Piano playing can be frustrating. It feels so hard to learn, and it always seems like there is so much more for you to do. If you are just starting out, or if you have been struggling with this instrument for a while, here are a few tips that may help.
Choose The Right Sheet Music
This tip is for those of you who are learning how to play the piano by reading sheet music. Whether it’s Clair de Lune sheet music or any other piece of music try to learn songs that you enjoy-this will make it much easier to stay motivated. Also, choose songs that have a lot of repetition in them…this way, if you struggle with certain sections, you can keep playing and practicing that section until it becomes easier.
There are many ways to find sheet music. You could go to a local music shop or library and ask for recommendations, you could find and download sheet music online (just be sure that it is free of copyright violation), or, if there are musicians in your family/friends circle, see if they would recommend any specific songs for you to learn.
Use The Proper Technique
This may seem unnecessary, but it is very important. Thankfully, it’s not so difficult. Here’s the proper technique:
-Start by sitting upright on a piano bench with your feet flat on the floor and positioned slightly in front of you. Place your hands as if you were holding a ball (thumbs together, outstretched fingers touching at their tips).
-Now place your thumb on middle C and play that note.
-Do not use your arm to play the note-use only your fingers.
-Finally, adjust how you sit if needed, and then place your thumb back on middle C. Now play from that position again.
You will notice a difference in how it feels when you are correct vs. incorrect in your technique. This is an incredibly important and yet under-discussed part of learning how to play the piano.
Practice Transitioning Between Notes
Using the proper technique is all well and good, but you also want to practice playing with accuracy. Here’s how:
-Learn all of the white keys first, one at a time. This will be your “home” position on the keyboard. Start by playing C, D, E…all the way through to the next C. Make sure that you are using proper technique throughout your playing.
-Now start to learn all of the black keys, one at a time. Start by playing G, A, B…all the way through to F#. Be careful to use proper technique!
-Next, play white keys plus black keys, one at a time. Start with C, G (which is the first white/black key combination). Follow this by D flat and E flat. Then move on to all of the other combinations-it’s helpful to practice them in order:
C -D flat -E flat -F sharp-G -A -B Flat -C
To memorize the notes, you can do one of two things. First, you could take a photo or screenshot of this image (or another image that shows all 88 keys) and keep it somewhere that is easy to reference. That way, when you are playing the piano you can simply glance at your “cheat sheet” every now and again.
Practice Smart, Not Hard
It seems that people who are successful in music have been practicing their entire life. They seem to never get tired of playing scales or simple songs over and over again.
The truth is, it is possible to overdo it when practicing the piano. Playing the piano should be fun. If you are not enjoying your time at the instrument, perhaps you need a break, or maybe even some help (e.g., with your technique).
So, play an easy piece over and over again until you can play it perfectly. Then stop, and do something else for a while before coming back to the piano when you are ready again.
Find A Good Teacher
Finding a good teacher is like finding a good doctor-they make all the difference. This is not as easy as it seems. In fact, many people end up disappointed because their teachers are either too strict or not strict enough. A good teacher will help you know when you are doing well and when there is room for improvement.
To find a teacher, go to your local music store and ask around. You could also try asking your friends or family for recommendations. If you can’t afford lessons right now, don’t worry about it! There are many resources available to help you out such as YouTube guides.
Here are the qualities a good piano teacher should have:
-The ability to teach well. How do you know if they are good at this? Ask how many years they have been teaching! If they’ve been doing it for a while, they should be much better than someone who just started out.
-Have patience with yourself and your progress. Remember that everyone learns differently, so there is no one-size-fits-all answer. So, you should feel comfortable with your teacher and find that their lessons are helpful.
-Be willing to work closely with you, even if it takes time! Your relationship with your instructor is important for achieving results. You need to be able to communicate well (e.g., when you are confused about a concept), and work together to figure out how to solve any problems. If they aren’t willing to take the time for this, look elsewhere.
Be Organized For Success
The truth is, there is a lot to learn when it comes to playing the piano. This means that if you aren’t organized, it could be very easy to give up.
First, make a list of songs that you would like to learn. List them in order from easiest (and most fun) to hardest (and least fun). Then, start with the first one and work your way down the list-practice each song before going on to the next one.
Organizing your practice schedule is also very important. First, take a look at the list of songs that you want to learn and identify what time of day would fit best with what song (e.g., if it’s a busy day, maybe don’t plan on practicing for 4 hours; instead, break up your practice into 30 minutes or 1-hour sessions. On the other hand, if you have a day off with nothing to do, plan on practicing for longer). Then, schedule each of your practice sessions in your calendar. This is especially important when you are starting out because it will hold you accountable.
Music is a universal language. It can convey emotions and ideas in ways that words alone cannot. Learning piano is a great way to be part of this. If you want to learn the piano, learn the basic techniques, and set up a good practice schedule-before long you will be playing like a pro!