The piano is a unique and interesting instrument, and also just a lot of fun to play. While you may think it's impossible to get good without taking years and years of expensive piano lessons, that's not necessarily true. With a little knowledge about notes, keys and chords and a lot of practice, you can teach yourself to play the piano.
Method 1 of 3: Playing by ear
Step 1. Find a piano or keyboard that you can practice on
If you don't have one at home, you might be able to borrow one from a friend. The advantages of a real piano is that the strings make the sound much more authentic. In addition, it contains all 88 keys. Keyboards have none of those capabilities. Keep that in mind when you make a choice.
- Pianos are much more expensive than keyboards, but some piano stores offer hire purchase options.
- Tune the piano if it is an antique piano so that your ear is trained to the correct pitches. Older pianos are usually out of tune, especially if they are not played regularly. If your piano has not been played in years, it is advisable to have it tuned by a professional before continuing.
- If you can't find a piano, a keyboard is a great alternative. They're affordable, never out of tune, and have lots of sounds and features that can enhance your music. Not to mention, they are a lot easier to move around and take up a lot less space. A keyboard is a great tool for a beginner. You can always start on a keyboard and then move on to a piano.
- Buy a study keyboard. These special instruments light up in a specific order to help you learn songs faster. Usually, books and videos are included that can help you learn music notation.
Step 2. Sit behind the piano or keyboard to familiarize yourself with it
Play with it and discover the mid register (the middle of the piano), the flats (the black key to the left of a white key), sharps (the black key to the right of a white key), the bass register (low tones) and treble register (High tunes). Listen carefully to each of them, and notice how they differ from each other. Keep practicing until you can hear the difference between each of them.
Step 3. Learn the major tones
You will have to learn the major tones if you want to be able to recognize the sounds you hear. Some people do this by learning the major tones and then assigning them a number. 1 is, for example, C; 2 is D; 3 is E; 4 is F; 5 is G; 6 is A; 7 is B; 8 is C. Note how the numbers 8 and 1 both represent the note C, but 1 represents a lower and 8 a higher C. Number 1 represents the middle C.
- Once you've mastered this, you can label music tracks with numbers instead of letters. For example, Mary Had A Little Lamb would become: E - D - C - D - E - E - E. This can be represented as 3 - 2 – 1 - 2 - 3 - 3 - 3.
- If you have no musical knowledge at all, then you will just have to start and try things out.
Step 4. Learn the chords
Music tracks are usually composed of variations of chords. You hear them in different keys, but the chords are made up of the same notes. Recognizing those notes is important when you want to pick out a song by ear. So, learn how to play the basic chords and find out where they are on the piano. Play the chords to familiarize yourself with their sound so that you can recognize them. Even if you don't know the name of some chords, you still need to know what they sound like. You will also have to be able to distinguish whether you are dealing with bass chords or higher chords, so that you can discover where they are.
For example: C, E, G is a simple chord that you must first learn to recognize the C major. However, it can be played in either a lower or higher key
Step 5. Notice the patterns
All songs are composed of musical patterns. Chords often repeat at a steady tempo or rhythm. If you recognize the patterns you hear, it's much easier to play a song you hear. Learn which chords are combined with others. This helps to understand how melodies and baselines are constructed so that you can start making your own.
Step 6. Learn to hum
Humming helps to remember or compose music. Then it becomes easier to repeat this on a piano. In other words, humming the melody. Then sit at the piano and repeat. Once you know the chords and which notes to play, you can play them by ear.
Step 7. Review finger placement
To really be able to play, you need to know which keys you play with which keys. The best way to do this is with a beginner's tutorial. Normally, the fingers are numbered. For example, the thumb would be 1 and the pinky would be 5. These books teach you how to play each note by telling you more about fingering.
Step 8. Practice
Listen to songs. Then you practice them by humming the melody and trying to play the song on your piano or keyboard. Or select a song you like and try to play it by ear using the techniques you've learned. Becoming a good pianist takes a lot of practice. You will need to practice at least three times a week.
Method 2 of 3: Learn the basics of the piano
Step 1. Learn some basic piano knowledge
There are 88 keys on a piano. White piano keys are called naturals because they produce a natural tone when pressed. Black piano keys are called alterations (or accidents) because they produce a lowered or raised tone.
- There are seven stem tones on the keys: C-D-E-F-G-A-B
- There are five flats per octave and they can indicate either a flat or a sharp.
- Learn the names of the clefs associated with the left and right hands: the bass clef and treble clef.
Step 2. Use textbooks
Because you don't have a teacher, the textbooks take over that function. There are many books available at both music stores and mainstream bookstores that will teach you step-by-step how to read sheet music, play the basic scales, chord progressions, and finally simple songs.
Use multimedia, such as DVDs. YouTube videos are also a valuable resource. If you are a visual learner, you will like these tools as it will show you how to play the music properly
Step 3. Study the notes
You will need to learn where the notes are on the piano, how they sound and how they are notated. You can do this using flash cards, so you can recognize the notes on a staff. You can buy stickers and put them on your piano to learn the position of the notes. You can also purchase books designed to help beginners in music reading.
Try to familiarize yourself with frequently used chords. Start with the major chords. Then you do the minor chords
Step 4. Learn the fingering
Using the textbooks you can learn how to play the notes. Playing the notes with the right fingers is just as important as learning where the notes are. If you don't practice with the right method, you'll eventually have trouble playing the scales up and down.
Step 5. Practice playing the scales
Playing the scales helps to familiarize yourself with the notes and how they sound. If you are learning to play from sheet music, playing the music as you read the notes will help you learn where they are located and what they look like on the staff. Play the scales for each hand, one at a time. Then play them together.
Step 6. Learn some simple songs
Work through the lessons using your textbooks. That way, you'll learn to play easy songs first, as well as mastering proper fingering. Practicing simple songs also helps you remember where the notes are, which in turn improves your reading skills. Start with C major. Then you move on to the minor scales, so that you are familiar with that as well.
When you practice a piece of music, first play the melody and bass lines for each hand separately. Once you can play each one well individually, continue practicing by playing them together
Step 7. Practice, practice, practice
It takes a lot of practice to learn to play the piano. Play from sheet music to improve your ability to read the notes, as well as your fingering and playing itself. Plan to practice about three to four times a week (about half an hour each time). Don't move on to the next lesson until you've mastered the previous one.
Method 3 of 3: Take Piano Lessons
Step 1. Find a good teacher
This is the most expensive, but also the most efficient way to learn music. A good teacher will not only have a lot of experience as a beginner piano teacher, but also be able to teach your basics correctly. With the help of an instructor, you can avoid bad habits that would otherwise take a long time to unlearn.
- Learn more about playing prima vista, fingering and playing with a teacher.
- Ask the teacher to walk you through where the notes are located on the staff and on the piano.
Step 2. Decide how often you want to take lessons
Since your goal is to teach yourself how to play the piano, you probably won't visit a teacher very often. Visit your piano teacher once a month, just to keep track of your progress or to ask questions about something that is not clear to you. For example, you may have questions about the correct tempo of a song.
Step 3. Practice
Again, you will need a lot of practice to learn how to play the piano. Many people who have piano lessons practice several times a week. So, practice two to three times a week or every day if you want. Try to practice at least twice a week for 30 minutes, but you will also need to set aside time for your music theory knowledge and reading sheet music. You don't need a keyboard or piano for this.
- As tempting as it may be, try playing without holding down the sustain pedal. It will sound clearer and you will be able to hear your mistakes better. This will improve your game faster.
- If you also play another instrument that has a different tuning (such as a Bb, Eb, or F instrument), learn how to transpose music so that you can also play the music for that instrument on the piano with the correct tone. Bb (B flat) is probably the simplest, because then the notes don't move very far. They shift one note to the left, with the exception of C and F, which end in Bb (BES) and Eb (ES), respectively. There are tools online for transposing. Being able to transpose opens up a whole host of new possibilities as you will be able to play any piece of music on both instruments.
- Play the melody with your right hand, and resist the temptation to play the melody with both hands. This may be easier when you're just starting out, but you'll regret it if it becomes a habit, because you'll have to unlearn it.
- Make good use of books and videos.