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Acoustic vs Digital Piano: Which One is Right for You?

Acoustic vs Digital Piano: Which One is Right for You?

As an aspiring pianist, you might be searching for the perfect piano. You need a piano that fits your goals, preferences, and budget.

Whether you’re piano shopping or simply curious about the piano options out there, this post is for you!

We’ll discuss the acoustic vs. digital piano options and why you might choose one over the other.

And by the end of the post, you’ll better understand the different piano options available today.

This post may contain affiliate links. As affiliates of the Amazon associate program, Modacity, Dr. Josh Wright ProPractice, Musicnotes, Playground Sessions, and Piano Marvel, I may receive a commission at no extra cost if you purchase through a link. Please see my full disclosure for further information and privacy policy. I take no credit for the images appearing on this page. All photos are courtesy of Canva.

What is an acoustic piano?

An acoustic piano is probably the type of instrument you think of when you think about a piano.

It’s made of wood, with steel strings and felt-covered hammers that strike those strings to create sound.

An acoustic instrument can come in all shapes and sizes, from small uprights to large grand pianos, but they all have the same basic design.

The sound of an acoustic piano is unique and beautiful. It’s the classic sound of a real instrument without any digital processing.

Upright vs. Grand

When shopping for pianos, you can choose between an upright and a grand.

An upright piano is what most people immediately think about when you say the word “piano.” They are smaller in size and take up less space.

Grands are larger instruments that offer a fuller sound.

Generally speaking, an acoustic grand piano is more expensive than an acoustic upright; however, the price often reflects the piano’s brand, age, and quality.

Benefits of an Acoustic Piano

The main benefit of an acoustic piano is that it’s a real instrument. It has a genuinely organic piano sound.

An acoustic piano also offers better tactile feedback than a digital keyboard, giving you more control over dynamics and phrasing.

And having more control over the sound leads to more extraordinary artistry and satisfaction with playing the instrument.

Finally, a real piano is often used in concert halls and performance venues, so an acoustic instrument may be your best bet if you’re serious about playing or performing classical.

Drawbacks of an Acoustic Piano

The biggest drawback of an acoustic piano is the cost. Acoustic pianos can be expensive up-front.

Acoustic pianos should ideally be tuned once to twice yearly. And because there are so many small, moving parts, they may need occasional repairs and regulation to maintain the best possible sound.

Piano tuning and repair is an art form requiring years of training and practice. Regardless of what the internet says, don’t try to tune or repair your piano yourself.

It’s always best to hire a professional piano technician to ensure your piano stays in excellent condition.

Acoustic grand pianos are not easy to move and require a great deal of space, another drawback if you have a small living area. Even an upright traditional acoustic piano is very heavy and difficult to move.

Finally, acoustic pianos are limited regarding sound capabilities, such as built-in speakers, internal sound samples, and MIDI capabilities.

And if you live in an apartment or want a late night practice session after your kids go to bed, you can’t plug in a set of headphones and play to your heart’s content.

Consider an Acoustic Piano if:

  • You love playing classical music.
  • Your living room has plenty of space.
  • You consider an authentic acoustic sound to be the most important thing.
  • You’re committed to learning the instrument.
  • You don’t mind keeping up with routine tuning and repairs.
  • You’re looking for an authentic playing experience.
  • You may be interested in upgrading at some point and want decent resale value.

Generally speaking, if you’re interested in pursuing the performance of classical music, stick with an acoustic. And if your budget allows, opt for a grand over an upright.

Remember that this doesn’t have to be your “forever” piano. Acoustic pianos generally hold resale value better than digital pianos, and you will likely be able to use your initial investment toward a higher-quality option in the future.

What is a digital piano?

A digital piano is an electronic instrument that mimics the look and feel of an acoustic piano.

Digital pianos are usually smaller and lighter than acoustic pianos, and they come in both upright and grand models.

The main difference between an acoustic and digital piano is that a good digital piano has sounds sampled from actual acoustic pianos. But the sound quality can vary dramatically from one digital instrument to the next.

Some of the best digital pianos on the market sound similar to the real thing. They also often have additional features, such as MIDI capabilities, built-in rhythms, and accompaniment tracks.

Digital Piano vs. Keyboard

You may have heard the terms “digital piano” and “digital keyboard” used interchangeably, but they’re not quite the same.

A digital piano is designed to mimic an acoustic piano in sound and playing experience. Digital pianos generally have 88 keys weighted to replicate an acoustic’s playing experience.

A digital keyboard often has fewer than 88 keys, usually 61 or 76. Keys on a keyboard are generally not weighted.

Although a digital piano is more portable than an acoustic one, they’re not designed to be moved from place to place or taken out to gigs.

But you can easily take a keyboard with you wherever you go.

Both digital pianos and keyboards generally come equipped with various alternate sound settings, but keyboards often have more options than digital pianos.

Generally speaking, digital pianos are designed to be an electronic alternative to acoustic pianos, while keyboards are designed for portability and creativity in sound production.

Benefits of a Digital Piano

The most significant benefit of a digital piano is the price. Digital pianos usually cost less than acoustic ones and require minimal maintenance.

Digital instruments are also easier to move around, as they don’t weigh nearly as much as a real acoustic piano.

You can even find battery-powered digital pianos for use outdoors or in places where there may not be an electrical outlet nearby.

Digital pianos also typically have many extra features that can be useful for musicians.

Many digital instruments come with accompaniment tracks, built-in rhythms, a USB port, and various sounds sampled from different instruments.

Digital pianos can also be connected to computers via MIDI cables to use sequencing software or virtual instrument plugins.

And if you’re interested in using an app to learn piano, several different options, once connected, give feedback on your playing.

Drawbacks of a Digital Piano

The main drawback of a digital piano is the lack of touch sensitivity and tactile feedback.

Digital instruments are often designed to be lightweight so that they can be moved easily. This also means that the keys have less resistance when you press them, which may not give you as much control over phrases or dynamics as an acoustic instrument.

Another potential drawback is the sound quality may not be as good as an acoustic piano, although this varies from one make and model to another.

Finally, some digital pianos come with pre-programmed rhythms and accompaniment tracks that can limit your creativity.

If playing around with different sounds is essential, you may want a model with more advanced features.

Overall, digital pianos offer many great benefits for those searching for an instrument, but understanding the pros and cons before deciding is essential.

Consider a Digital Piano if:

  • Your living space has limited room.
  • You want to play electronic music and must be able to produce various sounds.
  • You’re still determining whether you will stick with the instrument for an extended period.
  • You want to practice with headphones.
  • You’re learning the instrument with an online course or program that works best with a digital instrument.
  • You want to avoid the hassle of routine tuning and maintenance.

If you’re ready to explore digital pianos, check out my review of the best budget digital pianos for beginners.

What is a hybrid piano?

Several companies, including Yamaha, now also make hybrid pianos. As you may have guessed, the hybrid piano is a combination of features from both acoustic and digital pianos combined in one instrument.

Hybrid pianos offer the sound an acoustic piano produces with a digital model’s convenient recording features.

And if you want to practice at midnight while your family sleeps, plug in the headphones and play away without sacrificing the authentic acoustic sound.

Although the hybrid piano offers the best of both worlds, they are relatively new and carry a higher price tag than some acoustic and digital pianos.

Piano Shopping Tips

Remember a few general rules when shopping for your first piano.

Try Before You Buy

Although online reviews and videos are helpful, trying the piano out for yourself is always best before making a purchase decision.

Every piano has a slightly different feel. Some have a stiffer action, while others have a more bright tone.

Although I grew up playing my grandmother’s acoustic upright, I fell in love with playing grand pianos while in college.

Most of the Yamaha grand pianos I played in college had stiff actions and bright sounds. I became somewhat biased against the entire brand.

Several years ago, when I could finally upgrade from my grandmother’s upright, I was shocked when I tried out the Yamaha grand that would eventually become mine.

The action was perfect, as was the sound.

And if I had stuck with my distaste for Yamahas, I never would have found my dream piano.

Free Pianos are Everywhere

You’ll likely encounter the “free” piano in your search for an instrument. Craigslist and newspaper ads often feature pianos that you need only haul away.

Be cautious of these pianos. Many of these instruments need extensive regulation and repair to get back to a functional condition.

Generally speaking, grand pianos hold up better over time than uprights, but even an “antique” grand can wear out over time.

Pianos have been mass-produced in this country for nearly 50 years, meaning there are more junk pianos than good ones, especially if the piano is more than ten years old.

Free pianos are an option; however, you’ll probably need to invest money to get it to a playable condition.

And even then, there are no guarantees that it will be the piano it once was.

Generally speaking, avoid any piano showing evidence of water damage, soundboard cracks, or uprights over 20 years old unless they’ve had proper care and maintenance.

Consult an Expert

If you feel overwhelmed by finding a piano, consider asking for help.

Piano technicians are an excellent resource for helping you make an informed decision. In addition to tuning and repairing pianos, technicians often sell them or know of pianos for sale that may fit your buying criteria.

Technicians can help with pricing and determining whether the piano needs work after purchase.

If you’re taking piano lessons, consider asking your teacher for assistance with your piano search.

Your piano teacher might be able to help you decide on the type of piano that would best suit your goals and playing style.

Final Thoughts

Finding a piano is a very personal decision. It doesn’t matter whether it’s acoustic or digital as long as it’s a piano you love.

Take your time and learn as much as you can about pianos before making the purchase.

Be sure to try out several instruments and talk to a technician before deciding on an instrument that best fits your needs.

And with any luck, your work up-front will result in finding an instrument you love for years to come!

If you’re brand new to playing piano, consider signing up for my email list. As a thank-you for signing up, you’ll get exclusive access to the 5-day getting started with the piano challenge.

The challenge covers finding your optimal learning method, a list of teachers, and all the information you need to get started playing the piano.

5 Day Piano Challenge

Do you want to learn to play piano but have no idea where to start?

Join the challenge and receive 5 days of actionable steps taking you from clueless to confident in your piano journey!

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    And if you loved this post, check out my other helpful piano-related content:

    References Used to Write this Post

    Can You Learn to Play Piano by Watching YouTube Videos?

    Can You Learn to Play Piano by Watching YouTube Videos?

    Whether it’s possible to learn to play piano by watching YouTube videos is a question my college piano professor would shudder to even think about.

    But it’s a fair question for anyone who struggles with traditional piano lessons.

    Carving out time every week to attend lessons is time-consuming. Not to mention the practice time required to avoid guilt or embarrassment due to not practicing at said lessons.

    Learning online, at your own pace, and for free seems like a fantastic alternative to traditional lessons.

    But is learning to play piano by watching YouTube videos possible?

    In this post, we’ll take a closer look at this very controversial question.

    This post may contain affiliate links. As affiliates of the Amazon associate program, Modacity, Dr. Josh Wright ProPractice, Musicnotes, Playground Sessions, and Piano Marvel, I may receive a commission at no extra cost if you purchase through a link. Please see my full disclosure for further information and privacy policy. I take no credit for the images appearing on this page. All photos are courtesy of Canva.

    What skills do you need to develop to learn piano?

    To answer the question of whether learning piano is possible by watching YouTube videos, let’s start by exploring the skills you need to develop to play the instrument.

    Note Identification

    Playing a song on the piano requires you to play specific notes in a particular order. And this means you have to know which keys to play.

    Whether you’re playing from sheet music or by ear, you need to be able to identify the notes on the keyboard in front of you.

    The great news is that you can learn note identification from YouTube videos. There are also apps and books to boost your skills in this area.

    YouTube is also the perfect medium to learn chord progressions and improvisational skills.

    Technique

    Playing the piano has its risks. Proper technique is vital to avoid strains and other injuries from tension and repetitive motions.

    Although good technique at the keyboard is essential regardless of your level, it’s crucial for playing advanced classical repertoire.

    Luckily, there are many great YouTube videos out there that cover technique for beginner to advanced players.

    My favorite YouTube channel is from Dr. Josh Wright. He’s a wealth of information about playing pieces from the piano repertoire.

    Another great teacher of effective piano technique is Graham Fitch, a Pianist Magazine contributor. I’ve improved my technique by watching free YouTube videos from both instructors. I highly recommend their channels to anyone who wants pointers.

    Dr. Wright and Graham Fitch post helpful videos regardless of whether you’re at a beginner skill level or consider yourself an advanced pianist.

    Although many resources for piano technique are available online, the best way to learn this skill is by getting feedback from an experienced piano teacher.

    So, if you aspire to play classical piano, it may be best to seek a qualified instructor rather than attempt to teach yourself.

    But if you simply want to have fun at the keyboard by playing your favorite song, YouTube can be a great option! I love playing classical piano but have recently gotten interested in playing covers of different songs.

    And YouTube tutorials are a great resource for learning covers of country and pop music!

    Hand-Eye Coordination

    This next one is trickier. It’s not enough to know the notes. You must also play them in the correct order.

    It requires a fair amount of hand-eye coordination.

    Mastering this skill takes time and practice. It’s not necessarily something that can be learned from watching YouTube.

    But seeing videos of someone playing the song you’re learning can help you start to piece things together for yourself.

    Many budding pianists struggle when it comes to playing both hands together. And even advanced pianists sometimes have to practice a passage or two with the right hand first before adding the left hand.

    It may be time to invest in a few private piano lessons if you’re consistently struggling with getting your hands together and are feeling frustrated.

    Sometimes, it only takes a bit of patient guidance to get you back on track.

    Perseverance

    There’s so much more personal growth to learning a musical instrument than you’d guess. Although playing the piano is rewarding, it’s also tricky sometimes.

    You will make mistakes and feel like giving up on piano playing sometimes.

    It’s completely normal to feel this way. But the important thing is to commit to never giving up.

    Commit to trying your best and being flexible about accomplishing your goals.

    If you’re struggling, play something more accessible. Take your learning backward to find a sense of accomplishment to help drive you forward.

    There’s a ton of phenomenal personal development content on YouTube. Whether you find inspiration from watching videos of your favorite pianist or from motivational videos, YouTube has it all!

    Effective Practice Habits

    When it comes to piano, talent only gets you so far. Solid practice habits bridge the gap between talent and goal accomplishment.

    And there are online videos devoted to this topic. I have also read several excellent books on the subject of effective practice.

    You can find them on Amazon if you’re interested in delving deeper.

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    And if you’re looking for more inspiration on developing the perfect practice routine, take advantage of my recent post on the topic.

    Performance

    If your piano goals involve playing in front of other people, you will need a whole different set of skills for performance situations.

    It’s important to realize that everyone sometimes gets nervous when playing for others. But you can learn to cope with your nerves and still have a great time playing for others!

    YouTube has many great resources available when it comes to overcoming performance anxiety. It can also be a great place to practice playing for others in a non-threatening way.

    There is also at least one Facebook group I’m aware of that is dedicated to people with performance anxiety. It’s a positive, non-threatening environment to post videos of yourself to gain experience playing for others.

    And you can choose to either record yourself and post or go live in the group.

    Either way, you’ll get encouraging feedback from people who fully understand the stress of playing for others.

    Music Theory

    Some people love it, and some despise it, but learning the basics of music theory will help you progress faster in your piano studies.

    Playing a musical instrument is similar to learning another language. And similar to sentence structure, there are rules for how music is put together.

    For example, by learning key signatures, you won’t have to spend extra energy remembering to play a C# and F# for a piece written in the key of D.

    You’ll be able to see the piece is written in D and automatically know that any C or F needs to be raised by 1/2 step.

    Learning music theory can help you when you’re sight-reading and improvising. And it’s crucial if you want to learn to play music by ear.

    There are several helpful free videos on YouTube about music theory. You can also find books and apps to help you master this area.

    One of my favorite music theory online learning resources is SkillShare, a learning platform where you can also find classes on painting, photography, and personal development.

    Click the SkillShare link if you’re interested in trying it out for yourself.

    Can you learn to play piano by watching YouTube videos?

    Although it may not be a popular opinion among private teachers, learning to play the piano on YouTube is possible.

    YouTube offers a vast array of learning options for playing the piano.

    Although I grew up taking piano lessons every week, I wish YouTube had been around back then because it would have helped me have more fun with the instrument.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’ve(mostly) loved the instrument from day one. But a certain freedom comes from playing songs you hear on the radio.

    And nothing beats being able to pull up videos about any topic and feeling like you can understand something much deeper than you did before.

    Even after years of private lessons and a baccalaureate degree in music, I still have much to learn about playing the piano. And I absolutely love the wealth of information found on YouTube.

    Certain aspects of learning are easier than others. As noted above, technique can be trickier because assessing your own playing is challenging.

    You can undoubtedly watch videos of others, but getting feedback on your own technique comes best from a piano teacher.

    It’s possible to post videos of yourself and ask for feedback. Still, I’ve learned that advice from internet randos isn’t beneficial.

    And in some cases, feedback from internet randos can be utterly disheartening.

    Learning to play the piano has been such a blessing in my life that I want to encourage others interested in pursuing it.

    And YouTube can be a very economical option for learning to play the piano.

    What are the best YouTube channels for learning to play piano?

    Classical Music

    When it comes to playing classical music, I have two favorite channels. Both offer incredible free resources for aspiring classical pianists.

    The first is Dr. Josh Wright. I found his free information incredibly valuable and ultimately invested in his paid  ProPractice course.

    I continue to see huge benefits from this course and enjoy the Facebook group which accompanies the course. Dr. Wright is reasonably active in the group, and it’s a very positive and uplifting group.

    You can read more about my experience with the ProPractice course by clicking here.

    The second channel I’ve found helpful is Pianist Magazine. Many videos on the channel feature Graham Fitch, an active and accomplished concert pianist and teacher.

    Although I have yet to invest in Fitch’s programs, he has an active email list and various piano teaching programs.

    Resources for beginners, improvisation, having fun at the keyboard

    The next category is very broad, but it’s challenging to fit this channel into just one topic.

    Zach Evans is the man behind the Become a Piano Superhuman channel, offering a ton of value in free resources.

    He breaks things down in a way that’s easy to understand and is always very encouraging. And he might love the piano as much as I do! 😉

    More importantly, his mission is to encourage people to learn this beautiful instrument.

    His videos are entertaining, engaging, and highly actionable.

    If you’re just getting started with the instrument, start with Zach.

    Blues, Jazz, and More

    Another channel with a little bit of everything is Piano with Jonny.

    Although I’m not as familiar with Jonny as I am with the other three, he also offers a vast array of videos for all playing levels.

    Jonny does a bit more with jazz and blues than Zach, so if that’s your interest, he’s a great one to follow.

    Similar to the other pianists, Jonny offers his own paid programs.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Do you need to have an actual piano to learn to play piano?

    Although I’m all for experimenting with different learning options, including free YouTube videos, I recommend investing in a piano.

    It’s easier to make consistent progress with a piano.

    I prefer acoustic pianos for their sound and touch. But sometimes, a digital piano is a more realistic option for beginners.

    Digital pianos are sometimes cheaper, and they are definitely more portable than many acoustic instruments.

    I recently wrote a review of several budget digital pianos perfect for beginning piano students.

    There are generally many cheap or free acoustic pianos for sale online. In many cases, these instruments need way more repair than they’re worth.

    Find a piano technician in your area if you prefer an acoustic piano. They generally know how to get the best bang for your buck while avoiding the real trainwreck pianos.

    And remember that older does NOT always mean better, especially when it comes to pianos!

    Do you have to practice every day?

    If you want consistent progress in your piano playing, devoting some time daily to practice is best.

    When I practice daily, I remember what I worked on the day before much better than when I skipped a day.

    Your sessions should be short to start with because your brain is processing so much at once.

    And it’s best to stop when you’re itching to keep playing because then you’ll want to keep at it the next day.

    Avoid playing to frustration because you won’t want to pick it up again tomorrow.

    Make practice a fun and stress-free part of your day, and you’ll soon see your progress skyrocket!

    Can you teach yourself to play the piano?

    With all the resources available online, teaching yourself the basics of the piano is possible.

    This is especially true if your goals are to have fun, learn a new skill, or impress your friends.

    But if your goals are to study classical music or pursue piano as a profession, include private lessons as part of your learning process.

    Online courses, apps, and YouTube videos can be fantastic supplemental learning modalities when you need to fill in the gaps.

    Are there benefits of learning to play the piano?

    Yes! Research shows improvements in fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination thanks to learning the piano.

    Playing the piano is a complex interaction between the brain and body, which promotes positive changes in the brain. These changes can fight brain aging, anxiety, and depression.

    And if you can play music with others, there are also positive social benefits.

    Plus, learning a musical instrument feels much more productive than watching Netflix.

    Is it too late to learn to play the piano?

    It’s always possible to learn a new skill! I know people in their 70s, 80s, and beyond who enjoy learning the instrument.

    Even if you had a bad learning experience when you were younger, there is always time to try a different way of learning.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning to play the piano can be incredibly rewarding. I’ve spoken with so many people who regret never learning to play.

    And with all the different ways to learn to play piano, don’t let one of those people be you!

    Consider a private teacher or online courses if you’re serious about learning.

    YouTube is full of excellent channels for beginners and beyond. There’s so much to learn, and many talented teachers share their knowledge on this incredible platform. So, start taking advantage of it all now!

    No matter your goals, I wish you the best of luck in your musical journey!

    And for piano tips, tricks, and inspiration, sign up for my email list. Motivational piano-inspired emails go out once a week, and I can’t wait to see the incredible progress you make by staying motivated!

    If you’re looking for more inspiration, make sure to check out my previous posts:

    The Best Ways to Learn Piano in 2023

    The Best Ways to Learn Piano in 2023

    Learning to play piano as an adult has never been easier than it is today in 2023!

    Gone are the days when the one teacher in town offered only classical piano lessons, and if you didn’t like it, you didn’t learn to play.

    Thanks to technology, you can learn any style of music from any teacher, regardless of where you live.

    And suppose you’re more of an independent learner or have a busy work schedule. In that case, there are several great self-paced learning options, two of which are included in this post.

    Learning to play the piano has the power to boost your mood and improve your brain function. And it’s one of the most fun skills to learn!

    So, what are you waiting for?

    If you are ready to take the plunge into the world of music and start playing the piano, here are some tips on how to get started.

    This post may contain affiliate links. As affiliates of the Amazon associate program, Modacity, Dr. Josh Wright ProPractice, Musicnotes, Playground Sessions, and Piano Marvel, I may receive a commission at no extra cost if you purchase through a link. Please see my full disclosure for further information and privacy policy. I take no credit for the images appearing on this page. All photos are courtesy of Canva.

    5 Day Piano Challenge

    Do you want to learn to play piano but have no idea where to start?

    Join the challenge and receive 5 days of actionable steps taking you from clueless to confident in your piano journey!

      We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.

      Overview of Piano Learning Options for Adult Students

      Whether you’re looking for a course, program, or private piano lessons, there are plenty of options from which to choose. It’s essential to consider your desired learning style and goals when deciding what kind of lessons best fit your needs.

      Here is an overview of the different types of piano learning options available for adult students in 2023:

      1. Private piano lessons: A private instructor is a classic approach to learning the piano. You can find teachers who offer in-person and online piano lessons. Private in-person or online lessons provide one-on-one guidance from an experienced teacher. They can be tailored to meet your individual needs.

      2. Group piano classes: Many piano teachers offer group classes. These classes provide a fun, social learning environment that can help you stay motivated and engaged in the learning process.

      3. Online piano courses: You can also find an online course for any level of player, from beginner to advanced. Many of these programs come with video lessons, downloadable PDFs, and audio recordings so you can practice at your own pace and in your own time.

      4. Piano apps: Mobile apps are becoming increasingly popular for piano learning. These apps often include features such as interactive games and tutorials to help you learn quickly and easily.

      5. YouTube lessons: If you prefer a more self-directed approach, there is an abundance of great free lessons available online. YouTube is an excellent resource for learning the basics of piano technique and offers helpful tutorials on specific pieces.

      No matter your learning style or preferences, there is an option to help you learn the piano as an adult in 2023. With all these choices, now is definitely the best time to start mastering this new skill and enjoying all the benefits that come with it!

      Private Piano Lessons

      Private piano lessons provide structure, accountability, and personalized guidance from an experienced teacher.

      A great piano teacher can tailor their instruction to your individual needs and goals, which is especially helpful for adult learners with limited free time or special interests such as jazz, classical, or gospel.

      Plus, having someone else assess your progress with the musical instrument is a great way to stay focused and motivated.

      Consider private piano lessons if:

      1. You are an absolute beginner with no idea where to start when learning to play the piano.
      2. Your goals involve becoming a concert pianist and someday performing at Carnegie Hall.
      3. The thought of navigating an online piano course on your own is overwhelming.
      4. You need accountability from a teacher to make progress.
      5. You’re looking for a solid foundation in piano technique.

      Skip private lessons if:

      1. Your work schedule is erratic, and consistent practice time is limited.
      2. You prefer a self-paced learning approach.
      3. Your foundation in the piano is already strong, but you’re returning to the instrument after many years.
      4. You’d prefer not to play in front of anyone.
      5. Your piano goals involve learning to read lead sheets, play pop songs by ear, or learn improvisation.

      The above lists are incomplete, and you may have other reasons why studying with or without a teacher is the best option for you.

      If you still need to decide whether you need a piano teacher, check out my previous post on whether it’s possible to learn piano without a teacher.

      And if you’re ready to delve into private piano lessons, check out my resource page listing online teachers with openings for new students.

      Group Piano Classes

      Group piano classes are the best way to learn with other musicians, stay motivated, and get feedback from an experienced teacher.

      These classes are also more affordable than private lessons, so they can be a great option for adult beginners on a budget.

      Consider group classes if:

      1. You love learning new things in a group setting.
      2. You need guidance from a teacher, but you can’t commit to regular private lessons as a busy adult.
      3. You’re looking for connections with others who share your interest in the musical instrument.
      4. You are motivated by having an audience, and you don’t mind playing in front of others.
      5. You’re looking for something fun and affordable to do in your spare time.

      Skip group classes if:

      1. Learning a new skill in front of others feels intimidating
      2. You’re easily discouraged by the progress of other people around you.
      3. You find group settings to be a little bit distracting.
      4. You’re looking for one-on-one mentorship.
      5. You’d love to play classical pieces and want a solid foundation in piano technique.

      Although some teachers offer group piano lessons online, you may find one who provides this learning option right in your town.

      Either way, group piano lessons offer an outstanding way to connect with others who are also interested in learning the instrument!

      And when it comes time for the yearly studio recital, you’ll already be used to playing in front of other people and will feel less intimidated when your solo rolls around!

      Online Piano Courses

      Online piano courses offer an affordable and convenient way to learn the instrument at your own pace.

      These courses involve video lessons, tutorials, and written materials and sometimes even offer progress-tracking tools.

      Consider online piano courses if:

      1. You’re comfortable learning independently and have strong self-discipline.
      2. You need a flexible approach to fit into your busy life.
      3. You’re looking for an affordable way to get piano instruction without paying for private lessons.
      4. You already have a solid foundation in playing the piano.
      5. You’re searching for tutorials on specifically classical music.

      Skip online piano courses if:

      1. You need the structure of live classes or private lessons to stay motivated.
      2. You have difficulty understanding and executing new skills from video lessons.
      3. Your unique piano goals aren’t well-suited to the individual program.
      4. You want direct and individualized feedback on your skills.
      5. You’re not sure which genre of music you want to play.

      In short, online piano courses are an accessible and affordable way to learn the instrument if you don’t want or need private lessons.

      Although I studied with a private music teacher through high school and college, I wanted to continue my musical journey after graduation.

      Unfortunately, my busy schedule wasn’t conducive to regular private lessons. After some searching, I found Dr. Josh Wright’s ProPractice program, which was a perfect fit!

      I adore classical music and am always working on expanding my repertoire. Dr. Wright’s course covers various popular classical piano pieces at the beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels.

      If you’re interested in this course, read my complete review of ProPractice.

      And if you’d like to learn more about Dr. Josh Wright, check out his YouTube channel. He’s an exceptional pianist and a great teacher!

      Piano Apps

      Sometimes, a few helpful apps are all you need to get started in learning to become a piano player. Plenty of free and low-cost apps available for iOS and Android devices can teach you the basics of playing the instrument.

      Consider using piano apps if:

      1. You’re just starting with piano and aren’t sure you can commit to regular music lessons.
      2. You need to balance learning piano with a busy life.
      3. You feel motivated by being able to track your progress.
      4. The thought of learning from method books bores you, and you want to have fun learning songs you recognize.
      5. You’re nervous about playing in front of anyone.

      Skip piano apps if:

      1. You need the guidance of a teacher to stay focused and motivated.
      2. You already have some experience with piano and want more advanced instruction.
      3. You feel uncomfortable learning from an app or online course.
      4. You’re interested in playing pieces from the classical repertoire vs. learning to play your favorite songs.
      5. You want individualized feedback on your playing.

      Piano apps are a great way to learn piano basics and get comfortable with the instrument without making a long-term commitment.

      Although piano apps typically provide less detail than an online course or one-on-one instruction, they are great for getting your toes wet. And some apps do a great job of teaching music theory as well.

      One of the most famous piano learning apps out there right now is Playground Sessions. Click the link if you’re interested in checking it out.

      YouTube Lessons

      If you’re an auditory learner, YouTube might be the best option for you to start learning piano. Many video lessons are available on YouTube from talented and experienced teachers.

      Consider YouTube video tutorials if:

      1. You’re looking for free instruction.
      2. You want to learn to play your favorite pop songs by ear instead of reading sheet music.
      3. There are specific songs or techniques you want to master.
      4. You already have a solid foundation in playing piano but want to supplement your learning.
      5. You take private lessons, but your teacher doesn’t cover pop songs or how to play by ear.

      Skip YouTube video tutorials if:

      1. You want more comprehensive instruction on an instrument or genre.
      2. You need guidance from a qualified teacher to develop specific skills.
      3. You want individual feedback and help with technique.
      4. You prefer guided coursework as opposed to teaching yourself.
      5. You struggle with independent learning.

      YouTube tutorials are excellent for supplementing your existing playing. For example, suppose you already have a solid foundation in classical piano and want to learn jazz or pop music. In that case, YouTube can give you the basics to get started.

      However, private lessons may be better if you need beginner instruction or comprehensive feedback on your playing.

      Frequently Asked Questions

      Do you need to have a piano to learn the instrument?

      Yes. Although some apps offer an electronic keyboard, having a piano is the best way to make consistent progress.

      Is an acoustic piano better than a digital one?

      Not necessarily. Digital pianos are often smaller and more mobile, making them a better investment if you have a small space or are wondering whether you will continue playing the instrument.

      And a high-quality digital piano often has a better sound than many low-quality acoustic ones. If you’re interested in checking out digital pianos in a budget price range, check out my review of several options.

      How much do you need to practice?

      It depends on your goals. Small, daily practice sessions are better than longer sessions that are sporadic.

      When starting, aim for 10-15 minutes of daily, uninterrupted practice. And if you’re looking for accountability, check out this review of the best practice app for meeting your practice goals!

      What’s the best way to structure a practice session?

      Start with a short warm-up. Tackle tasks that take the most brain power next. Follow up with anything else you’re working on, and end with something you love to play!

      And for an in-depth guide on practice strategies, check out my recent post about how to set up the perfect piano practice routine!

      Can you teach yourself to play the piano?

      Yes! It’s possible to teach yourself to play the piano. I wouldn’t recommend this approach if you’re serious about playing from the classical repertoire. Still, if you want to learn a new skill and have fun, you don’t need a teacher.

      Check out this post if you want more information on learning piano without a teacher.

      Final Thoughts

      Learning piano as an adult has unique challenges but can also be incredibly rewarding. Anyone can enjoy the instrument with the right approach and practice techniques!

      Remember that you can combine any of the above options to create an even more solid approach to learning the instrument. And by tailoring the options that fit best into your learning goals, you’ll become an even more efficient learner.

      So why wait any longer to learn? Start today, and you’ll be playing your favorite songs in no time!

      If you’re looking for inspiration and learning resources, join my email list for motivational posts delivered to your inbox.

      And if you’re looking for more great content, check out a few of my past posts.

      Why Routines Are Better Than Resolutions

      Why Routines Are Better Than Resolutions

      It’s that time of year again when everyone is making New Year’s resolutions.

      They promise themselves that THIS will be the year they finally get in shape, learn a new skill, or save more money.

      But statistics show that only 8% of people actually stick to their resolutions. Why is it so hard to make lasting changes in our lives?

      The answer is simple: we’re not good at change. Our brains are programmed to resist change, which makes keeping your resolutions nearly impossible.

      Although New Year’s resolutions are generally unsuccessful, there are ways to accomplish your new goals. And the best way to achieve your goals is to establish a daily routine that supports your new habit.

      When you establish routines and good habits, everything becomes more manageable. You don’t have to think about what you’re going to do each day – it’s already planned out! This is why routines are better than resolutions – they’re easier to stick to and ultimately produce better results through the power of habit.

      Today’s post is about embracing the person you are instead of feeling wrong about the person you’re not. We will also talk about how to foster new habits without feeling overwhelmed.

      This post may contain affiliate links. As affiliates of the Amazon associate program, Modacity, Dr. Josh Wright ProPractice, Musicnotes, Playground Sessions, and Piano Marvel, I may receive a commission at no extra cost if you purchase through a link. Please see my full disclosure for further information and privacy policy. I take no credit for the images appearing on this page. All photos are courtesy of Canva.

      Where do I start?

      Whenever you’re talking about goals, one of the most important things to remember is that mindset matters. And having a positive attitude can help you overcome any obstacle in your path.

      Here are a few other keys to success to remember when you’re considering ambitious goals:

      • Small habits = big transformations
      • Success takes longer than you think
      • Talent has limits, but deliberate practice is limitless
      • Distraction is expensive
      • Failure is on your terms
      • Heal your past
      • Regular physical activity is essential
      • Release perfectionism
      • Get a hobby

      And for an in-depth discussion on each of the above secrets to success, check out my previous post.

      Why do resolutions fail?

      It all comes down to routines. We’re creatures of habit, and if we don’t establish routines in our lives, then it’s tough to make lasting changes.

      When you create routines tailored to your goals, habits become easier to adopt, and reaching your goals happens faster than relying on sheer willpower.

      Creating routines is also great for staying motivated and focused on your goals. It’s much easier to stay consistent when you have patterns supporting your new habits.

      Not only that, but routines can also help quiet the inner critic inside us who is always telling us we’re not good enough or capable of achieving our goals. Routines allow us to trust ourselves and recognize that we can be successful if we break things down into smaller, achievable steps.

      Start From Where You Are

      Whether your goals revolve around weight loss, taking the next step in your career, or saving enough money for a family vacation, considering your current routines and positive attributes is a crucial starting point.

      A good reason why many people fail to achieve common resolutions is that they need to consider their positive traits. Instead of focusing on what’s going well, they spend a lot of time dwelling on the negative qualities or bad habits they’re trying to change.

      But everyone has positive qualities about themselves, which make success inevitable. For example, maybe you:

      • Never give up until you see results
      • Love learning new things
      • Are super organized
      • Aren’t afraid to embrace a unique opportunity that comes your way
      • Have an incredible support system

      Don’t get so wrapped up in trying to establish a new routine that you forget some of the old habits that are actually working in your favor.

      What is a routine?

      A routine is simply a set of habits that you can do every day to stay on track and achieve your goals.

      It doesn’t have to be complicated or take up a lot of time, either. Routines can be simple:

      • Drinking eight glasses of water a day
      • Eating an apple for breakfast
      • Taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

      Creating routines also helps you become more organized, so you can easily track what needs to be done and when.

      And routines are great because they give you something specific to aim for each day, which can help you stay motivated and on track with your goals.

      Routines are also much better than resolutions because, unlike resolutions, routines can be adapted or changed as needed.

      Positive attribute + New habit = Success!

      In his book Atomic Habits, author James Clear brings up the idea of habit stacking. This means taking one routine that’s working well and tacking another to help you create consistency.

      For example, if you already enjoy going for a 10-minute morning jog, add another habit, like stretching after your jog, and make it part of your morning routine.

      This way, routines become additive and build up over time to help you achieve greater success in the long run. Plus, when routines are built up gradually one by one, they are much easier to stick with and maintain.

      The key is making routines that support your life’s positive aspects while helping you break away from bad habits.

      When you combine routines with a positive attitude, it’s nearly impossible not to succeed!

      Present and Future Versions of Yourself

      One of the fundamental premises of traditional resolutions is that they often negatively hone in on one aspect of yourself.

      Resolutions often focus on one tiny aspect of yourself in a rigid way that may be completely unrealistic. They need to take your life as a whole into consideration to be successful.

      And resolutions are unrealistically future-focused in that they assume the future version of yourself will somehow magically be more motivated and inherently better than your current self.

      Although we all grow and evolve over time, growth takes work. It doesn’t just magically happen.

      The premise behind resolutions is that you’ll somehow wake up on January 1st feeling motivated to hit the gym. Or will suddenly have the resolve to stop impulse buying.

      Unfortunately, life doesn’t work like that.

      Motivation only comes after taking action. And I can guarantee you’ll never wake up and feel like running 3 miles!

      A better way is to start thinking about yourself as someone who does the thing you want to do in the present moment instead of the future.

      One of the most powerful concepts I learned from Atomic Habits is that if your goal is to get in better shape, you have to start thinking like someone already in better shape.

      For example, would someone in great physical shape take the elevator or the stairs?

      Would they hit the gym after work or hit play on 3 episodes of their favorite Netflix show? And would they rely on fast food dinners or thoughtfully plan nutritious meals that support their health goals?

      Thinking about yourself as someone who does the thing you want to do helps you make better decisions in the present moment. It stops the cycle of future thinking that often causes you to falsely believe you’ll make better decisions tomorrow.

      Making routines stick

      Now that you know why routines are important, here are a few tips to help you create routines that actually stick:

      • Start small – Start with one routine at a time and then add more routines if necessary.
      • Break routines into actionable steps – Break them down into actionable steps, making them easier to complete.
      • Be flexible – Adjust routines when necessary and make changes as needed.
      • Schedule in advance – Schedule routines and ensure you have enough time to complete them.
      • Find motivation – Find ways to stay motivated and stick with routines even when you don’t feel like it.
      • Reward yourself – Whenever you complete a routine, reward yourself with something special to keep you motivated and on track.

      Creating routines is an effective way to reach your goals faster than ever.

      By focusing on what makes routines work for you and starting from where you are, you can create habits that stick and help you celebrate the positive attributes within yourself.

      So, don’t settle for just resolutions this year; establish routines and watch how your life will transform over time!

      And for even more expert advice on the power of habits, check out James Clear’s phenomenal book, Atomic Habits. His writing is clear and concise, and his ideas are incredibly inspiring.

      Final Thoughts

      Routines are a great way to stay on track with your goals, and you can incorporate routines into your daily schedule without taking too much time.

      By understanding why routines are essential, breaking practices down into manageable steps, being flexible when necessary, scheduling routines in advance, and rewarding yourself whenever you complete patterns, you’ll be on the path to achieving your goals in no time!

      It’s important to remember that routines are simply habits, and it takes time for them to become second nature.

      So don’t get discouraged if you slip up or forget a routine. Just take it one day at a time, and you’ll get there!

      If you loved this post, sign up for my email list and have one new post sent to your inbox each week.

      My posts are at the crossroads of piano and self-development, so even if you’re not a piano nerd, you’ll have access to effective personal development content!

      If you’re curious, check out a few of my previous posts:

      How to Set Realistic Piano Goals and Achieve Them

      How to Set Realistic Piano Goals and Achieve Them

      It’s no secret that learning to play the piano can be a daunting task. Many people start lessons with high aspirations but eventually give up because they need help to stay consistent with their practice routine.

      Or they get discouraged because they don’t make the kind of progress they’re hoping to make quickly. And other aspiring pianists get distracted by the promise of the newest piano program or app.

      I’ve been all those aspiring pianists at various times in my life. But since getting serious about wanting to progress at the keyboard, I’ve learned a ton about setting realistic goals.

      And I’ve been able to achieve some of my biggest goals.

      Since it’s almost time to think about setting a new year’s resolution, now is the perfect time to help you figure out how to set realistic piano goals! And since practice is tied into learning any skill, I will also touch on how you need to spend practice time.

      Lastly, I will cover a few of my favorite practice tools. And, with that, let’s get to it!

      This post may contain affiliate links. As affiliates of the Amazon associate program, Modacity, Dr. Josh Wright ProPractice, Musicnotes, Playground Sessions, and Piano Marvel, I may receive a commission at no extra cost if you purchase through a link. Please see my full disclosure for further information and privacy policy. I take no credit for the images appearing on this page. All photos are courtesy of Canva.

      Why don’t people accomplish their goals?

      If you want to achieve your goals, understanding your potential barriers is crucial. And there are a few very common things that can derail your progress.

      Time

      Your perception of time has a significant impact on goal attainment. If you don’t believe you have the time to work towards a goal, you won’t even try to make room for it in your schedule.

      And although it can seem as if you need huge chunks of time to achieve big goals, the truth is that 5 minutes here and there is sometimes all you need for massive progress.

      If you’re serious about making progress with your piano playing, you need to carve time out of your schedule to make it happen.

      Uncertainty

      Anyone can set a goal. But not everyone follows through with figuring out how to transform a dream into reality.

      And figuring out the “how” is often the trickiest part. But one of the best ways to get yourself unstuck from uncertainty is to find a mentor.

      The first step is finding someone who is in the spot where you want to be. That person can guide you and save you countless hours of struggling on your own.

      And in the case of learning to play the instrument, finding a piano teacher can mean the difference between success and failure.

      Mindset

      There’s nothing that derails goals faster than having a negative mindset. The way you talk to yourself matters!

      And your brain will find evidence to support whatever you believe about your abilities.

      Although I’m not suggesting that mindset erases hard work, it all starts with belief. And with stepping outside your comfort zone.

      Result vs. Progress

      Many people gauge their progress on how far they are from their goals. But discouragement often comes from looking ahead instead of behind.

      The more encouraging way to measure progress is to consider where you are now compared to where you started.

      Start looking for ways to enjoy the daily habits that will accomplish your goals, and life suddenly becomes more about the journey than the destination.

      Impatience

      Success takes WAY longer than you think it does. So many people make the mistake of giving up too soon.

      It takes YEARS to master the piano. Whether you love classical, jazz, or pop or aspire to play in your church’s band, it will take much longer than you think.

      But in most cases, the people who succeed are simply the people who never give up. They find their passion and stick with it, regardless of the obstacles.

      What are realistic piano goals?

      Now that we’ve explored potential barriers between you and your goals let’s discuss setting realistic piano goals.

      The most crucial factor is ensuring your goals are specific and achievable within a certain timeframe. It’s easy to want to jump from one level of playing to another overnight, but it rarely happens like that.

      So, instead of going from zero to one hundred overnight, try setting smaller goals and daily practice habits.

      For example, let’s say you’re struggling with playing hands together. Instead of making a goal of “playing the whole song hands together,” try something like this:

      Play the first line of Prelude in C Major with the right hand ten times without mistakes by Tuesday.

      Play the first line of Prelude in C Major with the left hand ten times without mistakes by Thursday.

      Play the first line of Prelude in C Major with hands together at 40 bpm by Saturday.

      Aim to break your goals into small steps. Your goals should be so tiny that you can accomplish them in a few days or weeks.

      Although making long-term goals is okay, breaking them into a bunch of very tiny steps is how you can make steady progress without becoming disheartened.

      What is the relationship between practice and piano goal setting?

      Although there are many people out there who believe talent is the key to success, it’s not.

      Hard work trumps talent every time.

      Learning to play the piano is a skill, much like learning to play a sport or getting better at writing. The only way you’ll get better at it is by practicing.

      And tying consistent practice into your overall goal setting is one of the best ways to make progress.

      Setting practice-related goals are also one of the best ways to prevent feeling like you need to make more progress.

      My suggestion is that instead of “learning the last movement of Beethoven’s moonlight sonata,” make a goal of “practicing 5 minutes a day.”

      Regardless of whether you’re an adult beginner or a concert pianist, you can accomplish the goal of practicing 5 minutes a day.

      5 minutes a day is measurable and attainable. And even if you don’t learn a Beethoven sonata, you can use that time to hone your technical skills, learn a new piece, or have fun playing the instrument.

      And by setting small, attainable habits, you’ll be well on your way to achieving any larger piano goal you set for yourself.

      How should you divide up your practice time?

      I always recommend starting with a short warm-up. This is the time to prepare your mind and body for what’s to come.

      Scales, arpeggios, 7th chords, and Czerny or Hanon exercises make great warm-up material. You could also play a song that you have previously mastered.

      Sight reading also makes good warm-up material.

      After warming up, I like to tackle my most mentally demanding tasks. And for me, that means memorization. I use this time to learn a new measure or phrase in anything I’m working on committing to memory.

      If memorization is easy for you, use this time to work on technically demanding tasks within a specific song or for metronome work.

      I generally have 3-4 pieces I’m working on at once, and I try to run through all my pieces during a practice session.

      And once I’ve gotten through all my practice “work,” I love unwinding by playing whatever I want. Sometimes this means playing a pop piano cover or working out a song by ear. It could also be playing a piece of music that’s fun to play.

      To recap:

      1. Warm-up
      2. Anything that is mentally draining/demanding
      3. Other things that need work
      4. Fun stuff!

      How long should your practice sessions be?

      Although the standard advice is 30 minutes daily, I take a more flexible approach.

      I aim for at least 5 minutes a day. And I exceed that goal on most days.

      But there are days when 5 minutes is plenty.

      Keeping flexibility in my goals leads to less guilt when I have a day here or there that isn’t very productive. The key to making progress is a regular practice routine.

      When starting a new practice goal, keep the amount of time you’ll practice each day small. And before long, you’ll be exceeding what you thought was possible!

      Are there tools to make your practice time more effective?

      Absolutely! My favorite tool is an app called Modacity.

      The app allows you to keep track of what you’re practicing. It gives you practice goal suggestions and lets you add personalized goals.

      One of my favorite features of the app is the ability to record yourself. You can record a short snippet or an entire piece.

      Recording yourself is the fastest way to improve, and I love how integrated recording is into this app.

      If you’d like to read my Modacity review, click here. And to try it for yourself, click here.

      Aside from the app, I wholeheartedly recommend a couple of books to improve your practice efficiency.

      The first is called Peak. This book unveils the secrets behind how the world’s best and, more importantly, how they achieved success.

      The second is also a book. It’s called The Musician’s Way and gives solid practice advice. It’s a fantastic resource to help troubleshoot practice challenges.

      The book also advises setting and achieving performance goals, so it’s a fantastic resource if you struggle with playing for other people!

      ,

      Final Thoughts

      Setting realistic piano goals and establishing a consistent practice routine are the keys to piano success.

      Start small, break up your practice time, and use tools like Modacity to help keep you accountable and improve more quickly.

      Good habits stack up over time, resulting in unbelievable progress in a relatively short period of time. And with a solid foundation in habit forming, you can progress in every area of your life.

      Playing a musical instrument has many incredible benefits for your brain and overall well-being.

      And have fun with it! Piano playing is meant to bring joy.

      If you loved this post, check out my other piano-inspired posts:

      Secrets to Setting Yourself Up for Success in 2023 and Beyond

      Secrets to Setting Yourself Up for Success in 2023 and Beyond

      As 2022 closes out, it brings a time for reflection on all you learned and achieved. It’s a time to celebrate all your hard work and the positive impact you had on those around you!

      And it’s also the best time to start looking ahead and planning out your successful year.

      But what is success? And how do the world’s most successful people achieve it?

      Over the past few years, I’ve been on a quest to understand what separates the best from the rest. I’ve listened to podcasts, read books, and scoured social media to uncover the secret of success.

      All my research has helped me develop healthy habits across multiple areas of life. And it’s given me better results than I’ve ever had in the past.

      Although everyone’s definition of success is slightly different, there are a few universal secrets to achieving it. Think of this post as your guide to the secrets of success to help you achieve big goals. 

      If you’re looking for the most effective way to a more successful life, you’re in the right place! And if you’re pressed for time, click the link below to jump to the success secrets most relevant to your personal journey.

      This post may contain affiliate links. As affiliates of the Amazon associate program, Modacity, Dr. Josh Wright ProPractice, Musicnotes, and Piano Marvel, I may receive a commission at no extra cost if you purchase through a link. Please see my full disclosure for further information and privacy policy. I take no credit for the images appearing on this page. All photos are courtesy of Canva.

      What is your definition of success?

      The first step is defining what success means for you. This will look different for everyone, so take some time to think about your goals and what you want out of life.

      Do you want to launch your own business? Are you looking to become an expert in a specific skill? Or do you simply want to live a happy and fulfilled life?

      Small steps add up quickly. Choose a couple of areas of your life to focus on at once. Focusing on more than a couple of goals at once can be overwhelming.

      Use the following list to brainstorm possible goals across each of the following areas:

      • Family and relationships
      • Physical health and fitness
      • Spiritual
      • Career
      • Finances
      • Personal development
      • Hobbies and recreation

      Go through your list and rate each goal according to importance. Think about which goals feel most aligned right now.

      Select one or two goals and think about what successfully achieving that goal looks like. Does your definition of success mean working out 5 days a week? Or does it mean publishing 5 blog posts a month? It may mean committing to advancing your piano studies by signing up for an exam.

      Once you have identified your definition of success, setting measurable goals and reaching them will become much more manageable.

      How can you make the most out of this success guide?

      Each of the secrets to success included in this post is highly effective. Use them to form an action plan for pushing out of your comfort zone and toward bigger and better things.

      But you will find that some of the advice is more applicable to your individual goals than others. The best way to use this guide is to take what feels most aligned for you and leave the rest.

      The most important thing is to start small and be specific. Write your goals down, set a timeline, and start taking action. Setting aside 10 minutes daily to work on your goal is a great start.

      By setting goals and making little daily progress toward them, you’ll be setting yourself up for success in 2023 and beyond!

      Secret #1: Mindset is Everything

      One of my favorite quotes ever is by Henry Ford. His timeless advice is, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”

      Decades after Ford uttered those famous words, Carol Dweck published an entire book on the concept of a growth mindset. A growth mindset is an idea that our mindsets can be changed and adapted to new situations.

      Having a growth mindset means you’re open to failure. It means you embrace rather than avoid challenges. And it means you’re willing to work harder than anyone else to achieve your goals.

      In her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Dweck contrasts the growth and fixed mindset. Through a series of stories and elements of research, she emphatically proves that with the right mindset, success is inevitable.

      Setting yourself up for success means changing your beliefs about what’s possible and being open to learning the lessons failure teaches.

      Change how you think and talk about yourself, and you’ll see dramatic improvements in your outlook on life. If you take only one thing from this post, I hope it’s a firm belief in the importance of a growth mindset.

      Secret #2: Small Habits = Big Transformations

      Small habits are the building blocks of success.

      It’s easy to get excited about setting big goals and immediately jump into action, but frequently this leads to burnout. Instead, breaking down each goal into small achievable tasks that you can complete daily is a more effective strategy.

      For example, if your goal is to write a book, setting a goal to write 500 words a day is more achievable than setting the goal of writing 1,000 words in one sitting.

      Creating small habits will help you stay on track, and it also enables you to set realistic expectations for yourself. The key is finding manageable activities, so your daily progress adds up quickly and eventually leads to success.

      In his book Atomic Habits, James Clear outlines the easiest ways to incorporate small changes that lead to big transformations in your daily life.

      His advice has helped me find unique ways to fall in love with the daily habits needed to achieve my goals. The book has also helped me understand the impact environment has on whether you adopt positive habit changes or not.

      And his thoughts on being 1% better every time are inspirational and approachable. Atomic Habits is a must-read for the new year if you haven’t read it.

      Secret #3: Success Takes Longer Than You Think

      Crossing the finish line of your goal will always take longer than expected.

      And it’s so easy to get discouraged because everywhere you look, there are countless stories of overnight success and the promise of a silver bullet solution that will solve all your problems.

      But all the best stories in books and movies involve the hero overcoming a seemingly insurmountable challenge. You get sucked into stories with obstacles at every turn, and failure seems inevitable.

      The truth is, setting yourself up for success takes dedication and hard work. And the journey rarely looks like you thought it would.

      My advice is to be patient and celebrate progress, no matter how small. One of the most profound ways to do this is by comparing your progress with where you started rather than your end goal.

      It can be disheartening to think about where you are now compared to your ultimate goal. But it’s inspiring to consider how far you’ve come since your very first step.

      Success isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon that requires consistent effort over time.

      Secret #4: Talent Has Limits

      One of the most persistent myths out there is that of talent. There’s this assumption that people who are the best in their field are at the top because they were born with a specific skill set. And it’s this skill set that naturally puts them ahead of anyone else.

      Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool explore one of the most famous examples in their book, Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise. In the book, they dispel the persistent myth that Mozart was a child prodigy born with the gift of music.

      The more likely explanation for his uncanny abilities was hours upon hours of practice. And through research study after study, Ericsson and Pool methodically dispel the idea that sheer talent has put anyone at the top of their game.

      Instead, they focus on deliberate practice as the critical path toward greatness.

      The idea that countless hours of deliberate practice will yield improvement in any skill may not seem motivational to some. But it’s one of the most hopeful ideas I’ve ever encountered.

      It means that with the proper focus, you can succeed regardless of the roadblocks ahead.

      Secret #5: Distraction is Expensive

      One of the most challenging parts of setting yourself up for success is avoiding distractions.

      It’s so easy to get caught up in the minutiae of daily life and let it derail your progress. But it’s important to remember that every moment you spend doing something other than what you should be focused on costs you valuable time, money, and energy.

      The key to setting yourself up for success is staying focused on your goal, no matter how many obstacles come. The best way to do this is by setting boundaries around what you will and won’t focus on.

      This could be setting specific times during the day dedicated to working on your goal, limiting how much time you can spend checking emails, or creating systems that help keep you focused.

      No matter what your plan is, setting boundaries will give you the clarity and focus needed to stay on track and get closer to your goals.

      And for the best advice on combatting distraction in your daily life, check out the book called Indistractable, written by Nir Eyal. It’s an eye-opening book on how distractions impact your ability to achieve goals and your overall life experience.

      Secret #6: Failure is on Your Terms

      Only you can define what success and failure mean to you.

      Some of the most successful people in the world refuse to acknowledge failure as part of their vocabulary. When they don’t achieve the desired outcome, they assess the situation and make a calculated decision about their next best move.

      Sometimes that means trying again. At other times it means pivoting to something different.

      Either way, successful people don’t let the people around them define failure. They don’t listen to the chatter from those around them about their actions.

      People who are successful write their own stories. And you can do the same by embracing the inevitable challenges between you and your goals.

      If the goal you’re chasing means something to you and feels aligned, then embrace that you will get there slowly.

      And if you’re looking for more success mindset advice, read Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable by Tim Grover. Grover has worked with some of the world’s top athletes and is the expert on what it takes to be the best of the best.

      Secret #7: Heal Your Past

      Did you know that your brain loves patterns? Your brain is wired to look for patterns to minimize effort.

      Although this can be a good thing when you’re practicing a new skill, it can be a massive detriment to your emotional well-being.

      The reality is that most of us experienced trauma as children. This trauma occurred when we were not emotionally mature enough to process the world around us. And our brain coped by developing specific thought patterns to protect us from further trauma.

      As a result, you have likely adopted maladaptive coping patterns, which can exacerbate anxiety and depression and cause self-sabotage.

      To move forward, you need to unpack what happened in the past. And you need to start recognizing the role your maladaptive coping has on the challenges you’re currently facing in pursuing your goals.

      Talking with a licensed counselor or mental health provider can be immensely helpful in making sense of your emotions and thought patterns.

      Another resource that can help you unpack your past is a book by Dr. Nicole LePera called How to do the Work. I’ve read several books on learning to manage your internal world, and this is, by far, the absolute best.

      Secret #8: Move Your Body

      Physical activity is an absolute must when setting yourself up for success.

      Regular exercise has been proven to reduce stress and improve your overall well-being, which in turn will help you stay focused on the task at hand. Exercise also helps increase energy levels, which can be incredibly beneficial if you work long hours.

      Regular exercise improves your sleep at night. It also has the power to give you an immediate sense of accomplishment, which can be difficult when it seems as if your to-do list has no end.

      Both of the above reasons are why I make it a point to make exercise part of my daily routine. It feels great to say that I conquered my workout, especially when my workday doesn’t go as expected.

      But don’t feel like you have to go out and join a CrossFit gym! You can find enjoyable ways to move your body that fit your interests and lifestyle.

      So whether it’s setting aside 15 minutes a day to do yoga, or taking regular walks with your dog, just focus on moving your body in some way every day.

      Secret #9: Release Perfectionism

      As a recovering perfectionist, one of my favorite mantras is “done is better than perfect.”

      Believing that you can attain perfection in anything is one of the fastest ways to invite defeat into your life. And believing the myth of perfectionism is a downward spiral into low self-esteem and anxiety. It’s a path paved with procrastination and self-sabotage.

      When you dig deeper into perfectionism, you often find an intense need to control situations and avoid failure. At its core, perfectionism is about the ego. It’s about appearances and what others think about you.

      But you are the author of your story. You get to decide the meaning behind everything that happens to you, good or bad. And only you can define success and failure.

      But you have to be fair to yourself. And chasing a vague and ever-rising bar isn’t fair to anyone, least of all yourself.

      If you struggle with perfectionism, develop a new habit of being realistic with your goals. Make your goals measurable and attainable.

      And once you accomplish them, celebrate!

      If you’re serious about ridding yourself of perfectionism in the coming year, read The Pursuit of Perfect by Tal Ben-Shahar. It completely transformed my outlook and gave me a roadmap to living without the burden of perfectionism.

      Secret #10: Get a Hobby

      It may sound counterproductive, but having a stream of different hobbies is the reason for my success.

      I’ve always been multi-passionate, and hobbies allow me to dabble in a little bit of everything.

      Pursuing interests outside of work keeps your passion alive, especially when your work may be essential but less-than-thrilling. It gives you something to look forward to when things get tough. And it can teach you many lessons that would be otherwise difficult to learn.

      Hobbies push you outside your comfort zone. They encourage you to approach the world with a beginner’s mindset. And they teach you that failure is the best opportunity to learn something new.

      And, who knows? A hobby could turn into a side gig that eventually transitions into a full-time business.

      So, find something you love and make time for it. Even if it’s just 30 minutes a day, it will pay off dividends in the long run.

      Final Thoughts

      Success is a personal definition. It’s something that looks a little different to each person.

      But setting yourself up for success in the upcoming year and beyond requires setting boundaries and staying focused on your goal. It requires refusing to accept failure as part of your narrative and understanding that talent has its limits, but hard work pays off.

      These are just a few secrets I’ve used to set myself up for success. What works for me may not work for you, so always take time to find what methods and approaches suit you the best. 

      These secrets can be applied to any goal you set for yourself, and if used correctly, they will put you on the path toward success in 2023 and beyond.

      This post was inspired by several great books that are required reading for anyone serious about setting themselves up for success. Clicking the convenient links below will take you directly to Amazon, where you can check these fantastic reads out for yourself.

      And if this post inspired you, make sure to check out my other posts:

      And if you’re looking for piano inspiration, check out these posts:

      The Best Christmas Piano Sheet Music to Celebrate the Season!

      The Best Christmas Piano Sheet Music to Celebrate the Season!

      Christmas is a time for celebration! What better way to get in the Christmas spirit than by playing seasonal pieces on the piano?

      We have entertaining holiday favorites for everyone! So get your holiday spirit started by checking out these lovely pieces today!

      Stay tuned for my top recommendations for Christmas sheet music for beginner, intermediate, and advanced pianists.

      This post may contain affiliate links. As affiliates of the Amazon associate program, Modacity, Dr. Josh Wright ProPractice, Musicnotes, and Piano Marvel, I may receive a commission at no extra cost if you purchase through a link. Please see my full disclosure for further information and privacy policy. I take no credit for the images appearing on this page. All photos are courtesy of Canva.

      Christmas Sheet Music for Beginner Pianists

      Christmas Carols for Piano – Christina Levante

      This Christmas song collection includes 45 easy and popular piano pieces. It’s the perfect book for beginner pianists.

      It contains the very best Christmas songs written in an easy-to-follow format, ideal for beginner pianists.

      The melody lines in the right hand are straightforward; although there are occasional 16th notes, most notes are eighth, quarter, and half notes. And the left hand accompaniments are also very simple.

      The book takes it a step further and includes note names for every note in the book. Thanks to the note names, this is a great book to try if you’re brand new to the instrument.

      Purchasing the book also gives you access to recordings of each piece. This is an exceptional bonus because finding recordings of specific arrangements for other books online can be difficult. And being able to listen to the song helps you learn it on a deeper level.

      Here are just a few of the more popular songs in this book:

      • Silent Night
      • We Wish You a Merry Christmas
      • Jingle Bells
      • O Holy Night
      • Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

      This book is appropriate for either adult or children beginner pianists. Skip this collection if you are irritated or distracted by having written note names on your music.

      Easy Piano Songs: 40 Christmas Carols for Beginners – Thomas Johnson

      This next volume includes a variety of very familiar Christmas pieces. All songs come with and without written finger numbers.

      Specific selections also come with lyrics, so if you want to sing along, this may be an excellent volume for you!

      Song selections include:

      • In the Bleak Midwinter
      • Good King Wenceslas
      • God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
      • Auld Lang Syne
      • O Holy Night

      The downside of this volume is that it’s not spiral bound, and with over 150 pages, keeping it open while playing may be challenging. Despite this drawback, it might be a good option if you’re looking for songs with and without notes and lyrics.

      Christmas Sheet Music for Intermediate Pianists

      A Contemporary Christian Christmas – Lorie Line

      Known for her unique arrangements of familiar songs and hymns, Lorie Line has produced several Christmas books over the years.

      Her newest has been out for a year and features contemporary Christian songs from Amy Grant, Lauren Daigle, and Carrie Underwood.

      My favorite song from the book is “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” by Casting Crows. It’s a gorgeous rendition of one of the lesser-known Christmas carols.

      If you’re looking for Christmas arrangements of newer music, this is your album.

      Be aware that the difficulty of Lorie Line’s music books varies. In any given book, there are songs that lean more towards intermediate and others that require more technical prowess to perform.

      This book is no exception, and if you’re easily frustrated by a slightly more challenging repertoire, you may look elsewhere.

      Jazz Piano Christmas Carols Book – Alicja Urbanowicz

      If you’re looking for a jazzy interpretation of classic Christmas carols, this next one is right up your alley!

      This volume includes 12 traditional Christmas favorites with a hint of jazz. It is accessible for late beginner and early intermediate pianists. Several songs in this volume include:

      • Jingle Bells
      • Silent Night
      • What Child is This

      The volume also includes video tutorials, so it may be a great option if you’re a do-it-yourself piano player.

      Christmas Sheet Music for Advanced Pianists

      The Professional Pianist: Solos for Christmas – Dan Coates

      This collection of 50 Christmas songs runs the gamut of seasonal music. Selections include:

      • The First Noel
      • O Little Town of Bethlehem
      • Sleigh Ride
      • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
      • O Christmas Tree
      • Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
      • Winter Wonderland

      Thanks to the variety of songs included in this book, it would work well for a holiday party, Christmas Eve service, or other events where you need to play several solo piano pieces.

      It’s included in the advanced section because of the variety of song difficulties included in the volume.

      Although it’s intended to be used as a take-off-the-shelf tool for professional pianists, the book is relatively large and not spiral bound. Depending on the size of the book, playing from a traditionally bound book can be cumbersome, so you should keep that in mind when deciding whether to order this book.

      The arrangements of the songs in this book tend to be more traditional arrangements without the degree of artistic liberty taken by Lorie Line.

      In other words, this might be a good choice if you’re looking for traditional interpretations of the familiar Christmas favorites.

      Francesco Parrino Christmas singles

      If you’re looking for a more contemporary take on select Christmas favorites, check out Francesco Parrino.

      Francesco has many highly entertaining covers of songs, including “Let it Be,” “Bad Guy,” and “Listen to Your Heart.”

      Although he doesn’t have a book of song selections, you can purchase many of the songs he performs from Musicnotes or his website.

      Download Sheet Music at Musicnotes.com

      If you’ve never heard his covers, check out his piano performance of “Carol of the Bells.” It’s absolutely spellbinding!

      Although the difficulty of his songs varies, I would consider them to be advanced, so consider when deciding how much time you will need to perfect the piece.

      Final Thoughts

      I hope this post has given you inspiration and insight into the best Christmas piano sheet music for your level. From contemporary Christian to jazz and traditional arrangements, there’s something out there for every pianist!

      No matter what type of music you decide to play this holiday season, the important thing is that you enjoy it! Have fun!

      Do you have a favorite book of Christmas songs? Please share it by commenting below!

      And if you loved this post, check out a few of my other piano-related posts:

      Ultimate Piano Lover’s Gift Guide for the 2022 Holiday Season

      Ultimate Piano Lover’s Gift Guide for the 2022 Holiday Season

      2023 is just around the corner, which means it’s time to start thinking about holiday gifts! If you’re looking for something special for the music lover in your life, look no further. I’ve compiled a list of the best gifts for your piano teacher, music-loving family member, and piano students of all levels.

      Whether you’re looking for a new piano book, a set of headphones, or a beautiful piece of jewelry, we have a unique gift idea for everyone on this list. So please sit back and enjoy as I take you through some of my favorite gift ideas for piano lovers this holiday season!

      This post may contain affiliate links. As affiliates of the Amazon associate program, Modacity, Dr. Josh Wright ProPractice, Musicnotes, and Piano Marvel, I may receive a commission at no extra cost if you purchase through a link. Please see my full disclosure for further information. I take no credit for the images appearing on this page. All photos are courtesy of Canva.

      Jump to a section:

      Practical Gifts

      Sometimes the perfect gift also falls under the category of the most practical gift!

      Metal Music Book Clip and Book Holder

      Although it may not seem exciting, a music clip can make all the difference between a musical triumph and tragedy. And anyone who has ever had the experience of trying to hold a book open and play piano simultaneously will echo that sentiment!

      This particular music clip is functional and beautiful. It’s a thoughtful gift for any pianist in your life!

      LED Piano Desk Lamp

      A lamp is a gift that keeps giving long after the Christmas lights have been packed away. And this one is convenient because it can either sit with a base or be clipped to the music stand.

      This model also features 3 different light settings and has a dim feature to adjust brightness levels. It’s a practical gift that any music teacher will appreciate!

      Music Throw Blanket

      What’s better than snuggling up with a soft blanket while listening to some of your favorite classical tunes? This holiday season, give the gift of music and comfort with this beautiful throw blanket.

      Fun Gifts

      Who says piano gifts have to be all work and no play? Check out these cool gifts that are perfect for any music lovers in your life!

      Piano Player Facts Coffee Mug

      Start their day off with a cup of coffee (or tea) in this quirky mug! This is a great gift for piano enthusiasts!

      Piano Paperweight Crystal Glass Cube

      This beautiful piano paperweight is an excellent gift for the pianist or music lover in your life. It’s also a great way to add a touch of elegance to any desk or workspace!

      Skillshare Membership

      Although not strictly limited to the piano, Skillshare is an online learning platform offering various classes. You can learn multiple skills ranging from painting to photography. There are also several unique music classes that any musician will find interesting.

      Studio (or Home) Decor

      One of the great things about piano-related gifts is that they make lovely home decor items!

      Piano Hanging Wall Art

      This particular piece of wall art is simple and elegant. It would make a beautiful addition to any music room or living space!

      5-Tier Ladder Shelf

      With this ladder shelf, you can give the gift of more space to display all those cute piano knick-knacks and keepsakes. It’s also useful as a bookshelf because I don’t know any pianists with enough shelf space for their music books!

      Personalized Gifts

      Personalized gifts are always a hit! They show you’ve thought about what would make the recipient feel special.

      20 Ounce Personalized Coffee Tumbler

      This beautiful 20-ounce tumbler can be personalized with a name. It’s perfect for the piano lover who enjoys a hot cup of coffee or tea on the go!

      Personalized Phone Dock and Desk Organizer

      This personalized phone dock and desk organizer is perfect for the piano teacher or student in your life. It’s a great way to help piano players keep track of their phones and other tiny yet essential items.

      Personalized Name Art

      This one could fall under either a personalized gift or decor. One of my colleagues purchased it for me, and I absolutely love it!

      This is a unique gift that the recipient will appreciate and remember for years to come.

      Gifts for that Special Piano Student

      Whether you have a little one who is just starting out or a more experienced player, there are plenty of great gift ideas for piano students!

      Piano Note Guide for Beginners

      Some students benefit from putting those note stickers on the piano. But they can leave sticky residue behind, which can ruin piano keys.

      A simple alternative is these silicon piano stickers that sit at the top of the keys and don’t stick to anything. It can be a great way to jumpstart learning for younger players without ruining your piano!

      Adjustable Piano Foot Rest

      One of the most frustrating aspects of learning piano as a young child is not reaching the floor. Concentrating is more difficult for younger learners when they can’t put their feet on the ground. And with a strong base, learning proper techniques is more manageable.

      Luckily, this piano footrest is the ultimate solution to an age-old piano problem! The footrest is adjustable, so you can move it as your child grows.

      It’s a fantastic tool to give your young pianist the best start in their piano journey!

      Soundbrenner Pulse Wearable Metronome

      Metronomes are a valuable piece of equipment that all pianists will need at some point. In the past, metronomes have only come in traditional or digital formats. But a company called Soundbrenner is revolutionizing this technology.

      Soundbrenner has now come up with a wearable metronome. The technology from Soundbrenner is a better way to feel the beat and stay in rhythm.

      This incredible technology allows you to use a metronome while performing, which wasn’t possible before. And if you play in a band, you can also sync the metronomes, so everyone plays at the same tempo during practice sessions or performances.

      Metronomes are essential for musical development; this model is the ideal gift for students at all levels.

      This is one piece of equipment that I can’t wait to try out for myself! Stay tuned for a full review post on the Soundbrenner wearable metronome.

      Apple iPad

      Although paper sheet music will never go out of style, technology has given us a better way to store and carry music books.

      With the iPad, your budding piano student can bring their entire music library anywhere. Pianists of all levels have instant access to any piece of music at any time.

      Many fantastic game-type learning apps can help accelerate learning. Regardless of your piano student’s current playing level, the iPad is a tremendous music-learning resource!

      Donner Wireless Page Turner

      This is another piece of equipment that all pianists will find helpful if they play from an iPad.

      This device allows you to turn pages hands-free, so you can focus on playing the piano and not worry about flipping pages. Believe me, when I say that manually flipping pages on an iPad is a challenge!

      Donner solves that problem with this slick device that helps you stay focused on playing the music instead of worrying about a page turn. It’s also compatible with many digital sheet music apps, including Musicnotes, so that you can use it with your iPad!

      This page-turner is also very reasonably priced, which is always a bonus.

      A Piano

      If you’ve just started your little one in lessons, now is the perfect time to consider buying a piano. Many parents opt for a digital piano to start out with because they are portable and take up less space than an acoustic piano.

      Having an instrument at home can promote a love of music in children. And even if your child doesn’t do formal lessons, there are many YouTube tutorials on how to play covers of virtually every song known to man.

      Learning an instrument has so many fantastic benefits for the brain. And with an instrument at home, your child can experiment and fall in love with music!

      If you’d like guidance on making a digital piano purchase, check out my guide to the best budget digital pianos.

      Adjustable Artist Piano Bench

      Give your piano student the gift of comfort with an adjustable artist bench. This bench ranges in height from 18″ up to 21″ to accommodate your growing piano student.

      And the leather padding offers comfort for all those hours spent practicing! It’s a great gift idea that’s luxurious and also serves a practical purpose.

      Josh Wright ProPractice Membership

      If your piano student is serious about playing classical music, a membership to Dr. Josh Wright’s exclusive ProPractice program is also a great gift! Dr. Wright is a gifted classical performer, and in this course, he creates detailed videos on how to play some of the most famous pieces in the repertoire.

      Although he is a fantastic performer, he is an equally gifted teacher. The videos are interesting and will leave anyone passionate about classical piano feeling empowered and inspired to try their favorite pieces.

      You can check out the course by clicking here. And for more information, read my full review of the course here.

      Christmas Ornaments

      Always an appropriate Christmas gift, ornaments offer the opportunity for a special gift that the piano lover in your life can enjoy year after year! And these ornaments also make great stocking stuffers!

      Broadway Gifts Grand Piano Ornament

      I love the intricate detail offered by this cute grand piano ornament! From the music on the stand to the strings inside the piano, it’s a delightful little ornament guaranteed to bring a smile to any piano lover’s face year after year!

      Broadway Gifts Upright Piano Ornament

      This is another charming ornament that any classical music lover would love hanging on their Christmas tree!

      Clothing

      Piano ties, t-shirts, and sweatshirts are great gifts for your piano lover! And you can find a wide variety of options to suit any taste.

      Piano Pullover Hoodie

      I love this cute woman’s hoodie! It’s another fun yet practical gift.

      Piano Neck Tie T-Shirt

      It’s formal and casual at the same time. And it’s the perfect gift for that piano-loving guy in your life!

      Spontaneous Creativity T-Shirt

      Celebrate spontaneous creativity with this t-shirt designed to put a smile on any music lover’s face!

      Steven Harris Piano Keys Men’s Neck Tie

      This is a handsome and stylish piano tie that any man would be proud to wear!

      Piano Jewelry

      Piano jewelry is a unique and beautiful way to show your love of music!

      JOYID Pendant Necklace

      This necklace is simple yet stunning! It would make an excellent gift for any woman who loves music.

      Stainless Steel Piano Ring

      This unisex ring is also a fidget spinner. The ring is a great little piece for anyone who loves to fidget!

      Infinity Collection Music Charm Bracelet

      This bracelet is a beautiful and unique way to show your love of music! It would make an excellent gift for any woman who loves classical music.

      Naimo Vintage Piano Design Jewelry Box

      This beautiful jewelry box would make a lovely gift for any woman who loves to keep her jewelry organized and safe. The vintage piano design is gorgeous!

      Final Thoughts

      I hope you enjoyed this ultimate piano lover’s gift guide for the 2022 holiday season! I’m sure you’ll find the perfect gift for that special someone on your list. And if you have other great gift ideas, please share them in the comments below!

      Happy holidays!

      If you loved this post, check out a few of my other favorites:

      The 30 Most Famous Classical Piano Pieces of All Time

      The 30 Most Famous Classical Piano Pieces of All Time

      Classical music is some of the world’s most beautiful and timeless music. It has been around for centuries, and countless pieces could be considered “famous.”

      In this blog post, we will look at 30 of the most famous classical piano songs of all time.

      I hope you enjoy listening to them as much as I loved putting this list together! These pieces come from different musical periods, each unique in its own way.

      This post may contain affiliate links. As affiliates of Amazon, Modacity, Dr. Josh Wright ProPractice, Musicnotes, and Piano Marvel, I may receive a commission at no extra cost if you purchase through a link. Please see my full disclosure for further information. I take no credit for the images appearing on this page. All photos are courtesy of Canva.

      A Note

      Although this post includes famous classical pieces written for piano, only some of them are from the Classical period in musical history.

      For this post, “classical” means a piece written for solo piano.

      This post will inspire you to explore picking up a few new pieces and expanding your musical horizons!

      Baroque Pieces

      Pieces within this period include those written between 1600 and 1750. Johann Sebastian Bach is arguably the most famous composer of this period.

      This period saw rapid change in how music composition was approached, and the common practice of writing music in a specific key signature was born.

      Prelude in C Major (BWV 846): Johann Sebastian Bach

      Bach’s Prelude in C Major is one of the most popular pieces from the Baroque period. It is often one of the first pieces from the classical repertoire that beginners learn, as it is relatively simple compared to many of Bach’s other keyboard works.

      This prelude is included in Book 1 of The Well-Tempered Clavier. It’s a cheerful and upbeat piece, and its simplicity makes it incredibly charming.

      Minuet in G Major (BWV Anh. 114): J.S. Bach

      The Minuet in G Major is another of Bach’s most popular pieces. It is a dance piece part of the more extensive volume of work known as the Anna Magdalena Bach Notebook.

      This minuet is in the key of G major and has a light and airy feel. The piece is relatively short, but it is charming and very accessible for beginning pianists.

      Italian Concerto: J.S. Bach

      The Italian Concerto is one of Bach’s most well-known keyboard works. It is a three-movement work demonstrating Bach’s mastery of the keyboard delightfully.

      Classical Pieces

      Pieces written between 1750 and 1820 are considered part of the Classical period in music. Ludwig van Beethoven and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart are two of the most famous composers from this period.

      The Classical period saw a move away from the complex counterpoint of the Baroque period and towards simpler harmonies and melodies.

      Moonlight Sonata (Op. 27, No. 2): Ludwig van Beethoven

      Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata is one of his most popular piano pieces. Moonlight is the nickname given to the first movement of Sonata Quasi Una Fantasia in C-sharp minor, Op. 27, No. 2, five years after Beethoven’s death.

      The nickname came about because music critic Ludwig Rellstab described the piece as “like moonlight shining on a lake.” 

      This piece is written in sonata form. The first movement is known for its beautiful melody. It is considered one of the most famous classical piano pieces ever composed.

      Sonata in C Minor (Op. 13, No. 8): Ludwig van Beethoven

      Beethoven’s Pathétique Sonata is one of his most well-known and beloved piano sonatas. It is known for its expressive and emotive character.

      Für Elise: Ludwig van Beethoven

      Für Elise is one of Beethoven’s most popular pieces. The formal name for the piece is Bagatelle No. 25 in A minor. Interestingly, the music was not even published until after Beethoven’s death.

      It is one of Beethoven’s most famous piano pieces and has been learned by many beginning pianists throughout history.

      Rondo Alla Turca (K. 331): Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

      Mozart’s Rondo Alla Turca is one of his most famous pieces. It is a fast and lively rondo in the key of A minor, inspired by Turkish music.

      This piece is the 3rd movement from Sonata in A Major, K. 331. Although the entire sonata is technically challenging, this movement is considered the simplest of the three.

      Sonata No. 16 in C Major (K. 545): Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

      Mozart’s Sonata No. 16 in C Major is one of his most famous and well-loved piano pieces. It is a three-movement work, and the first movement is considered one of the most famous classical piano pieces of all time.

      Although Mozart considered this piece attainable for beginners, it was never even published during his lifetime. It remains a suitable piece for beginner and intermediate pianists.

      Fantasia in D Minor (K. 397): Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

      Mozart’s Fantasia in D Minor is a dark and emotional piece. It is one of his later works and remained unfinished upon his death.

      One of the exciting aspects of this piece is the key signature. Mozart typically composed in major keys, which included upbeat and optimistic melodic lines. The Fantasia is, therefore, a break from his usual compositional style and is an attainable piece for the late intermediate, early advanced pianist.

      Impressionism

      The Impressionist period in music lasted from approximately 1890 to 1920. Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel are two of the most famous composers from this period.

      Composers of this period were influenced by the art movement of Impressionism and sought to create music that evoked emotion and captured a mood or feeling.

      Clair de Lune: Claude Debussy

      Clair de Lune is the third movement of Debussy’s Suite Bergamasque. The Suite Bergamasque is a set of four piano pieces, and it was written between 1890 and 1905.

      Clair de Lune is one of the most popular pieces from the Impressionism period. It is known for its beautiful, ethereal melody.

      Arabesque No. 1: Claude Debussy

      Arabesque No. 1 is the first movement of Debussy’s two Arabesques. These pieces were written between 1888 and 1891 and are both short works for solo piano.

      Arabesque No. 1 is a flowing, lyrical piece with a light and airy feel. It is an approachable piece for intermediate pianists.

      Trois Gymnopédies: Erik Satie

      Erik Satie was a French composer who lived in the lat 1800s to early 1900s. And Trois gymnopédies are some of his most famous pieces, with the first being one of the most recognized pieces of this period.

      They are slow, delicate piano pieces that evoke a sense of tranquility and peace.

      Romantic Pieces

      The Romantic period in music spans from approximately 1820 to 1910. Frederic Chopin and Franz Liszt are two of the most famous composers from this period.

      Composers of this period sought to create emotionally charged and expressive music.

      Prelude in C# Minor (Op. 3, No. 2): Sergei Rachmaninoff

      Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in C-sharp Minor is one of his most famous works for the piano. It is known for its dramatic and emotional melody.

      The piece is the second in a series of five collectively known as Morceaux de Fantaisie, composed in 1892.

      The prelude is in the key of C-sharp minor and requires much control and precision from the pianist.

      Elegie in Eb Minor (Op. 3, No. 1): Sergei Rachmaninoff

      Although not as widely known as the C# minor prelude, Rachmaninoff’s Elegie is my favorite piece from the entire piano repertoire. 

      Rachmaninoff is a master of dark, melodic themes, and this piece is no exception. This piece is just one example of why I consider him one of the greatest composers of all time. The melody has a haunting quality that is achingly beautiful.

      If you’ve never heard this piece, take a few minutes to listen to my performance. I guarantee you’ll immediately become obsessed with this piece!

      Prelude in G Minor (Op. 23, No. 5): Sergei Rachmaninoff

      Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in G Minor is exciting and intense. It contains yet another example of how brilliantly he handled melodic lines.

      The piece begins with a thrilling march which transitions into an exquisite melody in the middle section. Rachmaninoff finishes the piece with a return to the first section.

      The prelude is a complex piece to perform due to its tempo and the need to balance the perfect execution of strong rhythmic lines with the subtle beauty of the middle section.

      Yuja Wang’s is the absolute best of all the recordings out there. Check it out for yourself!

      Nocturne Op. 6, No. 2: Clara Schumann

      Schumann was a German composer, pianist, and performer of international renown in her day. Unfortunately, she did not compose as prolifically as other composers of her day. Although she was a gifted composer, her life was also marked by personal tragedies of various sorts.

      But the F Major Nocturne is a beautiful piece that conveys a sense of peace. It also leaves one wondering about the musical ideas lost forever at her untimely death.

      Piano Concerto in A Minor: Edvard Grieg

      Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A Minor is one of the most famous piano concertos of all time. It is known for its beautiful melodies and Norwegian folk influences.

      The piece is divided into three movements and features virtuosic piano solos throughout. Performing the concerto in its entirety takes about 30 minutes, and one of the best recordings features Arthur Rubinstein.

      Ballade in G Minor (Op. 23, No. 1): Frederic Chopin

      Perhaps the use of this piece during a dramatic climax of the movie “The Pianist” made me fall in love with this ballade. Still, it’s a fantastic piece that epitomizes music during this period.

      The piece is technically demanding due to the extensive ornamentation and rhythmic challenges, not to mention the musical expression of emotional intimacy.

      For all these reasons and more, the G minor ballade is one of the most famous piano pieces.

      Nocturne in E-flat Major (Op. 9, No. 2): Frederic Chopin

      Chopin’s Nocturne in E-flat Major is one of the most famous piano pieces ever written. It is known for its romantic and dreamy melody.

      Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor (Op. 35): Frédéric Chopin

      Chopin’s “Funeral March” Sonata is one of his most famous piano pieces. It is a dark and somber work that features the famous Marche funèbre in the third movement.

      The entire sonata takes about 30 minutes to perform, and it is considered one of the repertoire’s more technically challenging piano compositions.

      Waltz in A Minor (B. 150): Frederic Chopin

      This quaint waltz was published posthumously and initially attributed to Charlotte de Rothschild instead of Chopin. It was in 1955 that he was finally given recognition for composing the piece.

      The Waltz in A minor is a beautiful piece approachable for beginner pianists.

      Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2: Franz Liszt

      Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsodies are a set of 19 pieces influenced by Hungarian folk music. They are known for their gypsy-inspired melodies and virtuosic piano writing.

      The second Rhapsody is the most popular of the set, and it features a wide range of emotions, from lighthearted and playful to dark and brooding.

      La Campanella: Franz Liszt

      La Campanella is one of Liszt’s most famous piano pieces. It is known as a virtuosic and technically demanding piece.

      Liebestraum No. 3: Franz Liszt

      Liebestraum means “dreams of love” in German, and this piece is a beautiful and romantic work for solo piano. It is one of Liszt’s most popular piano pieces.

      Impromptu No. 3 in G-flat Major (Op. 90, D. 899): Franz Schubert

      Schubert’s Impromptu No. 3 is a beautiful and haunting work for solo piano. It features a delicate and ethereal melody that is both sad and sweet.

      20th Century Pieces

      The 20th century was a time of significant change in the world of classical music. New compositional techniques and styles were developed, and many famous classical pieces were written during this period.

      Sonata in E Minor: Florence Price

      Florence Price was a prolific composer. As an African-American woman, she earned recognition as a symphonic composer. She was also the first to have her works performed by a major orchestra.

      Aside from symphonies, Florence composed chamber music and works for organ and solo piano. Her sonata is a stunning example of her talent as a composer.

      Rhapsody in Blue: George Gershwin

      Originally composed for solo piano and jazz ensemble, Rhapsody in Blue took the world by storm at its debut in 1924.

      The Rhapsody features many emotions and styles, from playful to melancholy. It is one of the most popular and recognizable pieces of American music.

      Ragtime Pieces

      Ragtime is a genre of music that was popular in the early 20th century. It is characterized by its syncopated rhythms and often uses jazz-like chords.

      Scott Joplin is one of the most famous ragtime composers. His pieces remain some of the most famous piano pieces ever written.

      Maple Leaf Rag: Scott Joplin

      Joplin’s Maple Leaf Rag might be one of the most famous piano pieces ever written. It is a lively ragtime piece that features syncopated rhythms and jazz-like chords.

      The piece was first published in 1899 and quickly became one of Joplin’s most famous compositions. Performing the music well requires excellent coordination and the ability to navigate octave leaps.

      The Entertainer: Scott Joplin

      The Entertainer is another of Scott Joplin’s most famous compositions. It was written in 1902 and remains one of the most popular ragtime pieces ever.

      Like Maple Leaf Rag, The Entertainer features syncopated rhythms and jazz-like chords.

      Garden of Eden: William Bolcom

      Contemporary composer William Bolcom brings the story of Adam and Eve to life in this piece originally written for two pianos.

      The entire work is a fun ragtime take on the story. Still, my favorite movement is the 3rd movement, entitled The Serpent’s Kiss.

      Final Thoughts

      There are so many unique classical piano pieces, and these are just a few of my favorites. I hope you have been inspired to learn one of these fantastic pieces!

      Do you have a favorite classical piano piece, and what pieces are you working on right now? Let me know in the comments below!

      The Best Piano Bar Songs of All Time

      The Best Piano Bar Songs of All Time

      If you’re looking for the best piano bar songs of all time, look no further!

      Whether you’re looking for something classic or more modern, we have you covered. So please sit back, relax, and enjoy our selection of the best piano bar songs of all time!

      This post may contain affiliate links. As affiliates of Amazon, Modacity, Dr. Josh Wright ProPractice, Musicnotes, and Piano Marvel, I may receive a commission at no extra cost if you purchase through a link. Please see my full disclosure for further information. I take no credit for the images appearing on this page. All photos are courtesy of Canva.

      What is a piano bar?

      A piano bar is a type of bar where live music is played on a piano. The music is usually performed by a solo pianist. Occasionally the pianist will be accompanied by other musicians (such as a singer or guitarist).

      Patrons of piano bars typically request songs to be played and tip the performer(s) after each piece.

      There are different kinds of piano bars. Some feature a pianist quietly performing jazz music in the background. Others feature talented musicians who sing and take song requests.

      And other piano bars feature two piano players who interact with each other and the audience, also known as a dueling piano bar.

      All piano bars provide entertainment in the form of live music. The performer generally sets the mood and degree of audience participation.

      Some of the best dueling pianos regularly perform top songs in a way that makes it impossible not to sing along!

      If you’re planning a night out at a piano bar, it’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with some of the most popular songs that are typically played. That way, you can request your favorite tunes and sing along!

      Piano bars can be found worldwide and are popular destinations for locals and tourists alike.

      What about the pianos?

      Since this is a piano blog, let’s take a minute to discuss the pianos you might see at a piano bar. Some piano bars feature upright, while others have two grand pianos.

      There are even traveling dueling piano shows specializing in corporate events and special events. These shows usually feature digital pianos with grand piano cases to give the appearance of an actual grand piano.

      But when you hear them perform, it’s evident that you’re not hearing an actual grand piano.

      The experience of visiting a piano bar is more about the ambiance than the actual performance. It’s about throwing a few classic cocktails back with friends and forgetting about everything weighing you down.

      Regardless of which kind of piano bar you visit, you’re guaranteed to have a great night!

      Without further ado and in no particular order, here are the best songs for an evening at the piano bar!

      Ultimate Classic Rock Hits

      Do electric guitars and crazy drum riffs come to mind when you think of classic rock hits? If so, you may not believe this type of music lends itself well to a piano bar setting.

      But many of these songs translate surprisingly well to solo piano. Especially if the pianist is also a strong vocalist or can at least get people to sing.

      And you might find that as the night goes on, the performances get better and better.

      Although the music critics may disagree with my choices, my top picks for ultimate classic rock hits are as follows:

      Livin’ on a Prayer – Bon Jovi

      It’s hard not to feel unstoppable when you hear a Bon Jovi song on the radio. And although his songs don’t typically feature beautiful melodies articulated by a piano, Livin’ on a Prayer translates surprisingly well to the solo instrument.

      If you don’t believe me, check out this highly entertaining video!

      Request this song from a solo or band, and you’ll be rockin’ all night long!

      Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd

      Sweet Home Alabama is always a crowd-pleasing staple of the Southern rock genre. People know the words, and it’s relatively easy to sing. Even more so once you’ve had a few drinks!

      Sweet Home Alabama sounds excellent with a solo performer or as a band. Either way, it’s a great Saturday night anthem!

      I Love Rock ‘N Roll – Joan Jett

      This one is sure to get the crowd going! Joan Jett’s I Love Rock ‘N Roll is an uptempo, high-energy classic rock tune perfect for a night out. The best part? It’s easy to sing along to, even after a few drinks.

      So if you find yourself at a piano bar with a live band, be sure to request this one!

      Bad Moon Rising – Creedence Clearwater Revival

      Bad Moon Rising is a classic rock song perfect for a piano bar. It’s recognizable, easy to sing along to, and has a great melody.

      While you might not think of Bad Moon Rising as a piano song, the solo instrument actually does a great job of capturing the spirit of the original.

      Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison

      Brown Eyed Girl is a classic rock hit that everyone in the crowd will know. This song is so recognizable and a cornerstone of the genre that it was included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame list of 500 Songs that shaped Rock and Roll.

      It’s not surprising since it’s easy to sing along to and has a simple melody with an infectious chorus.

      This is another song that sounds great with a solo performer. So if you’re looking for a fun, sing-along song, this is a great choice!

      Top Pop Fan Favorite Piano Bar Songs

      Pop music has a definite “feel good” vibe that pairs exceptionally well with a night out! And whether it’s from the early 90s or has a Latin feel, pop music is guaranteed to put a smile on your face!

      Here are my recommendations for the best pop piano bar songs:

      You Learn – Alanis Morissette

      I love a great Whitney Houston ballad, but there’s nothing like an Alanis Morissette song to make me feel like I can belt it out with the best! Maybe it’s her vocal range or how she combines a beautiful melody with an infectious rhythm, but You Learn has to be one of my all-time favorites.

      It’s a fun song to hear live if the piano bar musician is a great vocalist. And if not, the lyrics are familiar, so you and your besties can make up for what the performer lacks!

      All the Small Things – Blink 182

      This song ALWAYS puts a smile on my face! It’s catchy, upbeat, and really fun to sing regardless of how much you’ve had to drink. It’s one of those songs that can be easily forgotten, but once you hear it again, you’re reminded of how truly fun it is.

      This is another one that translates really well from band to solo keys.

      Bad Guy – Billie Eilish

      Look no further than Billie Eilish’s Bad Guy if you’re looking for a more recent pop song to sing at the piano bar. It has a great beat and catchy tune and is perfect for showing off your best friend’s killer vocal range.

      Despacito – Luis Fonsi ft. Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber

      This one is a bit of a wild card, but I had to include it because it’s so darn catchy! You might not think Despacito would work as a piano bar song, but trust me, it does! The best part is that everyone knows the words, so you can all sing along even if you don’t speak Spanish.

      This is another excellent choice whether the music is a solo piano or a band. Horns and percussion add a nice touch and bring the song to life.

      Fallin’ – Alicia Keys

      Alicia Keys is a classically trained pianist, and her love for the instrument is apparent in her songs. This is especially true in the song Fallin’. Its haunting melody and interesting harmonic progressions showcase all we know and love about the instrument.

      This song is beautiful, with or without a vocalist.

      And speaking of hauntingly beautiful, check out her performance of the Moonlight Sonata by Ludwig van Beethoven. She performed it as a tribute to Kobe Bryant, and her emotional rendition is nothing short of riveting.

      Legendary Country Hits

      Of all the music genres, country is, hands-down, my favorite. It’s versatile and relatable. And the lyrics are often thought-provoking but fun! Although there are so many country songs that translate well to piano bar style, here are my favorites:

      Friends in Low Places – Garth Brooks

      Who hasn’t ended their night singing this classic 90s country hit in a bar? Even if you’re not an avid country fan, I’m willing to bet you know the words to this one which is why it’s an excellent request for crowd singing!

      And it’s easy to pull off whether there’s a solo performer or a band.

      It’s versatile, fun, and a great piano-bar song!

      I Love This Bar – Toby Keith

      This is another country song that’s fun to sing, regardless of whether you’re a fan of the genre. And like Friends in Low Places, it sounds great with either a solo performer or a band.

      I Love This Bar is the perfect song to request when you’re ready to let loose and have a good time!

      Hurt – Johnny Cash

      Sentimental and heartfelt, this one cuts to the core. It’s been covered by many artists, but Johnny Cash’s version is my favorite. His voice is so raw and passionate, bringing the lyrics to life.

      Hurt is a beautiful piano ballad perfect for a slow dance with your someone special.

      Final Thoughts

      Whether you find yourself frequenting a piano bar with friends or your significant other, I hope this list has inspired you to make a special request. Piano bars are a blast; if you’ve never been to one, here’s your reminder to take advantage of a great time!

      Leave a comment below with your favorite piano bar songs!

      And if you loved this post, check out a few of my other posts I know you’ll love!