What Are the Best Ways to Learn to Play the Piano?

B. Miller

In general, the best way to learn to play the piano is by taking private piano lessons with a teacher. The piano is a challenging instrument, and a teacher with experience will be able to break it down into more easily digestible pieces of information. In addition, he or she will be able to correct mistakes before they become bad habits. If this is not an option, or an individual is not really interested in becoming a serious pianist and just wants to learn a few songs, there are many books available for students to teach themselves. Videos found online can also be helpful.

Small spinet pianos can often be purchased secondhand or found at churches, schools, and in other social venues.
Small spinet pianos can often be purchased secondhand or found at churches, schools, and in other social venues.

Anyone who wants to learn to play the piano will either need to purchase a piano of their own, or a full size keyboard. This is because it is necessary to practice every day in order to truly become a piano player. Most teachers recommend at least 30 minutes of practice each day, or a bit more if possible. This can include things like songs, scales, and chords, or whatever the student is learning that particular week.

For students who really wants to learn to play the piano successfully, as well as receive instruction in music theory and other important aspects of piano playing, taking lessons with a private piano teacher is the best idea. This person will be able to provide specific instructions and lessons each week, building on existing skills, modifying lessons as necessary, and correcting mistakes. Students might also be able to request to learn specific songs or styles of music. A piano teacher will be able to teach students to play the piano in the correct way the first time, even though this is a more expensive avenue for some people, especially those who want to learn to play later in life.

In this case, individuals may want to learn to play the piano by self instruction through books and videos. There are numerous piano instruction books for beginners that teach basic principles, such as how to read music and practice some easy songs. Dedicated students willing to work hard may be able to learn very well this way; publishers often produce book series that provide more advanced instruction as the student moves through the series. Some also feature CDs or online components that allow students to listen to the song being played to better learn the material.

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Discussion Comments


When I was learning to play piano, I had a strict instructor who made me rehearse finger exercises and chords for at least an hour a day. After a few years, I gave up on piano and started playing drums. My problem was that I just wanted to learn how to play a few popular songs on a keyboard and maybe accompany my church's choir from time to time. My instructor thought I wanted to major in piano performance in college and go on to be a world class pianist.

One thing I would suggest to anyone who wants to learn how to play the piano is to make it clear to your instructor what your ultimate goals are. My drumming instructor took a different approach when he learned I was not interested in playing professionally. Many piano instructors will do the same thing, as long as their students make it clear that they are not looking for classical piano training.


I learned how to play the piano when I was very young, and one thing I'd suggest is finding a rehearsal space where you can feel free to experiment or do repetitive exercises or hit bad notes. My house was very small, and I found it difficult to practice on the piano without disturbing others. They also didn't appreciate hearing the same five note finger exercises over and over again.

When I finally got permission to use a friend's garage as a practice room, I became a much better player. I could experiment with chord formations and not worry about sounding bad. I think anyone who wants to learn how to play a musical instrument needs to get over any fear or apprehension about that instrument.

Yes, a piano can be loud, and difficult to play without mistakes. A beginning pianist should learn to play the piano by muscle memory as well as musical theory.

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