It’s no surprise that everyone loves music. However, only a few will take on the daunting challenge of learning how to play music themselves. It takes more than just talent, as you will need the discipline and the willingness to commit to regular practice. Scientific research showed that playing music is like giving your brain a workout, it reduces stress and also enhances mental alertness.
Moreover, playing one of the classic instruments like a piano improves motor skills and allows you to improve your hand-eye coordination. If you’re looking for a new hobby to invest your free time in and become a professional musician, you’ve come to the right place. Here are 10 beginner tips for playing the piano:
1. Get Familiar with the Keyboard
This is the very first step that you must take in your long journey of piano playing. For a true beginner, the keys and different notes might seem intimidating, but all you need is a smart approach to get started. This might surprise you but from the 88 keys on the keyboard, you only need to learn 12! By setting your piano right in front of you, you can easily identify Middle C which is more like your North and will help you find your way around the other keys.
2. Practice One Octave at a Time
On an 88-key keyboard, the position of the C note is at the left of each pair of two black keys. Middle C is the fourth C, which you’ll find right at the centre of your piano. Every 12 keys from one C to the next make up an ‘Octave’. Focusing on learning about each octave at a time will make the process that much easier.
3. Learn About Music Notes
Just like you did when you were a kid learning the alphabet, learning the basics of music notes will prepare you to follow musical sheets as you progress. Music notes are marked with the letters A, B, C, D, E, F, and G to help the reader follow the notes easily. For a beginner like yourself, you might find it better to find the Best Online Piano Lessons so you can learn the notes at your preferred pace. The early phases in piano learning are critical, sitting amongst a group and comparing your progress to theirs can be frustrating. With online classes, you don’t have to worry about that. There’s a common misconception amongst beginners that reading the music notes is good to have but unnecessary. However, if you want to build a strong foundation for playing the piano, definitely consider note-reading a must.
4. Train Your Ear to the Different Sounds
Now that you’re familiar with the keys on your keyboard and have a solid knowledge of music notes, it’s time to train your ear to the different piano sounds. Play each of the keys individually until you’re able to tell which is which with your eyes closed. This will train you to become a better listener and more able to identify the range of sounds coming out of your piano. Then, move on to playing the Do-Re-Mi tune repeatedly, as it’ll be your stepping stones as you move toward more complicated pieces.
5. Play More Complex Rhythms
Just because you’re a beginner, it doesn’t mean you have to stick to the standard ‘Jingle Bells’ and ‘Happy Birthday’, don’t be afraid to take it up a notch. Listen to harder melodies and try to replay them on your keyboard. Of course, at first, it’ll sound nothing like the real thing, but with time, you’ll get the hang of it. Challenging yourself is always a good thing if you want to improve your playing considerably in a shorter period of time.
6. Understand Notes Timing
On your note sheet, you’ll notice that there’s a number next to each note showing how long you should hold the key down. Adding the timing element to your note-reading will take you to a whole new level of playing. You should also learn to tell the difference between Whole, Half and Quarter notes as this will refine your playing as you become a more skilled piano player.
7. Master Hand-Positioning
Up till this point, you probably have your hands all over the keyboard stumbling upon one another. Maybe your playing sounds promising, however, it’s time to look the part and pay attention to how to position your hand. The idea is to train your brain to treat every single finger individually and command them to move independently.
Number your fingers from 1 to 5 where your thumbs are number 1 all the way to your thumbs which take the number 5. You might find it helpful to watch online videos to understand exactly how to position your fingers on your piano keyboard. Beyond looking good, positioning your hand properly will help you play comfortably and glide your hands smoothly along the keyboard.
8. Play Often
The only way to guarantee progress with your piano lessons is to practice often. Dedicate at least 20 minutes a day to playing where you get to practice and apply all that you’ve learned during your previous lesson. This way you’ll be less likely to forget the key tips and tricks. Furthermore, you’ll be able to build up and accumulate more complicated lessons as you move forward.
9. Find a Practice Buddy
You might think it uncomfortable to practice with a buddy who gets to witness all your beginner mess-ups. However, if you think about it, having someone to practice with will actually push you to improve and will hold you accountable for your lessons. Besides, playing music is always more fun with others around, even if you’re just making noise at this point.
10. Take it Slow
It’s understandable if you’re already daydreaming about the parties you’ll revive as an accomplished piano player, but don’t get too ahead of yourself. Becoming a skilled piano player is not impossible. It’s still hard work that pays off and hard work requires a lot of time. Don’t set yourself up for failure by setting unrealistic expectations. Instead, take it slow and don’t set any time limits since you’re only doing this as a hobby and not planning to go professional any time soon.
Learning to play the piano is going to be one of the most challenging yet equally rewarding things you do in your life. Do your research to prepare yourself to start on the right foot and understand what you’re getting into. The tips above will guide you through your journey and help you advance your piano skills. Most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy the process and remember, playing the piano is not only a matter of hand-eye coordination, your heart and soul need to be in it.