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FAQ for Piano Students

Are you or your child interested in taking piano lessons? If so, then you probably have plenty of questions. Finding answers to all of these questions can be a challenge, so we have prepared this list of piano lesson FAQ to help you along your journey.

Let’s dive right in.

1. How long does it take for a piano student to get good at playing?

Many factors can affect how long it takes an individual student to “get good” at playing the piano. For instance, how much of your time do you spend practicing? If you aren’t putting in a minimum of half an hour to one hour every day, then this will considerably slow down your progress.

If you are sitting at the piano for at least this long each day, do you find yourself getting frustrated or bored? The answer may be to break up your daily practice sessions into shorter, bite-sized pieces.

Before you can decide whether a student is “good” or not, it makes sense to spend some time thinking about what it means to be “good.” Do you have to be performing at Carnegie Hall to achieve this, or is there some other standard that you have in mind? Some students consider themselves good piano players when they are able to successfully play several songs. Perhaps your definition of “good” will include being able to play a certain classical piece or being able to successfully audition for an orchestra or other ensemble.

What if you just want to play for fun or to please yourself? This may lead you to have a totally different definition of what it means to be a good piano player. Within about two to three years of starting your lessons, you may see some really noticeable and satisfying improvements, and this can make you perfectly happy.

However, if it is your goal to be a world-famous concert pianist, then you have decades of preparation and training ahead of you.

2. Do I need a piano teacher?

Lots of people wonder about this before they begin lessons. After all, there are many video lessons on the Internet, and there are even books about teaching yourself the piano. There’s nothing inherently wrong with these resources, but it generally is wise to work with a knowledgeable and experienced instructor at some point, particularly if you want to take your piano playing to a level that goes beyond personal enjoyment.

Piano students who simply want to sit down occasionally to play their favorite tunes do not necessarily require a teacher, but there is no substitute for the guidance and insight that a quality instructor can provide. The one-on-one instruction that you receive on a weekly basis is what makes your playing more competent and polished. If it is your desire to play professionally or even study at a high level, then formal lessons are definitely the right starting point.

Here are some of the benefits of using a piano teacher:

  • Learn proper playing technique.
  • Immediate correction of bad habits.
  • Better understanding of the fundamentals.
  • Good opportunities to ask questions.

3. How do I find the right piano teacher?

Too many new piano students simply settle for the first teacher that they stumble across. Sometimes, this is perfectly fine, but it frequently pays to look around a bit before deciding which teacher is the right one for you or your child.

Most piano teachers are probably perfectly competent and have admirable backgrounds as far as their own training is concerned. However, this does not necessarily mean that every teacher is equally well suited to teach you or your child. Each instructor has her own style. This style may appeal to some students while turning others off.

If your child has never had piano lessons before, then it’s hard to know which teacher is the “right” one. Learning with the wrong instructor can lead to frustration and heartbreak as the student fails to catch on and be inspired by a love of playing the piano.

That is why it makes sense to ask various teachers to provide a short audition lesson. Try to arrange these with at least three instructors so that your child has an opportunity to interact with each for half an hour or so. Ask your child how comfortable he was with each instructor. Was the lesson enjoyable? Would he like to spend time with this teacher every week?

Choose the one that seems to form the best connection with your child. If it ends up being a mistake, you can always switch to another instructor somewhere down the line.

4. Do I have to learn how to read music?

Reading music can seem like a daunting task to both adult and child students. Is it absolutely essential? For some students, it isn’t because they are exceptionally good at playing by ear.

However, by far the better answer is to learn how to read music, even if you discover that you are quite good at playing by ear. When you know how to read music, you have a reliable, standardized method for understanding music, how it should be played, and how it should sound.

Learning to read music is a lot like learning to read. The more practical approach is for each individual to learn to read the words themselves rather than having someone else read aloud while the listener tries to memorize all the words in the story.

Learning to read music can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Anyone can learn to read music, especially if they are determined to do so. Your piano instructor will definitely help with this, and you have the option of using online resources, flashcards, and other resources to further your study.

Reading music may be the key to a greater understanding of the piano, so don’t let a little trepidation stop you.

5. What’s the best age for starting piano?

While it would be nice to say that there is a magic number at which piano lessons should begin, the reality is much more complicated. Some children excel in piano lessons at the age of three or four, but some pupils of 70 have done just as well.

There is no such thing as the “best age” for learning to play the piano. All that is really needed is the desire and a willingness to put in the effort.

6. What is taught in a piano lesson?

A great deal of subject matter may be covered in any given class. Here is a look at some of the topics that could be covered in a piano class:

  • Ear training
  • Rhythm exercises
  • Learning to read music
  • Good practice techniques
  • Proper playing technique
  • Posture and hand position

These various subjects may be taught in an almost endless variety of ways. Some of these are dependent upon the age of the student. For instance, many young piano students are taught through games and riddles, and musical techniques may be introduced through playing different exercises and songs for older students.

7. Is it necessary to have musical ability?

Would you describe yourself as tone-deaf? Has no one in your family sung or studied a musical instrument before? Nonetheless, you or your child has an interest in learning how to play the piano.

That is perfectly fine. You don’t have to come to your first piano lesson with any special knowledge, skills, or ability. Let your teacher know that you’ve never studied music before, and she’ll craft an introductory curriculum that will help you make sense of a subject that might feel like a foreign language. Be certain to ask questions when things aren’t coming together, and commit to daily practice. Before long, you’ll start to develop musical abilities that you never knew you had.

Ask Prodigies for More

At Prodigies, our goal is to introduce the fun and fundamentals of music to young learners. We present our lessons in ways that are approachable and engaging so that kids discover that music is for everyone.

These lessons can provide an excellent foundation for beginning music lessons for your child. Of course, as you watch and listen with your little ones, you may find yourself becoming intrigued as well. Maybe you and your child will one day enroll in piano lessons.

Let Prodigies Music be your guide as your family begins a journey into the fascinating world of music.

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