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Can I Teach Myself How to Play Piano?

January 24, 2024

Can I Teach Myself How to Play Piano?

One of the questions I often hear in the piano business is “Can I teach myself how to play the piano?” 

Is a self-directed, at-home piano lessons program right for you?  Well, stick around and find out!


My first recommendation is simple:  Keep your expectations realistic.  Don’t start piano lessons thinking you’ll be playing Beethoven tomorrow! It may take time to learn the basics, but the musical foundation they give you will reap rewards for many years to come. You’ll start out like we all do – learning one-handed songs and basic melodies – before you move up to more complicated works. This is a good thing!  If you jump into a piece that’s above your skill level, you’ll likely get frustrated and have the urge to quit.


My second recommendation is:  Make sure you absolutely can’t fit an in-person piano lesson into your life.  A piano teacher can make learning the instrument easier by establishing good habits from the start. A large part of playing the piano successfully is learning the correct muscle memory, posture, and movement. 


While working under the instruction of a piano teacher doesn’t guarantee you will become a skilled pianist, it can help you avoid frustrating bad habits. 


Also, a piano teacher will help you learn the correct fingerings and hand movements to prevent stress or even muscle damage over time. 


You may not realize your own mistakes without the help of a piano teacher by your side. This one-on-one feedback is impossible to get from a textbook or online tutorial and is unbelievably helpful – especially to students (of all ages!) who need motivation and support as well as instruction.  


We always recommend building a life-long relationship with a piano teacher.  It is one of the great joys piano playing offers.

My third recommendation is:  Find the right practice instrument.  This is vital as – believe it or not – it is the number one reason people quit piano lessons.  This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend thousands of dollars on a piano.  You could consider a good used piano.  You might want to try a rental program. You might even consider a good digital piano.  Whatever you decide to do, make sure you get an instrument you like, or you won’t want to spend time on it!  If the keys don’t all play, it doesn’t feel like a regular piano, or if it’s horribly out of tune, there’s just no incentive to practice.  You’ll quit.  Guaranteed.

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