As you an adult who has a lifelong dream of being able to sit down at a piano to play a Chopin etude?
Or, perhaps you rather unexpectedly found yourself with a piano in the house, and you're suddenly thinking that it might be fun to actually know how to play it.
If so, you're not alone. Plenty of adults are discovering just how much fun learning to play the piano can be.
Initially, you might feel a little uncomfortable. Maybe you think that piano lessons are just for kids, but you'd be surprised at how rewarding lessons can be for grownups.
It's an enriching experience that will continue to pay dividends for the rest of your life.
Learning Piano as an Adult Can Be More Rewarding
When kids are put into piano lessons, they usually fall into one of two camps. Either they are really excited about playing, or they just can't stand it.
However, if you make the decision to learn piano as an adult, you have the advantage of knowing that you fall into the first camp. You are curious and interested, which also means that you are likely motivated.
This means that whereas a child might have to be given a strict practice schedule in order to achieve anything, you'll find yourself sitting at the piano every day simply for the enjoyment and the challenge of it.
As an adult learner, you have the power to:
- Choose which songs you want to learn
- Select the perfect teacher for you
- Dedicate yourself to playing just as much as you like or as your schedule allows
- Choose a practice keyboard for your home
- Decide on a music genre that you particularly want to study
In short, you are fully in the driver's seat. If you decide that the first instructor you choose isn't actually the one for you, you're free to choose another.
Do you want to focus your efforts solely on ragtime piano? That can probably be arranged.
Accordingly, you can begin to see that your age actually is to your advantage. Plus, you have the confidence of knowing that you have learned new skills before, so why not do it again?
Finding a Teacher
This may be the most critical component of learning piano as an adult. Chances are good that there are many piano teachers in your local area. How do you know which one is right for you?
The best place to start may be by asking friends and neighbors for their recommendations. Perhaps they or their kids have taken piano lessons before and know of a really good teacher.
Another good resource is your local community education department. Many of these programs offer musical instrument lessons for adults. They can serve as a wonderful introduction, and you may find an instructor who's willing to provide you with more lessons. At the very least, you'll gain some fundamental skills and get a better idea of the kind of teacher you might prefer.
If, after a few weeks, you don't feel like you are relating well to your instructor, feel free to look for an alternative. A really good teacher sparks your imagination and motivates you to challenge yourself. When you find the right one, you'll be surprised by how motivated you are to practice and by how far your progress.
Technology Can Help
People living in more remote locales where there is not an abundance of piano teachers may want to consider relying on technology.
More teachers today are offering their services online. Using Zoom or another online conference platform, the teacher and the student can work one-on-one. With a strong internet connection, good microphones and powerful cameras, it can be a lot like having face-to-face lessons.
Also, it may be worthwhile to see what you can find in the way of instruction through other electronic means. Some piano instructors post lessons and exercises on websites that can be of enormous benefit. YouTube video lessons are extremely popular, and there even are apps and software that can help you to brush up on your keyboard skills.
Balance Structured Practice and Playing for Fun
You probably already have a pretty good idea of what structured practice is. It's playing scales and pieces that let you try different fingering techniques.
It can be rewarding, but it can also be a bit of a grind. No matter how much you want to play the piano, you may find yourself dreading your structured practice time, at least a little bit.
However, playing the piano is supposed to be fun. That's why it just makes sense to reserve a little time in each practice session to just play for fun.
You know your favorite song? Maybe you could learn to play it for fun. Perhaps you're making your first foray into songwriting or you just want to see if you can pick out that tune you heard on the piano.
When you play the piano simply for the sake of playing, you are feeding your soul. It reignites your curiosity and your desire to know more.
Don't neglect the structured practice that is so vital to you becoming a more proficient musician, but by all means make certain that you are having fun as well. It just might be the best way to motivate yourself to keep practicing.
Make Your Keyboard Accessible
It's extremely helpful to have a piano in your house if that's your instrument of choice. However, that isn't necessarily realistic depending upon your finances and how much available space you have.
That's perfectly all right, because piano can be practiced on an electronic keyboard or with a digital piano. These are smaller and perhaps more cost-effective options.
Regardless of the instrument you choose, try to put it in a sunny, friendly, accessible area of your home. The more often you see it or walk by it, the more likely you are to sit down and play it.
If you hide your piano in a dark, out-of-the-way corner, this may negatively affect how much practice and fun time you put in.
Try Active Listening and Ear Training
The more you know about music, the more likely you are to appreciate it. Instead of letting music sit in the background of your consciousness, let it take center stage.
You can do this by actively listening to the music that you hear.
You're learning all sorts of concepts in your piano lessons and getting more comfortable with things like chords, melodies, rhythm and keys.
The next time you're listening to music, try to identify things like changes in keys, chords and intervals. You may surprise yourself with how much knowledge you have gained.
Just as importantly, you are training your ears to pick up even the subtlest nuances in the music that you listen to. This means that you are reinforcing what you are learning in your lessons even when you're not sitting at the piano.
Keep a Journal
When people are learning a new skill or want to track their progress with a new habit, it's not unusual for them to keep a journal.
Doing so for your piano lessons can be really rewarding. Each entry does not have to be long and exhaustive, but you might want to spend some time reflecting on things that went well and things that you would like to improve.
It may be valuable to go into some detail with regard to things that you practiced like:
In particular, place an emphasis on those things with which you are struggling. This will provide you with valuable insight about what you need to work on in your next session.
As a bonus, it can be both fun and rewarding to look back at your journal and see how far you have come.
Focus on Trouble Spots
It is inevitable that in certain exercises and songs, you will encounter passages that are excessively challenging to play.
When you come to this point, resist the temptation to just skip over it and move on. If you do this, you won't learn whatever it is that you need to learn, and that will only hold you back.
Instead, set aside 10 or 15 minutes to focus just on that technique or passage. Go really slow, running through the passage several times.
If it helps, play it several times with just one hand. Then, play it several times with the other hand.
As both begin to feel more comfortable, try the passage again with both hands. Gradually increase your playing speed.
At the end of the 10 or 15 minute session, move on to the next passage. Frequently, that concentrated time, plus a few hours away and a good night's sleep, are really all that's needed to help you get proficient with that passage.
Let Prodigies Music Fuel Your Child's Curiosity
If you are an adult who is enjoying their piano lessons, then maybe you also are interested in ensuring that your kids get an early introduction to music.
That is precisely the kind of instruction that Prodigies Music provides. We offer video lessons, colorful sheet music and all sorts of interactive ways to get acquainted with music. While our programs are mainly geared toward kids, you'll quickly find that they are appealing and informative for "kids of all ages."
Through Prodigies Music, you and your kids can develop a greater appreciation for music side-by-side. Explore our many options for early music instruction today.