Deep down, you have a secret desire to learn piano. Maybe you even took lessons as a kid but had an awful learning experience. You had one of those “old school” teachers who rapped you across the fingers with a ruler after every wrong note. Although you have always loved the instrument, a prodigy you were not, and the consistently negative feedback chipped away at your self-esteem. Perhaps your teacher even chain-smoked during your lesson.
And not only did you struggle with your teacher, but your parents were constantly harping on you to practice. Unfortunately, practicing turned into a chore instead of a delightful pastime, and eventually, you gave up the instrument entirely.
Or maybe you played saxophone in the school band, but it’s been years since you’ve picked it up. You’re now looking for an entirely new challenge and love the versatility playing piano provides.
Whatever your reasons for considering the instrument, congratulations! Learning to play the piano is one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences out there.
And there are incredible benefits to learning as an adult versus a child. One of the most compelling is that you have a choice in the entire process. You get to decide the musical genre, what you do with your newfound skills, and even how you want to learn piano.
As an adult, you’re entirely in control of the entire learning process.
Whether you’re just starting or are picking the instrument back up after a hiatus, these seven tips will inspire and motivate you to chase your piano goals! Let’s get started.
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1. Learn Piano by Finding a Teacher
As with many life skills, learning piano requires expert guidance. Depending upon your learning style, goals, and previous experience, this guidance will likely come from a teacher.
But it doesn’t necessarily have to come from one-on-one lessons. It could come from an online program, virtual lessons, an app, or even a combination of sources. The learning possibilities are endless!
For example, you could take lessons (either in person or virtually) and sign up for either a membership site or even access specific course material depending upon your playing goals. Alternately, you could sign up for a membership and supplement your learning with an app.
There are so many great learning combinations!
And the field of piano pedagogy (the art and science of teaching piano) has changed infinitely over the years. The chain-smoking, knuckle-rapping days of demanding perfection from students are gone. In its place is a genuine desire to instill a love of music in students. If you still don’t believe me, check out this list of incredible piano teachers currently accepting new students!
And speaking of finding a piano teacher, gone are the days of limiting yourself to teachers within driving distance. Technology allows you to study with virtually anyone in the world without even leaving the comfort of your home. It’s an incredible perk that makes it easier than ever to learn piano!
2. Embrace the Beginner’s Mindset
“In the beginner’s mind, there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s, there are few.”Shunryu Suzuki
I’m going to go out on a limb and guess there’s at least one topic in which you’re an expert. Maybe you even consider yourself an expert in multiple topic areas.
And once you’ve become an expert, starting something new can feel intimidating. Being a beginner can be especially difficult if you’re someone who is even the tiniest bit of a perfectionist. There’s a certain amount of satisfaction that comes with being an expert. You’ve mastered a particular area and maybe even enjoy guiding others on their journey toward mastery.
But there’s also something magical that happens when you’re a beginner. As a beginner, you’re free to ask questions and make mistakes. Your mind is open to all possibilities, and you feel limitless.
It’s fascinating that you often put more limits on yourself as you become more experienced in something. Limitations that hold you back from your full potential.
Starting something new, such as learning piano, can inspire you to open your mind. And an open mind is always a beautiful quality!
3. Learn Piano by Practicing Daily
I’m sure you’ve heard that tired old saying about practice making perfect. To some extent, I do agree that it’s true. You’ll never get better at anything unless you put in the time.
I used to define practice as mindless repetition. And I used to think that if I could somehow repeat something over and over, it would magically perfect itself. I felt that if I repeated something enough times, the kinks would work themselves out. But nothing can be further from the truth.
Actual improvement at the keyboard requires your brain to engage in what you’re doing. Practice is an art form unto itself.
But it’s not something to be dreaded and despised. Practice is an opportunity to fall in love with the instrument. It’s a time to let your creativity shine! Find ways to make practice entertaining, whether by playing music you love or experimenting with something new.
I also used to think that the amount of time I spent on practice made a difference. Over time, this has again proven to be a myth. I practice less now than I did in my college days and feel like my playing has made more remarkable strides than it ever did back then.
My thoughts on practice have shifted over the years, and now I have two daily goals. The first is to play something every day. Even if I only have two minutes, I play something. The other is to relish the time I spend playing. Especially if you are a busy adult with work, kids, and a million daily obligations, make your goals simple and your practice enjoyable.
Make sure you check out this post for even more practice tips to help you learn piano faster!
4. Listen to Great Pianists
When you learn piano, take advantage of the resources all around. YouTube, for example, has a plethora of free resources. Finding performances from all the great pianists is only a click away.
Research great performers in your chosen genre and listen to their recordings. What sets their performances apart from others? And can you identify anything specific that draws you to their performance versus other pianists? Most importantly, how can you mirror those qualities you love in your performances?
Although I love the piano in all its forms, classical is hands down my favorite genre. And over the years, I have started compiling my list of pianists I aspire to emulate.
These pianists inspire me to reach new heights in my playing and keep going, even when things get tough. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out any of the following pianists:
- Josh Wright – Rachmaninoff Concerto No. 3 in D minor
- Valentina Lisitsa – Beethoven ‘Moonlight’ Sonata, III ‘Presto Agitato’
- Martha Argerich – Scarlatti Sonate, K. 141
5. Take Advantage of Performance Opportunities
Music is all about musical expression, and learning how to convey emotions to others effectively is all part of the charm!
Whether you aspire to play on a massive stage in front of thousands of raving fans or simply want to serenade your dog on a Sunday afternoon, performance is an essential part of learning piano.
And depending upon how you decide to learn the instrument, performance opportunities are everywhere. If you are taking one-on-one lessons with a teacher, you automatically have the chance to perform regularly for your teacher. Many teachers do host regular recitals, which allow you an opportunity to perform live for an audience. Recitals are a fun opportunity to connect with other students and celebrate your learning milestones!
Many teachers also encourage students to take piano exams as it provides a guided way to learn piano. Exams typically consist of learning a piece to perform for judges and a written music theory component.
There are also supportive Facebook groups for piano enthusiasts, including Pianists and Piano Lovers, The Art of Playing the Piano, and Piano Performance Anxiety Practice Room. Each group has various opportunities for you to post piano videos to gain performance experience and obtain feedback from the group.
Churches also offer the opportunity to gain performance experience in a low-pressure setting. Whether that experience is as the keyboardist in the praise band or as the pre-service music, performance opportunities abound.
6. Join a Community
In your quest to learn piano, don’t go it alone. Pursuing a hobby is always more fun with other people! And thanks to Facebook, you can find groups for basically any imaginable hobby.
If your interest is specifically classical piano, make sure you check out the ProPractice course. The course itself was created by Dr. Josh Wright and includes video tutorials of a diverse range of the classical repertoire. From Bach to Beethoven to Chopin to Rachmaninoff, Dr. Wright covers the most popular pieces that most pianists want to learn at some point.
The ProPractice course also includes various technique videos and general tips on playing. It’s a fantastic resource for pianists of all levels and abilities! And not only does the course have resources that pair well with one-on-one lessons, but it also comes with access to an exclusive Facebook community. This community consists of pianists passionate about the piano and helping others on their piano journeys.
If classical piano is your goal, make sure you check out the ProPractice course here and take advantage of all the incredible benefits from the course. You can also read about my personal experience with the course here.
7. Learn Piano by Starting Today
“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”Zig Ziglar
Perhaps one of the most crucial tips for adults who want to learn piano is to start today. Life is crazy busy! But it can be all too easy to get so wrapped up in your daily to-do list that you forget to truly live.
You forget to include those small things in your life which light you up inside and inspire you to new heights. And the piano is one of the best ways to challenge yourself while finding inner peace simultaneously. It’s a fantastic way to connect with your emotions while learning a completely different skillset. And it’s a skill set applicable in various other areas of life, including at work and home.
Whether you’re brand new to the instrument or whether you did learn piano at some previous point in your life, now is the time to start. And if you’re looking for an online teacher, don’t forget to check out this list of piano teachers accepting new students.
If you’re looking for an online arsenal of classical playing resources, make sure you consider Dr. Josh Wright’s ProPractice course. Finding similar resources from a pianist of his caliber is utterly impossible, and thanks to his course, my playing has improved significantly. Investing in the course is the next best thing to taking private lessons from Dr. Wright himself.
It’s Your Turn
I genuinely hope this post has inspired you to learn piano! Although my piano journey has had its ups and downs, I am incredibly thankful for the knowledge I’ve gained. The piano is that one thing that gets me through the tough times and makes the good times that much sweeter.
There are so many valuable lessons to be learned from the instrument that I highly encourage everyone to give it a try. And if it’s not for you, that’s ok, but at least you gave it a try. It’s always better to have tried and figured out it’s not a fit rather than live your entire life wondering what could have been.
Leave a comment below with your thoughts after reading this post. Were you inspired to learn piano? Or are you currently learning piano and looking for a specific resource? And what are your favorite piano resources? Who are your favorite pianists?
Make sure to check out the following posts for more on playing the piano:
- Top Piano Practice Myths You Need to Stop Believing!
- How to Find the Right Piano Teacher for You
- The Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide for Pianists
- Become a Better Pianist with These 5 Simple Tools
- How to Learn Piano as an Adult
- 5 Benefits of Learning Piano as an Adult
Until next time, stay healthy, stay safe, and keep chasing your dreams!