How to learn to play the piano?
Are you ready to play the piano?
You are certainly very excited to start learning the piano and I understand that because it is a wonderful instrument.
But it can be also quite overwhelming!
I have created this page to make this overwhelm evaporate and guide you through your journey on the piano.
But you need to know something.
You are not only a piano player.
You are a musician.
OK maybe not right now if you are totally new to music, but soon you will be.
This is important because my aim here is not just to show you how to press keys. It is to help you become an accomplished musician, whatever the goal you have on the piano.
I don’t see learning the piano as a list of techniques, music theory or a bunch of notes on a sheet of paper.
Actually, you don’t even need to know any music theory or how to read music to play the piano. I am not saying that it is not useful, but that’s not the main point of it.
At least that how I see things here.
Learning the piano is learning to play or create music. And music is emotions.
I believe that it is much more important to play with expressivity a few notes, than a millions notes without any feeling.
Don’t get me wrong, you have both musicality and technique. But it is easy to fall into the trap of technique for itself. And I don’t want this to happen.
That’s why I don’t make things complicated here.
I want you to be able to appreciate the musical side of playing the piano quickly. You won’t have to spend years doing boring exercises before enjoying playing songs that you love (unless you only love to play Liszt!).
Sounds good to you?
The Piano Starter Guide
You want to get started on the piano but you still have lots of questions and you don’t know where to start?
This guide is there for you!
You will find all the answers you want (and likely more!), the foundations of learning the piano, and even get a chance to learn a song!
The 7 keys to learning the piano
To learn anything, you need a system before going into any tactic, any method.
And keep this whole system in mind. So you will work on improving globally, not only in very specific details.
What will happen if you become very good at playing notes, but you are totally off rhythm?
I can tell you that it won’t be nice to listen to you!
Or if you have great ideas of a beautiful melody but your fingering technique is not good enough to play it?
Here are the 7 keys to learn the piano!
1.Know your instrument:
Get to know the different parts, get used to the keyboards, the sound, the feel of the keys, their size, the positions of the pedals…
This is your partner for the coming months and years. Know it as your pocket!
To help you with that, here is a series of two videos explaining the different parts of a grand piano.
Of course, depending on the piano you have it will be different, but the basic elements should be there.
Even if you have a keyboard, you likely have a sustain pedal or button which simulate the actual piano mechanism.
2. Keep a good posture: body, hands, fingers
Know how to place your body, your legs, your hands, your fingers on the keys.
This will help you to play better and faster, with less fatigue!
Here is a very good video to explain how to place your body, arms, hands and fingers on the piano:
3. Know how to move: your hands, your fingers
When you play the piano, you need to move your hands to reach all the keys and your fingers to produce all the notes.
This is a major part of the skills you have to develop.
To start with, watch this video explaining 5 finger exercises:
Keep practicing regularly, with patience and you will move with ease and precision!
4. To beat or not to beat: learn and feel the rhythm
Learn and feel the rhythm in the music you play and in the music you listen. Listen to the noises around you and recognizes the rhythmic patterns.
Rhythm is essence of life…and music!
5. Read the music
Learn to read music sheets.
This one is optional, only recommended.
Indeed, this is not mandatory to learn and play the piano.
There are piano methods that rely partly or totally on ear-training.
You will find the best selection of online piano lessons here where you can actually learn to play songs without reading music sheets.
One is totally dedicated to learn by hearing: HearandPlay.
However, to play certain styles at a more advanced level, like classical music, it is mandatory.
Don’t worry, it is not that complicated, just a matter of practice!
Watch this well-explained video to start learning how to read music easily:
6. Listen to music: you (record yourself) and others
Record yourself, even with your smartphone to get an objective listening to how you play.
And listen to other pianists, beginners as well as pros, to identify good and bad techniques!
You can also record videos of yourself playing.
A very interesting way to get feedback to yourself.
Because you will look and listen as if it was someone else playing (well, almost!!)
7. Enjoy playing and express your emotions!
Finaly, the most important: have fun playing the piano!
This doesn’t to be hard to start having fun by the way, check out this:
To keep into your memory, you can save the following illustration. And you can even print it and display it next to your piano or your keyboard!
But things don’t stop there. There are many more resources below on learning the piano!
I can tell you that they could well transform the way you approach piano playing.
I am sure you will find more than one useful.
And more are coming regularly, thus keep this page in your bookmarks and come back!
All the articles on how to play the piano
You will find below a list of articles that will help you in your journey to playing the piano.
- How to buy a piano or a musical keyboard in 2021? Here are the best models.
- Discover the best MIDI keyboards in 2020: our buying guide!
- What is the main difficulty for adult piano beginners?
- Frustrated by your progress on the piano? forget your goals!
- Do you think you won’t become a good musician?
- The musician mindset: 5 steps to becoming successful!
- Feeling overwhelmed on the piano? focus on getting better one step at a time
- PianoMarvel review: is it a good online piano method?
- Discover the 11 best online piano lessons in 2021
- How to learn a new piano piece in 9 steps
- Piano chords made easy: build and play 100 chords and more!
- Piano chord practice game: be the best at playing chords!
- How to play scales on the piano from scratch
- Should you put stickers on the keys of your piano?
- 7 common mistakes that piano beginners make
- 5 reasons why you should learn chords on the piano
- 7 reasons why you should practice scales on the piano!
- Do you need 88 keys to learn the piano?
- How to build and play piano chord progressions? the definite guide.
Practice the piano
- How to play the piano without looking at the keys, and still play well!
- Frustrated? Not making progress on the piano? Keep working!
- 7 great ways to practice more regularly and efficiently your instrument!
- How to master your musical instrument? practice with intention!
- How to set the habit of practicing regularly your instrument, now!
- 9 good habits for a musician, that will help you become better at music
- Get better on the piano using mental visualization!
- Start a challenge to become a better musician
- Why setting deadlines as a musician is essential to become better?
- How long do you need to practice the piano?
- Record yourself while practicing to become a better musician
- Do you know how to play the piano… without a piano?
- Become a better musician by practicing over background music
Play piano songs
- Get inspired by these 13 beautiful piano movie soundtracks
- Discover 63 easy piano songs for beginners (or not so beginners!)