If you want to learn to play the piano, this page is a good starting point. Here we take you through the key steps involved in learning to play the piano, and point you in the direction of resources that will help you to learn to play well, but do so in as efficient a way as possible.
We appreciate that most of our readers are short on time, so always try to find the fastest way for you to learn each aspect of playing the piano. However, we are mindful of the fact that in order to play well you need to learn the right way. Therefore, we work hard to avoid shortcuts that will get you playing fast, but leave you with bad habits.
Below we briefly outline the steps you need to take to learn to play quickly, but properly.
Learn your piano notes
If you want to be able to pick up any piece of sheet music and play it on the piano, you have no choice but to learn how to read music. Learning the musical notes is the first step in this process.
Fortunately, not knowing how to play sheet music should not stop you from proceeding with the other steps you need to take to become a good player. Most piano students make good progress without actually being able to read music.
However, it is can take a while to learn to read sheet music effectively. As a result. the sooner you start the better it will be for you. For that reason, we decided to make learning to read piano music the first step in this post.
An alternative to learning to read piano music
If you are not too concerned about being able to pick up a sheet of music and play it, you could skip the step of learning to read sheet music. It is perfectly possible to learn to play any instrument by ear. However, you need to realize that this skill also takes a fair amount of work to learn.
Whether you do acquire the skill or reading sheet music is very much up to you. However, most piano teachers recommend that you do so.
Learn the keyboard and piano chords
The next step is to familiarize yourself with the keyboard. There are some great YouTube videos out there that can really help you with this.
To be able to play well, you need to know how the keys are grouped. Learning these groupings is essential. By doing this you begin to learn the piano chords.
Learning the chords for your dominant hand first is the best approach. You should learn the chords one hand at a time. This has been shown to be the most efficient way to do it.
If you have decided to learn to read sheet music, now is a great time to practice your music reading skills. It is well worth investing in some piano chord practice sheet music.
Consider buying the large print versions. To find it just search for sheet music for the visually impaired. The fact that everything is bigger makes it far easier to find your place when you glance up and play in a more natural way.
Practice to get your ear in
Now you know the basics notes and chords, it is time to practice. At this stage, a great approach is playing Do-Re-Me repeatedly. It sounds a bit boring, but it is the fastest way to consolidate what you have already learned.
Each time you play this little tune you are teaching your brain how each note sounds. At the same time you are learning how to move your fingers across the keyboard.The more you do it the stronger the pathways in your brain become. Some professional players still use this exercise.
You are taking the first steps to making playing the piano second nature.
Play something more complex
Once you have mastered Do-Re-Mi it is time to take things to the next level. That means learning to play a slightly more complex tune. You need a song that requires you to move around the keys more, rather than just progress along the keyboard in order.
Jingle Bells or Twinkle Twinkle Little Stars are great piano tunes for beginners. Click the link to be taken to a page with many other suggestions.
Look for a tune that you are already familiar with. The better you know the song the easier it will be for you to be able to tell if you are playing it properly.
In addition, playing something that you know well will help you to learn faster and master your first song. Passing this milestone will give your confidence a boost, and encourage you to carry on learning.
You need to maintain momentum, in order to go from beginner to master.
Learn about timing
Playing a tune that you are already familiar with will also help you to start to understand timing. This is very important if you want to play well.
Simply hitting the keys in the right order is not enough to get a piece of music to sound right. It has to be played at the right pace, at the correct tempo.
This skill is something that comes with practice. The more you play the better you will become at being able to replicate the beat and tempo of your favorite pieces of music.
To help you with this stage of the learning process it is important to play different types of music. If you cocontinuously play pieces with the same beat and tempo you will end up getting stuck in a rut. You will not really be learning the skills you will need later in your playing career. The last thing you want is to end up only being good at playing one type of music, so stretch yourself a bit.
If you are learning to read sheet music make sure that you fully understand how to count the notes. This will tell you how many beats each note should take.
Practice playing the piano
Now that you have the basic skills all you need to do is to practice. The more you play the better you will become.
Try to stretch yourself a bit, by learning to play a new piece every month. The more you expand your repertoire the better a player you will become.
Well there you have it, a quick overview of the steps you need to take to learn to play piano.
Book some piano lessons
Of course, you can do all of this on your own. But, our readers tell us that taking piano lessons is the best way to learn to play the piano quickly. Your teacher will drive you onto success, identify issues and help you to overcome them as quickly.
If you are on a tight budget, and cannot afford regular piano classes, do not rule them out completely. Instead, save up, and take a few lessons every now and again. Doing so will allow you to track your progress and have the areas you need to focus on identified by a professional. After a few lessons, you will find that you have overcome some of the issues that are slowing your progress, and have a clear idea of what things you need to practice.