Is it possible to self-study a complicated instrument like the piano?
This article seeks to answer that question as well as give you a brief reality check on what to expect when self-studying. We will also try to provide you with some steps on how you can get started on learning the piano on your own!
Is It Possible to Teach Yourself Piano?
Signing up for traditional piano lessons and hiring private tutors are pretty expensive. For this reason alone, many people attempt to find ways to learn by themselves. By eliminating the “middle man”, the lessons become relatively cheaper.
Additionally, people are often pressed for time. It is much harder to squeeze in a tutorial session or a piano class into their schedules. By choosing to self-study, it allows people to simply pick up their lessons any time they can.
However, many people still wonder if teaching yourself to play the piano is truly possible. There is always that underlying fear that they might be wasting time trying to self-study if it would not work in the end.
But with all the resources available these days, it is possible to learn the piano by yourself.
These resources include the same piano books that many piano tutors and schools use to teach their students. There are also plenty of piano learning apps and online piano lessons that you can use to help yourself learn the piano.
The Reality of Self-Taught Piano
Despite the access to self-help resources, many people are still disappointed with the process. They realize that self-teaching piano requires a lot of patience, dedication, and self-discipline.
Often, when people try to teach themselves how to play the piano, the learning time may take a lot longer than what they expect. This can be disheartening.
Here are a few things you need to remember:
- You will still spend some money. While you would not spend as much money as you would if you hired your private piano tutors or enrolled in piano schools, you will still spend money even when self-studying. If you truly want your self-study sessions to be effective and structured, you will need to shell out a small amount of money for books or online lessons. You cannot depend on free YouTube lessons alone.
- You will have to push yourself harder. Without a mentor to give you instructions and provide you with feedback, everything becomes your responsibility. You will need to troubleshoot your own playing, which involves a lot of listening, analyzing, and comparing.
- You will take longer than someone with a mentor. Because you are your own mentor when you choose to self-study the piano, you have more work on your hands. More work means more time needed in order to complete your lessons and exercises. You will be doing plenty of reading, too! For this reason, it would take you longer to progress than someone with a mentor.
- You need plenty of self-discipline. When you are learning by yourself, it is easy to just skip lessons and practice days. No one is watching, right? No one will ever know! Unfortunately, doing this can really harm the progress you have made while learning how to play piano. That is why it is crucial to have a lot of self-discipline, dedication, a set schedule, and a comprehensive curriculum to follow.
- You will still need feedback. Feedback is crucial, especially to beginners. In fact, it is invaluable. Getting feedback will tell you what needs improvement and even bring some problems you might not have noticed to light. With self-studying, it is much harder to acquire feedback from someone with sufficient credibility.
How to Learn Piano by Yourself?
With your expectations finally set, you are almost ready to start self-studying the piano. Before you go, however, I would like to give you a few tips on how to get the best experience when teaching yourself to play the piano:
- Understand that music is all about patterns. This is something that will make your learning progress faster. It is true! Music is based on rhythmic patterns. Try it! Observe several songs as they play and listen to the beat, the tempo, and the rhythm. In your next practice sessions, try to play these patterns on the piano. By doing this, you will improve your finger coordination and be able to memorize common music patterns.
- An easy way to learn notes is to break them into little segments. Looking at a music sheet, it is easy to get overwhelmed. There are just too many things going on in one page! However, if you simply section them into smaller segments, you will realize that they do not look as intimidating as they once did. Additionally, by doing this, it will also be easier to recognize musical patterns.
- Use your ears. While you are practicing, try listening to a recording of the song or piece you are trying to learn. Once you play the song, listen closely to the way you play it. This way, it will be far easier for you to hear the points you need to improve on. The improvement you will get on developing your musicality is also priceless.
- Get information before starting. It is not shameful to allow yourself to get help. Whether in the form of books or a couple of articles with tips to get you started on learning, In fact, having an idea what to study first will only serve to provide you with directions and shorten the time you need to learn.
- Have fun experimenting. Curiosity is a great trait to have. Depending on your skill level, you can either try out the keys on the piano to familiarize yourself with the sounds. You can use this information fairly early as you begin your learning process. Later on, you can even experiment by adding several notes for improvisation to add your own personal touch to the songs you play.
- Make use of piano learning apps and online piano lessons. These resources are there to support anyone who would like to take learning into their own hands. However, there are plenty of top piano courses online and piano learning apps available online. That is why it is important to do a lot of research about which one is the best for you.
One of the most crucial things of self-studying is to not simply stop when you feel like it. If you really have to, you can skip practice for a day but make sure to pick it back up the next day.
According to lots of pedagogists, 30-minute practice at least 5 times every week is important to maintain your skills in playing. However, if you want to be serious about playing the piano then it is likely that you need much more than that.
You will likely need a solid weekly routine for practice.
The progress is going to be challenging and rocky. There will be times when giving up seems like the easier option, but it is important to keep at it. Playing the piano is worth the hard work.
As much as possible, try to build a community of fellow pianists, so you can build each other up. Keep practicing and good luck!
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