Last updated: September 19, 2019
Benefits of Playing the piano
Learning how to play the piano will lead to a lifetime of fun and good health spent enjoying the wonders of music, which is why even adults seek to master this instrument, regardless of age.
- Stress Relief
Studies suggest that playing the piano for just a few minutes each day can significantly reduce depression, anxiety, and loneliness. Playing the piano also has the effect of lowering blood pressure and releasing muscle tension.
- Improved Memory and Concentration
Playing the piano requires a great deal of concentration and multitasking, which helps improve memory and form other good habits. People who play the piano have also been shown to be better listeners, and remember things more easily than people who don’t play.
- Improved Fine Motor Skills
Playing the piano can be a great form of exercise even though it’s usually done while sitting down. Studies have shown that piano playing improves hand-eye coordination, flexibility, and also strengthens hand and arm muscles.
- Increased Intelligence
Playing the piano has been shown to improve mental abilities that are useful for math, science, and language. In particular, it can help improve reading skills, visual-spatial awareness, and foreign language learning, among other things.
- Entertainment / Leisure
Playing the piano and making music can be a very joyful activity that promotes happiness and well-being. Not only is it a very fun activity, but it can also boost self-esteem and be a great way to unwind after a long day.
Making the most out of the piano is hard work, and adults have even more hurdles to overcome in order to learn effectively, most of which are entirely mental.
However, even though it takes a lot of effort and dedication to learn the piano as an adult, it'll be all the more satisfying once you're playing those keys like a virtuoso.
With all of the benefits that the piano has to offer, it wouldn't be right if adults weren't able to enjoy them too.
Issues Adult Beginners Face
“Am I too Old to Learn?”
A common belief held by many adults is that they are too old to learn the piano effectively. They assume that developing good piano skills can only be done if it is picked up at an early age.
This, however, could not be further from the truth, as there is no ideal age for learning piano, or pretty much anything in life for that matter. There have been cases where adults well past their 50s have been able to quickly learn to play the piano after a lot of hard work and dedication.
Adults also have an advantage over younger learners in that they are able to focus better, and they can learn more quickly if they are genuinely motivated. As long as an adult has a strong desire to learn and is dedicated to improving, it is never too late to learn the piano.
“Learning the Piano is too Difficult”
The piano is certainly a difficult instrument to master, but the process of learning it can also be surprisingly quick and easy.
Some adults have been able to learn to play basic songs and melodies in as little as a few minutes; it is only when someone strives to reach a professional level of piano playing that learning will take several years of practice and study.
Most adults will likely want to achieve a skill level that is in between a beginner’s and a professional’s, so there’s no need to worry about the process taking too long.
“I’m Not a Natural-Born Talent”
It’s easy to look any talented pianist and think: “they were just born to do this”, and that you would have no chance at reaching that level of skill yourself.
While it is true that some people are born with more natural ability than others, real talent is developed through dedication and high-quality practice.
You do not have to be a natural born talent to achieve great success with the piano--all you need is a strong desire to learn, an effective practice routine, and, most important of all, confidence in yourself and your abilities.
"Having trouble how to get Started"
Many adults are eager to learn how to play the piano, but are unsure of how to get started on their journey.
There are several options available, most of which involve lessons from a teacher or programs in which you learn on your own. Being instructed by a teacher has shown to be the most effective learning method, but it can be very costly, and it might be difficult for adults to find time to schedule lessons.
On the other hand, self-learning programs allow adults to learn whenever is most convenient for them, but they lack the valuable feedback a tutor has to offer.
Each approach has its own benefits and drawbacks, so choosing the one that best suits you will encourage your success and increase the chances that you stick with the program long-term.
No matter what approach to learning the piano you choose, some kind of investment is going to have to be made.
Lessons from a teacher will cost you a lot of money upfront, but commuting will also add to the total cost.
In addition, most self-learning programs cost a decent amount of money, but you will also have to buy your own piano and the all the other necessary equipment.
Despite this, the reality is that it is not very expensive to at least get started with learning the piano.
If money is an issue, you can always start by purchasing a budget 88-key piano, and maybe trying out some free online lessons.
Common Mistakes Made By Beginners
Pitfall#1: Not Having a Schedule or Routine
Learning the piano takes consistent practice and effort.
If you do not plan ahead and schedule a set time each day for practicing, you won’t see any improvement, or could even end up stopping entirely.
It is easy to stay consistent with your piano practice if you make it a part of your daily routine, and you will also progress much faster if you set aside time for you to focus on playing.
Pitfall#2: Too Many Distractions
Just like any task that requires a good deal of focus and concentration, learning how to play the piano will be very ineffective if your learning environment is full of distractions.
It’s best to always practice away from a television, your phone, and even family members so you are able to focus and get the most out of your practice time.
In addition, online piano lessons can be a distraction themselves if you try out too many without deciding on one that you like.
Pitfall#3: Lengthy Practice Sessions
Some people may be eager to practice for long amounts of time at once, but this is not necessarily productive or effective.
Your finger muscles can become cramped if you practice for too long when you first start out, and you’re unlikely to see any noticeable improvement compared to shorter practice sessions.
It is recommended that beginners start by practicing 10 minutes a day, and then work up to an ideal length of 30 minutes as they improve.
Pitfall#4: Failure to Budget & Manage Time Properly
Learning the piano effectively requires both a financial investment and time commitment, of which many beginners are unprepared to make.
Paying for piano lessons and buying the piano itself can both be very expensive, and a lot of time can be spent travelling from one location to another to get to in-person piano classes.
The stress and frustration caused from all of this can make someone want to give up learning the piano altogether, so it’s extremely important to know what you’ll be able to manage before you get started.
Pitfall#5: Overly High Expectations
Some adults have difficulty learning new skills because they are used to being good at everything they do.
It is for this reason that beginners will often expect to become experts at the piano after a very short time, and then become frustrated when they are (naturally) unable to do so.
The beginner phase of any practice is never glamorous, but it is necessary to start with the basics and take things one step at a time. These initial efforts will be well worth it once you are able to play complicated songs with ease.
Pitfall#6: Bad Playing Habits
Maintaining proper posture, hand placement, and fingering are some of the most important aspects of learning the piano.
Despite this, many beginners fall into bad habits, which leads to back and shoulder pain, difficulty playing more complex pieces, and lost progress.
You should be able to play without leaning forward or lifting your shoulders, and you should choose a fingering scheme that requires the least amount of hand movement.
Beginner’s tips to learn how to play the piano effectively
Learning the piano as an adult can seem difficult at first, but as we’ve discussed, the potential benefits of learning how to play make it well worth the hard work you put in.
While you’re now fully prepared to bring the joys of music into your life, there’s always more to discover about the piano even after you’ve begun your journey.
Remember that learning the piano is a fun process, and there will always be more to learn, so you’ll never run out of ways to bring happiness into your life through those 88 keys.
Tip#1: Set Goals and Reward Yourself
Learning works best whenever there’s positive reinforcement and a sense of achievement involved.
Set realistic goals for yourself, and when you fulfill them, reward yourself in any way that you can imagine.
Not only will this help you keep track of your progress as a pianist, but it will also serve as motivation to constantly improve.
Tip#2: Stay Committed to Daily Practice
Practice makes perfect, and the perfect way to practice is through focused 10-30 minute sessions each day.
Making real progress with the piano requires a long-term commitment to daily practice, so make sure to find the time for at least ten minutes each day to get some playing in.
It may seem tiring at first, but the improvements you’ll start to see will get you more and more excited for your daily practice sessions.
Tip#3: Patience is Key
It’s important to have realistic expectations about how quickly you will progress, and not be too hard on yourself if you aren’t improving at the rate you had hoped.
Everybody learns at a different pace, so it’s vital to master what you can first and then move on to harder things. Understand that learning how to play the piano is meant to be a fun journey, and not just a means to an end.
Tip#4: Learn in a Group
It's alright to try and learn the piano by yourself, but learning with a group comes with a wide range of benefits that you wouldn't get on your own.
Members of a group can encourage one another to stay motivated, have discussions about the learning process, and even give each other valuable feedback.
It’s a great idea to share the fun of learning the piano with others, as well as comparing your progress with the people in your group.
Tip#5: Play Songs that Interests You
Virtually all music can be played on the piano in some form, so why not learn how to play your favourite songs as you develop your piano skills?
If all you ever do is play songs that are boring or uninteresting to you, you’re unlikely to stick with the piano in the long term.
Try to include songs and genres you like into your practice routine whenever possible, but also keep them varied enough so that you're able to learn different styles and techniques.
Tip#6: Start From a Beginner’s Level
Learning how to play more advanced pieces takes a lot of time and practice, but many beginners still jump right in and try to play songs that are well beyond their skill level.
It won’t do you any good if you’re unable to progress because you’re trying to practice techniques that are too hard for you.
Instead, make sure to start practicing with slower tempos, simple rhythms, and easy chords. It’s also a good idea to practice with one hand at a time, and then try playing with both once you get comfortable enough.