Myth No : It Takes Years To Learn Piano For Beginners
Another thing people often say to me is:
Ive never been able to find the time to learn piano. I cant commit to hours of practice every week, let alone commit to years of lessons! Is it possible to make any real progress in a short amount of time?
Simply put, the answer is yes. I have seen firsthand that it absolutely is possible to get playing real songs on piano in a relatively short time. If it wasnt possible, it would be pretty silly of me to name my website pianoin21days.com!
With traditional piano lessons, it can take 10-12 years for someone to reach advanced levels. To put that in perspective, you could earn a PHD in that amount of time and still have a couple years left over! So I understand why it feels daunting to learn piano.
But Im not here to turn my students into advanced classical pianists. To the contrary: most of my students arent interested in classical music and dont want to become professional performers.
Thats why my chord-based approach meets their needs so well I help them build a foundation of practical, streamlined knowledge so that they can focus on playing songs they love. With some consistent practice and self-motivation, you can get to this point in as little as three weeks!
Dont Stop Me Now Queen
Recorded in 1979, Queens famous song Dont Stop Me Now has gained iconic status and has been used in numerous TV adverts and shows.
You need quick fingers for this one. If you are not yet comfortable with the keys, use stickers to help you.
You can slow it down until you are more at ease because, although it is an easy key, it has many chords.
Begin with all the chords in root position before moving on to the inversions, building in the nuances and energy as you become more comfortable.
Notes Of The Right Hand
To play the right hand notes of the song Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, you must follow the following letter sequence:
C C G G A A G F F E E D D C G G F F E E D G G F F E E D C G G A G F F E E D C.
When you play this sequence of notes on the piano, you are actually playing the entire right hand of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Practice playing all of these notes one after the other in a loop. After a while, your playing will become fluid.
Now lets see how to play the left hand notes.
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What To Look For In Beginner Piano Songs
If you want to look for easy piano songs to impress without going over your skills, here are some helpful qualities to look for:
- Repetitive parts
- Not jumping around with your hands
- Songs that can be simplified
- Repeated left hand parts
- Single line right hand parts
All of the songs on this list have these elements to some degree.
How To Play Piano
Learn everything you need to know to start playing piano today.
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Interested in learning how to play the piano? In this complete beginners guide youll learn about playing notes, scales, chords, progressions and full songs.
PLUS, well give you free chord + scale cheat sheets and a daily practice plan at the end!
If you follow this guide youll have:
- a full understanding of playing piano properly
- better playing technique
- different chord progressions and songs to play
- a full practice plan to help you become a better pianist
We are going to start with the fundamentals, show you proper piano technique and get into advanced stuff that will take your playing to another level.
Bottom Line you dont need to be born with it to be a phenomenal pianist.
You can make yourself better, regardless of your current skill level or talent. And we can help.
Article Table of Contents
- Finger Dexterity
Thats a ton of stuff to worry about So lets get started. We wont go into things like sight reading and rhythm in detail, but you can brush up on those things here. And well start with the most important part of learning to play piano the practice
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Your Brain Will Work Faster Than Your Fingers
It sucks, but its true. Especially for adult learners, this is the #1 frustration that I see and hear about. As adults, we KNOW how to learn. And the piano is not a terribly difficult instrument to learn mentally. We see the notes, we understand which ones we have to press.
But our fingers just wont listen.
The biggest thing to remember here is to be kind to yourself and be patient. It will get better. But theres also a great exercise you can do right now to help you develop that mind-muscle connection.
Sit at the piano, put your right-hand thumb on middle C and your left-hand pinky on the C an octave lower. Your hands should look something like this:
Now rest your fingers on the white keys. Each finger should have its own white key sitting naturally under it. No key should have two fingers above it. One finger for one key.
Now play the C note with your RH thumb and LH pinky. Then stop and think about what comes next, you want to play one note higher. So play the D with the fingers that are already resting over the top of it, like this:
Then stop again, and think about playing the next note up. Continue this for all five notes and once youve played them going up, play them going back down again.
This seems really simple, but thats your brain talking! We need to train the fingers and get them used to the physical experience and sensation of playing.
Finding The Relative Rhythms
Relative rhythm recognition is an important skill that pianists should have from the start.
For example, students should be thinking much deeper about half notes being made up of two-quarter notes, or a whole note being worth 8 eighth notes. Like many of the other games here, this can be done with points, colors, flashcards, or even on the whiteboard.
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Rolling In The Deep By Adele
Did you know that Adele wanted to make a sorrowful song about her break-up with her boyfriend and with the suggestion of her producer she turn it into Rolling In The Deep? Adele clarified that the songs name was taken from the slang roll deep which means always to have someone who is by your side and helps in difficult moments. It won three Grammy Awards to Adele. The music video also won three awards! It was the first song of Adele that reached a number-one position in the USA.
This version is relatively easy compared to others on the list. A simple bass pattern moves around the same chords. You play two notes the root and the fifth. This voicing is pretty common because it gives the power chord effect in electric guitar. Spend some time on the rhythm of the melody in the right hand. You can sing at the same time to get the groove.
Essential Skills Every Piano Player Should Know
So if youre just unboxed your new beginner keyboard or digital piano, what should you be looking for in the songs you learn first? Let’s look at a few of the core attributes that the songs we’ve picked will help you work on.
Hand/finger independenceLearning how to send different messages from your brain to different hands at the same time is key to making any serious advances as a keyboard player, so any song where the left hand plays something different to what the right hand is playing is going to be good exercise. Similarly, being able to play separate notes with each finger without getting them mixed up is important. The ability to press down each finger individually without the other fingers getting involved in proceedings is known as finger independence. Songs that feature melodies good for practising this will thus be near the top of your list when looking for tunes to expand your repertoire.
ScalesEveryone knows that scales are an important part of the keyboard learning process, but practising them isn’t the most exciting thing on earth. How much cooler would it be if you were able to incorporate scales into the context of playing an actual song? So try looking for songs whose melodies are made up of runs up and down the major or minor scales to make practising them a bit less of a chore.
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Is The Piano A String Instrument Or A Percussion Instrument
The answer is: Both! Percussion instruments involve one item striking another to create sounds. String instruments are instruments that, well, have strings. When the strings vibrate, either through plucking , bowing , or striking , they create sound. The piano contains hammers that strike metal strings, making it part of both categories. Sometimes its also classified as a keyboard instrument along with the organ, harpsichord, and clavichord.
Mary Had A Little Lamb
This is often one of the first for kids that instructors will teach new students. The song has additional verses about the adventures Mary and her lamb have, to keep the fun going while you sing and play together. Check out the verses and piano letters below.
Heres an excellent video tutorial, showing all the notes labeled:
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She Was Not Related To The Famed Acting Coach Stella Adler
While her second husband may have shared a surname with the legendary Stella Adler, there was no familial relationship with the instructor whose students included Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro and Martin Sheen. But in 2008, Spielberg helped launch a scholarship at the acting school in honor of the late Jaws star Roy Scheider.
Back To Black By Amy Winehouse
Back To Black was released by Amy Winehouse in her second and last studio album of the same name in 2006. It was written by Amy Winehouse and Mark Ronson. It is considered to be one of Winehouses signature songs. It tells about Amy Winehouses breakup with her boyfriend. She described the song Back to Black is when youve finished a relationship and you go back to whats comfortable for you. My ex went back to his girlfriend and I went back to drinking and dark times.
We didnt choose an extra easy version this time. Because there is already a super fun piano partition in this piece. You can omit the melody in red and focus on the yellow parts. Your left-hand plays the bass and right plays the chords. Dont use the sustain pedal because the right hand plays staccato. Pay attention to groove and rhythm.
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Super Mario Theme Song
The Overworld Theme of the famous video game Super Mario Bros. was composed by Koji Kondo in 1985. After Super Mario Bros., it went on to become the theme of the series and has been a fixture in most of its titles. It has been reused and remixed in many other Nintendo-published games. Kondo composed six tracks for the game and according to him, this one was the hardest to compose.
Start slow and instead of trying to play the whole song at once with the video, try to divide the song into different sections and practice them individually. Dont rush and try to play as clean as possible before going to the next section. Once you get familiar with the melodies you can add the left hand later on. You can try humming to memorize the melodies if you want.
No Jumping The Octaves
Easy tunes to practice on the piano for a first-timer should have a fairly small range of notes, you dont want to be scaling along from lower to higher octaves straight off the bat.
You also dont want to be jumping as that requires looking between the keys and your music until you have developed muscle memory.
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Following Standard Piano Teaching Curriculum
This is the most reliable and wholistic DIY approach because it adheres to established pedagogical curriculum.
If you take this path, choose from mainstays such as Alfred piano methods, Bastien Piano Basics by Kjos, the Faber and Faber Piano Adventures series, and the Suzuki Method. Most piano instructors use methods like these and for good reason.
Music education experts have developed these methods, and these acclaimed curriculums have trained students successfully for generations.
Though each series will distinguish itself from the others by some sort of philosophical or pedagogical nuance, they all tend to follow a similar pattern.
They provide a sequence of books, often beginning with a Primer lever, followed by Level 1, Level 2, etc. Each level usually includes multiple books, such as a lesson book, technique book, theory book, and so on, each designed to work in tandem with the other books of the corresponding level.
Supplemental but optional resources may also be available, including books that feature popular tunes, Christian hymns, performance songs, Christmas melodies, duets and more. As you can see, this DIY method offers many resources.
The books in each series may cost you anywhere from $7 to $30 apiece, though you may be able to save some $s by purchasing used copies through sites like Amazon or eBay.
Una Mattina Ludovico Einaudi
Ludovico Einaudi is famous for his beautifully minimalist sound, which also makes his piano songs some of the best for beginners to learn. Una Mattina is one of the standout songs from the soundtrack of the French film Les Intouchables
Your hands stay anchored around middle C, so theres no jumping around to worry about. This piece opens and closes with a gorgeous melody thats also nice and easy. The pace picks up in the middle section, so you might need to take some time to perfect the pattern, but once youve got it, it all comes together to make for one achingly beautiful piece.
Learn piano with flowkey
Feeling ready to hit the keys? Head to the flowkey app, where you can find all of the piano songs above, and plenty of others that are best for beginners. Just set the song filter to Beginner and away you go!
Start learning piano today
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I Want You Back By The Jackson 5
I Want You Back is the first national single by the Jackson 5. Michael Jackson was the lead singer and he was just 11 when it was released by Motown in 1969. It quickly became the first number-one hit for the band and they appeared on television for the first time performing the song. I Want You Back was ranked 121st on Rolling Stones list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
This is pretty advanced compared to other songs so you should start slow. You can divide into small bits and practice those bits one by one. You can also split the hands and practice separately. Spend some time on the rhythm because it should be groovy at the end.
Taking Private Lessons Through A Piano Education Center
Depending on where you live, you may be able to find a music school or education center. This option resembles Lessons with a Private Instructor in many ways.
Education centers tend to follow standard curriculums, especially the Suzuki method. They provide you with skilled instructors, offering a personalized learning pace, individual accountability, and answers to your questions, while giving insights into all things piano, including theory, technique, posture and musicality.
In some cases, these centers may grant you access to a broader array of cutting-edge resources as well as to more performance and group-learning opportunities than an independent, private teacher may be able to provide.
If you value collaborative, group learning, but still need intensive, individualized instruction, then this option may be for you. But before you sign on, be sure to ask some important questions.
How does the education center screen its teachers? Are they certified by the MTNA or some other reputable board?
Not all learning centers are created equal.
Do they make public resumes, CVs, or bios for their teachers available for prospective parents or students to review beforehand? While some centers screen their teachers very well, others may hire college students with minimal music skills on a part-time basis.
For an example of what a learning center like this can offer, check out Keys to Success, a reputable music-learning hub in New York City.
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Everything About The Beat
Take a look at the quarter notes in the graphic. What do you see?
Correct, you see four F-quarter notes, which together add up to a 4/4 bar with a length of 1. In this lesson we want to learn more about bars.
But let us first take a closer look at the notation system. The five horizontal lines are called the staff. The symbol on the top staff is called the treble clef. This clef shows you what the right hand should play on the piano. The treble clef is indicated by the violin-like symbol on the left of the number 4/4.
The symbol on the lower staff is called the bass clef and show you what the left hand should play on the piano. The symbol for this clef looks like an inverted C with 2 dots on the side.
In the first bar, you will find the clef and the time signature. The time signature is always indicated at the beginning of the treble clef and bass clef alike. The graphic shows a 4/4 bar for both clefs . The upper number indicates the number of beats per bar, i.e. each bar is four beats long. The lower number gives you the rhythmic name of each of these beats in a bar. In a 4/4 bar, four quarter notes correspond to one bar. In other words, a bar is four quarter notes long.
A bar can contain any combination of note values as long as they add up to the total length of the bar. You can see how important mathematics is for music, so lets freshen up our fractions a bit.
The numbers you see next to the clefs are called the time signature.