Tips: 8 things to know before learning the piano.
Updated: Jul 25, 2021
In this article, I will be giving you eight tips that will help you focus on getting results quickly when you learning how to play the piano.
The first tip I have for you is that you want to have a fixed practice schedule. You want to make sure that you have scheduled practice at a fixed time of the day and how many times you are going to do it in a week. At a minimum, you should be practicing at least half an hour to 45 minutes a day, four to 5 times a week if you want to improve.
That is because it takes time for your muscle memory to develop. It takes time for your brain to coordinate between your left and right hand. It takes time for you to practice the skills that will allow you to become a better musician. Therefore if you are someone who just practices whenever you feel like it or whenever you pass by your piano and you open it up and you just play for five to ten minutes, that is not going to get you to your objective.
You want to have a fixed schedule in the same way that you go to school or you go to work. You want to have a fixed commitment where you can ensure that you will sit down on your instrument and work on the skills.
The next tip is, you want to have a short and achievable objective if you want to improve dramatically. Giving yourself a realistic deadline to achieve a level of competency in a set level of time.
The third tip that you want to take note of is, you must not think about only learning popular tunes. There is a difference between learning pieces and learning technical stuff that will improve your skills versus learning a popular tune. The reason why you should not be doing this is because, one, the popular tune may not be popular forever. Two, it might not be progressive.
You want something that goes on a progressive level that ensures that you learn different steps of that musical journey to eventually reach a level of proficiency. What you should do instead is to get a book of progressive pieces or progressive attitudes, which are study pieces that will drill different expects of your finger skills, your musical skills, and that will help you to become dramatically better, much quicker.
The fourth tip on the list is, you need to do music theory. A lot of students have no problem sitting on their instruments and doing their practice and playing their songs because it is definitely more fun. The knowledge of music theory allows you to improvise, allows you to play with chords, allows you to know what is the relationship between different harmonies.
The knowledge of music theory will allow you to make more sense of what you are actually reading on a page. Most students start off by learning how to read notes on a page, and there is nothing wrong with that. However, it becomes a problem when you are only dependent on the notes on the page and you do not realize the harmony structure or the chord progression that you are playing. So not knowing all these music theories would definitely hinder your playing
The fifth thing you want to do is to learn your scales, your arpeggios, and your broken chords. These are technical work, the things, and the skills that will stay with you for life for your entire musical journey. All popular song comes and goes but what remains are your technical skills, your arpeggios, your scales, and your broken chords.
You need to know how to immediately be comfortable playing in a key that has four sharps, five flats. For example, you must be able to very comfortably maneuver your finger around the scale structure of a minor key, the harmonic minor, the melodic minor, the natural minor.
If you're playing Blues and stuff like that, you want to make sure that you know your blue scales. All this stuff will contribute to your knowledge and your muscle memory is being able to move comfortably between different keys.
With that said if you want to get rid of the fear of playing a song with four flats or you want to play a lot of scales, a lot of broken chords and arpeggios in that key signature to become really conversing, and really smooth in that key. I recommend you to read up on scales and arpeggios.
The next tip, you want to work on your sight-reading. If you want to be a session musician, you will just be thrown a set of scores, music scores by the music director, and you are expected to be able to play for either a musical or some music stuff that you're doing.
Sight-reading allows you to pick up pieces quicker and therefore remove the fear of you approaching new songs. It also helps you to build up a repertoire of pieces quicker. Being able to overcome the fear of doing sight-reading really helps you with sitting down and working through a piece of music.
The seventh tip I have for you is to hire a teacher. Many students feel that they can do without a teacher, without a mentor. You can pick up skills from online resources, from videos, and from different course sites, but there is a limit to that because teaching is an interactive process.
You need a teacher who has been there with done that, who has the experience to impart knowledge to you, and who can correct you if you are doing something wrong. When you are watching a video and learning from the video, it is a one-way teaching process.
There's no way to tell you you are playing something wrongly. There is no one to tell you if you are positioning your fingers correctly or if your timing is out, you would always think that you are correct. That's why you are playing it a certain way.
The last tip to take note of is to not be fixated on gear. There are just too many people out there who are just chasing the latest gear who are just thinking of the latest samples, the latest VSTs, and the best sounds out there.
They spend more time, time thinking about the newest equipment than actually getting comfortable with the instrument and practicing on their own instrument.
In this day and age, technology has come such a long way that pretty much most keyboards out there are digital pianos out there are pretty decent.
You can go very far on even a very basic entry-level digital piano and keyboard and there is really no need to spend hours trying to buy the perfect instrument or to find one that can replace your current instrument.
Therefore if you think that you are not playing very well now, buying a better instrument is not going to make you play much better. If you do not improve on your skills. It is your skills that may need improvement rather than the equipment itself.
I hope you have found my tips useful in your process of learning the piano.