Playing the Piano at Any Age

Learning to play the piano is much like learning a new language. Although best accomplished during the formative years of childhood, there is still no age limit on when or how you can take up the skill. In fact, for many adults, the piano presents an opportunity of a lifetime. It offers everything from the development of a wide array of skill sets to the simple enjoyment of music. Regardless of whether you’re looking to start at age 18 or 80, there is a path open for your future playing the piano.

Online Piano Options for Adults

Adult education usually takes on a different format from child education. and for a good reason. The way children learn and the way adults learn are vastly different, especially when it comes to musical training. For many, this means that traditional avenues like finding a piano instructor or taking classes from a local music school might not always be the best option. Online beginner piano lessons are often called upon to bridge the gap.

Online piano lessons offer musical training on your own schedule and from the comfort of your own home. Most programs move at a self-set pace, so difficult skills can be worked on for as long as it takes to get things right. Not only does this kind of independence suit the adult learner, but it also reduces any feelings of embarrassment or intimidation that may accompany the learning process.

Getting Started the Traditional Way

Online piano lessons aren’t for everyone, though. In many cases, the instruction you get online is closer to the Suzuki learning method than traditional piano, in that you focus more on learning to play individual songs rather than the piano as an instrument.

For those looking to move up through the classical educational method, it may be better to turn to a piano tutor or instructor who works especially with adults. They typically understand the time and space constraints that face adult learners and can tailor a program especially for the way you learn best.

Additional Considerations

The support of your family and some time or space set aside for practice can go a long way in making sure you’re successful in your pursuit of lessons. By making a commitment in advance – and getting everyone on board with you – you’ll be more likely to see your goals through to the end.

It doesn’t matter if you have an upright piano, a baby grand, or a keyboard. Although there are benefits and drawbacks to each one, learning to play the piano doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking. As long as you get started on the right path, you can always upgrade at a later date, when you’re sure you want to continue learning to play.

When to Start Piano Lessons

Knowing when to start your child on piano lessons can be complicated. While research shows that children exposed to the piano as early as two or three years of age reach higher levels of creativity and independent thinking as they reach their school-age years and move through young adulthood, the answer is not as easy as throwing out a specific age. Children grow and learn at different rates, so what is right for one might be detrimental to another. To determine if your toddler or child is ready to start taking piano lessons, ask yourself the following questions.

Does Your Child Express an Interest?

This doesn’t have to mean that your child will sit at the piano for hours, working his or her way up the scales. A child who is interested in music might enjoy listening to classical sounds on the radio, he or she might enjoy dancing no matter what the rhythm or he or she might want to touch the piano, curiously exploring the sounds that are emitted.

This natural interest in music is vital when it comes to piano lessons. A child who has no interest in music isn’t likely to “take” to piano lessons since his or her interest might lie elsewhere the entire time. Although some parents may choose to enforce piano lessons as a way to develop skills and interest later down the road, this should typically be put off until the child attends school regularly.

What Does Your Child Know?

All children develop their skills at independent rates. If your child can recognize around 10 numbers and knows the letters A through G in the alphabet, he or she should have sufficient knowledge to take basic lessons or to start learning through the Suzuki method.

Of course, your child’s ability to sit still for extended periods of time is also an important factor. Most toddlers are an active lot; sitting still for 15 minutes at a time and being focused on the piano might be more than he or she is ready to handle. Forcing a child to sit still at the piano for longer than he or she is able only contributes to feelings of frustration and an overall lack of joy toward music – which is never the end goal of piano lessons.

You’re Never Too Old

While most parents are more concerned about their child being too young to start taking piano lessons, equally valid is the question of being too old. The good news is, there is no age cap on taking lessons and enjoying the piano. If your teenager has expressed an interest of if you want to start tickling the ivories, there should be no barrier to getting on track with lessons right away. Toddlers, children, teenagers, and adults alike can all benefit from the incredible joys of playing the piano.

What Type of Piano Teacher is Best

When it comes time to start taking piano lessons – whether you are the one doing the learning or you are setting the lessons up for your child – there are a number of different types of teachers and teaching methods to choose from. Depending on your location, the equipment you have at home, your preferred learning method, and even your finances, you can choose anything from in-home private Suzuki lessons to on-site group teaching. Learn what your options are and how to find which one is best for you.

Types of Piano Lessons

Most people who take piano lessons do so through private instruction. Private instructors generally operate as independent contractors who either come to your home or have a room in their own home where the lessons occur. The kind of one-on-one interaction that comes from private instruction is ideal for those who learn best with focused attention. Most lessons last anywhere from half an hour to an hour (generally once or twice a week), wherein the private instructor teaches skills, offers advice, and gives the student “homework” in the form of practice to take place at home during the rest of the week.

Private instruction might also be available through a school or coalition of music instructors. These music schools typically have a staff of instructors on board; when you contact them for lessons, they pair you with the best (or most available) candidate for your goals, and you either go to the school for your lesson or invite the instructor to your own home.

Both of these options tend to rest on the more expensive side of the scale. Because the piano instruction is typically done one-on-one and often involves travel to your home, the costs are higher overall.

Piano instruction in the form of larger classes is also available in some areas. These are offered almost exclusively through music schools and are typically meant for beginners or very young students. They focus more on music appreciation and learning the fundamentals than the actual development of personal piano skills.

Types of Piano Instruction

Although there are literally hundreds of different ways to learn the piano, there are two primary schools of instruction: the Suzuki method and the traditional method. Most other versions are based on either of these, with different variations based on the instructor’s background and particular field of interest.

The Suzuki method is favored for very young children. It works in much the same way that language acquisition works, by immersing the child in the sounds of the piano. Children hear songs repeatedly until they become patterned in their minds. They then learn the keys to play the song using the correct fingering, memorizing the pattern of the notes rather than reading the music. The focus is almost entirely on hearing and repetition.

In traditional piano lessons, students learn the correlation between the notes on a sheet of music and the notes on the keyboard. They learn the differences between the music played by the right hand and the left hand as well as how to use time signature to keep beats. In short, it teaches music rather than just piano. It also builds the foundation for self-instruction in piano and the transfer of skills to other musical instruments.

Instructor-Student Relationship

Of course, no type of lesson or instruction is of any value without a good relationship between the piano teacher and the student. If you (or your child) isn’t happy with the teacher’s method, approach to homework, types of encouragement, or even personality, it is not worth pushing the lessons. Above all else, the most important thing is to enjoy the lessons and appreciate music. You want a piano teacher who is compatible with the way you learn and your goals for the future.

How to Choose a Piano for Beginners

Being a beginner at anything isn’t exactly easy. For most piano and keyboard beginners, even the simple task of selecting a piano may prove extremely difficult. The wide array of piano types and brand may make selecting the right piano a nightmare. Luckily, this article will guide all you beginners through this seemingly difficult process and help you select the best digital piano or acoustic instrument.

Choosing The Right Piano for You

A lot of factors must be put into consideration before buying your keyboard/piano. For beginners, here are some of the most important ones you should consider.

1. Features of the Piano/Keyboard

What sounds and tune are you looking for? Are you mainly an acoustic person or do you resonate with the more electrical sounds and tunes? These are some of the questions you should ask yourself when selecting your keyboard. Most keyboards come equipped with programmable synthesizers to mimic sounds of acoustic instruments including guitars and organs. Depending on what quality of music you wish to produce here are some key features of most modern keyboards you should consider.

a) Weighted keys – Simply put, the harder you press the key the louder it sounds to give you that true Stevie Wonder feel while playing your piano.

b) The number of octaves- For beginners, a piano with 5 octaves should suffice, though most beginners only use three octaves, the two extra octaves will offer room for expansive learning.

c) A pedal- To help you sustain those notes and again get your Stevie Wonder on.

2. The Sound Variety

Most keyboards today have a wide array of sounds. For a beginner, it is important to have a multitude of sounds at your disposal. This will allow for exploration and creativity while learning the piano.

3. The Piano Brand

Now that you have your desired piano features and sound variety locked down, next step is to settle on a brand and piano make. A perfect choice is a cheap piano that can get the job done instead of the expensive brands with features that are essentially useless to the beginner. Brands like Axus and Casio have great keyboard pianos that define bang for the buck and are excellent for learning the piano.

4. Additional Accessories

Before you run off to the music store, there are some extra accessories that may prove useful in your musical journey. A metronome, for instance, will help keep your rhythm in check. If you want to gauge your piano prowess, consider getting an onboard recorder to record and listen to your own playback.

Beginning anything is never easy. But with enough practice and consistency and the right tools, you’ll be a pro in no time.