If you’re a piano beginner…
So you want to learn how to play piano. Welcome! Piano is the best instrument (not biased at all), and you’re in good company. Before we get started, though, let’s bust some piano misconceptions:
I can become a piano master in a year.
People love to dream of this outcome, but I’ve never seen it happen in real life. Sure, there are outliers. But for most people, becoming a piano “master” (someone who can play the Beethoven Sonatas, for example) takes many dedicated years.
My hands are too big/small/chubby/uncoordinated/oddly shaped for piano.
I’ve met dozens upon dozens of piano beginners over the years, including a good number of adult beginners. Hands come in all shapes and sizes, and, though your biology might cause some minor problems, you’ll still be able to learn just fine. Have you ever seen Elton John’s fingers?
I don’t have time to practice X hour(s) each day.
Me neither! Seriously though, there’s no great law saying you need to dedicate an hour (or more) a day to practice, especially as a beginner. I’ve met many busy adults who make do with 20 or 30 minutes most days of the week. You’ll still be able to progress nicely at this pace, and a little bit is better than none!
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s move on.
You’ll definitely want to wander over to the Q&A section before getting into the lessons. Most importantly, take a look at:
- What should I expect in the first 3-6 months of lessons? (Blog post)
- How long does it really take to learn piano?
- Do I need a piano teacher?
In this section, you’ll find a wealth of tutorials for the first six months or so of your piano journey. This section goes far beyond tutorials, and includes practice tips, book suggestions, and much more.
To learn the absolute basics, you’ll want to check out these:
How to practice piano
At this point, you should be able to get started with very basic music. However, most beginners have no idea how to actually practice piano effectively, which is why I recommend the following videos for those of you just starting out:
- 9 tips for practicing piano
- Build your own (memorized) music portfolio
- How to organize your practice time
Finally, even if you follow every single one of the preparatory lessons faithfully, I still recommend that you get some piano books of your own.
If you’ve been playing piano for a few years…
That’s fantastic! Of course, just like beginners, seasoned pianists often have their own set of issues. These include low motivation, uncertainty over which musical path to take, and overwhelm at the books and options out there – among others.
Motivation & goals
If you’ve been playing for several years, it might be time for a bit of a motivational “boost”. You might need to set some real goals.
Here are some videos you’ll want to check out on the topic:
- How to stay motivated at the piano (when the going gets tough)
- Goal setting time! Questions to ask when setting piano goals, part 1 and part 2
Finding your level and choosing books
There’s a dedicated page on this site to various music books that I recommend. But you’ll also want to take a look at the “about musical grades” section – even if you have no interest in exams (many don’t), these schools are still hugely beneficial when it comes to choosing level-appropriate music.
There’s also a page on this site ranking the easiest (to most difficult) pieces by individual composers. That’s a good place to explore if there’s a particular composer you really enjoy.
Here are some blog posts and videos on that topic:
- Choosing level-appropriate sheet music
- All about the Henle level system
- The Easiest Bach (and the most difficult)
Explore gaps in your knowledge
If you’ve been learning piano by ear for the last several years, it’s a good idea to brush up on your music reading skills. Or maybe the opposite is true – maybe you’re great at reading, but haven’t really tried playing by ear.
If you want to expand your musical knowledge…
Having an understanding of the music you’re learning will give you a more holistic appreciation of music. The pieces you learn will have more meaning and value once you understand where they come from. That’s why the “history” section of this website is absolutely crucial.
PianoTV has been churning out two videos a week since April 2015. That means there’s a ton of content on this channel – hundreds of videos. I realize that’s an overwhelming amount for most people, especially those of you new to this site.
Hence this section!
Be sure to start with the “about us” section so you can get to know my backstory, as well as meet the editor and designer for our YouTube channel.
The editor Logan, and Allysia (with a cameo from Tsunami)
We also did a “Start Here” video if you’d like to take the tour through that format:
What digital piano or keyboard should I use?
Before getting started with piano, you need a piano to practice on!
However, not everyone has access to an acoustic piano. Many of us live in apartments, and not all of us want to deal with the upkeep an acoustic instrument requires.
If you’re unsure of where to look for a digital piano/keyboard, be sure to check out our video on “Your Favorite Digital Pianos”. In that video I polled you on your digital pianos, and this video/post is the result.
Free practicing ebook
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the ebook I created for beginners. It goes into a fair amount of depth on how to practice: Making your practice sessions effective, setting up your space, and even stretches you can do to avoid injury.
Thank you for dropping by!
I really appreciate all of you who stop by this site, subscribe to our YouTube channel, and leave feedback in the comments and through our contact page. It’s awesome to hear about your piano journeys, and I always try to take constructive criticism into consideration. Our goal is to continually improve, and I appreciate you making that possible!