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Everything to learn to play the piano

Having a piano is great but… learning to play it would be even better, wouldn’t it? Well, that’s what this section’s about. We intend to give you resources and tools so that you can learn to play for free, or at the best price. Self-taught, or combine that training with private lessons to move much faster and save a lot of money. First of all, we are going to answer some questions that beginners always ask themselves:

How long does it take to learn to play the piano?

Well, first of all we have to make it clear that there are several levels of playing the piano. We could say that on one side there is the path of the classic music, and then there are the others. The students of the conservatory (classic music centers) are mainly concert pianists of classical music and have a very strong technical background. Both, if you finish in middle grade (with the elementary grade are 10 courses in most European countries), and in higher grade (14 courses in total).

Does this mean that you have to do this training to play the piano in an acceptable way? Not at all… a piano student needs an acceptable hand technique, knowledge of harmony (chords, etc.) and reading notes in the scores. In the conservatory, many more things are taught -- but to “play the piano” you need what we have said before. The important thing is to spend time and be constant, better to study half an hour each day, than 2 days of drought and then study 2 hours another day.

Jaime Echagüe

Author

Advice:

If you are in this section, don’t miss my post with the best interactive platforms to learn piano. You can learn a lot just with the free lessons of these applications:

A motivated person who studies 4 hours a day from the beginning, can advance 4 courses in just one year. It’s hard, but it can be done -- it’s a matter of motivation. But, the student has to be smart. Obviously, most of you will not be able to spend 4 hours a day to the instrument, but maybe 45 minutes a day or an hour. In that case, in 4 or 5 years you can play in a very acceptable way.

I’m sure you’ll be interested in…

It is clear that in order to play very complicated works of classical music, the formation of a conservatory is necessary. But four or five years of intelligent and constant study are enough to play 80% of modern music. From Bossa Nova, to Jazz standards as popular as Take Five.

Take Five - Dave Brubeck ( piano cover )

I love Take Five!, don’t despair either, it doesn’t mean you have to wait 4 or 5 years to play the piano or electronic keyboard. If you study constantly, every year you are already enjoying the instrument, and it is a constant improvement every time you play more complex songs; in this way the piano will hook you and will never stop being part of your life.

How can you learn to play the piano?

In the previous point we have tried to define HOW MUCH, but now we have to talk about HOW. There are many people who wonder if you can learn to play the piano alone or on your own. In the background, you can just like the guitar, although it is true that our stringed friend has much more material available for it. But it can still be raised, here we will help you. Many people don’t have the financial situation to receive piano lessons, and will therefore try to find free lessons. Or maybe you just want it to compose and you just need to know about harmony and reflect it on the keyboard.

To get you started as a beginner to play the piano, and know what the chords and notes of a piano, go to at a basic level. We have prepared this guide course that will explain you step by step how to learn piano for beginners.

In the piano tutorial you will find answers to basic questions about keys, musical notes, tones,  semitones, basic chord training, the position of each hand, and correct posture; at the end you will be able to play simple songs.

Apart from what can be learned in a self-taught way, the usual way with time is to put together various learning techniques. But the main thing, and what you have to be clear about, is that there are no age limits. What matters is motivation and knowing you’ll get to touch it, visualize it.

There used to be a lot of talk about how important it was to start studying music as a child, and it seemed that if someone started out as an adult and a beginner, it was impossible. This paradigm has changed, many of us will have known children who studied music from small and when they are adults no longer want to see a musical instrument. It is necessary to make sure that the child studies music because they love it. I huge amount of lessons aren’t good for a child’s motivation.

The adult probably has the strongest motivation that exists, and that is a very important factor. In addition, recent scientific research has brought to light a very important concept: brain plasticity. Basically a person with the right practice can become smarter with the right time and practices. The brain can expand its neural networks and form others with appropriate stimulation.

To find out more about brain plasticity and whether you can learn to play the piano as an adult, we have written a post on the subject that will surely be exciting and motivating. Don’t miss our article “Can you learn to play the piano being an adult?”

Brain Plasticity, a new scientific learning approach

Brain Plasticity, a new scientific learning approach

Of course, you don’t have to deny the value of having a teacher. If we have the economic possibilities, this option will be much more powerful. If we combine our motivation, study time and private classes, we will catalyze our learning even more. It’s very appropriate to think of intermediate options. We can, for example, start with free internet classes like the one we have linked you to above and then a couple of months of classes. And in this way to interrelate periods of training with self-taught learning. And to enhance the whole cocktail, help us with computer programs that will act as teachers. Below we tell you about it in depth.

Methods for learning to play the piano or keyboard

First of all, let’s make it clear that by learning piano you learn keyboard, this being either mechanical or digital. The system is the same. On the one hand, we can talk about some popular learning systems, but they are not the only ones -- there are many more, so keep reading as we will talk about them throughout the post:

Books to learn to play piano

You have several books that usually come with audio-visual material and may be an option to start. At least to find out if you like it.

The Hanon method is famous, and is a series of exercises to learn piano and get dexterity with the hands. It is a very famous book but if we are going to learn in a self-taught way, and you are a beginner, the least you can do is watch some videos of the exercises. In the following article we analyze this method that has its supporters and detractors.

It’s really not easy to learn with the Hanon method, and it’s a little hard to mess with it without a teacher. There are easier and better structured books, like the following that we show you in our guide with books to learn to play piano. They will talk to you about basic chords, the position of each hand, piano notes, etc.

There’s another book that is the Suzuki method for children. This violin system extrapolated to other instruments, is a system for children to learn to play the piano in a natural way. Many of its approaches are applicable to adults, but it is not a system designed to learn in a self-taught way -- it can be a very good option for a child. Well, it’s based on learning music as a natural language. We have an article analyzing this piano method if you want to know more.

The best way to learn to play piano for adults?

Books with audiovisual material are a good option, but nowadays there are options to learn piano from scratch online. And for us, this is the best way to learn self-taught, and more so if you are a beginner. More and more people are looking for resources on the internet, whether paid or free, and online teaching to a certain level is already a fact. Face-to-face classes are undoubtedly the best method, but many people don’t have the money to pay for them… and now you have, for example, apps that can be installed on a tablet and when you put them on top of the piano they correct you while you play. Although the best are paid, they have free versions with which you can learn the piano basics.

These apps and different programs are more powerful and more comfortable than a book. They are also very easy to set up today. You can see the best in our guide with the best online platforms to learn piano.

In the previous link, the app that is really more interesting, is Flowkey.

What piano do you need to learn to play at home?

As you have seen, musical computer science today opens the doors to an exciting world. Now you have to decide what kind of piano you buy, to learn. On the one hand you have acoustic pianos, but these can be very expensive and unwieldy. Although they’re the ones with the best touch feeling cause they have the original system.

If you are a beginner and have little budget, it can be worth with a cheap keyboard. But you must have at least a sensitive keyboard, pedal input, and USB MIDI to take advantage of all of the above. Here’s a selection with cheap keyboards.

On the other hand, visit our guide on digital pianos where we will tell you the differences and you will be able to understand which is the most convenient electronic piano for you. There is a selection of very convenient digital pianos that look more like an acoustic piano and are at a great price.

MIDI connection is really important. It is a type of connector that allows for transmitting audio signal to detail, which musical notes go in that sound. So with the piano connected to the computer, you could record what you’re playing on a MIDI track and then export it with a single click. Nice, isn’t? You can find more information in our MIDI guide.

Where to practice and how to prepare a suitable study environment

This is an important aspect of studying. It takes a lot of concentration and time if you don’t have the right environment for study. This factor is important if we also have little time and have to optimize it. If we can put the piano in an “office” room this would be ideal. In this way we will move away a little from the daily distractions that exist in the home. If, for example, you arrive from work at 7 p.m. and you have an hour to study, it is very important to find your own space so that nobody bothers you during that time. Use a watch or stopwatch: it is an action that can help us a lot. Plan what your normal study will be like. Choose how many minutes to warm up, how many to solfeggio, and how many to technique. Then you can play the scores that your learning method has set you as “homework” and other scores that interest you. This is intelligent studying and doing it this way you will concentrate more and your performance will more than double in the same time.

Problems with neighbors

One of the main problems we musicians face is preventing noise from bothering neighbors or roommates. A neighbor who is complaining all day can make your existence bitter and negatively influence your learning.

You have several options to help you in this task; if you buy a digital piano you will be able to study with headphones and in this way you will get rid of these problems. But… what if you have a grand or wall-mounted piano at home and that’s where you have to study? If you can’t put headphones on your piano because it’s not digital, a tip is to talk to the neighbors to see what times and places the piano bothers them the most. In this way perhaps we can move the piano and avoid certain hours of practice. If this is not possible we will have to resort to soundproofing the piano or the room.

Soundproof a room for music and piano

It must be understood that there are two types of sounds to block, on the one hand the sounds that travel through the air and another one that travels through the materials. You can do an acoustic consultancy, but this is sometimes a bit expensive. So we’ll give you some affordable ideas, and it’s quite possible that it’ll be worth it if the neighbors don’t complain.

For the walls: Damping plates that will reduce airborne noise transmission, you buy 3 or 4 and you test to see where they are most effective. If the neighbor lets you into his house you can see how better sound buffer, and this way the neighbor will see that you’re taking measures and that always causes good predisposition on his part (in this life almost everything is negotiable).

Planchas para insonorizar habitación para música

For the floor: The vibrations caused by the piano can also be damped, both on the wall and on the floor. For the wall we can put plates like the previous ones, and for the floor there are some shock-absorbing corks that we can put directly under the piano, or the cork with some wooden boards on top if we want to leave it prettier. But as we say, cork can go directly underneath and even be used on the wall.

Corcho para insonorizar el suelo en habitación para música

If you want to know more about this topic we have made a guide on this type of products in the following link:

If you liked this section and you think that it could be useful for people you know who want to learn piano or keyboard, don’t hesitate to share it with them in your social networks. Surely they will like it!

 

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