your system, whether you’re being chased by a lion or imagining your upcoming piano recital.
Thanks to those stress hormones, your brain is placing emphasis on fight or flight rather than remembering the notes of that Beethoven sonata you’ve been working at learning for months.
Thought patterns of excessive worry can completely derail your practice sessions and your life.
If you’re struggling with unrelenting anxiety, it’s always best to consult a qualified health professional.
There are ways to reduce anxiety and negative thought patterns without medication. Still, in certain instances, medication may be the foundation for recovery.
No Practice Plan
Nothing encourages distraction more than not having a plan.
Even if you’re taking piano lessons, you may have only a vague sense of what you need to accomplish but no real plan for how to get there.
Getting off track happens quickly when you have no idea where you’re going.
It can be so easy to spend considerable time but not feel like you’ve accomplished anything of substance.
Not having a plan is an easy way to put in a lot of work without a lot of pay-off.
Although striving for perfection can be considered a positive trait, it can also be incredibly distracting.
It can be easy to become way too critical of your playing.
This, in turn, can set up a pattern of negative thinking that makes focusing very difficult.
You can become so focused on the areas that need improvement that you forget all the aspects of playing in which you excel.
After a while, the negative chatter in your head takes over.
Soon, your practice sessions are filled with unhelpful mental feedback from your inner critic, making focusing on learning new techniques impossible.
It’s a real thing.
Sometimes, it’s caused by physical or mental health issues (more on that in the next section), medications, or even a lack of sleep.
For me, too much TV binging results in less creativity and more brain fog.
Hormone imbalances can also interfere with your ability to think clearly.
A lack of physical exercise, too much sugar, and a consistent lack of challenging mental tasks can all reduce your ability to concentrate.
Brain fog is trickier to work through because it can be caused by many different things or even a combination of factors.
Physical or Mental Health Diagnoses
If you have had a sudden change in your ability to focus, go see your primary care provider.
Even if the change has not been sudden, but your lack of focus is frustrating or interferes with your life in other ways, it’s always best to rule out a physical or mental health issue by seeing your primary.
Pain-related issues, including arthritis, can impair your ability to stay focused, as can diagnoses of ADD or even depression.
To make matters worse, medications that treat these and other diagnoses can have side effects that impair your ability to stay engaged during practice sessions.
If you’ve exhausted the ideas in the post and are still struggling, schedule a medical appointment with a qualified health professional.
Even if you haven’t exhausted the ideas in this post but feel that your symptoms impact your daily life, it’s time to see a qualified professional.
A qualified medical professional can help you figure out what’s causing the issue and help you figure out ways to reduce those impacts.
How can you stay focused when practicing the piano?
Although there are many reasons why you may be losing focus in the practice room, let’s take a look at some solutions so you can become even more epic at the keyboard!
Shorter Practice Sessions
It sounds weird, but focusing on only one thing at a time takes practice.
In a world where it’s all too easy to find a distraction, the type of focus where EVERYTHING else is blocked out has become exceedingly rare.
And practice, in and of itself, requires a great deal of mental effort.
If you struggle to stick with it to the end of your session, you may need to shorten your practice sessions.
Taking a short break during your practice session is another way to help your brain refocus during a more extended session.
Multiple research studies suggest shorter, more frequent practice sessions are the most efficient way to practice.
And you may find that there are days when you can stay focused for longer periods than others.
Setting time limits on your practice sessions might be the easiest way to stay focused and build excitement to come back to the keyboard the next day.
The art of mindfulness involves staying in the moment.
It means experiencing the moment happening to you RIGHT NOW instead of fixating on things that happened either in the past or worrying about things that could happen in the future.
Excessive worry and rumination frequently interrupt my practice sessions. I suspect I’m not the only one impacted by negative thought patterns.
After introspection, I realized that much of my time was spent thinking about a past I couldn’t change or feeling distressed about something that had a vague chance of occurring in the future.
I realized that it wasn’t a healthy way to live.
I discovered meditation while searching for ways to stay grounded in the moment instead of letting my brain run down a path of negativity.
Meditation has helped me cope with roaming thoughts and stay grounded in the present.
It’s given me the ability to control my thoughts and choose my focus.
Meditation is also a great place to start if you’re experiencing insomnia because the main goal is to clear your mind of distractions.
If you’re interested in trying meditation, I highly recommend any podcasts dedicated to the topic.
I especially love the ones dedicated to sleep, as they’ve given me the ability to naturally drift off and stay asleep after a long day.
It’s no surprise that regular exercise helps your body. Still, abundant research also supports its effectiveness in mental health.
Moving your body is one of the best ways to shake off distractions and gain clarity.
Exercise releases “feel good” hormones that make the world seem brighter and sunnier.
Practicing after exercise significantly boosts your concentration, which is otherwise difficult to attain.
A 30-minute walk around your neighborhood is a great way to naturally relax, reset, and refocus.
If exercise isn’t already part of your daily routine, I recommend finding a physical activity you love and incorporating it into your schedule.
Your diet can significantly impact your ability to stay focused during practice sessions.
Too much sugar can cause dips in your energy, making it nearly impossible to stick to any mental task.
But a diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and lean protein can help you stay focused even when practice gets tedious.
Hunger can also be very distracting, so make sure to time your practice after a snack or protein-focused meal for optimal brain function.
And while you’re paying attention to your nutrition, remember water.
Water is crucial to brain and total body health.
Making a few simple changes to your diet is a straightforward way to become just a little bit more awesome at the keyboard!
The best, most effective practice sessions involve getting into a flow state.
This is where you shut out everything around you and simply enjoy being in the moment with the music.
However, getting into a flow state during a practice session takes time and happens gradually.
It starts with an effective warm-up, gradually leading you toward deeper, more deliberate practice.
Although you won’t achieve this flow state with every practice session, limiting distractions is one of the best ways to improve your focus.
Try to schedule your practice sessions for times of the day when you are less likely to be disturbed.
And although there are many great practice apps out there, having your cell phone active might be way too distracting.
If so, try turning it to airplane mode during your next several work sessions.
It’s also helpful to consider your practice space.
Is it organized in a way that helps you stay focused on the music?
Or are you constantly distracted by thoughts about your space’s lack of organization, temperature, or even the paint color?
Taking time to arrange your space in a way that helps you stay focused is always time well spent.
Being able to stay in the moment improves your practice efficiency, focus, and it makes the experience so much more rewarding!
Have you noticed that you feel most energetic in the morning?
Or maybe you feel more focused around 2 p.m. but crash between 4 and 5 p.m.
If possible, time your practice sessions for times of the day when you’re feeling most awake and alert.
Paying attention to when you’re most and least alert can help you make positive changes on a larger scale.
For example, if you’re crashing every day around 2 p.m., consider what you’re eating for lunch.
Reducing carbohydrates and increasing protein and fluid intake at your noon meal might help you avoid that mid-afternoon slump.
If you wake up every morning feeling like you were hit by a truck, it might be time to examine your sleeping patterns.
Paying attention to how you’re feeling daily and making positive changes can dramatically improve your piano practice and overall quality of life.
Pay Attention to Your Thoughts
Whether you’ve been a piano player for 5 or 25 years, negative thought patterns can take over your brain and make practicing feel pointless.
Negative thoughts about not being good enough can derail even the most well-planned practice session.
And sometimes, the negativity is on an automatic loop in your brain.
After a while, you become completely unaware of the negativity permeating your thinking and ultimately holding you back from your full potential.
But by paying attention to your thoughts, you can recognize what you believe about yourself deep down.
And recognition is the first step towards transformation.
Once you understand the roots of the negativity, you can take steps to counteract it and start to feel more optimistic about your playing experiences.
And who knows? Becoming a more positive thinker can transform your entire life in ways you never imagined!
Most people want to learn to play the piano because music brings them joy.
Unfortunately, the experience of learning can introduce negativity into the equation, reducing or even eliminating the joy aspect.
This is especially true for people who have perfectionist tendencies.
But when it comes to playing a musical instrument, there is no such thing as perfection.
There will always be something that can be improved upon.
Sometimes, it can feel as if you’ll never “arrive” at a final destination because the goal keeps moving.
For me, constant feelings of not being good enough have plagued me throughout my playing career.
These thoughts make it very difficult to focus on practicing, the very thing that would elevate my playing.
Although this continues to be a lifelong struggle for me, the one thing that has helped me is to focus on joy.
Make time in every practice session to work on something that brings you love.
Maybe you love pop music, playing by ear, or even singing.
Incorporate those aspects into your actual practice sessions and watch your playing elevate further than you ever imagined!
25 Quick Tips for Staying Focused During Piano Practice Sessions
Plan out your practice session in advance. (Tip: This app is the best for keeping you on track!)
Look for new piano practice tips to incorporate into your routine. (Tip: Check out this YouTube page for the best tips on playing classical piano!)
Devote your next practice session to ONLY playing music that you love.
Shorten your practice sessions to naturally improve your focus.
If you don’t usually include a warm-up in your session, try incorporating a simple exercise to help your brain transition from daily life to piano practice.
Meditate before your next practice session.
Keep your phone on airplane mode or entirely out of your practice space if you find yourself watching random cat videos when you should be practicing.
Schedule practice sessions for times of day when you naturally feel most productive.
Rearrange your practice space in a way that promotes comfort, relaxation, and focus.
Make the entire focus of your next practice session about enjoying the act of playing the piano rather than playing the correct notes.
Take time at the beginning of your next session to list 5 aspects of playing at which you excel.
Stop and take a 30-minute walk around your neighborhood if you lose focus during a practice session. Resume practice and enjoy the added focus that comes from spending time in nature.
Have a protein-based snack before your next practice session.
Record yourself playing a few measures of something you’re actively trying to improve. Immediately play it back to see whether you improved. If not, what can you try to improve it next time? (Tip: This app helps you practice this in a very deliberate and focused way!)
End your session by playing something you love to encourage yourself to come back and practice tomorrow.
Read this book if you struggle with perfectionist tendencies.
Identify 3 goals before your next piano practice session and focus ONLY on accomplishing those goals when you practice. Make the goals small enough that you can attain them in one session so you can feel a sense of true accomplishment. (Example: Identify the best fingering for the left hand in measure 3.)
Incorporate an activity into your daily routine that you find fun and relaxing. The activity doesn’t have to have anything to do with music but has to give you a sense of relaxation and stress relief.
If you don’t currently study with a piano teacher, take a few lessons to get objective feedback on your playing and to give your practice sessions a sense of direction.
Record yourself playing a piece and then list 3 aspects of playing that you did well and 3 that could use improvement. Be specific. (For example, the notes in measure 3 were correct, but I played it soft when it’s marked at forte.) Focus on improving the areas you identified.
Start identifying the thoughts you have about yourself away from the keyboard. (Tip: Writing down your thoughts is one of the best ways to start recognizing subconscious thought patterns.)
End your practice session as soon as your mind starts to wander. With consistent “focus practice,” your brain will gradually be able to focus more intensely for more extended periods.
Focus on getting better sleep at night. (Tip: Read this post for tips on how to sleep better tonight!)
Drink a small caffeinated beverage before your next practice session. (Tip: Too much caffeine can affect your ability to sleep at night, so avoid this one in the late afternoon.)
Incorporate gratitude into your next session. (Tip: Start your next session by listing 5 piano-related things you are grateful for.)
The ability to focus during practice and performance is a crucial aspect of being a musician.
It’s a skill that takes time to master.
And thanks to our busy “always on” world, staying focused has become more challenging than ever.
Despite a distracting world, you can find ways to channel your focus. This skill applies to life even beyond the practice room.
Hopefully, this post has inspired you to regain your focus and become even more awesome at playing piano!
If you enjoyed this post, please help me spread the word by sharing it with a friend.
And if you’re looking for more piano-inspired content, check out one of my previous posts:
If you’ve been thinking about learning to play the piano but feel intimidated by buying an instrument, you’re not alone!
The world of pianos can feel scary, especially when you’re not 100% certain about whether you will stick with it past a few months.
Acoustic pianos are enormous, nearly impossible to move on your own, and expensive.
It’s a lot to consider, and even more so when you’re thinking about teaching yourself rather than enrolling in formal piano lessons with a teacher, who can guide you in finding the perfect instrument for your needs.
If you’ve been putting off learning how to play the piano because you have no idea how to find a musical instrument, you’re in the right place!
Today’s post covers the differences between an acoustic piano and an electronic keyboard, why you might consider one over the other, and my top recommendations for adult beginners in 2023.
And if you want to jump right to the reviews, click the links below:
What Makes Me Qualified to Give You Advice About Electric Pianos?
There are millions of websites out there, many of them offering terrible advice.
So you may be asking yourself what gives me the authority to advise you on your piano needs.
I began playing piano at the age of 7 and continued playing through high school.
After graduation, I entered a baccalaureate music program. I continued my piano studies at the college level until graduation several years ago.
Although my career has led me down a different path, my musical journey continues through church playing, accompanying, teaching, and a passion for the instrument.
I love pianos and helping others discover the joy of learning to play a musical instrument!
Although I earn a tiny percentage from certain purchases facilitated through my blog, my main goal is to empower you with the information you need to make the best decision.
I always strive to offer the most honest and relevant information to enable you to make the best possible decision.
And for extra proof of my authority on the topic, check out this recent video recording of me playing a couple pieces off the ABRSM exam.
In the spirit of transparency, I give you my thoughts on your options for acoustic versus electric and the different models available in 2023.
What Kind of Instrument Do You Need?
As you may have already discovered, pianos come in all shapes and sizes. And similar to guitars, pianos come in either the acoustic or electric variety.
An acoustic piano is a traditional piano. Sound is generated from tiny hammers striking the string after a series of mechanical maneuvers.
Acoustic pianos require routine tuning and maintenance. And these full-size pianos come as either an upright or grand piano model.
In terms of sound quality, an acoustic grand piano is unmatched. This is the sound upon which electric pianos are based.
And in general, the longer the strings, the better the sound quality.
Upright pianos have strings that run vertically to the floor. The shortest pianos are known as spinets and have the poorest sound quality.
In contrast, the larger uprights can have decent sound quality if they are a reputable brand and have been well-maintained.
Grand pianos have strings that run horizontally to the floor, so they are longer than they are tall. The shortest grand pianos are known as baby grand pianos, and the longest are known as concert grands.
Depending on their length, baby grand pianos have a sound quality comparable to the larger uprights but less pure than a concert grand piano.
If you have the space and are serious about learning specific genres, such as classical music, an acoustic is your best option.
Whereas an acoustic piano produces sound based on tiny mechanical parts working together to produce sound, an electric piano makes sound based on replications of a real piano.
And because they don’t contain the same complex internal components, they don’t require regular tuning and maintenance.
A digital keyboard is also much lighter and easier to move around your living room than an acoustic piano.
Keyboards can have various advanced features, including demo songs, Bluetooth connectivity, and different sounds.
And some keyboards have a different number of keys than others. The 61-key keyboard and the full-size 88-key model are the two standard versions.
If you plan to travel and play gigs with your keyboard, the shorter version may be the best choice.
Smaller keyboards may also be a great choice if you want to learn chord playing or simply wish to play your favorite songs by ear.
But if you have plans to pursue piano more seriously in the future and are looking for a starter instrument at a reasonable price, stick with features that most closely resemble an acoustic piano.
Such features to consider include:
Realistic sounds that closely mimic the real thing
Your technique is crucial for preventing injury if you plan to learn technically demanding music, such as classical pieces.
This is one of the primary reasons you want to ensure that if you opt for a good beginner keyboard, it should closely mimic an acoustic, as you will need to switch at some point.
And if you get used to unweighted keys, you will have to re-adjust once you start playing on an acoustic.
Everyone has different goals when it comes to learning to play an instrument. Thinking about those goals before you begin your search is essential to ensure your goals match the instrument.
The digital piano is somewhat of a cross between an electric and acoustic piano.
They are designed to be an exact digital replica of an acoustic and are, therefore, not portable like electric pianos.
One could, however, make the argument that they are more portable than an acoustic grand.
Some of the best digital pianos in the world so closely mimic a real acoustic grand piano that it’s tough to distinguish a difference in sound between the two.
Although digital pianos are an excellent choice for some aspiring pianists, they tend to be more expensive and less portable than keyboards.
They also don’t offer the range of sounds or backing tracks offered by keyboards.
Still, digital pianos can be the right choice for certain students.
Electric Keyboard Options in 2023
Now that we’ve covered the fundamental differences between acoustic and digital pianos and keyboards let’s get to specifics.
Keyboards are a great option for people who aspire to be part of a band. They’re also great if you’re on a budget and want to avoid having the recurring maintenance costs you would with an acoustic.
Keyboards don’t occupy the same amount of space as an acoustic or digital piano. They are, therefore, great for people with space limitations.
And if you want to change the sound of your instrument to mimic an organ, other instruments, or even sound effects, a keyboard is your best bet.
Here are my top picks for keyboards for people brand new to the instrument.
Alesis Recital Pro – Best for Complete Piano Beginners
The Alesis Recital Pro has a full 88-keys and a premium 3-month subscription to Skoove, one of the more popular online learning options.
If you’re completely brand new to the instrument, this may be your best bet when it comes to instruments, thanks to the features which closely resemble an acoustic.
The keys are hammer action and can be adjusted to achieve your perfect level of touch.
And if you plan to advance your piano studies, opt for the sustain pedal add-on. This will help you master the art of playing smoothly without excess tension.
You can also opt for headphones, which make your practice sessions 100% private, a nice feature if you have performance anxiety or simply have neighbors living above or below you.
This keyboard has 12 sounds, including bass and synth, so you can produce various sounds.
And at just over $400 for the keyboard, pedal, and headphones, this model won’t completely break the bank.
You can knock off about $75 off the final price if you get the keyboard on its own however, trust me when I say that, eventually, you will want a sustain pedal.
The Alesis Recital Pro is an excellent starter keyboard for people interested in serious piano playing but uncertain about which instrument to buy.
Yamaha P-45 – Best for Beginners Interested in Classical Music
When it comes to musical instruments, Yamaha is a legend. In fact, my current piano is a Yamaha, and I adore it!
The brand also makes a quality electric keyboard, as evident in the P-45.
With 88 weighted keys, this model closely simulates the sound and feel you would get from playing an acoustic grand piano.
The above price includes a sustain pedal, a headphone jack, and USB connectivity.
And the keys have a matte finish, which makes them less slippery and more closely resembling those on an acoustic.
Yamaha also prides itself on its Graded Hammer Standard (GHS), which translates to heavier touch in the bass and lighter in the treble, a feature more closely resembling an acoustic than an electric instrument.
This model features 10 voices, including some lovely string settings that enhance whatever you play.
All-in-all, the P-45 is a solid option for beginners considering studying piano seriously now and in the future.
Casio CT-X700 – Best for Band Playing
If you’re searching for portability on a budget, check out the Casio CT-X700.
Although this model features fewer keys than the Yamaha or Alesis Recital Pro, it packs a punch when it comes to sound variety.
This model has a whopping 600 tones and hundreds of built-in rhythms to enhance all your creative endeavors.
It also comes complete with a library of 100 pre-recorded songs.
This specific model is equipped with 6 weeks of lessons from Simply, a nice feature if you’re completely new to the instrument.
And if you don’t need the extra lessons, skip them and save approximately $60 on the total price of the instrument.
It’s a more budget-friendly option even if the keyboard features only 61 instead of 88 keys.
And if portability is your thing, it’s lighter than the Yamaha. It will also travel more easily than the Alesis Recital Pro.
This keyboard also features USB-MIDI port connects for seamless integration with other technology.
The Casio is a great option for people who need portability and are interested in joining a band or learning pop music.
Alesis Melody – Most Budget-Friendly Model
The Alesis Melody is another great option if you’re on a budget. This keyboard comes under $150 and features 61 full-size keys and 300 voices.
Similar to the Alesis Recital Pro, the Melody also comes with a 3-month premium membership to Skoove, so you can launch your piano learning off on the right foot.
This keyboard also features a headphone jack, so your practice sessions can remain private. You can also record yourself to easily track your progress.
Although this keyboard has many fantastic features, it does not have a sustain pedal. It does feature a sustain button; however, this would be functionally different than a pedal.
If you want to take your piano studies beyond beginner, you will need to learn how to incorporate a sustain pedal into your playing.
But this one might be an excellent option if you don’t care about classical music or just want to play around with the keyboard.
Yamaha YPT270 – Most Beginner-Friendly Model
If you want the Yamaha reputation at a slightly more budget-friendly price, check out the YPT270.
It features a 61-key keyboard and can add accompaniment instruments to your playing.
Complete with a headphone jack, the Yamaha YPT270 also comes with a 3-month subscription to Flowkey, one of today’s most popular music-learning platforms.
This model also features a quiz mode, which plays a random note and allows you to determine which note was played.
It also has a smart chord feature that assists in playing larger, more complex chord structures.
Like the other models featured on this list, it includes a record function to playback and enjoy your musical creations.
And at 12.5 pounds, it’s tough to beat the portability of this quality, beginner-friendly keyboard.
Given the nice keyboard features and price, it also has relatively high Amazon ratings, a reassuring sign regardless of what you’re purchasing.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a digital piano?
A digital piano differs slightly from an electric keyboard in that although the sound is digital, it is less portable than a keyboard.
Digital pianos are not designed to be moved around your house frequently or packed in your car for band practice.
A digital piano is an instrument that produces a sound similar to an acoustic without all the tiny internal components found in an acoustic.
They don’t require the routine maintenance of an acoustic and are less susceptible to the wear and tear placed on acoustic instruments.
Although more expensive than keyboards, digital pianos can be an excellent option for people interested in learning to play piano but not in paying for routine maintenance on their instrument.
What’s the difference between a keyboard and a digital piano?
Although digital pianos and keyboards have electronic representations of acoustic grand pianos, keyboards are more portable than digital ones.
Keyboards also offer more sound variety than a digital piano, designed to be an acoustic piano’s digital representation.
Digital pianos often don’t have backing tracks or other recorded sounds because those features are not inherent to acoustic pianos.
But digital pianos and keyboards often both have headphone jacks and recording features.
Aside from those basic features, extra features vary considerably among keyboard and digital piano models.
Can you teach yourself to play the piano?
Yes! There are many fantastic resources, including in-person and online, for learning to play the piano.
Scroll to the bottom of this post for a series of helpful posts I’ve assembled for aspiring pianists.
Whether you’re interested in classical, jazz, band, or pop playing, you can find resources to teach yourself to play the piano.
What are the best resources for learning to play the piano?
One of the first steps in learning to play the piano is identifying your goals.
Do you want to learn to play for fun? Or do you want to eventually play in a band? Do you love jazz and improv? Or would you rather play lyrical songs for an audience of one?
Once you’ve identified your goals, you can search for resources to start your journey.
Scroll to the bottom of this post for helpful content on launching your piano journey!
Do most keyboards come with a bench?
No. But most benches designed for use with keyboards come at a fairly reasonable price.
An adjustable bench is nice because you can incorporate better body mechanics and reduce unnecessary tension while playing.
Do you need a real piano to learn to play?
No. You can learn to play piano on a keyboard.
But if you want to learn to play technically demanding music, you will eventually want to transition to an acoustic piano.
And although you can start out on a keyboard, you will want to find one with features that closely mimic an acoustic.
Such features include weighted, touch-sensitive keys, a full-size 88-key instrument, and a sustain pedal.
But if you’re interested in chord playing or learning your favorite songs by ear, a keyboard will likely be all you need to learn and have fun with the instrument.
Regardless of your goals for learning to play the piano, I hope this post has been a helpful guide in determining the best instrument for your needs.
Buying a keyboard can be confusing, but once you understand the features you’ll need, it’s so much easier!
Trying the instrument out for yourself before purchasing it is also helpful. Still, it can be challenging to find a store selling keyboards.
If you cannot “try before you buy,” check the return policy before purchasing to ensure you can return it if it’s not your ideal instrument.
It’s crucial that you’re delighted with the piano; otherwise, practice will be a drag, and you might as well not have purchased the keyboard in the first place.
And if you’re wondering about the next steps in your quest to learn the piano, check out these helpful resources. If you love and find them helpful, share them with a friend!
And if you have questions, please reach out! Playing the piano has given me so much that I love giving back to others interested in learning the instrument!
Are you thinking about upgrading your home or teaching studio piano? You may have only ever had upright pianos and want to look closer at a higher-quality instrument.
Regardless of the reason behind your curiosity, Yamaha pianos, and more specifically, the G2 is a great place to start.
Today’s post reviews the versatile acoustic piano that is a trendy choice for both piano teachers and home use. And without further ado, let’s get to it!
My History with the Yamaha G2
Before studying piano in college, I had never played a grand piano.
And once I started practicing on a grand, I never wanted to return to an upright. Ever again.
College introduced me to the world of grand pianos, and I soon began forming opinions about all the various options.
While taking classes with a local piano tuner, I fell in love with a 1920s Baldwin grand piano he had recently restored. I had never played a piano with such sensitivity and massive sound. It was incredible!
I also visited piano gallery stores in my spare time to check out the differences in touch, sensitivity, and sound between the different pianos.
Aside from the Baldwin of my dreams, Steinway was by far my favorite name in the piano world.
Although I had played several models at that time, Yamaha was one of my least favorite, closely followed by Kawai. Most of the Yamaha grands I played had stiff actions and an overly bright sound.
Not an ideal combination for the melancholy music of the Romantic period for which I am most passionate!
Several years ago, I was finally in a financial position to upgrade from my grandmother’s spinet and began trying out options.
And I was shocked to fall in love with a Yamaha. This particular piano was not like any of the other Yamaha pianos I had tried in the past.
Its wonderful tone and dynamic range quickly won me over.
Four years later, I’m still thrilled with this sensitive yet responsive piano with a powerful sound that fits nicely in my home. I’ve found it to be a fantastic starter grand piano and love it more and more over time!
And if you’re looking at an upgrade, here’s why you might find it an excellent choice for you as well.
Although a brand new piano model has benefits, an older model brings sound certainty.
Pianos can settle as they age, leading to subtle changes in sound over time.
But a used piano features a relatively stable sound. When properly tuned and maintained over time, a used piano in good condition will sound the same today as in 20 years.
And for me, there’s a certain peace that comes with knowing that if I love how my piano sounds today, I’ll still love it in 10 years.
Since Yamaha hasn’t manufactured this model since approximately 1990, you can be reassured that the sound will be stable as it ages.
Although the G2 requires ample space compared to a spinet, the extra space is a small price for its pure tone.
This model is 5’7″ long, and the longer strings give you the type of piano sound typical of much larger models.
This model gives you the best bang for your buck regarding size and sound.
The Yamaha G2 features some of the finest craftsmanship of the brand.
Although the company no longer manufactures this model, it remains prevalent among serious pianists because of its craftsmanship.
Depending on whether the piano needs work done or has recently been refinished, you can expect to pay somewhere in the neighborhood of $10,000 to $15,000. It is an investment; however, if you’re serious about learning to play the piano, you need a quality instrument.
The G2 is built to last; if you decide to invest in it, this piano will surpass your greatest expectations for years to come.
Although the Yamaha G2 is a perfect piano for me and my playing needs, it may not be well-suited to everyone.
Acoustic grand pianos need regular tuning and maintenance, which means recurring costs.
They require a fair amount of floor space and are not easily maneuvered once situated.
Despite the drawbacks, a reputable and well-maintained baby grand piano is the ultimate in performance and sound for the average home setting.
If you’re uncertain whether a baby grand piano or upright is the best instrument for your needs, check out this previous post.
Regardless of the model, here are a few things to remember when shopping for a piano.
Buying a piano from a reputable piano dealer is the best way to ensure you get a quality instrument.
Piano dealers also often offer free or reduced-price delivery within the surrounding area.
Always consult a qualified piano tuner if you question the piano’s condition.
If the piano you’re interested in buying doesn’t already have one, installing a humidification system helps your piano stay in tune longer and minimizes the harsh effects weather can have on the wooden components inside.
Buying a piano from Craigslist can be risky. Although buying from a private party rather than a store can give you better prices, you never know what you’re getting.
Always try out the piano for yourself before purchasing it. All pianos have a slightly different feel, sensitivity, and sound. You will want to make sure you absolutely love all characteristics of your prospective instrument!
Whether you’re looking for a baby grand piano for home or studio use, the Yamaha G2 is a fantastic option!
Its quality craftsmanship, responsive touch sensitivity, and subtle tone make it the ideal piano for enthusiasts.
But don’t take my word for it. Get out there and try one for yourself!
And if you’re interested in more piano-inspired content, check out my other previous posts:
Learning to play the piano is an exhilarating journey that opens up a world of beautiful melodies and artistic expression.
It enables you to impress friends, jam with the band, or even earn a few extra dollars on the side.
But whether you’re a beginner or have been playing for years, there are times when maintaining motivation can be challenging.
The initial excitement may fade, practice sessions can feel monotonous, and progress just feels painfully slow at times. But fear not!
In this blog post, we’ll explore practical tips to help you stay motivated and inspired on your piano-playing adventure.
Benefits of Learning to Play the Piano
Playing the piano is a unique and rewarding experience that offers numerous benefits beyond musical proficiency.
It enhances cognitive abilities, improves coordination, reduces stress, and fosters creativity.
There is also ample research to support musicians being able to problem solve more creatively than other people.
And did I mention that whiling away the hours in front of the keyboard is simply a fun way to pass the time?
However, like any skill worth mastering, learning to play a musical instrument requires dedication, consistent effort, and perseverance.
Fostering the qualities that lead to success in the practice room or on stage also leads to success in life.
While motivation can ebb and flow, there are strategies you can employ to keep the flame of enthusiasm alive.
Whether you’re an aspiring virtuoso or simply enjoy playing for your own pleasure, this blog post will equip you with practical tips to stay motivated on your piano-playing odyssey.
So, let’s dive in and discover how to keep the keys singing, the fingers dancing, and the passion burning bright!
Find Your Why
Achieving anything in life requires hard work.
And no one equates “hard work” with “fun.”
The truth is that success means hours upon hours of drudgery.
Even so-called “child prodigies” have logged thousands of hours of practice before showcasing their musical skills.
Although there are ways to make your practice more exciting, real progress demands hours at the keyboard.
And to stick with it, you need a compelling reason.
Do you want to play a specific piece of music?
Or perform in a live concert?
Perhaps you want to make your own YouTube videos.
Whatever the reason behind your desire to play piano, it has to be compelling, deeply personal, and strong enough to carry you through the inevitably dull parts of a daily practice routine.
Do some soul searching and connect with that deeper reason because it will carry you through the inevitable unique challenges you’ll face on your musical journey.
5 Minutes a Day
Five minutes doesn’t seem like much.
But when you compound 5 minutes a day over a year, it equals about 30 hours.
Think about how much progress you can make with 30 hours of practice. Crazy, isn’t it?
If you find your most significant barrier to practicing on a regular basis is a perceived lack of time, try sitting down for only 5 minutes a day.
Tell yourself that you are only required to play for 5 minutes, but if things are going well, you can extend that time.
Chances are that once you start, you’ll want to spend more time on the keyboard.
Establishing a new habit of practice requires a mindset shift. Still, by making the goal attainable, you’re more likely to find success.
Commit to a Daily Practice Schedule
I know it sounds overwhelming, but committing to a daily practice schedule is the best way to make meaningful progress at anything.
And your daily practice sessions can be short. Even a five-minute practice session counts.
One of the best ways to stay committed to my piano practice sessions is through the Modacity app.
The app effortlessly keeps track of your progress, including the total time you’ve spent practicing, your daily run streak, and the number of improvements you’ve made over time.
Modacity is a simple way to organize your practice sessions and the easiest way to give yourself the extrinsic motivation to keep practicing.
If you’ve never heard of Modacity, check out this post for more information on the app and to get an exclusive offer to try it for yourself!
Danish culture is credited with the idea of “hygge,” which fosters a sense of contentment by creating a cozy environment.
You can use the basic principle of hygge to add coziness, peace, and tranquility to your practice sessions.
And the more peace and tranquility you can create, the higher the probability you’ll want to come back and play tomorrow.
Think about it. Your life is hectic. Everyone wants something from you, and they want it 5 minutes ago.
Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a place where you could just be in the moment? Where you could lose yourself in something without worrying about what anyone else thinks?
The good news is that you can create this space for yourself. Here are a few ideas for how you can infuse hygge into your practice sessions:
Add a lamp (or lights that dim)
Hang pictures that you find soothing in your practice space
Add a rug
Wear your comfiest pair of pajamas during your practice sessions
Invest in a padded, adjustable piano bench
Minimize all outside distractions during your practice sessions
Reserve a mug of your favorite warm beverage for this time of day
In summary, create a warm and welcoming practice space you can’t wait to experience daily.
Sometimes the best way to get out of a practice slump is to find inspiration.
It might be a performance by a pianist you admire. Or maybe a podcast about the art of practicing.
There are so many sources of inspiration out there waiting to be discovered.
Attend a live musical performance. It doesn’t even have to be professional or a piano concert. Even attending your middle schooler’s orchestra concert can be enough to inspire you to take on your own next challenge!
Repetitive practice can become tiresome, but you can keep your engagement levels high by injecting variety into your sessions and exploring different musical genres and styles.
Nothing gets you into a piano practice routine like the perpetual fear of embarrassing yourself in front of another person.
But in all seriousness, finding a good teacher can help you set goals, up your skill level, and attain your most audacious musical goals.
And some adult students thrive on the extrinsic motivation that comes from the need to prepare for a weekly lesson.
It’s also true that practice can fall by the wayside when your playing feels stuck or stagnant.
Although you can make significant progress in learning to play piano by yourself, your progress is faster with a mentor.
A mentor can help you set small goals and improve your technique in ways not possible on your own.
And thanks to technology, you can find a motivating teacher in any musical genre.
Your options are no longer limited by geography.
You can even find a teacher willing to give lessons on a casual basis if committing to weekly lessons feels too constricting.
If you’re looking for more tips on finding the best piano teacher for your interests and goals, check out this past blog post.
Find a Community
Sometimes the motivation to practice can come from watching others.
And a great way to get this experience is by joining an online community.
Communities are the ultimate place to find new ways to learn, grow, and share.
Chances are that your spouse and friends don’t play the piano, much less any musical instrument.
And although they may share your joy in finally nailing that entire Beethoven sonata, they don’t truly understand what goes into mastering the 3rd movement of the Moonlight Sonata.
But other people who play the piano get it. They understand the ups and downs of endless scales, chord inversions, and finally, getting what it means to play effortlessly without tension.
And you can find online communities for all musical genres.
Piano music has an unparalleled ability to move and inspire.
Its intricate melodies and rich harmonies have captivated audiences for centuries and continue to do so today.
From the melancholic to the romantic, from the dreamy to the virtuosic, classical piano music offers a wide range of emotions and moods that have stood the test of time.
This post will present the 8 most beautiful classical piano songs ever composed. These pieces are timeless and have been cherished by audiences for generations.
Whether you’re a seasoned pianist or simply an admirer of the beauty of music, this list will inspire you with some of the most remarkable and enchanting pieces in the classical piano repertoire.
So sit back, relax, and enjoy this musical journey through some of the most beautiful piano pieces ever written!
1. Moonlight Sonata by Ludwig van Beethoven
The first movement of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, also known as Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor, Op. 27 No. 2, is a uniquely beautiful piece that has captivated audiences for centuries.
There are several reasons why this movement stands out as an exceptional example of exquisite classical piano music.
Firstly, the piece has a distinct and recognizable melody that is hauntingly beautiful.
The melody is melancholic and introspective, with an ebb and flow of emotion that evokes a sense of longing and reflection.
Beethoven intended for the piece to be played with great emotional depth and intensity, and he uses dynamic phrasing, including crescendos and diminuendos, to create a sense of tension and release.
The use of expression marks such as dolce (sweetly) and espressivo (with expression) also add to the emotional depth and beauty of the piece.
If you’re looking for an easily recognizable piece to help you develop expressive playing, this is the piece to try. And although there are tricky passages, this piece can be tackled by late beginner and early intermediate players.
The second movement of the Sonata is also attainable for late beginners or early intermediate pianists; however, the third movement is technically demanding and should be reserved for advanced pianists.
2. Clair de Lune by Claude Debussy
Clair de Lune is known for its dreamy and ethereal sound, creating a serene and otherworldly atmosphere.
Several musical elements contribute to the tonal texture uniquely characteristic of this piece.
Firstly, the tempo and dynamics give the piece a sense of tranquility and relaxation. The use of rubato, where the performer takes some liberties with the tempo, also adds to the dreamy quality of the piece.
Secondly, the use of harmony and tonality in Clair de Lune creates a sense of suspension and fluidity.
Thirdly, the piece has a delicate and intricate texture, where the interplay between the two hands creates a sense of depth and complexity, adding to the dream-like quality of the piece.
Overall, the dreamy and ethereal sound of Clair de Lune is created through tempo, non-traditional harmony and tonality, delicate and intricate texture, and dynamics and articulation.
The piece creates a sense of tranquility and transports the listener to a magical and mysterious moonlit world.
Clair de Lune has much to offer the intermediate pianist and is a fun piece to master!
3. Nocturne in C-Minor by Frédéric Chopin
The Nocturne in C Minor, Op. 48, No. 1, by Frederic Chopin, is a stunningly beautiful piece that exemplifies the composer’s mastery of the piano and his ability to evoke a range of emotions through his music.
Several elements contribute to the beauty of this piece.
Firstly, the melody of the Nocturne in C Minor is hauntingly beautiful and emotionally charged.
The opening bars feature a mournful and expressive melody developed throughout the piece. The melody is characterized by long, sweeping phrases and expressive ornamentation, which add to its beauty and emotional impact.
Secondly, the harmonic structure of the Nocturne in C Minor is complex and richly expressive. The harmonic structure contributes to the piece’s fluidity and seamless transitions between sections.
Thirdly, the texture of the Nocturne in C Minor is delicate, intricate and changes slightly as the piece progresses. The left-hand accompaniment starts out relatively simple at the beginning of the piece. It transitions to an almost hymn-like texture by page two.
The hymn-like serenity is contrasted by chromatic octaves followed by a return of the original melodic line in the right hand, this time accompanied by triplet rhythms in the left hand.
Finally, the expressive use of dynamics and articulation in the Nocturne in C Minor is another element that contributes to its stunning beauty. Chopin’s markings for dynamics create a sense of depth and contrast that adds to the piece’s emotional impact.
The Nocturne in C-Minor is a particular favorite of mine and is currently on my practice list! Given the technical and rhythmic challenges, this stunning piece of classical music is best suited for the late intermediate to early advanced piano player.
4. Nocturne in E-Flat Major by Frédéric Chopin
The Nocturne in E-flat Major, Op. 9, No. 2, by Frédéric Chopin, is a beautiful and accessible piece that holds a special place in the repertoire for intermediate pianists.
There are several reasons why this Nocturne is considered both stunningly beautiful and approachable for pianists at an intermediate level.
Firstly, the melody of the Nocturne in E-flat Major is undeniably enchanting and captivating. Its lyrical and expressive nature characterizes it, evoking a sense of tenderness and elegance.
The melody flows gracefully and is supported by a delicate accompaniment, creating a sense of richness and depth.
Secondly, the technical demands of the piece are well-suited for intermediate pianists. While there are moments that require skillful finger coordination and control, the Nocturne does not push the boundaries of virtuosic technique as some of Chopin’s more challenging works do.
This accessibility allows intermediate pianists to focus on expressive interpretation and musicality rather than struggling with extreme technical difficulties.
Additionally, the Nocturne in E-flat Major provides an excellent opportunity for pianists to develop their sense of phrasing and musical expression.
Chopin’s use of dynamics, rubato, and subtle tempo fluctuations allows personal interpretation and expression. Intermediate pianists can explore these nuances and develop their own artistic voice while capturing the inherent beauty of the piece.
Lastly, the Nocturne in E-flat Major is a beloved and frequently performed piece, which means ample resources are available for intermediate pianists to study and learn from. Sheet music, tutorials, and recordings are readily accessible, providing helpful guidance and inspiration along the learning journey.
Overall, the Nocturne in E-flat Major by Frédéric Chopin is beautiful and accessible for intermediate pianists.
Its enchanting melody, moderate technical demands, opportunities for expressive interpretation, clear structure, and abundance of available resources make it an ideal choice for those looking to explore and perform a captivating piece while continuing to develop their musical skills.
5. Elegie in E-flat Minor by Sergei Rachmaninoff
The Elegie in E-flat Minor by Sergei Rachmaninoff is a gorgeous piece that could easily top this list as the most beautiful composition of all time.
And I love this piano solo so much that I performed it for my senior recital and continue to pick it up every so often.
Although it’s not one of Rachmaninoff’s best-known piano pieces, it possesses several qualities contributing to its enduring appeal.
First and foremost, the Elegie showcases Rachmaninoff’s remarkable gift for melody. The piece unfolds with a hauntingly beautiful and emotionally charged melody that immediately captivates the listener.
The melody is richly expressive, brimming with poignant and introspective qualities that evoke a profound sense of longing and melancholy.
In addition to its enchanting melody, the Elegie demonstrates Rachmaninoff’s command of harmonic language. Rachmaninoff’s use of rich and complex harmonies creates a sense of depth and emotional intensity.
The harmonies move seamlessly, often taking unexpected turns that heighten the piece’s emotional impact. This harmonic richness contributes to the captivating beauty of the composition.
Furthermore, the Elegie showcases Rachmaninoff’s exceptional pianistic writing. The piece encompasses various pianistic techniques, including intricate passages, cascading arpeggios, and lush chords.
Rachmaninoff’s mastery of the instrument is evident as he explores the piano’s expressive capabilities, allowing for an expansive and nuanced interpretation. The pianist can delve into the depths of dynamics, touch, and phrasing to fully convey the beauty and emotion embedded within the piece.
Lastly, the Elegie possesses a timeless quality that continues to resonate with audiences today. Its profound and evocative nature transcends the boundaries of time and cultural contexts, touching the hearts of listeners across generations.
The ability of the piece to elicit a deep emotional response and transport the listener to a world of introspection and beauty is a testament to its enduring power and status as one of the most beautiful piano pieces ever composed.
Its ability to evoke a profound and lasting impact on listeners solidifies its place among the most revered and cherished compositions in the piano repertoire.
In terms of difficulty, the Elegie is best suited to intermediate and early advanced players.
6. Waltz in A Minor by Frédéric Chopin
The Waltz in A minor, Op. Posth. by Frédéric Chopin is a beautiful and accessible piece appealing to beginner pianists.
There are several reasons why this waltz is considered both exquisitely beautiful and approachable for those starting their piano journey.
Firstly, the Waltz in A minor features a melodic, instantly captivating line. The haunting and melancholic melody evokes a sense of elegance and introspection.
The simplicity and expressiveness of the melody make it easy for the beginner pianist to grasp and convey the emotional depth of the piece.
Secondly, the technical demands of the Waltz in A minor are well-suited for beginner pianists. The piece generally utilizes straightforward hand positions and limited hand stretches, making it comfortable for smaller hands.
Furthermore, the piece provides an excellent opportunity for beginner pianists to develop their sense of phrasing and musical expression.
While the technical challenges are relatively modest, the Waltz in A Minor offers room for personal interpretation and dynamics.
Beginner pianists can experiment with playing softer or louder sections, adding subtle rubato, and exploring different nuances to infuse their performance with their own musicality. The piece also provides an opportunity to practice the art of rubato.
The Waltz in A Minor introduces the charm and elegance of Chopin’s compositions.
As one of Chopin’s earlier works, it is an accessible entry point into his distinct style and romantic sensibilities. Playing this piece can cultivate an appreciation for Chopin’s music and spark the desire to explore more of his compositions in the future.
Lastly, the Waltz in A minor is relatively short and has a straightforward structure. It provides a sense of accomplishment as the piece is learned and performed. The transparent and predictable form helps build confidence.
Overall, the Waltz in A Minor by Frédéric Chopin is beautiful and accessible for beginner pianists. Its captivating melody, manageable technical demands, opportunities for expressive interpretation, introduction to Chopin’s style, and clear structure make it an ideal choice for those starting their piano journey.
Learning and performing this piece can inspire and motivate beginners as they explore the enchanting world of classical piano pieces.
7. Gymnopedie No. 1 by Erik Satie
Gymnopédie No. 1 by Erik Satie is part of a series of three piano compositions, the first being the most famous. This piece possesses distinct qualities that make it an ideal choice for those beginning their musical journey.
First and foremost, Gymnopédie exhibits a serene and ethereal beauty. The simplicity of the melody creates a peaceful and introspective atmosphere, inviting the listener into a world of tranquility.
Another reason the first Gymnopédie is accessible for beginners is the relatively modest technical demands. Satie’s compositions often emphasize simplicity and clarity, allowing novice pianists to focus on developing fundamental skills.
Additionally, the repetitive nature of the entire piece provides an excellent opportunity for beginner pianists to develop their sense of musicality and expressiveness.
As the themes are repeated throughout the piece, beginner pianists can experiment with dynamics, articulation, and phrasing to add their personal touch.
This allows beginners to explore the nuances of interpretation and develop their own musical voice.
The first Gymnopédie also has a relatively slow tempo, which aids beginner pianists’ learning process. The leisurely pace allows more time to think and coordinate finger movements, enhancing accuracy and control.
It also provides a comfortable space for beginners to focus on expression and musicality without feeling rushed.
The first Gymnopédie by Erik Satie possesses a unique beauty and is a widely recognized piece, making it an enjoyable work for beginner pianists to learn.
8. Liebestraum No. 3 by Franz Liszt
Liebestraum, meaning “Dream of Love” in German, is a piano composition by Franz Liszt that is regarded as a uniquely beautiful piece in the classical piano repertoire.
Several elements contribute to its distinctive beauty and make it stand out among other compositions.
One of the defining characteristics of Liebestraum is its lyrical and expressive melody. The piece opens with a mesmerizing and delicate melody that unfolds with elegance and grace.
The melody flows effortlessly, evoking a sense of longing and tenderness, solidifying its status as a true love song. Its simplicity and profound emotional depth make it instantly captivating and memorable.
Another aspect that sets Liebestraum apart is its rich and intricate harmonic structure. Liszt masterfully weaves complex harmonies, lush chord progressions, and subtle chromaticism to create a tapestry of emotional richness.
The harmonic choices add depth and sophistication to the composition, further enhancing its beauty and evoking a wide range of emotions in the listener.
The interplay of delicate and virtuosic passages adds to the piece’s allure, providing a thrilling experience for the performer and the audience.
The composition features a wide range of dynamics, from soft and delicate passages to powerful and passionate sections. These contrasts create a sense of tension and release, adding to the piece’s emotional impact.
Lastly, Liebestraum is renowned for its captivating and evocative storytelling quality. The composition takes the listener on a journey of love and passion, weaving a narrative through its melodic development and harmonic progression.
It creates an immersive and dream-like atmosphere, transporting the listener to a world of heightened emotions and romantic reverie.
In conclusion, Liebestraum by Franz Liszt is a uniquely beautiful piano composition due to its lyrical and expressive melody, rich harmonic structure, virtuosic pianistic writing, dynamic contrasts, and captivating storytelling quality. Its enduring popularity and status as a beloved piece in the piano repertoire are a testament to its timeless beauty and Liszt’s remarkable ability to create music that touches the heart and soul.
This piece is suitable for the intermediate pianist.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this journey through the 8 most beautiful classical piano pieces ever composed! The classical piano repertoire has so many wonderful pieces that it was tough to limit the list to only a few of the most famous pieces.
And whether you’re an avid listener or an aspiring pianist, I hope you find inspiration somewhere in this list. After all, one of the most exciting things about playing the piano is picking out new pieces to add to your repertoire!
If you’re looking for more piano-inspired content, check out a few of my other posts:
Learning to play the piano can be an incredibly rewarding experience for people of all ages, but especially for adults.
Whether you’re a complete beginner or have some prior musical knowledge, playing the piano can help reduce stress, improve memory, and boost cognitive function.
However, as an adult learner, it can be challenging to know where to start and what resources to use. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the top 8 books for adult beginners interested in playing the piano.
As a lifelong pianist, I am passionate about helping others discover this incredible instrument! And I’ve created various resources to help people learn in a way that fits their goals, learning style, and interests.
Teaching yourself by using books is one way to learn, but it’s definitely not the only way. Stick with me to the end of this post for even more resources on how you can start your unique piano journey!
The first book on my list is designed specifically for adult beginners. It includes an introduction to music notation, basic rhythms, and the layout of the piano keyboard.
Lessons in this book are organized progressively, so you can build on your skills as you go. The book also includes access to online audio tracks that you can use to practice. Audio resources include instructional videos and backing tracks.
One of the standout features of this book is its use of familiar tunes and popular songs. Many of the pieces in the book are arrangements of well-known songs, such as “The Entertainer” and “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”
Playing easily recognizable music makes learning more enjoyable and less intimidating. Additionally, the book includes helpful tips and practice techniques to help you improve your playing.
Yet another valuable feature of this book is that it’s spiral bound, meaning it will easily stay open while you play. You will definitely thank me for that feature!
And if you’re interested in supplemental books, the Fabers also have level one books of Christmas, Classical, and Popular music to enhance your learning experience.
The next book on my list has a special place in my heart because this was the series I learned from when I was younger.
Alfred’s course has a whole series of books for children taking piano lessons from a piano teacher; however, their adult edition is an excellent book for people who want to learn at their own pace.
This book is designed to teach adult beginners the fundamentals of playing the piano, including basic music theory, hand positions, and fingerings. The book also emphasizes chord playing early in the learning process.
One of the strengths of this book is its emphasis on music theory. The lessons in the book include explanations of key signatures, scales, and chords, which can be helpful for adult learners who want to understand the underlying principles of music.
The book also includes a variety of musical styles, from classical to popular, so you can explore different genres of music.
While this book is not a traditional piano method book, it is an excellent resource for adult learners who want to improve their technique and understanding of music theory.
The book is written by a piano professor and includes online lessons. As one of the newer books on this list, you can expect quality instruction from an expert who has been on staff at multiple universities.
The book does a great job explaining the basics and then encourages self-learning based on previous lessons. In other words, this book would be a great choice if you had a solid foundation of playing previously and are now looking for a refresher.
There may be better options than this book if you’re a complete beginner. And the songs in the book are somewhat dated but familiar.
If you enjoy this learning method, the author does have a second book in the series that would be worth checking out.
The fourth book on my list is a classic piano method book that has been used by generations of piano students. This book was initially published in the 1930s and continues to teach students the basics of reading music, hand position, and playing simple songs almost 100 years later.
Although the book is designed for young learners, adult beginners may also find it approachable. And many students love the simple melodies in each piece and the fact that each song teaches you a specific lesson about playing.
One drawback of the book is that it doesn’t come with any extra video or audio resources; however, if you need help with a specific lesson, there’s a good chance you can find a YouTube video that addresses your question.
This book is a comprehensive collection of exercises designed to improve your technique and dexterity on the piano. The exercises cover a wide range of topics, from hand positions to chord progressions, and are suitable for players of all levels.
Although the book isn’t necessarily designed to teach beginners how to play, it’s an excellent supplemental book on exercises to improve dexterity and reinforce note reading, key signature recognition, and other necessary keyboard skills.
One of the benefits of this book is its organization. The exercises are arranged in a progressive order, so you can build on your skills as you go. Additionally, the book explains each exercise and how to practice it effectively. This can be especially helpful for adult learners who may not have a teacher to guide them through the learning process.
Again, this is an excellent supplemental resource, regardless of which method you use for your foundation learning.
Although the next book on this list doesn’t necessarily teach you the art of playing the piano, it does help you understand the fundamentals of music theory.
This book promises a revolutionary way to look at the basics of music theory, which is a notoriously challenging topic.
And understanding music theory helps you become a better pianist by enabling you to understand how music is put together. This, in turn, helps you become a better sight reader, improviser, player by ear, and overall musician.
There are many ways to improve your understanding of music theory, but this brand-new book should be your first resource.
If you want a more laid-back approach to learning, check out the next book on my list. This book promises a coaching-based system that helps you progress on your musical journey more quickly than other learning styles.
The book comes with online video lessons to enhance your learning. And it also has a 30-day practice journal to keep you on track.
Spencer also has a podcast called “The Best Music Podcast,” so you can get a sneak peek of his teaching style and approach.
If you want to learn your favorite rock and pop hits, this might be one of the best piano books to accomplish that goal!
Can you really learn to play the piano by reading a book?
This question comes up so often for adults who want to learn to play the piano. After all, most adults I know already have hectic lives. Many have young children, and fitting one more thing into their day doesn’t seem possible.
Learning on your own time and at your own pace feels like a great option when it comes to embracing a new hobby.
And it can work for the piano, too.
Learning to play the piano independently can work if you combine other learning elements. As an example, there are many helpful resources on YouTube.
There are also online courses and apps for learning to play the piano, but books can provide another learning resource for your toolkit.
If you’re interested in learning to play the piano on your own, check out the resources I’ve put together to help you accomplish your goals.
I understand that traditional piano lessons don’t always fit into your life, but that shouldn’t stop you from picking up a new hobby.
And it’s never too late to start! Read through the following and get started today!
Learning to play the piano can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience, no matter your age or skill level.
If you’re an adult beginner looking to start your piano journey, there are many excellent resources available to help you along the way. The eight books I’ve highlighted in this post are great options for adult beginners, and each offers a unique approach to learning the piano.
Remember, learning the piano takes time and dedication. Still, with the right resources and a willingness to practice, anyone can learn to play.
Whether you follow a traditional method book or a more contemporary approach, the most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the learning process.
Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff was a Russian composer, pianist, and conductor who lived from 1873 to 1943. He is considered one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century and a master composer of the late Romantic period.
Thanks to his role as a touring conductor and pianist, his own music composition was limited. Although his total compositional output may be lower than other composers, his music is characterized by a poignancy not attained by most other composers.
His music has captivated me from the moment I first heard it performed, thanks to its soaring melodies and lush harmonies.
Many of his solo and orchestral piano works require an almost virtuosic mastery of the instrument. In contrast, others are attainable by amateur pianists.
His music conveys the most profound emotional experiences of a life characterized by intense joy and sorrow. This post explores 9 of his most famous pieces written for the piano.
Prelude in C-Sharp Minor
This prelude is part of a more extensive work for piano solo called Morceaux de Fantaisie. It’s arguably one of his best-known works and was written in his early years of composing after graduation from the Moscow Conservatory.
The entire work is dedicated to Anton Arensky, Rachmaninoff’s harmony teacher, at the Conservatory.
This piece is also known as The Bells of Moscow, as it replicates the sound of church bells.
Although the piece was wildly considered a huge success, it was never considered by Rachmaninoff to be particularly noteworthy. In fact, there are reports that he came to despise the piece as it was consistently requested by audiences during his performances.
Despite the controversy, it’s a beautiful piece attainable by many amateur pianists.
Elegie in E-Flat Minor
This next piece is my favorite solo piano piece by the Russian composer. Also part of the Morceaux de Fantaisie, the Elegie is less well known as the more famous prelude but showcases Rachmaninoff’s superior ability to compose a hauntingly beautiful melody.
The Elegie is a slow and lyrical piece that, although it could be used as background music in a movie, is so much more. Its emotive melody conveys a deep sense of sorrow, making it one of Rachmaninoff’s most powerful compositions for solo piano.
The piece is written in a challenging key signature. Still, it has the type of emotional intensity unmatched by any other major works in the Romantic period of classical music.
Click the video to watch my interpretation of this extraordinary piece!
Prelude in G Minor
The Prelude in G minor is a short but powerful piece that Rachmaninoff composed in 1901. The piece is known for its intense emotional content, and it is a favorite among pianists and audiences alike.
The Prelude No. 5 is part of a more extensive set under Opus 23. Although the first and last sections of the piano work have a strong rhythmic drive, this contrasts with the middle section, which has a gorgeous melody in the right hand.
The piece has a minor key signature and is written in the Romantic style. It’s the type of music Rachmaninoff was known for – passionate, romantic, and full of emotion.
This work is highly regarded by concert pianists as it showcases the composer’s ability to weave a haunting melodic line amid unique harmonies. It’s a beautiful piece of music that will leave you with chills!
Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-Flat Minor
The Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor is a three-movement sonata that Rachmaninoff composed in 1913. Rachmaninoff revised the sonata in 1931, and the piece was recorded as a combination of both versions by Vladimir Horowitz in 1940.
The sonata is known for its complex harmonies and technical demands on the pianist. The first movement is somber and reflective, while the second movement is more lyrical and expressive. The final movement is fast and energetic, with a sense of triumph and resolution.
There is no denying that this piece is a challenge to perform. It requires a strong technique and the ability to navigate complex rhythms, dissonance, and dynamic changes. But with practice, dedicated pianists can really bring out its beauty and emotion.
The Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor is one of Rachmaninoff’s most unique and powerful works, showcasing his incredible skill as a composer.
The Etudes-Tableaux comprises two sets of etudes known as Op. 33 and Op. 39. Each piece is a “picture piece” depicting slightly different visual scenes, and each has its own distinct mood and character.
The pieces are known for their virtuosic piano writing and their rich harmonies.
Recordings of the Etudes-Tableaux have been recorded by many renowned pianists, including Vladimir Ashkenazy and the composer himself.
Vocalise is a song without words that Rachmaninoff composed in 1912. It was originally written for voice and piano but has since been arranged by other composers for many different instruments, including the cello and violin.
There have also been arrangements for a variety of chamber groups and orchestras. And this piece has even been arranged for solo theremin.
The piece is known for its simple yet beautiful melody and lush harmonies.
Variations on a Theme of Chopin
After the relatively poor reception of his first symphony, Rachmaninoff fell into a deep depression, and his compositional output was low. Depression and self-doubt plagued him throughout his life.
Fortunately, and with the help of therapy, he was able to resume composing once again in the early 1900s, completing the Variations on a Theme of Chopin in 1903. This popular work is based on Frederic Chopin’s Prelude in C minor.
The piece itself includes 22 variations on the prelude and was his most extensive composition for the instrument at the time.
The variations are a stunning display of his mastery of the instrument. It begins with a romantic, lyrical theme that moves through many different moods and styles, from dramatic to whimsical.
The piece ends on an exuberant note and is a testament to Rachmaninoff’s skill as a composer and pianist.
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
The Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini is a set of 24 variations for solo piano and orchestra. Written for orchestra and piano in 1934 and based on the theme from Paganini’s Caprice No. 24, composed for solo violin, this piece showcases Rachmaninoff’s compositional genius.
The Rhapsody is a fun dialogue between piano and orchestra, highlighting the virtuosity of the concert pianist.
Although all variations are beautiful, the 18th variation is often performed on its own and is the most well-known variation.
Despite the playfulness, there are moments characteristic of Rachmaninoff that feature melancholy and drama. The piece captures listeners from the beginning and is exciting for performers and audiences alike.
The Rhapsody is known for its grandeur and sweeping melodies, and it is a favorite among pianists and audiences alike. It has also been arranged for solo piano and has been recorded by many renowned pianists, including Arthur Rubinstein, Yuja Wang, and Rachmaninoff himself.
Piano Concerto No. 3
The third piano concerto in D minor is often considered one of the most challenging concertos in the classical repertoire.
Rachmaninoff composed it in 1909, and he performed as the soloist in the piece’s premiere in New York City later that same year.
The concerto is in three movements, and it is known for its virtuosic piano writing and its soaring melodies. The first movement starts with a captivating melodic theme in the first movement that bounces gently between the orchestra and the piano. In contrast, the second movement is more lyrical and reflective.
The final movement is fast and energetic, with a triumphant finish.
The Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor has been recorded by many renowned pianists, including Vladimir Ashkenazy.
As is true of so many of Rachmaninoff’s compositions, this one also requires a high degree of virtuosity from the pianist and is my favorite of his orchestral works.
Sergei Rachmaninoff was one of the most accomplished and celebrated composers of the 20th century, and his piano music remains among the most beloved in the classical repertoire.
From the grandeur of the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini to the haunting beauty of the Prelude in G minor, Rachmaninoff’s piano pieces continue to captivate audiences with their emotional power and technical demands.
Whether you are a seasoned pianist or a casual listener, Rachmaninoff’s music offers a rich and rewarding experience that is sure to leave a lasting impression.
I hope this list of the 9 most famous piano pieces by Sergei Rachmaninoff has inspired you to explore more of his music and to appreciate the incredible talent and artistry that he brought to the world of classical music.
And if you enjoyed this post, feel free to check out my other piano-inspired content!
Learning to play the piano can be a truly rewarding experience.
But as an adult beginner, you may feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information out there on how to learn this instrument.
To help simplify your journey, I’ve put together 13 essential tips for adult beginners looking to start playing the piano.
These practical suggestions will help take some of the guesswork out of learning and allow you to focus more on having fun while developing your skills as a musician.
From understanding basic music theory and posture techniques to exploring different genres and finding ways to stay motivated – these tips will give you all the tools needed for success as a beginning pianist!
My Piano Background
Transparency and authenticity are two of my core values, so it is important to tell you why I am qualified to advise beginner pianists on the instrument.
I started piano lessons at age 7 and continued playing until graduation. Although I initially enrolled in college as a pre-veterinary medicine major, I switched majors to music 3 days into my freshman year.
The college I attended gave me many incredible musical opportunities, including the chance to take organ lessons. And to this day, I continue to perform regularly as a church organist.
After graduating with a baccalaureate degree in music, I remained fascinated with the instrument and dove deeper into the topics of practice, memorization, and performance anxiety.
I’ve taught piano beginners of all ages and continued to hone my performance skills by accompanying vocalists and instrumentalists in various settings.
And I’ve continued pushing myself to expand my playing repertoire by learning new pieces. I’ve also recently started exploring the various testing options available for pianists.
I love the piano, and my goal in starting this blog is to share my love with others and hopefully inspire others to pursue their musical passion!
1. Write down your goals for learning the piano
If you’re thinking about learning the piano but have yet to start, one of the first things you can do is take some time to figure out your goals in learning the instrument.
For example, do you want to:
Learn to play by ear?
Play your favorite pop songs?
Impress your friends?
Play for a church service?
People want to learn piano for many reasons, but it’s a good idea to get clear on your exact goals to find the best way to accomplish them.
If you’re not clear on your goals, you definitely won’t achieve them. And clarity at this stage helps you avoid disappointment down the road.
2. Figure out your ideal learning situation
Everyone learns differently, so what works for one person may or may not work for you. That’s why it’s essential to figure out how you learn the best.
Do you prefer online courses? Or do you like having a teacher who can guide and motivate you?
Do you need structure to stay motivated? Are you an independent learner?
What is the best way for you to retain information? In other words, do you learn best by reading, hearing, seeing, or doing?
Taking time to reflect on your personality, learning style, preferences, and what has worked in the past will help you move toward your goals faster by giving you a solid foundation.
Be honest with yourself. If you’d like to be an independent learner but have needed help following through in the past, take time to figure out why you struggled.
Answering these questions will help you pick the best learning tool. And having the right tool for the job makes all the difference in whether or not you’ll succeed in the long run.
3. Find a learning method that fits your learning style and goals
When it comes to learning the piano, there are many great options, including:
Self-paced online courses
In-person group lessons
Maybe a combination of several different tools would help you succeed in achieving your goals.
And speaking of goals, now is the time to bring them back into focus. Combine the goals you brainstormed with your ideal learning situation, and you will be able to identify how to make your piano dreams a reality.
It’s an excellent fit for my goals, interests, and learning style.
Playground Sessions might be the right place to start if you want to learn to play pop songs in a video game-like format that simulates being part of a band.
And if you’re interested in a more traditional approach to learning the instrument, Piano Marvel might be a perfect fit.
If you’re interested in trying it out for yourself, use promo code OGBB22 for $3 off the monthly fee. And at $12.99 a month, you really can’t go wrong! Click here to go to the Piano Marvel website.
Formal lessons with a piano teacher can be a fantastic option for many people who are entirely new to the instrument. It’s also helpful if you find a teacher who can help you advance in your areas of interest.
4. Buy an instrument
Once you’ve figured out your goals and explored your learning style, it’s time to find yourself a piano.
Fortunately, there are so many great options when it comes to pianos! Acoustic, digital, upright, or grand, your perfect piano is out there.
If you’re starting out and are unsure whether you will stick with the musical instrument, consider a digital model. But if you’re passionate about classical music, consider sticking with an acoustic.
The topic of finding the perfect piano for your budget and goals is a huge one, so make sure to check out the following guides for more information:
The ProPractice community is on Facebook, and I’ve found it incredibly motivating and supportive. Dr. Wright is active in the community, posting motivational quotes and responding to questions.
If you’re interested in classical piano, I would wholeheartedly recommend his course and the positive community he has built on Facebook.
There are a few other piano communities on Facebook, including one for people with performance anxiety. The group is geared toward people who love the piano but are hesitant about performing, so it’s a very positive and supportive environment.
If you take lessons from someone in person or online, sometimes there are recitals or other social events for piano students. I recommend partaking in those events.
Although I am a complete introvert, connecting with others over a shared passion is easy and, dare I say, fun!?!
7. Learn music theory
Music theory is the foundation of all music; studying it will help you become a better player. It will also help you to enjoy music on a deeper level.
Theory will help you understand key signatures, the difference between a minor and major scale, and the different types of chords; all crucial information that will help you be able to play music by ear. It will also help with improv and sight reading.
Most piano teachers incorporate at least a bit of music theory in piano lessons. And if you’re studying independently, there are websites and videos that can help deepen your understanding of the topic.
If you’re looking for a more formal course on theory, check out Skillshare. There are a series of videos on the platform that are done by a college theory professor.
The videos are helpful, engaging, and well worth your time.
8. Practice sight reading skills
Sight reading is a skill that requires dedicated practice, but it’s also gratifying. Being able to look at a piece of music and start playing it without hesitation is an incredible feeling.
The best way to practice sight reading is to select pieces several levels below your current level. Don’t worry about perfecting it; the goal is to become comfortable reading unfamiliar music.
If you have access to a piano teacher, they can assign you sight-reading sheet music and offer feedback to help you improve in this area.
However, if you’re learning independently, some great apps can help.
Sight reading is a fun and valuable addition to your daily practice routine.
9. Start learning to play by ear
If there’s one skill I wish I would’ve emphasized more in my younger days, it’s learning to play by ear.
Developing your ear helps you sight-read and memorize more effectively. It also makes learning pieces more enjoyable.
There are a few different ways to learn how to play by ear. The most obvious is to listen to your favorite songs and try to replicate them on the piano. But if that feels overwhelming, there are some more structured approaches as well.
There are a few websites and apps designed to develop this skill.
One of my favorite apps is called Chet. It guides you through various listening exercises that range in difficulty, from the basic differentiation between a half step and a third to determine the correct pitch of a series of notes.
You can even work on figuring out the melodies of famous rock and pop songs or determine the correct notes in a series of minor chords. One of my other favorite games is trying to pick up the correct chord progression.
Chet takes a game approach, making it addicting and a fun boredom buster.
Although I’ve never used this next one, the Theta Music Trainer is another resource for developing a more musical ear.
Playing by ear is a great way to expand your musical abilities, and I recommend trying it out!
10. Incorporate memorizing into your practice routine
Playing a piece of music without looking at the score is an invaluable skill.
Not only does it allow you to perform more freely, but it also allows you to internalize the music and express yourself more authentically.
Memorizing can be intimidating and confusing, but it can become much easier with practice.
One of the best places to start memorizing is with a piece you’ve mastered and enjoy playing. This will make the process less daunting, and you’ll be able to focus more on committing the music to memory.
Start with one measure and gradually add measures to your memory until you’ve memorized the whole piece.
Having a foundation in music theory and playing by ear can help you memorize more completely and effectively because when you understand the structure, you can more easily commit the music to memory.
Work on incorporating some memorization into your daily practice session; it will become easier with time.
Learning to memorize music is a skill that can translate to many other areas of life and is incredibly satisfying!
11. Master hands separate before putting it all together
Playing the piano requires an incredible amount of coordination. And to learn a piece well, you have to understand what each hand is doing separately before you can put them together.
When working through a new piece, it’s essential to scope it out first by figuring out the time signature, dynamics, and whether there are parts that will be tricky.
After getting the initial basics of the piece down, focus on playing with each hand separately at a slow tempo before putting them together.
You might even need to break the piece down, measure by measure, to figure out the tricky parts.
There may be measures that will be easy to play hands together but others where the right and left hand have completely opposite parts.
Playground Sessions does a great job of teaching you how to break a piece down to each hand separately before putting them together.
If you’re taking an independent approach to learning to play the piano but are struggling with learning how to learn, check out Playground Sessions.
12. Play what you love
You are drawn to the piano because you want to play the music that moves and motivates you.
Regardless of what genre you love, the most important thing is to find a way to regularly incorporate the piano music you love into your learning.
If you’re taking private lessons, share your goals with your teacher so they can help you find level-appropriate music you enjoy playing.
Although you won’t find all the music you play motivating, it’s essential to always have a few pieces you love in your practice routine.
Even if it’s music you never share with anyone, it’s worthwhile to learn if you love it.
When you find joy in the pieces you’re playing, it’s easier to stay motivated and focused on learning. So go ahead and play what you love!
If you want to play music you can recognize from the beginning, check out Playground Sessions. I found the music, even from the first lesson, recognizable and entertaining to play.
It also allows you to play with a track, which is almost like playing with a band. It’s a fun way to learn the instrument!
13. Get some sleep
My last piano practice tip might seem entirely out there, but I will say it anyway.
Research continues to prove just how crucial sleep is to your overall well-being. It’s especially valuable when learning a new skill because your brain solidifies what you’ve learned while fast asleep.
Getting 7-9 hours of sleep every night is the best way to speed up your learning, especially when you aspire to be a piano player.
Here are a few tips for better rest at night:
Avoid screens (phone, TV, etc.) 1-2 hours before bed.
Practicing meditation before bed can help your brain release the problems of today.
Stick to a regular bedtime and wake-up time.
Seek out natural light right away in the morning to help your body naturally become more alert.
Keep your bedroom dark and cool for optimal sleep.
Exercising earlier in the day can help you feel tired at night and help you to sleep more deeply.
There’s nothing better than the satisfaction of knowing you’ve mastered something really tough. And learning to play the piano definitely fits into that category!
Although learning any new skill takes hard work, it’s almost always worth it. Playing an instrument has many incredible benefits for your brain, and it’s a fun way to pass the time.
It’s also a great way to meet people and get involved in the musical community. Once you have mastered the basics, playing with other musicians, either as an accompanist or as part of a band, can be entertaining.
I’ve done a fair amount of accompanying and love playing with choirs or soloists. And I especially love accompanying my daughter on her violin.
You’d be shocked at how many opportunities come when you can play the piano. Whether it’s for church or jamming with friends, learning to play the piano is something you’ll never regret.
And even if you never play for another person, if it’s something you enjoy, it’s worth pursuing.
The great news is that it’s never too late to start your piano journey! So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and start making some beautiful music!
Good luck and happy practicing. 🙂
If you loved this post, check out my other piano-inspired content:
We all want to lead a life full of joy and contentment.
But often, the reality of our lives can be far from these ideals.
It’s so easy to focus on the hustle and grind of doing the work to chase your goals that you quickly lose sight of why you’re hustling in the first place.
Because when it comes down to it, the hustle is about building a life on your terms. It’s about creating a life you love.
Fortunately, there are some strategies you can use to shift your focus to enjoying the journey rather than only looking forward to reaching your final destination.
This post brings you 7 simple but effective ways to start living your life with more joy today.
And by taking ownership of how you live each day through these practices, you will give yourself permission to enjoy every moment along the way!
Foster a daily meditation practice
Life is a never-ending series of twists and turns, with new challenges at every corner. So, getting stuck in problem-solving mode for our whole lives is easy.
And this type of thinking has its place. Still, a constant focus on problems can suck you into overthinking and catastrophizing. After a while, you’re going through life on autopilot.
It’s like when you’re driving somewhere you’ve gone 1,000 times before and arrive realizing that you remember nothing of the actual trip from point A to point B.
My point is that you can’t enjoy life if you’re not living in the moment.
And meditation is one of the best tools to stay grounded and mindful in your day-to-day life.
It helps keep you focused on being present and aware of what’s happening around you, which is a very good thing!
A regular meditation practice helps to cultivate a sense of joy by allowing you to see things from a new perspective and gain clarity on the present moment.
Plus, a daily meditation practice can also help reduce stress and improve overall mental health.
Meditation is one of the easiest ways to shift to a more positive mindset. And one of the best things about it is that there are so many free resources for getting started!
Podcasts and YouTube are great places to start, and if you want to expand your meditation practice from there, try an app like Headspace or Calm.
Today is the best time to start taking a brief moment to enjoy the here and now!
Start a gratitude journal
Gratitude is one of the most powerful tools you can use to increase your joy in life.
Focusing on what’s good and working in your life is an easy way to start seeing opportunities for joy, even during the most challenging times.
And one of the best ways to cultivate a sense of gratitude is by starting a daily gratitude journal.
Every day, take a few minutes to write down three things you’re grateful for. This could be anything from a beautiful sunset you saw to a meaningful conversation with a friend.
The key is to take the time to savor and appreciate these moments, no matter how small they may seem.
By taking the time each day to write down what you’re grateful for, you’ll be surprised at how quickly your mindset shifts towards more joy and contentment.
And the more you practice gratitude, the easier it will become to find joy in the little moments of your everyday life!
Look for new experiences
I love a routine as much as anyone, but I’ve found that doing the same thing for a long time is a slippery slope to boredom.
Living life to the fullest means embracing new experiences. So, make a point to get out there and try something you’ve never done before.
This could be anything from taking up a hobby like painting or playing music (did someone say something about the piano?!) to exploring a new city or traveling somewhere totally different.
The possibilities are endless! And no matter what type of new things you choose, it’s sure to bring joy and enthusiasm into your life.
Plus, the more experiences you have, the more memories you’ll be able to look back on with fondness. And that is something to cherish!
So don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and look for new opportunities for joy and growth.
You never know what you might discover!
Individualize your fitness journey
Fitness isn’t just about looking good or losing weight.
It’s also a great way to feel strong and energized – which makes it one of the best tools for finding joy in life.
But too often, people get stuck in the “one size fits all” fitness mentality and end up feeling overwhelmed or discouraged.
And that’s why it’s so important to individualize your fitness journey.
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced athlete, don’t be afraid to mix things up and find activities that bring you joy.
This could be anything from a yoga session to a dance class to martial arts – the key is to find something that energizes and motivates you.
And once you find something that works for you, make it a regular part of your routine and focus on the intrinsic rewards it brings rather than any external recognition or accolades.
At the end of the day, it’s about finding joy in movement and challenging yourself to be the best version of yourself!
Pay attention to the little things that bring joy
Finding joy isn’t always about grand gestures or big accomplishments.
It’s also about appreciating the small moments that bring a spark of joy into your life.
When you start to look for these little moments, you’ll be amazed at how many opportunities present themselves on a daily basis!
A hot cup of coffee on a chilly morning, an animal in the park that makes you smile, a beautiful piece of art at a museum – these are all little moments that can add up to bring unexpected joy.
Be open to the possibility of finding these little moments everywhere, and you’ll be amazed at how many times a day you’ll find yourself smiling.
Whether it’s a squirrel using the crosswalk to get across a congested street or the mail carrier blasting “Livin’ on a Prayer,” there are so many little ways to incorporate joy and laughter into your life.
So, make an effort to pay attention to these special moments and savor them as much as possible. Before you know it, they’ll become part of your daily life and help you find joy in the most unexpected places.
Find your ideal work-life balance
Most of us have jobs that take up a good portion of our day, and work can be an essential source of joy and fulfillment.
But it’s also important to find your ideal work-life balance. After all, life isn’t just about working – it’s about enjoying the moments in between!
Take some time to think about what brings you joy and satisfaction, both in the workplace and outside of it.
Then, use this knowledge to create a balanced schedule that allows for meaningful work and leisure time.
Achieving balance on a daily basis has proven challenging for me.
Between working full-time, 3 kids, and hobbies, there always seemed to be little time in the day.
Trying to find daily balance started to become a source of stress for me.
But one thing that’s been particularly helpful for me is to consider balance on a weekly or even a monthly basis.
There will be some weeks when I spend more time on work. And other weeks when I have more time to catch up on housework.
And still, others when I have slightly more creative energy to pour into the blog and my other creative endeavors.
Taking a “long game” approach to work-life balance has given me the peace of knowing that everything will get done in its time.
By creating an environment where you can find joy in your job as well as in your personal life, you’ll be able to feel more fulfilled and balanced.
And that, in turn, will help you to find joy and fulfillment in all aspects of your life!
The bottom line is that finding joy doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing pursuit. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to living a joyful life – it’s about creating what works for you.
I can’t emphasize strongly enough just how essential getting enough restful sleep is for your overall health and well-being.
Not getting enough quality rest can lead to a host of long-term physical, mental, and emotional issues, which can all contribute to a lack of joy in life.
Research has shown a correlation between a lack of sleep and an increased risk of certain cancers, heart disease, diabetes, and dementia.
If there’s one thing you take away from this post, I hope it is the importance of prioritizing sleep. It’s the foundation on which everything else in your life sits.
So make sure that you’re setting aside enough time each night to get the proper amount of restful sleep.
When our bodies are adequately rested, we can be more present in each moment, enjoy life more fully, and feel a significant increase in our overall well-being.
If your days or weeks have been particularly stressful, take a few minutes to relax and let go. Taking time for yourself can help to refresh your mind and restore balance in your life, leading to a more joyful outlook.
Life will always come with its fair share of big things that go terribly wrong.
And inevitably, when you embark on a new life’s journey, you’ll be met with the type of resistance that threatens to derail all your hard work.
But by taking a different approach, you can navigate anything life throws you joyfully instead of with stress.
Learning to live life with joy instead of fear is a mindset. It takes a bit of practice, but it is a far better way to live than the alternative.
And the foundation to enjoying life is caring for yourself.
Reducing stress through meditation, engaging in regular exercise, and prioritizing your sleep are essential basics upon which everything else is built.
And if you’re feeling overwhelmed about this list and need a simple place to start, sleep is the best place. You’d be amazed at how much easier it is to experience true happiness when you’re feeling well-rested!
My challenge to you today is to let go of the hustle mindset and instead embrace relaxation, joy, and a focus on living a meaningful life.
The tips listed above are a first step but feel free to take them further. Shape and mold them into the version that fits best in your life.
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