Knowing where to start learning piano could be overwhelming. In this article, I will give you seven actionable beginner piano tips to get you started.
First thing first, I assume you already have a piano or have access to a piano regularly. If you do not, you need to find a piano, an acoustic or digital piano. If you opt for an electric keyboard, I highly recommend you get a keyboard with weighted keys. Check out our reviews of Best Digital Pianos.
I wish I had known some of the tips I am sharing here. Learning to play piano takes patience and time. There are no shortcuts. On the other hand, it should not be a painful experience. After all, making, playing, and listening to music should be enjoyable experiences.
I hope these beginner piano tips will make learning more pleasant and fun.
#1 Find A Good Piano Teacher
The internet is a brilliant place to learn piano. You can teach yourself chords, scales, and basic music theory. Moreover, you can download any sheet music to start playing right away. If you’re playing purely for fun, you arguably don’t need a teacher.
If you want to progress to more complicated pieces, I highly suggest you find a teacher or a mentor. It could be a significant investment in yourself or your children, especially at the beginning of the learning.
With a good piano teacher, the beginner can avoid many pitfalls. More importantly, the learner will get prompt feedback on posture, techniques, tempo consistencies, fingerings, etc.
Many self-taught piano players tend not to use optimal fingerings, which impacts the fluency of music pieces and hinders learning more complex pieces. If you are learning by yourself, it is best to get the music scores with fingerings and follow them strictly.
#2 Create an Environment You Love
One of the beginner piano tips that I always share with students is to have an excellent practice space. A pleasing environment will entice you to practice more. Here are a few tidbits to make your piano space more welcoming and attractive:
- Put the piano in an area of your home where you are most likely to use it
- Decorate the space to your favorite style or with your children’s favorite theme or characters
- Fix with cozy lighting
Within an environment you love, it calls for you to play and makes your practice more delightful.
#3 Schedule Your Practice
Consistency is one of the essential factors for success in any learning, especially learning piano. Practicing 10 to 15 minutes daily is much better than practicing 1 to 2 hours once in a while.
Practice consistently will allow you to build upon things you’ve previously learned and keep them fresh. For example, if you’ve just started getting the hang of something, you leave it for a week or two and return to it. You’ll have to spend a lot of time relearning and just returning to the previous point. It could become a demotivating factor when you are going backward.
Therefore, I recommend you schedule your daily practice time. Gradually, you will have a routine of practicing, which is much easier to keep.
Another advantage to scheduling your practice time is to avoid other things jamming your practice time. By scheduling in advance, you are mentally prepared for it and less likely to interrupt your practice.
#4 Play Songs You Like
Motivation is critical in any learning process. Learning to play piano is no exception. Initially, the learner may feel tedious or bored practicing finger techniques or scales.
Playing the songs you like or are familiar with can boost your interest and motivation. After all, the purpose of learning piano is to play songs and music pieces. I am sure you can find (or your teacher will help you to find) simplified music scores of your favorite songs.
Mixing song playing with piano technique practicing is a great way to go.
Here is a little practice tip that can make you learn a song quickly. Break the song into smaller sections, commonly 2-3 measures or a short musical phrase; repeat playing it seven times. This will give you focus. When you reach the seventh time, you should feel that section very familiar and not overthink it; then, you move on to the next section until you master the whole song.
#5 Have a Practice Strategy
As a beginner piano player, it is imperative to have a practice strategy to develop your piano skills.
Two primary things to start with:
- Daily exercise to familiarize yourself with the keyboard – recognize the white keys by their relative positions of the two-black-key groups and the three-black-key groups.
- Hand coordination and finger independence exercises – it is not easy to have all ten fingers coordinate with each other or play independently. It takes practice.
Here is the practice strategy for basic training:
- Learning the major and minor scales and practicing every day. Refer to our article about Piano Scales for Beginners.
- Along with learning the scales, you will also learn and practice the chords related to each scale.
- Playing the chord notes one at a time is the arpeggio or a broken chord. Composers usually use arpeggios for a melodic effect. When you understand the chords and arpeggios, you can make some very virtuosic patterns that are just repeating notes. Many seemingly complicated music pieces might be just a bunch of simple arpeggios.
There are some fundamentals that you want to master through consistent practice. Once you master the scales, chords, and arpeggios, your piano learning journey will be much smoother.
#6 Practice With a Metronome
It is beneficial to practice with a metronome to achieve a consistent tempo while playing a piano piece. You can use a classical metronome that is detached from your piano.
Nowadays, there are many digital versions of a metronome. Digital pianos almost always come with a built-in metronome for convenience. Hence, you do not need to purchase a separate one. Moreover, many digital pianos offer drum rhythm patterns that regulate your playing tempo and provide accompaniments, making your practice much more fun.
Recently, I’ve seen some pianists wearing a wrist metronome watch for practice. Instead of making a beat sound, the wrist metronome sends vibrations to your wrist that is in time to the tempo you set.
#7 Use a Good Posture
The last of the seven beginner piano tips is about using a good posture. Why is it important to sit correctly when playing the piano? You want to feel comfortable and avoid injury at the most basic level.
When talking about posture, the most important aspects are the distance from the piano and the seating height, which is also related to the piano keyboard height.
If you have an adjustable piano bench, that’s probably the best thing to fit your seating height. Otherwise, you may have to use a cushion to adjust your bench height.
In terms of distance from a piano, you do not want to sit too close to the piano, which restricts the movements of your arms and elbows. To move your arms and upper body quickly, I suggest having your stool a bit back and sitting on the front edge of the stool with your feet firmly in front.
A reasonable distance is an arm’s length which means when you put your fist forward, it just about reaches the piano’s fallboard.
Where to sit? Always sit in the center of the piano. The two black keys next to the middle C is the center of the piano. Many acoustic pianos have the instrument’s name in the middle, which could be a good reference point.
Hand posture is also essential. Your forearm and wrist should make almost a straight line, as shown in the above picture.
Overall, your posture should be comfortable and engaging. Your shoulders are down, and your chest is open. You can swing freely from one side to the other without falling off the stool.
The correct posture is crucial to get you started with a positive playing experience.
It is essential to have fun and enjoyment in your piano learning journey. If a beginner does not have a good experience at the get-go, he or she is more likely to quit quickly.
The seven beginner piano tips are intended to help you have a great start to learning piano. Here is a summary:
- Find a Good Piano Teacher
- Create an Environment You Love
- Schedule Your Practice
- Play Songs You Like
- Have a Practice Strategy
- Practice With a Metronome
- Use Good Posture
Wishing you a wonderful piano learning experience! Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions about learning piano.