We previously wrote an article about cheap keyboards, so check it out here. If you’re looking to start playing the piano all by yourself you should know that it’s a difficult thing to do, but it’s certainly not impossible. To achieve that you need a lot of time, ambition, and a bit of talent.
How difficult is it?
Recently, more people say that they know how to play an instrument, and around 3 quarters of the children know how to play a musical instrument to a certain extent. There are many different instruments that a child can learn and many ways to do that.
When it comes to the piano, you can start learning it when you follow a Conservatoire, but you can also go to a public music school, or take lessons from a professional piano player. But some people don’t want to follow any of these methods, and if you’re an adult and you don’t want to go to some classes where you play the instrument, you could end up wanting to learn it by yourself.
It should be said that learning by yourself is a difficult thing to do for many reasons, but if you already started doing it and you can read music and play it by yourself, you surely are determined. This is one important aspect when learning a new instrument, the commitment you have, and how much work you’re willing to put in to learn.
You need constant motivation when you play and learn, and when doing that alone you will sometimes feel that you don’t have it. That’s why a teacher can be useful in some situations because he or she will give you the boost in morale you need.
When learning alone you will find it difficult to get your hands on some quality books or pieces of partiture that will help you gradually evolve. You will most likely play the songs that you like at first, and even those need to be easy to understand. Of course, you only need the piano, or a keyboard, and lots of ambition and time. Eventually, you will get to learn everything.
If you’ve got the talent, if you have a good ear, you can probably play small pieces of simple songs as soon as you lay your hands on the keyboard. It’s alright if you just let your fingers run across the keys and play some insignificant things at first, but make sure that you get to know some music theory before you go on.
A great source of information is the internet, and there you can find great sources to help you, but you could also find yourself falling in some traps. Of course, when you play the piano by yourself you’re not really looking to become the best pianist ever, and you will be probably wanting to have some fun.
So just search the internet for how to play the pieces of music that you like. It’s great to have that enthusiasm, however, the internet is also full of people that aren’t that good, and because you’re a beginner, you never know how good they actually are, and you can learn something wrong from them.
You could be developing a bad technique because you follow a certain video where the player explains things wrong. Or you could just play a song poorly because the online instructions weren’t as detailed as they should be. Furthermore, free sheet music will sometimes contain some errors in rhythm, notations, or measurement, and you won’t know that the piece of music is wrong.
When you learn with the help of a teacher, he or she will take the time to analyze the piece of music that you want to play, and if you have a special song in mind, the teacher will make sure you have the perfect music sheet for it.
When playing alone you will find it hard to understand certain technical aspects of playing the piano and there will be nobody there to explain it to you. One of the most predominant mistakes that beginners make is that they don’t respect the fingerings of a piece of a score. Music sheets for beginners have the number of the finger printed below the note to show the correct hand position.
Beginners won’t necessarily pay attention to those numbers either because they don’t really know what they mean or because they have to focus on many other things too. This is where the risk of adapting to bad habits appears.
Although a certain hand position will probably help you for a certain piece of music, if the positioning is wrong, you will suffer in the long term, because you will be used to playing in a certain way, when you should be doing it differently. This can lead to a lack of progression and ultimately discouragement and you will want to abandon the instrument.
Another thing that will usually be neglected by beginners is the rhythm. Of course, when you play something fast you feel like you’re an expert and you’re doing it right. And although it’s better to play fast than too slow, it still isn’t what you should be doing.
Often times rhythm is what separates a professional from an amateur, and it’s certainly something that makes the music you’re playing stand out in either a good or bad way. You have to keep the rhythm, no matter what kind of music you’re playing because that’s what gives the smooth feeling of the music.
As you know, the more you practice the better you will become, and after you get accustomed to the notes of a song, make sure that you also nail the rhythm. Use a metronome to help you, and if you feel that the pace is too fast, adjust it how you like and after you’re confident, get to the correct rhythm.
Learning without a teacher
Of course, learning an instrument all by yourself requires a lot of work and some considerable amounts of talent. One of the most important things when practicing alone is how well you can organize your time. You need to make time for all your daily activities and at the end of the day, still have some hours left for practicing.
You also have to think that you will have to be your own teacher, so you have to prepare your pieces of music before you actually play them, finding them, adjusting them. Furthermore, you’ll have to watch yourself objectively and see where you can improve. When you’re playing by yourself it’s hard to do all of that.
That’s why it’s better if you record yourself while playing and then you watch what you did, see if you have any areas where you need improvement. All of these take time, and organizing all of that requires patience.
Without the help of a teacher, you are less likely to know what to do, and that’s why you should at least watch some videos or follow a book. You will have to possess the qualities of a good piano player and those of an organized teacher too.
Some technical mistakes like the way you place your hands are frequent for beginners, and a teacher would be able to point them out. But as an autodidact, you will have to be really conscious and objective when judging your performances.
If you don’t want a teacher, you will at least need a metronome, to point you in the right direction in terms of rhythm. Playing by yourself will mean that you have to be great at multitasking, but even like that it will still be difficult, although not impossible.
Should you learn by yourself?
As we said, learning to play the piano alone is difficult, but you can certainly do it if you have the determination needed. But before you start, it’s better to ask yourself some questions. The first of them is – how do you learn best? Also, do you do better when you’re reading from a textbook and memorizing, or do you need someone to tell you what you have to do?
Is it better for you to watch a video that you can pause and restart anytime you want, or do you like when an experienced person takes you through all the steps? Don’t forget to consider what you find motivating, and what works best for your schedule. That’s the only way you will find your answer.