25 Tips for How to Stay Focused When Practicing the Piano

25 Tips for How to Stay Focused When Practicing the Piano

Do you start your piano practice sessions with intentional focus but quickly find yourself wondering what you’ll have for dinner?

If so, you’re not alone!

In fact, this blog post was inspired by my own struggles with keeping my mind focused during practice time.

Losing focus during your piano practice sessions can be frustrating! 

It can make you feel as if you’ll never make any progress and that practicing is a waste of time.

But there are easy ways to take back your focus and make any piano practice session epic!

This post has all the details, including 25 quick tips for staying focused during your next practice session. 

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. Certain photos are courtesy of Canva. Although I am a nurse practitioner, I am not YOUR medical provider. The information in this post is for informational purposes only. It does NOT replace individualized health information from a qualified medical professional. Please see a qualified medical professional for individualized assistance with your health and wellness.

My Struggles with Effective Practice

I emphasized quantity over quality in the practice room for a long time.

Endless repetitions were a staple of my practice routine.

This was even the case when I studied piano in college.

However, I could never achieve the performance stability I was searching for by mindlessly practicing endless repetitions.

Even after playing specific pieces for months, I still experienced constant memory slips.

It was incredibly frustrating!

But recently, I had an epiphany.

I realized that all the “mindless” repetitions were a waste of time. 

The only way to truly learn something on a deeper, more secure level was to use my brain as much as possible while practicing the piece.

And I know that sounds like a really “duh” statement, but knowing something to be true and applying it in real life are two very separate tasks.

Since then, I have fully embraced being 100% focused during practice.

I’ve taken time to understand why I lose focus and developed simple tricks to achieve more focused sessions at the piano.

If you, too, are ready to uplevel your practice quality, keep reading because I’ve got all the secrets!

Why does the quality of your practice matter?

Woman practicing piano

Quality practice means better results, often in less time.

Staying mentally engaged with the music is the best way to improve the quality of your music practice.

In many cases, 5 minutes of intensely focused deliberate practice is better than an hour of mindlessly plunking away at the keys.

Better focus means you can intentionally work on problem areas by setting a specific goal and working towards achieving it.

Staying focused gives your brain a chance to stabilize all that hard work, resulting in more secure performances and higher overall satisfaction with your progress.

What causes a lack of concentration in the practice room?

The better question might be, “What doesn’t cause a lack of concentration in the practice room?”

As you probably already know, SO MANY factors can interfere with your ability to stay focused during practice sessions!

Lack of Progress

Sometimes, the feeling that you’re not getting better interferes with your ability to improve.

When it comes to playing the piano, it’s incredibly easy to focus on what needs to be fixed.

And it’s easy to lose sight of all the progress you’ve made in the past.

This can make it feel like you’re stalled and will never get better.

Focusing on your goal of playing the piano can be tricky when negative self-talk is constantly running through your head.


As a busy mom of 3 kids and 1 very spoiled Goldendoodle, I have extensive experience with how distracting interruptions can be!

Being a mom is one of the best things of my life, but it doesn’t always jive well with my other goals.

As an introvert and a pianist, I long for those practice sessions where I lose track of an extended period of time.

I love the sessions when I get into “flow” because of how focused and efficient it makes me feel.

But those types of sessions don’t happen with constant interruptions.

As a general rule, your brain wants to coast.

It doesn’t want to work hard.

But quality practice requires focus and effort from your brain. 

And every time you get interrupted, your brain must work even harder to hone back in on a task. 

Several interruptions in one piano practice session can result in a complete lack of focus, making progress impossible.


Whether it’s about playing in front of a group of people or an upcoming work deadline, anxiety can completely derail any practice session!

Obsessive and intrusive thoughts can make focusing on that Beethoven sonata feel hopeless.

When your brain is focused on fear over the past or the present, your brain can’t retain any new information about what you’re trying to practice.

Considered from a different angle, your brain’s main job is to keep you safe.

And when it comes to a threat, your brain can’t tell the difference between a real or imagined threat.

The same stress hormones flood your system, whether you’re being chased by a lion or imagining your upcoming piano recital.

Thanks to those stress hormones, your brain is placing emphasis on fight or flight rather than remembering the notes of that Beethoven sonata you’ve been working at learning for months.

Thought patterns of excessive worry can completely derail your practice sessions and your life.

If you’re struggling with unrelenting anxiety, it’s always best to consult a qualified health professional.

There are ways to reduce anxiety and negative thought patterns without medication. Still, in certain instances, medication may be the foundation for recovery.

No Practice Plan

Nothing encourages distraction more than not having a plan.

Even if you’re taking piano lessons, you may have only a vague sense of what you need to accomplish but no real plan for how to get there.

Getting off track happens quickly when you have no idea where you’re going. 

It can be so easy to spend considerable time but not feel like you’ve accomplished anything of substance.

Not having a plan is an easy way to put in a lot of work without a lot of pay-off.


Black and white picture of piano: perfectionism halts progress.

Although striving for perfection can be considered a positive trait, it can also be incredibly distracting.

It can be easy to become way too critical of your playing.

This, in turn, can set up a pattern of negative thinking that makes focusing very difficult.

You can become so focused on the areas that need improvement that you forget all the aspects of playing in which you excel.

After a while, the negative chatter in your head takes over.

Soon, your practice sessions are filled with unhelpful mental feedback from your inner critic, making focusing on learning new techniques impossible.

Brain Fog

It’s a real thing.

Sometimes, it’s caused by physical or mental health issues (more on that in the next section), medications, or even a lack of sleep.

For me, too much TV binging results in less creativity and more brain fog.

Hormone imbalances can also interfere with your ability to think clearly.

A lack of physical exercise, too much sugar, and a consistent lack of challenging mental tasks can all reduce your ability to concentrate.

Brain fog is trickier to work through because it can be caused by many different things or even a combination of factors.

Physical or Mental Health Diagnoses

If you have had a sudden change in your ability to focus, go see your primary care provider. 

Even if the change has not been sudden, but your lack of focus is frustrating or interferes with your life in other ways, it’s always best to rule out a physical or mental health issue by seeing your primary.

Pain-related issues, including arthritis, can impair your ability to stay focused, as can diagnoses of ADD or even depression.

To make matters worse, medications that treat these and other diagnoses can have side effects that impair your ability to stay engaged during practice sessions.

If you’ve exhausted the ideas in the post and are still struggling, schedule a medical appointment with a qualified health professional. 

Even if you haven’t exhausted the ideas in this post but feel that your symptoms impact your daily life, it’s time to see a qualified professional.

A qualified medical professional can help you figure out what’s causing the issue and help you figure out ways to reduce those impacts. 

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    How can you stay focused when practicing the piano?

    Although there are many reasons why you may be losing focus in the practice room, let’s take a look at some solutions so you can become even more epic at the keyboard!

    Shorter Practice Sessions

    Woman practicing piano: Shorter practice sessions mean better focus.

    It sounds weird, but focusing on only one thing at a time takes practice.

    In a world where it’s all too easy to find a distraction, the type of focus where EVERYTHING else is blocked out has become exceedingly rare.

    And practice, in and of itself, requires a great deal of mental effort.

    If you struggle to stick with it to the end of your session, you may need to shorten your practice sessions.

    Taking a short break during your practice session is another way to help your brain refocus during a more extended session.

    Multiple research studies suggest shorter, more frequent practice sessions are the most efficient way to practice.

    And you may find that there are days when you can stay focused for longer periods than others.

    Setting time limits on your practice sessions might be the easiest way to stay focused and build excitement to come back to the keyboard the next day.


    The art of mindfulness involves staying in the moment.

    It means experiencing the moment happening to you RIGHT NOW instead of fixating on things that happened either in the past or worrying about things that could happen in the future.

    Excessive worry and rumination frequently interrupt my practice sessions. I suspect I’m not the only one impacted by negative thought patterns.

    After introspection, I realized that much of my time was spent thinking about a past I couldn’t change or feeling distressed about something that had a vague chance of occurring in the future.

    I realized that it wasn’t a healthy way to live.

    I discovered meditation while searching for ways to stay grounded in the moment instead of letting my brain run down a path of negativity.

    Meditation has helped me cope with roaming thoughts and stay grounded in the present.

    It’s given me the ability to control my thoughts and choose my focus.

    Meditation is also a great place to start if you’re experiencing insomnia because the main goal is to clear your mind of distractions.

    If you’re interested in trying meditation, I highly recommend any podcasts dedicated to the topic.

    I especially love the ones dedicated to sleep, as they’ve given me the ability to naturally drift off and stay asleep after a long day.


    It’s no surprise that regular exercise helps your body. Still, abundant research also supports its effectiveness in mental health. 

    Moving your body is one of the best ways to shake off distractions and gain clarity.

    Exercise releases “feel good” hormones that make the world seem brighter and sunnier.

    Practicing after exercise significantly boosts your concentration, which is otherwise difficult to attain.

    A 30-minute walk around your neighborhood is a great way to naturally relax, reset, and refocus.

    If exercise isn’t already part of your daily routine, I recommend finding a physical activity you love and incorporating it into your schedule.


    Your diet can significantly impact your ability to stay focused during practice sessions.

    Too much sugar can cause dips in your energy, making it nearly impossible to stick to any mental task.

    But a diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and lean protein can help you stay focused even when practice gets tedious.

    Hunger can also be very distracting, so make sure to time your practice after a snack or protein-focused meal for optimal brain function.

    And while you’re paying attention to your nutrition, remember water.

    Water is crucial to brain and total body health.

    Making a few simple changes to your diet is a straightforward way to become just a little bit more awesome at the keyboard!

    Limit Distractions

    The best, most effective practice sessions involve getting into a flow state.

    This is where you shut out everything around you and simply enjoy being in the moment with the music.

    However, getting into a flow state during a practice session takes time and happens gradually.

    It starts with an effective warm-up, gradually leading you toward deeper, more deliberate practice.

    Although you won’t achieve this flow state with every practice session, limiting distractions is one of the best ways to improve your focus.

    Try to schedule your practice sessions for times of the day when you are less likely to be disturbed.

    And although there are many great practice apps out there, having your cell phone active might be way too distracting.

    If so, try turning it to airplane mode during your next several work sessions.

    It’s also helpful to consider your practice space.

    Is it organized in a way that helps you stay focused on the music?

    Or are you constantly distracted by thoughts about your space’s lack of organization, temperature, or even the paint color?

    Taking time to arrange your space in a way that helps you stay focused is always time well spent.

    Being able to stay in the moment improves your practice efficiency, focus, and it makes the experience so much more rewarding!

    Identify Patterns

    Have you noticed that you feel most energetic in the morning?

    Or maybe you feel more focused around 2 p.m. but crash between 4 and 5 p.m.

    If possible, time your practice sessions for times of the day when you’re feeling most awake and alert.

    Paying attention to when you’re most and least alert can help you make positive changes on a larger scale.

    For example, if you’re crashing every day around 2 p.m., consider what you’re eating for lunch.

    Reducing carbohydrates and increasing protein and fluid intake at your noon meal might help you avoid that mid-afternoon slump.

    If you wake up every morning feeling like you were hit by a truck, it might be time to examine your sleeping patterns.

    Paying attention to how you’re feeling daily and making positive changes can dramatically improve your piano practice and overall quality of life.

    Pay Attention to Your Thoughts

    Whether you’ve been a piano player for 5 or 25 years, negative thought patterns can take over your brain and make practicing feel pointless.

    Negative thoughts about not being good enough can derail even the most well-planned practice session.

    And sometimes, the negativity is on an automatic loop in your brain.

    After a while, you become completely unaware of the negativity permeating your thinking and ultimately holding you back from your full potential.

    But by paying attention to your thoughts, you can recognize what you believe about yourself deep down.

    And recognition is the first step towards transformation.

    Once you understand the roots of the negativity, you can take steps to counteract it and start to feel more optimistic about your playing experiences.

    And who knows? Becoming a more positive thinker can transform your entire life in ways you never imagined!


    Most people want to learn to play the piano because music brings them joy.

    Unfortunately, the experience of learning can introduce negativity into the equation, reducing or even eliminating the joy aspect.

    This is especially true for people who have perfectionist tendencies.

    But when it comes to playing a musical instrument, there is no such thing as perfection.

    There will always be something that can be improved upon.

    Sometimes, it can feel as if you’ll never “arrive” at a final destination because the goal keeps moving.

    For me, constant feelings of not being good enough have plagued me throughout my playing career.

    These thoughts make it very difficult to focus on practicing, the very thing that would elevate my playing. 

    Although this continues to be a lifelong struggle for me, the one thing that has helped me is to focus on joy.

    Make time in every practice session to work on something that brings you love.

    Maybe you love pop music, playing by ear, or even singing.

    Incorporate those aspects into your actual practice sessions and watch your playing elevate further than you ever imagined!

    25 Quick Tips for Staying Focused During Piano Practice Sessions

    1. Plan out your practice session in advance. (Tip: This app is the best for keeping you on track!)
    2. Look for new piano practice tips to incorporate into your routine. (Tip: Check out this YouTube page for the best tips on playing classical piano!)
    3. Devote your next practice session to ONLY playing music that you love.
    4. Shorten your practice sessions to naturally improve your focus.
    5. If you don’t usually include a warm-up in your session, try incorporating a simple exercise to help your brain transition from daily life to piano practice.
    6. Meditate before your next practice session.
    7. Keep your phone on airplane mode or entirely out of your practice space if you find yourself watching random cat videos when you should be practicing.
    8. Schedule practice sessions for times of day when you naturally feel most productive.
    9. Rearrange your practice space in a way that promotes comfort, relaxation, and focus.
    10. Make the entire focus of your next practice session about enjoying the act of playing the piano rather than playing the correct notes.
    11. Take time at the beginning of your next session to list 5 aspects of playing at which you excel. 
    12. Stop and take a 30-minute walk around your neighborhood if you lose focus during a practice session. Resume practice and enjoy the added focus that comes from spending time in nature.
    13. Have a protein-based snack before your next practice session.
    14. Record yourself playing a few measures of something you’re actively trying to improve. Immediately play it back to see whether you improved. If not, what can you try to improve it next time? (Tip: This app helps you practice this in a very deliberate and focused way!)
    15. End your session by playing something you love to encourage yourself to come back and practice tomorrow.
    16. Read this book if you struggle with perfectionist tendencies.
    17. Identify 3 goals before your next piano practice session and focus ONLY on accomplishing those goals when you practice. Make the goals small enough that you can attain them in one session so you can feel a sense of true accomplishment. (Example: Identify the best fingering for the left hand in measure 3.)
    18. Incorporate an activity into your daily routine that you find fun and relaxing. The activity doesn’t have to have anything to do with music but has to give you a sense of relaxation and stress relief.
    19. If you don’t currently study with a piano teacher, take a few lessons to get objective feedback on your playing and to give your practice sessions a sense of direction. 
    20. Record yourself playing a piece and then list 3 aspects of playing that you did well and 3 that could use improvement. Be specific. (For example, the notes in measure 3 were correct, but I played it soft when it’s marked at forte.) Focus on improving the areas you identified.
    21. Start identifying the thoughts you have about yourself away from the keyboard. (Tip: Writing down your thoughts is one of the best ways to start recognizing subconscious thought patterns.)
    22. End your practice session as soon as your mind starts to wander. With consistent “focus practice,” your brain will gradually be able to focus more intensely for more extended periods.
    23. Focus on getting better sleep at night. (Tip: Read this post for tips on how to sleep better tonight!)
    24. Drink a small caffeinated beverage before your next practice session. (Tip: Too much caffeine can affect your ability to sleep at night, so avoid this one in the late afternoon.)
    25. Incorporate gratitude into your next session. (Tip: Start your next session by listing 5 piano-related things you are grateful for.)

    Final Thoughts

    The ability to focus during practice and performance is a crucial aspect of being a musician.

    It’s a skill that takes time to master.

    And thanks to our busy “always on” world, staying focused has become more challenging than ever.

    ​Despite a distracting world, you can find ways to channel your focus. This skill applies to life even beyond the practice room.

    Hopefully, this post has inspired you to regain your focus and become even more awesome at playing piano!

    If you enjoyed this post, please help me spread the word by sharing it with a friend.

    And if you’re looking for more piano-inspired content, check out one of my previous posts:

    As always, thanks for reading, and happy practicing!

    Ultimate Review of the Yamaha G2 Baby Grand Piano

    Ultimate Review of the Yamaha G2 Baby Grand Piano

    Are you thinking about upgrading your home or teaching studio piano? You may have only ever had upright pianos and want to look closer at a higher-quality instrument.

    Regardless of the reason behind your curiosity, Yamaha pianos, and more specifically, the G2 is a great place to start.

    Today’s post reviews the versatile acoustic piano that is a trendy choice for both piano teachers and home use. And without further ado, let’s get to it!

    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. Certain photos are courtesy of Canva.

    My History with the Yamaha G2

    Before studying piano in college, I had never played a grand piano.

    And once I started practicing on a grand, I never wanted to return to an upright. Ever again.

    College introduced me to the world of grand pianos, and I soon began forming opinions about all the various options.

    While taking classes with a local piano tuner, I fell in love with a 1920s Baldwin grand piano he had recently restored. I had never played a piano with such sensitivity and massive sound. It was incredible!

    I also visited piano gallery stores in my spare time to check out the differences in touch, sensitivity, and sound between the different pianos.

    Aside from the Baldwin of my dreams, Steinway was by far my favorite name in the piano world. 

    Although I had played several models at that time, Yamaha was one of my least favorite, closely followed by Kawai. Most of the Yamaha grands I played had stiff actions and an overly bright sound.

    Not an ideal combination for the melancholy music of the Romantic period for which I am most passionate!

    Several years ago, I was finally in a financial position to upgrade from my grandmother’s spinet and began trying out options.

    And I was shocked to fall in love with a Yamaha. This particular piano was not like any of the other Yamaha pianos I had tried in the past. 

    Its wonderful tone and dynamic range quickly won me over. 

    Four years later, I’m still thrilled with this sensitive yet responsive piano with a powerful sound that fits nicely in my home. I’ve found it to be a fantastic starter grand piano and love it more and more over time!

    And if you’re looking at an upgrade, here’s why you might find it an excellent choice for you as well.


    Although a brand new piano model has benefits, an older model brings sound certainty.

    Pianos can settle as they age, leading to subtle changes in sound over time.

    But a used piano features a relatively stable sound. When properly tuned and maintained over time, a used piano in good condition will sound the same today as in 20 years.

    And for me, there’s a certain peace that comes with knowing that if I love how my piano sounds today, I’ll still love it in 10 years.

    Since Yamaha hasn’t manufactured this model since approximately 1990, you can be reassured that the sound will be stable as it ages.


    Although the G2 requires ample space compared to a spinet, the extra space is a small price for its pure tone.

    This model is 5’7″ long, and the longer strings give you the type of piano sound typical of much larger models.

    This model gives you the best bang for your buck regarding size and sound.


    The Yamaha G2 features some of the finest craftsmanship of the brand.

    Although the company no longer manufactures this model, it remains prevalent among serious pianists because of its craftsmanship.

    Depending on whether the piano needs work done or has recently been refinished, you can expect to pay somewhere in the neighborhood of $10,000 to $15,000. It is an investment; however, if you’re serious about learning to play the piano, you need a quality instrument.

    The G2 is built to last; if you decide to invest in it, this piano will surpass your greatest expectations for years to come. 

    Buying Tips

    Although the Yamaha G2 is a perfect piano for me and my playing needs, it may not be well-suited to everyone.

    Acoustic grand pianos need regular tuning and maintenance, which means recurring costs. 

    They require a fair amount of floor space and are not easily maneuvered once situated.

    Despite the drawbacks, a reputable and well-maintained baby grand piano is the ultimate in performance and sound for the average home setting.

    If you’re uncertain whether a baby grand piano or upright is the best instrument for your needs, check out this previous post.

    Regardless of the model, here are a few things to remember when shopping for a piano.

    • Buying a piano from a reputable piano dealer is the best way to ensure you get a quality instrument.
    • Piano dealers also often offer free or reduced-price delivery within the surrounding area.
    • Always consult a qualified piano tuner if you question the piano’s condition.
    • If the piano you’re interested in buying doesn’t already have one, installing a humidification system helps your piano stay in tune longer and minimizes the harsh effects weather can have on the wooden components inside.
    • Buying a piano from Craigslist can be risky. Although buying from a private party rather than a store can give you better prices, you never know what you’re getting. 
    • Always try out the piano for yourself before purchasing it. All pianos have a slightly different feel, sensitivity, and sound. You will want to make sure you absolutely love all characteristics of your prospective instrument!

    Final Thoughts

    Whether you’re looking for a baby grand piano for home or studio use, the Yamaha G2 is a fantastic option!

    Its quality craftsmanship, responsive touch sensitivity, and subtle tone make it the ideal piano for enthusiasts.

    But don’t take my word for it. Get out there and try one for yourself!

    And if you’re interested in more piano-inspired content, check out my other previous posts:

    How to Stay Motivated to Play Piano: Practice Tips

    How to Stay Motivated to Play Piano: Practice Tips

    Learning to play the piano is an exhilarating journey that opens up a world of beautiful melodies and artistic expression.

    It enables you to impress friends, jam with the band, or even earn a few extra dollars on the side.

    But whether you’re a beginner or have been playing for years, there are times when maintaining motivation can be challenging. 

    The initial excitement may fade, practice sessions can feel monotonous, and progress just feels painfully slow at times. But fear not!

    In this blog post, we’ll explore practical tips to help you stay motivated and inspired on your piano-playing adventure.

    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. Certain photos are courtesy ofCanva.

    Benefits of Learning to Play the Piano

    Playing the piano is a unique and rewarding experience that offers numerous benefits beyond musical proficiency.

    It enhances cognitive abilities, improves coordination, reduces stress, and fosters creativity. 

    There is also ample research to support musicians being able to problem solve more creatively than other people.

    And did I mention that whiling away the hours in front of the keyboard is simply a fun way to pass the time?

    However, like any skill worth mastering, learning to play a musical instrument requires dedication, consistent effort, and perseverance.

    Fostering the qualities that lead to success in the practice room or on stage also leads to success in life.

    While motivation can ebb and flow, there are strategies you can employ to keep the flame of enthusiasm alive. 

    Whether you’re an aspiring virtuoso or simply enjoy playing for your own pleasure, this blog post will equip you with practical tips to stay motivated on your piano-playing odyssey.

    So, let’s dive in and discover how to keep the keys singing, the fingers dancing, and the passion burning bright!

    Find Your Why

    Achieving anything in life requires hard work.

    And no one equates “hard work” with “fun.” 

    The truth is that success means hours upon hours of drudgery. 

    Even so-called “child prodigies” have logged thousands of hours of practice before showcasing their musical skills.

    Although there are ways to make your practice more exciting, real progress demands hours at the keyboard.

    And to stick with it, you need a compelling reason.

    • Do you want to play a specific piece of music?
    • Or perform in a live concert?
    • Perhaps you want to make your own YouTube videos.

    Whatever the reason behind your desire to play piano, it has to be compelling, deeply personal, and strong enough to carry you through the inevitably dull parts of a daily practice routine.

    Do some soul searching and connect with that deeper reason because it will carry you through the inevitable unique challenges you’ll face on your musical journey.

    5 Minutes a Day

    Five minutes doesn’t seem like much.

    But when you compound 5 minutes a day over a year, it equals about 30 hours. 

    Think about how much progress you can make with 30 hours of practice. Crazy, isn’t it?

    If you find your most significant barrier to practicing on a regular basis is a perceived lack of time, try sitting down for only 5 minutes a day.

    Tell yourself that you are only required to play for 5 minutes, but if things are going well, you can extend that time.

    Chances are that once you start, you’ll want to spend more time on the keyboard.

    Establishing a new habit of practice requires a mindset shift. Still, by making the goal attainable, you’re more likely to find success.

    Commit to a Daily Practice Schedule

    I know it sounds overwhelming, but committing to a daily practice schedule is the best way to make meaningful progress at anything.

    And your daily practice sessions can be short. Even a five-minute practice session counts.

    One of the best ways to stay committed to my piano practice sessions is through the Modacity app.

    The app effortlessly keeps track of your progress, including the total time you’ve spent practicing, your daily run streak, and the number of improvements you’ve made over time.

    Modacity is a simple way to organize your practice sessions and the easiest way to give yourself the extrinsic motivation to keep practicing.

    If you’ve never heard of Modacity, check out this post for more information on the app and to get an exclusive offer to try it for yourself!

    Create Hygge

    Danish culture is credited with the idea of “hygge,” which fosters a sense of contentment by creating a cozy environment.

    You can use the basic principle of hygge to add coziness, peace, and tranquility to your practice sessions.

    And the more peace and tranquility you can create, the higher the probability you’ll want to come back and play tomorrow.

    Think about it. Your life is hectic. Everyone wants something from you, and they want it 5 minutes ago.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a place where you could just be in the moment? Where you could lose yourself in something without worrying about what anyone else thinks? 

    The good news is that you can create this space for yourself. Here are a few ideas for how you can infuse hygge into your practice sessions:

    • Add a lamp (or lights that dim)
    • Hang pictures that you find soothing in your practice space
    • Add a rug
    • Wear your comfiest pair of pajamas during your practice sessions
    • Invest in a padded, adjustable piano bench
    • Minimize all outside distractions during your practice sessions
    • Reserve a mug of your favorite warm beverage for this time of day

    In summary, create a warm and welcoming practice space you can’t wait to experience daily.

    Be Inspired

    Sometimes the best way to get out of a practice slump is to find inspiration.

    It might be a performance by a pianist you admire. Or maybe a podcast about the art of practicing.

    There are so many sources of inspiration out there waiting to be discovered.

    Here are a few ideas to get you started:

    • Search for past performances by your favorite pianists on YouTube. Here are a few of mine: Dr. Josh Wright, Yuja Wang, and Tiffany Poon.
    • Listen to completely different styles of music than you generally choose. Try listening to jazz, pop, or rock if you love classical piano.
    • Channel your creative energy into a new project. For example, try working on playing your favorite song by ear if you generally spend your practice time playing from sheet music.
    • Listen to a podcast geared toward musicians. A few of my favorites are The Bulletproof Musician, The Mind Over Finger Podcast, and the Integrated Music Teaching Podcast.
    • Attend a live musical performance. It doesn’t even have to be professional or a piano concert. Even attending your middle schooler’s orchestra concert can be enough to inspire you to take on your own next challenge!

    Repetitive practice can become tiresome, but you can keep your engagement levels high by injecting variety into your sessions and exploring different musical genres and styles. 

    Take Lessons

    Nothing gets you into a piano practice routine like the perpetual fear of embarrassing yourself in front of another person. 

    But in all seriousness, finding a good teacher can help you set goals, up your skill level, and attain your most audacious musical goals. 

    And some adult students thrive on the extrinsic motivation that comes from the need to prepare for a weekly lesson. 

    It’s also true that practice can fall by the wayside when your playing feels stuck or stagnant. 

    Although you can make significant progress in learning to play piano by yourself, your progress is faster with a mentor. 

    A mentor can help you set small goals and improve your technique in ways not possible on your own. 

    And thanks to technology, you can find a motivating teacher in any musical genre.

    Your options are no longer limited by geography. 

    You can even find a teacher willing to give lessons on a casual basis if committing to weekly lessons feels too constricting.

    If you’re looking for more tips on finding the best piano teacher for your interests and goals, check out this past blog post.

    Find a Community

    Sometimes the motivation to practice can come from watching others.

    And a great way to get this experience is by joining an online community. 

    Communities are the ultimate place to find new ways to learn, grow, and share.

    Chances are that your spouse and friends don’t play the piano, much less any musical instrument. 

    And although they may share your joy in finally nailing that entire Beethoven sonata, they don’t truly understand what goes into mastering the 3rd movement of the Moonlight Sonata.

    But other people who play the piano get it. They understand the ups and downs of endless scales, chord inversions, and finally, getting what it means to play effortlessly without tension.

    And you can find online communities for all musical genres. 

    My favorite community is Dr. Josh Wright’s ProPractice course.

    This community is built around classical piano and is one of the most inspiring and uplifting ones I’ve encountered thus far.

    If classical piano is your jam, check out my course review here.

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      Commit to “Learning” vs. “Failing”

      The journey of learning an instrument is filled with ups and downs, and it’s crucial to approach challenges with a growth-oriented attitude. 

      And for perfectionists, a lack of motivation sometimes translates to feelings of inadequacy and failure. 

      It seems as if everywhere you look is a better pianist playing something at a level you feel you will never attain.

      Although perfectionists are often celebrated for their attention-to-detail and high achievements, success often comes at the cost of crippling self-doubt, anxiety, and depression.

      As a recovering perfectionist, one of the most powerful lessons I have learned is the value of “failure.” 

      Nothing in life can be considered a true flop if you learn something from the experience.

      Every situation presents a lesson to be learned and a path to a better tomorrow.

      The same is true of playing piano. There are many valuable lessons to be learned, even if you’ve been playing for a long time.

      And playing should be as much about your enjoyment as anyone else’s.

      So who cares if you can’t play something perfectly?

      The only thing that matters is that you never give up trying.

      If you, too, struggle with perfectionism, here are a couple of powerful books that changed my world in the best possible way.



      Ok, ok. Performing might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it can be an invigorating experience.

      It’s a great opportunity to really learn a piece of music in a way that makes it your own.

      And the performance itself doesn’t have to be at Carnegie Hall.

      It can be a recording for your online piano community. Or as part of a worship band. You can even look for opportunities to perform with others or as an accompanist for a soloist.

      But preparing for an upcoming performance is one of the best ways to infuse motivation into a practice routine.

      And if you want to perform from home, try signing up for an exam.

      The ABRSM offers opportunities to submit recordings for feedback. 

      If you’re looking for a live performance experience, check out the RCM exam. 

      Both offer unique opportunities to advance your musicianship and gain valuable performance experience without leaving the comfort of your home.

      Give Yourself Grace

      Practice slumps, setbacks, and a hectic schedule can nose-dive your piano motivation.

      The most difficult thing about a lack of motivation is that you still have the deep desire to play and improve but can’t find the inner drive to keep playing.

      Sometimes the best thing you can do is rest.

      There are just times when life gets in your way. Your priorities shift, and you have little ones who need you.

      Or when you go through seasons of hardship and loss and don’t have the emotional energy for anything above the basics.

      Those are times when you need to step back from your more audacious goals and use the piano as an outlet.

      Play only the pieces that make you happy. Don’t worry about the mistakes.

      Play what your soul needs to hear.

      Reach out to friends and family for support. Prioritize sleep, good food, and exercise.

      Realize that there will be times when you need to step away from goal setting and give yourself the grace to rest and recharge.

      Because once you do, you will be unstoppable!

      And if you find yourself in a perpetual season of anxiety and depression, reach out for help. See a qualified medical provider for further guidance on the best treatment plan for your situation. 

      It’s Your Turn

      There are so many reasons why practice motivation can nose dive.

      Life is full of peaks and valleys, and learning a musical instrument is no different.

      It’s normal to have seasons when piano practice takes a back seat to other obligations and responsibilities. 

      And there will be times when you don’t have the emotional energy to commit to a rigorous practice schedule.

      Although you may need to adjust by spending less time practicing, never give up entirely on your piano dreams.

      When you’re feeling overwhelmed, scale back. Take the pressure off yourself and find ways to infuse fun into your routine. 

      The most important thing is to keep going and never give up! 

      And if you’re looking for more piano inspiration, check out one of the following posts:

      8 Best Books for Adult Beginners to Learn Piano

      8 Best Books for Adult Beginners to Learn Piano

      Learning to play the piano can be an incredibly rewarding experience for people of all ages, but especially for adults. 

      Whether you’re a complete beginner or have some prior musical knowledge, playing the piano can help reduce stress, improve memory, and boost cognitive function.

      However, as an adult learner, it can be challenging to know where to start and what resources to use. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the top 8 books for adult beginners interested in playing the piano.

      As a lifelong pianist, I am passionate about helping others discover this incredible instrument! And I’ve created various resources to help people learn in a way that fits their goals, learning style, and interests.

      Teaching yourself by using books is one way to learn, but it’s definitely not the only way. Stick with me to the end of this post for even more resources on how you can start your unique piano journey!

      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. Certain photos are courtesy of Canva.

      Adult Piano Adventures All-In-One Lesson Book 1 by Nancy and Randall Faber 

      The first book on my list is designed specifically for adult beginners. It includes an introduction to music notation, basic rhythms, and the layout of the piano keyboard.

      Lessons in this book are organized progressively, so you can build on your skills as you go. The book also includes access to online audio tracks that you can use to practice. Audio resources include instructional videos and backing tracks.

      One of the standout features of this book is its use of familiar tunes and popular songs. Many of the pieces in the book are arrangements of well-known songs, such as “The Entertainer” and “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” 

      Playing easily recognizable music makes learning more enjoyable and less intimidating. Additionally, the book includes helpful tips and practice techniques to help you improve your playing.

      Yet another valuable feature of this book is that it’s spiral bound, meaning it will easily stay open while you play. You will definitely thank me for that feature!

      And if you’re interested in supplemental books, the Fabers also have level one books of Christmas, Classical, and Popular music to enhance your learning experience.

      Alfred’s Basic Adult Piano Course: Lesson Book, Level 1 by Willard A. Palmer, Morton Manus, and Amanda Vick Lethco 

      The next book on my list has a special place in my heart because this was the series I learned from when I was younger. 

      Alfred’s course has a whole series of books for children taking piano lessons from a piano teacher; however, their adult edition is an excellent book for people who want to learn at their own pace.

      This book is designed to teach adult beginners the fundamentals of playing the piano, including basic music theory, hand positions, and fingerings. The book also emphasizes chord playing early in the learning process.

      One of the strengths of this book is its emphasis on music theory. The lessons in the book include explanations of key signatures, scales, and chords, which can be helpful for adult learners who want to understand the underlying principles of music. 

      The book also includes a variety of musical styles, from classical to popular, so you can explore different genres of music.

      5 Day Piano Challenge

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        Piano Scales, Chords & Arpeggios Lessons with Elements of Basic Music Theory by Damon Ferrante 

        While this book is not a traditional piano method book, it is an excellent resource for adult learners who want to improve their technique and understanding of music theory. 

        The book is written by a piano professor and includes online lessons. As one of the newer books on this list, you can expect quality instruction from an expert who has been on staff at multiple universities.

        The book does a great job explaining the basics and then encourages self-learning based on previous lessons. In other words, this book would be a great choice if you had a solid foundation of playing previously and are now looking for a refresher.

        There may be better options than this book if you’re a complete beginner. And the songs in the book are somewhat dated but familiar.

        If you enjoy this learning method, the author does have a second book in the series that would be worth checking out.

        John Thompson’s Modern Course for the Piano: First Grade Book by John Thompson 

        The fourth book on my list is a classic piano method book that has been used by generations of piano students. This book was initially published in the 1930s and continues to teach students the basics of reading music, hand position, and playing simple songs almost 100 years later.

        Although the book is designed for young learners, adult beginners may also find it approachable. And many students love the simple melodies in each piece and the fact that each song teaches you a specific lesson about playing.

        One drawback of the book is that it doesn’t come with any extra video or audio resources; however, if you need help with a specific lesson, there’s a good chance you can find a YouTube video that addresses your question.

        The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Piano Exercises by Karen Berger 

        This book is a comprehensive collection of exercises designed to improve your technique and dexterity on the piano. The exercises cover a wide range of topics, from hand positions to chord progressions, and are suitable for players of all levels.

        Although the book isn’t necessarily designed to teach beginners how to play, it’s an excellent supplemental book on exercises to improve dexterity and reinforce note reading, key signature recognition, and other necessary keyboard skills.

        One of the benefits of this book is its organization. The exercises are arranged in a progressive order, so you can build on your skills as you go. Additionally, the book explains each exercise and how to practice it effectively. This can be especially helpful for adult learners who may not have a teacher to guide them through the learning process.

        Again, this is an excellent supplemental resource, regardless of which method you use for your foundation learning.

        Beginner Classical Piano Music: Teach Yourself How to Play Famous Piano Pieces by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven & the Great Composers by Damon Ferrante

        If your goal in learning to play the piano is to play classical music, then you should check out this next one. This book is written by the same author as the 3rd pick on this list.

        And as a university faculty member, you can be reassured that Ferrante knows classical piano. 

        One of the great aspects of this book is that it includes streaming videos and MP3 audio, valuable features when teaching yourself an instrument. 

        And many familiar classics are included in this book ranging from Fur Elise to Pachelbel’s Canon and even Gymnopedie. It’s a treasure trove of familiar classical favorites.

        Although not ideal for someone interested in learning chord playing or how to improvise, this book is an excellent option for beginners focused on classical repertoire!

        What You Need to Know Before You Learn Music Theory – Eric Fine

        Although the next book on this list doesn’t necessarily teach you the art of playing the piano, it does help you understand the fundamentals of music theory.

        This book promises a revolutionary way to look at the basics of music theory, which is a notoriously challenging topic. 

        And understanding music theory helps you become a better pianist by enabling you to understand how music is put together. This, in turn, helps you become a better sight reader, improviser, player by ear, and overall musician. 

        There are many ways to improve your understanding of music theory, but this brand-new book should be your first resource.

        The Best Modern Piano Book for Beginners – Dan Spencer

        If you want a more laid-back approach to learning, check out the next book on my list. This book promises a coaching-based system that helps you progress on your musical journey more quickly than other learning styles.

        The book comes with online video lessons to enhance your learning. And it also has a 30-day practice journal to keep you on track.

        Spencer also has a podcast called “The Best Music Podcast,” so you can get a sneak peek of his teaching style and approach.

        If you want to learn your favorite rock and pop hits, this might be one of the best piano books to accomplish that goal!

        Can you really learn to play the piano by reading a book?

        This question comes up so often for adults who want to learn to play the piano. After all, most adults I know already have hectic lives. Many have young children, and fitting one more thing into their day doesn’t seem possible.

        Learning on your own time and at your own pace feels like a great option when it comes to embracing a new hobby. 

        And it can work for the piano, too. 

        ​Learning to play the piano independently can work if you combine other learning elements. As an example, there are many helpful resources on YouTube. 

        There are also online courses and apps for learning to play the piano, but books can provide another learning resource for your toolkit. 

        ​If you’re interested in learning to play the piano on your own, check out the resources I’ve put together to help you accomplish your goals.

        I understand that traditional piano lessons don’t always fit into your life, but that shouldn’t stop you from picking up a new hobby.

        ​And it’s never too late to start! Read through the following and get started today!

        Final Thoughts

        Learning to play the piano can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience, no matter your age or skill level. 

        If you’re an adult beginner looking to start your piano journey, there are many excellent resources available to help you along the way. The eight books I’ve highlighted in this post are great options for adult beginners, and each offers a unique approach to learning the piano.

        Remember, learning the piano takes time and dedication. Still, with the right resources and a willingness to practice, anyone can learn to play. 

        Whether you follow a traditional method book or a more contemporary approach, the most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the learning process. 

        Happy playing!

        13 Piano Tips for Adult Beginners: 2023 Beginner’s Guide

        13 Piano Tips for Adult Beginners: 2023 Beginner’s Guide

        Learning to play the piano can be a truly rewarding experience.

        But as an adult beginner, you may feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information out there on how to learn this instrument.

        To help simplify your journey, I’ve put together 13 essential tips for adult beginners looking to start playing the piano. 

        These practical suggestions will help take some of the guesswork out of learning and allow you to focus more on having fun while developing your skills as a musician.

        From understanding basic music theory and posture techniques to exploring different genres and finding ways to stay motivated – these tips will give you all the tools needed for success as a beginning pianist!

        1. Write down your goals for learning the piano
        2. Figure out your ideal learning situation
        3. Find a learning method that fits your learning style and goals
        4. Buy an instrument
        5. Establish a consistent practice routine
        6. Join a piano community
        7. Learn music theory
        8. Practice sight reading skills
        9. Start learning to play by ear
        10. Incorporate memorizing into your practice routine
        11. Master hands separate before putting it all together
        12. Play what you love
        13. Get some sleep

        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. Certain photos are courtesy of Canva.

        My Piano Background

        Transparency and authenticity are two of my core values, so it is important to tell you why I am qualified to advise beginner pianists on the instrument.

        I started piano lessons at age 7 and continued playing until graduation. Although I initially enrolled in college as a pre-veterinary medicine major, I switched majors to music 3 days into my freshman year. 

        The college I attended gave me many incredible musical opportunities, including the chance to take organ lessons. And to this day, I continue to perform regularly as a church organist.

        After graduating with a baccalaureate degree in music, I remained fascinated with the instrument and dove deeper into the topics of practice, memorization, and performance anxiety.

        I’ve taught piano beginners of all ages and continued to hone my performance skills by accompanying vocalists and instrumentalists in various settings. 

        And I’ve continued pushing myself to expand my playing repertoire by learning new pieces. I’ve also recently started exploring the various testing options available for pianists.

        I love the piano, and my goal in starting this blog is to share my love with others and hopefully inspire others to pursue their musical passion!

        1. Write down your goals for learning the piano

        If you’re thinking about learning the piano but have yet to start, one of the first things you can do is take some time to figure out your goals in learning the instrument. 

        For example, do you want to:

        • Learn to play by ear?
        • Play your favorite pop songs?
        • Impress your friends?
        • Play for a church service?

        People want to learn piano for many reasons, but it’s a good idea to get clear on your exact goals to find the best way to accomplish them.

        If you’re not clear on your goals, you definitely won’t achieve them. And clarity at this stage helps you avoid disappointment down the road.

        2. Figure out your ideal learning situation

        Everyone learns differently, so what works for one person may or may not work for you. That’s why it’s essential to figure out how you learn the best. 

        Do you prefer online courses? Or do you like having a teacher who can guide and motivate you? 

        Do you need structure to stay motivated? Are you an independent learner?

        What is the best way for you to retain information? In other words, do you learn best by reading, hearing, seeing, or doing?

        Taking time to reflect on your personality, learning style, preferences, and what has worked in the past will help you move toward your goals faster by giving you a solid foundation.

        Be honest with yourself. If you’d like to be an independent learner but have needed help following through in the past, take time to figure out why you struggled.

        Answering these questions will help you pick the best learning tool. And having the right tool for the job makes all the difference in whether or not you’ll succeed in the long run.

        3. Find a learning method that fits your learning style and goals

        When it comes to learning the piano, there are many great options, including:

        • Self-paced online courses
        • Apps
        • In-person group lessons
        • Private lessons

        Maybe a combination of several different tools would help you succeed in achieving your goals. 

        And speaking of goals, now is the time to bring them back into focus. Combine the goals you brainstormed with your ideal learning situation, and you will be able to identify how to make your piano dreams a reality.

        For example, I am a very independent learner interested in classical piano. After some research, I discovered Dr. Josh Wright’s ProPractice program.

        It’s an excellent fit for my goals, interests, and learning style.

        Playground Sessions might be the right place to start if you want to learn to play pop songs in a video game-like format that simulates being part of a band.

        And if you’re interested in a more traditional approach to learning the instrument, Piano Marvel might be a perfect fit.

        If you’re interested in trying it out for yourself, use promo code OGBB22 for $3 off the monthly fee. And at $12.99 a month, you really can’t go wrong! Click here to go to the Piano Marvel website.

        Formal lessons with a piano teacher can be a fantastic option for many people who are entirely new to the instrument. It’s also helpful if you find a teacher who can help you advance in your areas of interest. 

        4. Buy an instrument

        Once you’ve figured out your goals and explored your learning style, it’s time to find yourself a piano. 

        Fortunately, there are so many great options when it comes to pianos! Acoustic, digital, upright, or grand, your perfect piano is out there.

        If you’re starting out and are unsure whether you will stick with the musical instrument, consider a digital model. But if you’re passionate about classical music, consider sticking with an acoustic.

        The topic of finding the perfect piano for your budget and goals is a huge one, so make sure to check out the following guides for more information:

        5. Establish a consistent practice routine

        One of the most critical factors in determining whether or not you’ll make progress toward your piano goals is the quality of your regular practice sessions.

        It’s easier to get better at anything, whether it’s sports, photography, writing, or music, with consistent practice time.

        Make sure you carve out dedicated time each day to work on your piano technique and repertoire. Even if it’s just 15 minutes daily, that consistency will pay off in the long run.

        Set up a practice area that’s comfortable, distraction-free, and inspiring. Put sticky notes with reminders about upcoming concerts or goals around your workspace.

        These small things will help keep you motivated and excited about learning the piano and achieving your goals.

        And if you’re looking for a more in-depth guide to practicing, make sure to check out the following resources:

        Find ways to make practice fun, and you’ll always look forward to the time you spend on the keyboard daily.

        6. Join a piano community

        Whether online or in your community, meeting others who share your passion for the instrument helps you grow as a musician.

        Being part of a community allows you to get feedback, which is especially valuable if you are learning independently. 

        There are a few piano learning options that come with an associated community. Playground Sessions offers a community option, as does Dr. Josh Wright’s ProPractice course.

        The ProPractice community is on Facebook, and I’ve found it incredibly motivating and supportive. Dr. Wright is active in the community, posting motivational quotes and responding to questions.

        If you’re interested in classical piano, I would wholeheartedly recommend his course and the positive community he has built on Facebook.

        There are a few other piano communities on Facebook, including one for people with performance anxiety. The group is geared toward people who love the piano but are hesitant about performing, so it’s a very positive and supportive environment. 

        If you take lessons from someone in person or online, sometimes there are recitals or other social events for piano students. I recommend partaking in those events. 

        Although I am a complete introvert, connecting with others over a shared passion is easy and, dare I say, fun!?!

        7. Learn music theory

        Music theory is the foundation of all music; studying it will help you become a better player. It will also help you to enjoy music on a deeper level. 

        Theory will help you understand key signatures, the difference between a minor and major scale, and the different types of chords; all crucial information that will help you be able to play music by ear. It will also help with improv and sight reading.

        Most piano teachers incorporate at least a bit of music theory in piano lessons. And if you’re studying independently, there are websites and videos that can help deepen your understanding of the topic.

        If you’re looking for a more formal course on theory, check out Skillshare. There are a series of videos on the platform that are done by a college theory professor.

        The videos are helpful, engaging, and well worth your time.

        8. Practice sight reading skills

        Sight reading is a skill that requires dedicated practice, but it’s also gratifying. Being able to look at a piece of music and start playing it without hesitation is an incredible feeling.

        The best way to practice sight reading is to select pieces several levels below your current level. Don’t worry about perfecting it; the goal is to become comfortable reading unfamiliar music.

        If you have access to a piano teacher, they can assign you sight-reading sheet music and offer feedback to help you improve in this area.

        However, if you’re learning independently, some great apps can help.

        Examples include Sight Reading Factory and Piano Marvel. Both programs have exercises designed to help you become a more proficient sight reader.

        Sight reading is a fun and valuable addition to your daily practice routine. 

        9. Start learning to play by ear

        If there’s one skill I wish I would’ve emphasized more in my younger days, it’s learning to play by ear. 

        Developing your ear helps you sight-read and memorize more effectively. It also makes learning pieces more enjoyable. 

        There are a few different ways to learn how to play by ear. The most obvious is to listen to your favorite songs and try to replicate them on the piano. But if that feels overwhelming, there are some more structured approaches as well.

        There are a few websites and apps designed to develop this skill.

        One of my favorite apps is called Chet. It guides you through various listening exercises that range in difficulty, from the basic differentiation between a half step and a third to determine the correct pitch of a series of notes.

        You can even work on figuring out the melodies of famous rock and pop songs or determine the correct notes in a series of minor chords. One of my other favorite games is trying to pick up the correct chord progression.

        Chet takes a game approach, making it addicting and a fun boredom buster.

        Although I’ve never used this next one, the Theta Music Trainer is another resource for developing a more musical ear. 

        Playing by ear is a great way to expand your musical abilities, and I recommend trying it out! 

        10. Incorporate memorizing into your practice routine

        Playing a piece of music without looking at the score is an invaluable skill. 

        Not only does it allow you to perform more freely, but it also allows you to internalize the music and express yourself more authentically. 

        Memorizing can be intimidating and confusing, but it can become much easier with practice. 

        One of the best places to start memorizing is with a piece you’ve mastered and enjoy playing. This will make the process less daunting, and you’ll be able to focus more on committing the music to memory.

        Start with one measure and gradually add measures to your memory until you’ve memorized the whole piece.

        Having a foundation in music theory and playing by ear can help you memorize more completely and effectively because when you understand the structure, you can more easily commit the music to memory. 

        ​Work on incorporating some memorization into your daily practice session; it will become easier with time.

        Learning to memorize music is a skill that can translate to many other areas of life and is incredibly satisfying!

        11. Master hands separate before putting it all together

        Playing the piano requires an incredible amount of coordination. And to learn a piece well, you have to understand what each hand is doing separately before you can put them together.

        When working through a new piece, it’s essential to scope it out first by figuring out the time signature, dynamics, and whether there are parts that will be tricky. 

        After getting the initial basics of the piece down, focus on playing with each hand separately at a slow tempo before putting them together.

        You might even need to break the piece down, measure by measure, to figure out the tricky parts.

        There may be measures that will be easy to play hands together but others where the right and left hand have completely opposite parts.

        Playground Sessions does a great job of teaching you how to break a piece down to each hand separately before putting them together.

        If you’re taking an independent approach to learning to play the piano but are struggling with learning how to learn, check out Playground Sessions.

        12. Play what you love

        You are drawn to the piano because you want to play the music that moves and motivates you.

        Regardless of what genre you love, the most important thing is to find a way to regularly incorporate the piano music you love into your learning.

        If you’re taking private lessons, share your goals with your teacher so they can help you find level-appropriate music you enjoy playing.

        Although you won’t find all the music you play motivating, it’s essential to always have a few pieces you love in your practice routine.

        Even if it’s music you never share with anyone, it’s worthwhile to learn if you love it.

        When you find joy in the pieces you’re playing, it’s easier to stay motivated and focused on learning. So go ahead and play what you love!

         If you want to play music you can recognize from the beginning, check out Playground Sessions. I found the music, even from the first lesson, recognizable and entertaining to play. 

        It also allows you to play with a track, which is almost like playing with a band. It’s a fun way to learn the instrument!

        13. Get some sleep

        My last piano practice tip might seem entirely out there, but I will say it anyway. 

        Research continues to prove just how crucial sleep is to your overall well-being. It’s especially valuable when learning a new skill because your brain solidifies what you’ve learned while fast asleep.

        Getting 7-9 hours of sleep every night is the best way to speed up your learning, especially when you aspire to be a piano player.

        Here are a few tips for better rest at night:

        • Avoid screens (phone, TV, etc.) 1-2 hours before bed.
        • Practicing meditation before bed can help your brain release the problems of today.
        • Stick to a regular bedtime and wake-up time.
        • Seek out natural light right away in the morning to help your body naturally become more alert.
        • Keep your bedroom dark and cool for optimal sleep.
        • Exercising earlier in the day can help you feel tired at night and help you to sleep more deeply.

        Final Thoughts

        There’s nothing better than the satisfaction of knowing you’ve mastered something really tough. And learning to play the piano definitely fits into that category!

        Although learning any new skill takes hard work, it’s almost always worth it. Playing an instrument has many incredible benefits for your brain, and it’s a fun way to pass the time. 

        It’s also a great way to meet people and get involved in the musical community. Once you have mastered the basics, playing with other musicians, either as an accompanist or as part of a band, can be entertaining. 

        I’ve done a fair amount of accompanying and love playing with choirs or soloists. And I especially love accompanying my daughter on her violin.

        You’d be shocked at how many opportunities come when you can play the piano. Whether it’s for church or jamming with friends, learning to play the piano is something you’ll never regret. 

        And even if you never play for another person, if it’s something you enjoy, it’s worth pursuing. 

        The great news is that it’s never too late to start your piano journey! So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and start making some beautiful music!

        Good luck and happy practicing. 🙂

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

        Baby Grand vs. Upright Piano: Which is Right for You?

        Baby Grand vs. Upright Piano: Which is Right for You?

        The baby grand and the upright piano are two of the most popular types of pianos, both having distinct characteristics that can make them better suited for different kinds of players.

        Whether you’re a professional or a beginner, it pays to know the differences between these two instruments to choose which is best for your needs.

        In this blog post, we will discuss some key distinctions between a baby grand and an upright piano. We’ll cover their physical features, sound quality, cost considerations, and more so that you can make an informed decision about which type is right for you.

        So let’s dive in!

        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. Certain photos are courtesy of Canva.

        What is a grand piano?

        A grand piano is a type of piano in which the sound-making components (i.e., the grand piano action) lie horizontally to the ground rather than vertically.

        Grand pianos come in several sizes, but this type of piano is generally seen in concert halls worldwide.

        What is an upright piano?

        An upright piano is a type of piano in which the sound-making components are positioned vertically to the ground.

        Upright pianos are shorter and more compact than grand pianos, making them an ideal choice for smaller spaces.

        Baby Grand Pianos

        There are several reasons why professional pianists prefer a baby grand to an upright. One of the biggest involves sound.

        Sound Quality

        The size of the soundboard is larger in a baby grand piano than in an upright, which translates to a bigger and fuller sound.

        The length of the strings is also longer in a baby grand, making for richer tones and more resonance.

        This translates into greater flexibility for producing emotionally nuanced music by the pianist.

        Physical Features

        Although there is variability between grand piano brands, grand pianos come in 3 distinct sizes.

        • Baby grand: Less than 6′ in length
        • Grand: Between 6′ and 7′ in length
        • Concert grand: Larger than 7′ in length

        Generally speaking, the longer the piano, the higher the quality of sound it produces with a broader dynamic range. It follows that the longer grand pianos have better sound than the shorter ones.

        And one advantage of baby grand pianos is that they provide exceptional sound quality with less space requirement than concert grands.


        Baby grand piano pricing depends on the following:

        • Brand
        • Size
        • Age
        • The overall quality and how well it has been maintained through the years

        You can expect to pay between $5,000 and $15,000 for a high-quality, well-maintained baby grand piano.

        Any acoustic piano will require routine tuning and maintenance.

        Depending on the individual piano, they may also need periodic repairs and adjustments. Pianos should generally be tuned every 6-12 months.

        And if the piano doesn’t come with a humidification system, consider installing one. These systems help minimize temperature and humidity fluctuations that can damage the piano over time.

        When purchasing a small grand piano, it’s also essential to consider hiring a professional piano mover to deliver the instrument.

        Baby grand pianos are bulky and awkward to move, so protect your investment by hiring a professional.

        Additional Considerations

        A baby grand piano is a financial investment for most people.

        However, if you or your child is passionate about playing the piano, investing in a quality instrument is one of the best ways to help deepen the passion and improve skills.

        Consider a baby grand piano if:

        • You/your child loves playing classical music
        • You/your child plan to pursue a music degree
        • You/your child plan to continue playing for at least the next three years
        • You have space in your home
        • You’re willing to continue investing in routine care and maintenance by a professional piano technician

        A baby grand piano generally offers more in the way of musical expression than offered by an upright. And the sound can be purer and more harmonically diverse than an upright.

        Grand pianos also tend to have a more responsive action than an upright.

        But every piano is an individual. There can be considerable differences in touch and sound, even between pianos of the same size and brand.

        This is one of the biggest reasons you (or your child) must try out different pianos before making a final decision.

        And the further you are in your piano studies, the more critical it is that the piano match the touch and sound you envision in your mind.

        Upright Pianos

        Although baby grand pianos have much to offer pianists, upright pianos can also be a fantastic option.

        Sound Quality

        Due to the slightly different construction and shorter strings, the sound quality of most uprights isn’t entirely on par with baby grands.

        But there can be vast differences in the sound quality of an upright depending upon the brand and physical features.

        Physical Features

        Similar to grand pianos, there are differences in piano height among upright pianos. The shortest vertical pianos are known as a “spinet piano.”

        This piano model tends to be mass-produced and generally not of high-quality materials.

        A large upright model has longer strings and, therefore, better sound.

        Due to the nature of the playing mechanics, upright pianos tend not to hold up as well over time compared to grand pianos.

        But if you need to fit a piano into a small room, sometimes an upright is the most logical option.


        Upright pianos tend to be more readily affordable than a smaller grand piano. You can even find upright pianos listed for free on Craigslist.

        Remember that due to differences in the quality of the materials and general wear and tear on upright instruments, they tend not to hold up as well over time.

        Free pianos are generally of low quality and require a fair amount of maintenance to get them to good playing condition.

        And in some instances, it may be better to consider a digital piano rather than an acoustic one if you are limited by budget.

        Acoustic upright pianos also require regular tuning and maintenance, so remember to factor those costs into ownership.

        All things considered, you can find upright pianos ranging from free at the low end to more than $10,000 at the high end of the price range.

        Many acoustic pianos between 0 and $10,000 may be the perfect fit for your needs.

        Additional Considerations

        Although the upfront cost of an upright tends to be less than a baby grand, there are other reasons to consider this piano model as one that’s perfect for you.

        Consider an upright piano if:

        • You/your child are still determining whether you’re ready to commit to playing the instrument.
        • You don’t have the space for a larger model.
        • You/your child isn’t serious about classical music but instead wants to play jazz, pop, or other genres not requiring exceptional instrument sound.
        • You’re looking for an acoustic sound at a budget price.

        Regardless of whether you’re considering a baby grand or an upright, it’s always best to consult a qualified piano technician with questions on a piano’s age or value.

        This is especially true if you’re considering buying a piano from someone else. It goes without saying that people tend to over-value their possessions, and this is especially true when it comes to pianos.

        Consulting a piano technician upfront can save you time and money down the road.

        Frequently Asked Questions

        Should you buy a piano from Craigslist?

        Buying anything online carries a certain degree of risk. That said, I purchased an upright from Craigslist in the past, and it worked perfectly for me.

        Before buying an instrument, ask yourself the following questions:

        • Am I able to try the piano before buying it?
        • Do I trust the seller?
        • Do I feel comfortable assessing the piano’s quality and value by myself, or do I need to take someone knowledgeable with me?
        • Am I comfortable paying the advertised price without any guarantees of quality or function?
        • Do I have a plan for transporting the instrument home?

        It may be worth considering the purchase if you can answer “yes” to the above questions.

        But always do your homework, and you should never feel pressured into buying with which you’re not 100% comfortable.

        Is it better to buy a new or used piano?

        New pianos have the advantage of brand-new construction. With the proper care and attention, the piano will likely hold up well over time.

        But used pianos have already been broken in, and you have more certainty about that piano’s final sound.

        It can take several tunings before a piano settles, and with a used piano, you are guaranteed a fair assessment of how it will sound for years to come.

        A used piano tends to be cheaper than a new piano, but this can vary between brands.

        I prefer used pianos because I know exactly what I’m getting in terms of sound, but some people prefer new ones.

        How do you know whether a piano is worth the asking price?

        You can get a fair appraisal of a piano’s worth from a qualified piano technician.

        Piano value generally depends on the instrument’s brand, age, and overall physical condition.

        Should you tune a piano yourself?

        Under no circumstances should you try to tune a piano yourself. Piano tuning is complicated and should only be done by knowledgeable, professional piano tuners.

        Improperly tuning a piano can lead to damage to the instrument over time. Unless you are learning the art of piano tuning by practicing on a test instrument, leave the tuning to the professionals.

        Are antique pianos valuable?

        In some instances, being an antique adds value. Regarding pianos, “antique” means old and more prone to serious issues.

        This is especially true for most baby grand and upright pianos.

        When searching for your perfect piano, always take the word “antique” with a grain of salt.

        And when in doubt, consult a knowledgeable piano professional about the piano’s true worth.

        Final Thoughts

        Regardless of the piano model you’re buying, every piano is unique.

        There are slight variations in touch and sound between all pianos, but trying them out for yourself guarantees you will find one you love.

        Although I tend to prefer grand over upright models, I’ve played uprights that have been absolutely lovely and grands that need a one-way ticket to the local dump.

        Sometimes it all comes down to the previous work that’s been done on the piano and its overall quality.

        When buying a piano, don’t be afraid to ask tough questions and do your research.

        Buying an instrument can be a significant financial investment, so it’s essential to ensure you’re getting the best possible value for your money and have made the right decision for your situation.

        Hiring a professional piano technician is almost always worth the cost, as they can honestly assess any instrument’s condition.

        Good luck with your search!

        And if you’re looking for more great piano-inspired content, check out the following posts:

        13 Easy Classical Piano Pieces for Adult Beginners

        13 Easy Classical Piano Pieces for Adult Beginners

        Classical piano music has an enduring appeal for all ages and levels of experience.

        Whether you are a beginner or an experienced pianist, there is something to be enjoyed in the vast repertoire of classical pieces ranging from the Baroque to Romantic periods.

        For adult beginners who want to explore more of this genre, here is a list of 13 easy classical piano pieces that will bring satisfaction and joy as you learn them.

        From Bach’s Menuet in G Major BWV114, Beethoven’s Für Elise, Mozart’s Piano Sonata in C Major K545, Chopin’s Waltz in A Minor, and Debussy’s Arabesque No. 1 – these beloved compositions by some of the greatest composers ever have stood the test of time and remain popular favorites today!

        And if you want to learn these easy classical piano songs but don’t have a piano teacher, stay tuned because I have a fantastic resource to help even beginner pianists studying on their own master these songs.

        Ready? 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.

        Menuet in G Major BWV114 – Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach

        The Menuet in G Major BWV114 from the Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach is a delightful classical piano piece.

        Thanks to its inclusion in the Notebook, it was attributed to J. S. Bach until the 1970s when it was established that the piece was actually composed by Christian Petzold.

        Petzold was a famous composer, church organist, and teacher of his day.

        Unfortunately, only a few of his works have survived the centuries since his death in 1733.

        In the first part of the piece, the right hand carries the melody. The trickiest part is navigating the occasional ornaments in the right hand.

        The left hand has a fairly basic accompaniment consisting of mostly quarter and dotted half notes.

        There are a few eighth notes in the left hand of the first section but none in the second section.

        The moderate tempo makes this a very attainable piece for adult beginners.

        Menuet in G Minor BWV115 – Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach

        The Menuet in G Minor BWV155 is another relatively short piece written by Christian Petzold.

        Thanks to the minor key signature, watch out for the accidentals sprinkled throughout.

        Like the G Major Menuet, the first section also contains several ornaments in the right hand. And the melody is comprised of quarter and eighth notes.

        The second section is similar to the first, aside from a few measures of E natural rather than E flat.

        Watch out for the accidentals throughout the second section, as there are several.

        Once you master the notes, this piece offers a beautiful melody and technical challenges appropriate for most adult beginners.

        Prelude in C Major – Johann Sebastian Bach

        The Prelude in C Major is the first piece in the first book of The Well-Tempered Clavier, written by J.S. Bach.

        Although it looks complicated at first glance, the piece is a series of broken chords. Once you master the patterns, it’s an attainable piece for beginning piano students.

        And if you struggle with getting hands together, this is an excellent piece to try because the left-hand accompaniment is minimal and follows a very specific pattern throughout.

        You do have to watch for a few accidentals scattered throughout the piece. Still, for the most part, C major is an easier key signature for more beginning students.

        Overall, this is a fun piece to play that, once mastered, will give you a tremendous feeling of accomplishment!

        Piano Sonata in C Major, K545 – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

        Composed in the late 1780s, the Piano Sonata in C Major is often considered appropriate for beginning piano students.

        The entire piece consists of 3 movements, with the first, Allegro, being the most familiar.

        As is characteristic of Mozart compositions, the Allegro movement has a very happy and upbeat sound.

        It is slightly trickier than the other pieces listed thus far on the list, thanks to the eighth note accompaniment in the left hand.

        There are trills to navigate in the right hand and sixteenth-note runs which increase the difficulty factor of this sonata.

        Although this piece is slightly longer than other pieces listed, it has much to offer the learner in terms of rhythm, dynamic contrasts, and phrasing.

        Due to the technical challenges, this is a great one to learn with a teacher while taking piano lessons.

        Moonlight Sonata – Ludwig van Beethoven

        The first movement of the Moonlight Sonata is an iconic piece composed in 1801.

        Although the entire sonata has 3 movements, it’s the first that is the most popular.

        The second movement is also attainable for a late beginner or early intermediate pianist; however, the third is technically challenging and should be reserved for the advanced pianist.

        One of the challenges of the first movement lies in bringing out the melody despite nearly constant triplets in the right hand.

        Another challenge of this piece is the dynamic contrast, leaning most toward the pianissimo side.

        Phrasing and bringing out the mood of the piece are additional learning opportunities for the first movement of this famous sonata.

        Overall, this beautiful piece is fun to learn and will be recognized by your friends and family. It’s an excellent piece for new pianists interested in classical music.

        Fur Elise – Ludwig van Beethoven

        The Bagatelle in A Minor, also known by its more popular name, Fur Elise, is one of Beethoven’s most recognizable pieces for piano.

        Although published after his death, the piece has since risen to fame. It continues to be regularly performed by pianists everywhere.

        The piece has a rondo form, with the main theme returning at several points throughout.

        And as it is in a minor key, you can expect a smattering of accidentals to keep you on your toes.

        The piece does clip along at a fair pace and contains an abundance of sixteenth notes.

        The pedaling can also get a bit muddy if you’re not careful.

        Despite the performance challenges, this remains an excellent piece for people just stepping into the world of classical piano!

        Waltz in B Minor, Op. 18 No. 6 – Franz Schubert

        Franz Schubert is known for beautiful melodic lines, and this waltz composed in the early 1800s is no exception.

        Careful attention to legato and the stray accidental yields a melancholy and striking melody.

        The left hand has a reasonably predictable accompaniment pattern typical of waltzes. With some practice, even someone new to the piano can master the jumps in the pattern.

        The second section has a few dynamic shifts, which create a sense of mystery and beauty.

        Given all the unique compositional elements, this is a gorgeous piece attainable by beginner pianists.

        Waltz in A Minor – Frederic Chopin

        The Waltz in A Minor is one of Chopin’s most approachable pieces for beginning pianists.

        Like the menuets above, the piece was attributed to an alternate composer for almost a century until it was finally established as Chopin’s in 1955.

        As is characteristic of Chopin’s compositional style, the Waltz has a highly emotional feel. Given its key signature, melancholy dominates the piece aside from a brief foray into A Major, suggesting a carefree, happy attitude.

        One of the more challenging aspects of the piece is expression of the overall mood. There are ornaments scattered throughout the work, which add trickiness.

        Aside from the above, the Waltz in A Minor is an excellent piece for new pianists interested in playing the music of the Romantic period.

        Of Foreign Lands and Peoples from Kinderszenen, Op. 15 – Robert Schumann

        Composed in 1838, Of Foreign Lands and Peoples is one of 13 pieces in the more extensive work called ‘Scenes from Childhood.’

        The main challenge of this piece is bringing out the melody in the midst of a busy accompaniment.

        Written in 2/4 time, this piece is driven by eighth notes. It’s a beautiful piece, perfect for beginning pianists.

        If you’re interested in a tutorial on this piece, check out Dr. Josh Wright’s YouTube video.

        The Sick Doll, Op. 39 – Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

        Like the previous piece, The Sick Doll is part of a more extensive collection of short works.

        This piece also shares the same time signature as Of Foreign Lands and Peoples.

        The Sick Doll has a slow tempo and fewer notes than the other pieces highlighted in this post. There are a few accidentals to navigate and subtle dynamic contrasts, which add an air of the dramatic.

        Thanks to these small details, it’s one of the most attainable pieces for any piano player.

        To a Wild Rose, Op. 51 – MacDowell

        MacDowell is the first and only American composer to make this list of easy classical piano pieces for adult beginners.

        The piece was composed just before the turn of the 20th century and evokes within the listener a scene of serene calm.

        To a Wild Rose shares the same time signature as the previous two pieces. And the key signature is A, meaning there are 3 sharps with which to contend.

        But the tempo is relatively slow, and the rhythms predictable, so once you master the pattern, the piece falls right into place.

        Dr. Josh Wright, renowned classical pianist, and teacher, also has an instructional video on this piece that you can find by clicking here.

        Gymnopedie No. 1 – Erik Satie

        Satie was a French composer who wrote this piece just before the turn of the 20th century.

        There are 3 pieces included as part of the larger set, and the inspiration for the piece remains controversial.

        The challenge of this piece is not so much the notes themselves but in portraying a specific scene.

        Gymnopedie is a very legato piece and requires attention to pedaling to achieve the perfect balance between ideal and overpedaling.

        This is a beautiful, calm piece, attainable for beginning pianists and impressive when performed well.

        Arabesque No. 1 – Claude Debussy

        Debussy is one of the most famous composers of the Impressionist period.

        Although similar in compositional style, the Arabesque is more challenging than Gymnopedie, thanks to the quicker tempo and triplet rhythms sprinkled throughout.

        There are a few rhythmically tricky sections where you must navigate triplets in one hand and eighth notes in the other.

        I prefer this piece to Satie’s, although it is more challenging. The Arabesque has elements of both the Impressionist and Romantic periods of music that make it an exciting and charming piece.

        When performed well, it is a gorgeous piece and fun to play!

        Frequently Asked Questions

        Can you learn to play piano without a teacher?

        Yes. But depending on your goals and the type of music you want to learn, it may be helpful to have a piano teacher.

        Check out my recent post, Can You Really Learn Piano Without a Teacher, for all the details on whether this is the best option for you and your goals.

        Are there good online resources for learning to play the piano?

        Absolutely. If you’re brand new to the piano and would love to learn pop songs, check out Playground Sessions.

        Playground Sessions introduces you to the concepts of playing along with the band right from the start. And it’s designed for people who have never touched a keyboard, so no experience is required!

        You can find my Playground Sessions review here.

        There are a few other apps and programs; however, Playground Sessions is the only one I’ve used and can wholeheartedly recommend.

        What is the best resource for learning classical music as a beginner?

        If you know that classical is your jam, you must check out Dr. Josh Wright. He has an active YouTube channel where he regularly posts piano tutorials.

        He also has a program called ProPractice, which consists of video tutorials for most of the pieces listed above.

        The full version of ProPractice contains video lessons for people who have never touched a piano before up through tutorials for advanced classical repertoire by Rachmaninoff and Franz Liszt.

        You can also purchase tutorial videos for individual songs, including most listed above. Most of the individual lesson videos are less than $20 and well worth the investment.

        I’ve been a member of ProPractice for several years now. I have seen my piano skills improve thanks tremendously to this course!

        If you want to learn more, click the link or read my ProPractice review post.

        Final Thoughts

        Playing the piano is rewarding and can be a great way to relax!

        Whether you’re just starting out or have been playing for a little while, there are tons of resources available online to help you learn.

        And it always helps to learn music that you love. Hopefully, the pieces above have given you some inspiration on where to start.

        If you’re looking for more piano-inspired posts, check out my other helpful content below!

        It may take some time and practice to master a new piece. Still, with dedication and an enjoyable learning experience, you’ll make beautiful music in no time!

        Good luck!

        If you loved this post, check out:


        Christian Petzold (composer) – Wikipedia

        Minuets in G major and G minor – Wikipedia

        Waltz in A minor (Chopin) – Wikipedia

        Kinderszenen – Wikipedia

        How to Practice Piano with Modacity: The Ultimate Guide

        How to Practice Piano with Modacity: The Ultimate Guide

        Are you confused about how to practice the piano?

        I was for longer than I’m comfortable admitting.

        Sure, the concept of sitting down and playing through each practice item on your list sounds easy.

        But does endlessly repeating something guarantee that you’ll eventually master it?

        Or is there a better way to approach practice?

        And just how much time should you set aside each day for practice sessions?

        When it comes to practice, it can seem like there are more questions than answers.

        But today’s post answers your burning practice questions. It also introduces you to a revolutionary deliberate practice tool that will revolutionize how you approach practicing the piano.

        And it will help you prioritize quality over quantity when it comes to your practice routine.

        If you’re ready to dive deep into the practice world, let’s start with an introduction to the Modacity app.

        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 Modacity?

        Modacity is an app that was initially created by Marc Gelfo.

        As a lifelong lover of music, Gelfo eventually became a professional French horn player performing with international symphonies, including the Hong Kong Philharmonic.

        Aside from his work in classical music, Gelfo studied at Northwestern University, eventually earning a cognitive science degree and a computer science degree.

        His passion for developing a tool to help himself practice more effectively and in line with how the human brain learns eventually led to the creation of Modacity.

        My Experience with Modacity

        I discovered Modacity several years ago after hearing Marc Gelfo on a podcast.

        And I was immediately drawn to his message of how to be more intentional with practice.

        Although I had already graduated with a baccalaureate degree in music by this point, my practice habits left something to be desired.

        I wanted to be a goal-oriented musician but needed to figure out exactly how.

        My primary learning method was endlessly repeating things until muscle memory took over, an approach I later learned was one of the most reliable ways to bring on a memory lapse.

        The other practice sin I regularly committed was inconsistent practice.

        Inspiration would strike, and I would practice for hours one day but then wouldn’t practice again for several days or weeks.

        When I sat back down at the keyboard, I had forgotten everything I had worked on during the previous session.

        I wanted to improve my piano skills but wasn’t sure how.

        Changing my practice ways felt like a truly daunting challenge.

        Until Modacity.

        Structured Piano Practice

        Modacity has several unique mastery features that have helped me improve how I approach piano practice, and it all starts with practice lists.

        Practice Lists

        The first step in being more deliberate with your practice involves creating a practice list.

        You can create a separate practice list for each day of the week or create a list with a specific goal in mind.

        I recommend you start by listing out each piece you’re currently playing.

        • Bagatelle in A Major
        • Waltz in A Minor
        • Prelude in C Minor

        The next step is figuring out what specific thing(s) you’re trying to improve in each piece.

        If you’re taking lessons, ask your teacher what specific items you need to improve. Examples may include:

        • Maintaining an even tempo throughout
        • Coordinating your hands together
        • Making a distinct change in dynamics
        • Note accuracy

        And if you’re learning on your own, this is where the magic of Modacity comes in.

        The app gives you suggestions from various categories, including

        • Notes
        • Rhythm
        • Emotion
        • Phrasing

        You can then decide what specific practice item will improve your performance of the piece.

        Once you’ve figured out your specific goals for each piece, you can separate them into different days of the week.

        Organizing Your Practice Lists

        Once you’ve created the practice lists, you can add each song from your practice repertoire.

        And from there, add notes about areas where you seek improvement.

        Another unique feature is the ability to add a timer to each practice item in the list.

        This feature is a godsend if you, like me, spend too much time on one song, and your precious practice time suddenly slips away, leaving everything else incomplete.

        When it’s time to practice, select the appropriate practice list. Click on the first song, and the timer will start counting down, alerting you when it’s time to switch songs.

        Deliberate Practice

        Another valuable feature of Modacity is the focus on deliberate practice over mindless repetitions.

        Key components of deliberate practice include figuring out what you want to improve, trying something to fix it, and then listening back to see whether there was an improvement.

        Deliberate practice is not repeating something 10,000 times and then calling it good.

        Efficient practice requires thought and being intentional about improvement. It requires listening to yourself to see whether your goals were met.

        Modacity supports mindful practice by giving you ideas about musical areas to explore improving upon.

        And it also has a recording feature so you can record a measure or two or an entire sonata.

        Regularly recording trains you to listen to your playing and helps you figure out whether your practice tactic achieved the result for which you were looking.

        It’s also very motivating to go back through and listen to old recordings because you realize how far you’ve come!

        Frequently Asked Questions

        Does Modacity offer customer service?

        I can tell you from personal experience that Modacity has exceptional customer service.

        If you’re stuck during a practice session, hit the Ask Us button on the lower right-hand of the screen to chat with the team.

        I’ve always gotten great responses from the team when I’ve run into issues. The Modacity team is passionate about the art of music practice and wants you to have a great experience with the app!

        How long should I practice?

        It’s different for everyone and depends on your goals and what else is going on in your life.

        Generally speaking, it’s ideal to practice in shorter bursts of time more frequently in comparison to marathon sessions.

        Modacity helps you stay on task with the timer feature. You can set a timer, and it will alert you when it’s time to move on.

        If you’re trying to establish a daily practice routine, aim for 10 minutes a day.

        As you practice more, you can gradually increase this time, but aiming for 10 minutes is a great way to start.

        And it’s even better if you can fit several 10-minute sessions throughout the day.

        Can I use the Modacity app with any instrument?

        Absolutely! The app also features a drone generator and metronome.

        Think of Modacity as the Swiss army knife of music practice. It has all the features to help you succeed in the practice room, regardless of your instrument.

        Do I have to practice every day?

        If you want to make progress, it’s best to practice daily.

        And for optimal results, keep those sessions short. It will be easier to get yourself to sit down when you know you only have to do it for 10 minutes versus forcing yourself to play for 2 hours.

        Modacity helps you stay motivated by sending you practice reminders and keeping track of your practice time.

        The app also tallies up your consecutive days of practice, a feature that encourages you to keep returning to the keyboard day after day.

        Is Modacity a practice journal?

        You can think of Modacity as an electronic practice journal or even a music practice assistant.

        Musicians of all backgrounds will appreciate the Modacity system for its focus on helping you make the most of your practice time.

        It can also reduce your random combination of music practice apps by replacing your metronome app.

        Modacity helps you cut down on the list of things floating around in your mind by sending you reminders to help you stick with a practice schedule.

        All this without any pesky papercuts.

        Are there other resources for learning about the art of practice?

        My favorite practice resource comes from The Bulletproof Musician, a blog and podcast by Noa Kageyama.

        Noa regularly features professional musicians with their best practice advice for mastering the art of practicing.

        He also features various research studies to uncover the best way to approach more effective practice in a shorter amount of time.

        His blog and podcast are a wealth of information on the art of practicing and performing, so the next time you’re looking for inspiration, check out The Bulletproof Musician.

        The Modacity blog also offers information about practice techniques, including interleaving strategies and the link between neuroscience and effective practice.

        If you want to learn more about practice, the Modacity blog is worth checking out.

        Final Thoughts

        Whether you’re just starting out with the piano or are a seasoned professional, Modacity is the perfect practice partner!

        This amazing app is designed to help you focus on deliberate practice so that you can make the most of your time in less time.

        And it’s loaded with features that support this type of practice, including timers, recording capabilities, and performance analytics.

        Thanks to its all-in-one design, you can delete all the other different apps you’re currently using to manage your practice needs.

        If you’re looking for a practice partner to help you stay on track and achieve your most significant success as a musician, Modacity is definitely worth checking out!

        Happy practicing!

        And if you found this post helpful, check out my other piano-inspired content!

        Playground Sessions Review: Waste of Time or Worth the Hype?

        Playground Sessions Review: Waste of Time or Worth the Hype?

        If you’re a music lover interested in learning the piano or an experienced player wanting to sharpen your skills, you might be considering an online piano learning platform.

        And among the jungle of music learning websites and apps, you may have heard of Playground Sessions.

        Developed by legendary producer Quincy Jones and renowned pianist David Sides, Playground Sessions is an online program that uses real-time feedback and interactive lessons to help people of all levels improve at playing the piano.

        In this blog post, I will review Playground Sessions and provide an in-depth look at its features, benefits, drawbacks, and overall value.

        So whether you’re just learning the piano or want to take your playing skills up a notch, read on to find out why Playground Sessions might be right for you!

        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 Playground Sessions?

        Playground Sessions is an interactive online piano learning platform for desktop and Apple devices that helps people learn to play the piano.

        It includes lessons, challenges, and exercises tailored to your level. It also has an extensive song library of over 2,000 songs that can be played with or without accompaniment.

        Playground Sessions offers real-time feedback, which helps users improve their playing as they proceed through the lessons.

        The platform also has a community of like-minded users to learn from and connect with via discussion boards and a Facebook group.

        And if you don’t have a keyboard, you can bundle a keyboard with a membership.

        It’s a great option if you have no idea what kind of keyboard to buy and don’t want to spend time researching different models!

        How is Playground Sessions organized?

        Playground Sessions is divided into 3 distinct sections.


        The bootcamp section is where you’ll start. This section offers instruction at 3 levels: rookie, intermediate, and advanced.

        If you’re brand new to the piano, start with the very first lesson in the rookie section. This video features Phil Anderson explaining the notes on the keyboard and how to find middle C, both concepts geared toward complete beginners.

        The next several lessons allow you to practice playing along with the background track before diving into basic rhythms, time signatures, and the staff.

        Each of the 3 bootcamp sections is broken down into separate lessons to allow you to learn and practice the material.

        The rookie section includes over 90 lessons to help you learn and refine the basic concepts.

        The intermediate and advanced sections continue expanding on the basic ideas introduced in the rookie section.

        You’ll find over 60 lessons in the intermediate section, while the advanced section contains between 20 and 30 lessons.


        The courses section includes focused piano learning topics.

        One of the courses includes a collection of songs perfect for beginning piano learners. Another consists of the Hanon exercises.

        Yet another course comprises advice on playing from Mike Garson, David Bowie’s pianist.

        Many other courses are designed to help you improve basic skills, such as reading sheet music and playing with both hands together.

        The courses section is also where you’ll find special challenges organized by levels. Challenges are a fun way to learn popular repertoire at an attainable level.

        As a rookie, try The Entertainer or Fur Elise challenges and impress your friends with your keyboard prowess!


        The third and final section comprises a vast library of songs under many different genres, including holiday, film music, pop, and Christian.

        Songs are additionally organized by levels; most pieces are available at different difficulty levels.

        Membership plans come with a certain number of songs per month. And if you want additional songs, you can purchase them separately.

        Benefits of Playground Sessions

        Song Selection

        If you want to learn to play the piano but are completely repulsed by beginner songs such as “Hot Cross Buns” or “Merrily We Roll Along,” I have fantastic news for you!

        Playground Sessions takes a pop music approach to teach you the basics.

        You’ll be playing along with background tracks to hit songs by Lady Gaga, Beyonce, and Celine Dion from the very beginning of your studies.

        Although most of the songs in the rookie section will only be recognizable by your friends and family with the accompanying backtrack, it provides very engaging piano practice!

        Slow it Down … Or Speed it Up!

        You can control the speed of all lesson materials within the bootcamp section.

        You can slow down the backing track or play it at tempo with a simple button click.

        Start each new lesson at a slow tempo and gradually increase it once you’ve got it under your fingers.

        And you’ll know you have the lesson mastered when you can play the song at tempo with zero mistakes!

        Jamming with Others

        One of the hardest things to learn as a beginner is how to keep playing, even when you make a mistake.

        As a beginner, it’s easy to get into the habit of stopping with each and every mistake.

        But consistently stopping makes it challenging to learn to play something from beginning to end. And this habit makes it nearly impossible to play with others.

        But one of the great things about Playground Sessions is that the songs all have a backing track, so you learn to keep playing no matter what happens.

        You can slow the song down for practice at all 3 bootcamp levels, and I recommend starting out slowly and building up the tempo as you learn the song.

        Piano Learning in a Video Game Format

        One of the more gratifying features of Playground Sessions is its similarity to a video game.

        When the app or desktop version is connected to a keyboard, you get immediate feedback on the accuracy of what you just played.

        Take a minute or two to review the feedback and try again for a perfect score.

        Although it’s fun to see your score, the ability to review what you played and make corrections is a crucial skill that can be difficult to master in other learning formats.

        The program also keeps track of your total score and the amount of time you’ve spent in the app.

        And it’s addicting to see your score, practice time increase, and overall piano skill level!

        Note Map

        If you need clarification about which notes you should be playing, click the button at the upper right-hand of the screen, and the virtual keyboard at the bottom of the screen will light up with the correct notes.

        You can choose the right hand, left hand, or both hands.

        This feature is helpful if you need help determining where on the keyboard you should be playing.

        And you can even watch it through a couple of times and then try playing along.

        Emphasis on Playing by Ear

        One of the more impressive aspects of Playground Sessions is the early introduction to how to play a song simply by hearing it.

        This is a valuable skill that helps all areas of musicianship. It’s helpful for sightreading and even for memorization.

        Sometimes it’s a skill that gets bypassed in more traditional methods of learning the instrument because not all teachers have mastered or are comfortable teaching this skill.

        Playing by ear is a skill that doesn’t come naturally to me, but I’ve recently been working hard to foster it.

        And in fact, I was first introduced to one of the instructors in the course, David Sides, through his piano solo version of “Apologize” on my favorite Pandora station.

        I fell in love with his piano solo and immediately began working on learning it by ear.

        And I was very excited to watch David’s video tutorials on playing by ear in the rookie section because he uses “Apologize” as an example in his lessons.

        Watching David’s ear training videos gave me insight into how he translates a song into the keyboard.

        It also reassured me that I’m on the right path to improving my ear training skills!

        How to Practice

        Although Playground Sessions doesn’t specifically tell you HOW to practice, it divides each lesson into small sections.

        It guides you through playing with each hand separately before putting your hands together.

        And in some cases, the course has you work through only a few measures of a song at a time.

        Breaking a piece into smaller parts is precisely how piano practice sessions should be approached.

        At its core, piano practice is about learning to identify WHAT you need to improve and then figuring out HOW to improve it.

        When you take piano lessons, the teacher guides this learning process. Eventually, the goal is for the student to learn how to manage this learning process independently.

        And although Playground Sessions doesn’t specifically address these fundamental rules to practice, it does break each lesson into small and manageable sections.

        This approach teaches you how to approach new songs by breaking them into smaller sections and mastering those skills before putting them together.

        And if you’re interested in diving deeper into piano practice, check out my review of the best piano practice app!

        Midi Keyboard Bundle

        If you’re brand new to learning the piano, finding an instrument is intimidating.

        Playground Sessions removes this barrier by offering a variety of keyboards at different price points, all less than $1,000.

        It’s a great way to get started if you have no idea what to look for and don’t want to do much research.

        The prices are also very reasonable, especially if you’re still determining whether you’ll want to stick with the piano.

        Drawbacks of Playground Sessions

        Lack of Instruction on Piano Technique

        Correct technique is everything when playing advanced classical piano repertoire.

        Incorrect body positioning, holding tension in your forearms, and poor posture can lead to musculoskeletal issues over time.

        Although there is a brief discussion about technique at the very beginning of the rookie section, correct technique isn’t emphasized much during Playground Sessions.

        If your goal in learning the instrument is to have fun and play a few songs to impress your friends, the lack of instruction on technique isn’t a dealbreaker.

        And if you want to become a classical pianist, I recommend one-on-one lessons over learning online anyway.

        Instructor Bait and Switch

        Many of the Playground Sessions ads I’ve seen feature Harry Connick Jr. or Quincy Jones, but I have yet to encounter them in the lesson materials.

        Most instruction in the course comes from Phil Anderson and David Sides rather than Connick or Jones.

        In other words, if you hope to learn from Harry Connick Jr., you will be disappointed.

        Despite the lack of Connick’s presence in the course, the videos are very high quality. Both Anderson and Sides are relatable and enjoyable to watch.

        No Feedback for Acoustic Pianos

        Maybe it’s my strong classical piano background, but I’m a diehard acoustic piano fan.

        I love how acoustic pianos sound and how they feel to play. I’m fascinated by how they work and have even dabbled in learning how to tune and repair them.

        Although I’ve warmed to keyboards and digital pianos over the last couple of years, acoustic is still my ultimate preference.

        And this leads me to my biggest issue with Playground Sessions and other online learning programs: the lack of feedback with acoustic instruments.

        I understand there’s no way to plug an acoustic in to get the perfect feedback. However, it’s still disappointing to be unable to take advantage of the highly-addictive points system.

        And even if you have an acoustic piano, I wouldn’t discourage you from this learning platform because I have yet to find one that gives the same feedback given to digital instruments.

        One way to get around this issue is to record yourself while playing. You can then play it back and compare it with the sheet music to determine your accuracy.

        Although the program itself won’t track your score, you can learn the fundamental skills of listening and providing your own feedback.

        Lack of Advanced Level Material

        Playground Sessions is geared towards beginning and intermediate piano students.

        Although there is a bootcamp section for advanced students, the material is intermediate level.

        Even though there isn’t much explicitly geared toward advanced students, you can still find value in the material, especially if you have a classical background, because of its emphasis on listening and playing by ear.

        This is especially true if you hope to play pop music.

        But if you want to play advanced classical repertoire, Playground Sessions isn’t your best bet.

        Check out this post for the all-time best course on learning classical piano!

        Consider Playgrounds Sessions If You:

        • Want to learn to play the piano but don’t have the time to invest in weekly in-person lessons.
        • Love pop music and want to learn how to play your favorite songs.
        • Are interested in learning to play by ear.
        • Need to take learning the piano at your own pace and have previously excelled in online courses.
        • Eventually want to play with others or in a band.
        • Think you want to learn to play but aren’t sure and don’t want to make a huge investment until you know whether you’ll enjoy playing.

        Skip Playground Sessions If You:

        • Want to learn classical piano and aren’t interested in learning pop or rock hits (check out this course instead).
        • Are an advanced player looking to further your skills in playing classical music.
        • Want to learn from Harry Connick Jr.
        • Need accountability from others to keep making progress in your learning.
        • Are looking for more of an in-depth course on reading sheet music.
        • Want to learn music theory.

        Frequently Asked Questions

        Does Playground Sessions offer a free trial?

        Yes. You can try it free for 14 days. And the best part is that you can sign up without providing your credit card!

        Do you have to know anything about music to sign up for Playground Sessions?

        No. The rookie bootcamp lessons begin by assuming you have no previous knowledge of how to play the instrument.

        Does Playground Sessions work with an acoustic piano?

        Although you can play any of the lessons with an acoustic piano, the program won’t be able to give you feedback on whether the notes are correct.

        Playing with an acoustic piano removes the gaming features. However, playing along with the lessons is still entertaining, thanks to the fantastic song selection!

        Can piano teachers use Playground Sessions with their students?

        Yes! You can create a piano teacher account and track your student’s progress.

        Is Playground Sessions geared toward kids or adults?

        Although Playground Sessions can be used by kids, it’s designed for ages 12 and up.

        You can certainly monitor your kids’ learning while they use the app, but your kids may need your help understanding the lessons.

        And unless you also play the piano, it may be challenging for you to give them the help they need.

        If you want your kids to learn to play the piano, get them into piano lessons. Find out how to find a great teacher by checking out this post.

        Can you use Playground Sessions alongside piano lessons?

        I highly recommend signing up for Playground Sessions even if you’re taking private piano lessons.

        Playground Sessions is a great way to develop your ear and practice playing different types of songs than you’re likely to play in private lessons.

        You can also play for your teacher and get the type of feedback you won’t get from the program. And as an added bonus, you can get feedback from your teacher on technique.

        Final Thoughts

        As someone who has played piano almost their entire life and as someone who has also given piano lessons, it’s one of the best online piano courses around.

        The videos are high-quality, and the lesson materials are helpful. Although you won’t learn from Harry Connick Jr. himself, the instructors are fun and easy to listen to.

        Their passion for the instrument is evident and shines through in the course.

        Playground Sessions offers an easy-to-follow curriculum and exciting song selections with the added bonus of fun gaming elements.

        Plus, it’s completely free to try out!

        Give it a try, and let me know your thoughts!

        And if you’re looking for more great piano-inspired content, check out the following posts:

        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

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        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