Three methods to play the piano

Glenn Sutton teaches guitar, electric bass, keyboard, theory and improvisation for over 30 years, he specializes in rock, blues, jazz, Latin, Brazilian, classical, country, and folk.

Three Ways to Learn the Piano

About Glenn Sutton

As a professional guitar teacher with 25 years of experience (see guitarlessonspoway.com).

Three Ways to Learn the Piano

Learning the piano can be broken down into three main methods, and after you’ve covered those you can start combining elements from them in order to truly get a grasp of the technique involved in playing the instrument. These are as follows:

1) Playing from printed music – a huge majority of piano lessons are based on the player’s ability to read sheet music and coordinate their fingers properly with their thoughts. This is the standard way to learn the piano, and it features a repetitive routine involving scales, drills, finger exercises and practicing pieces varying in their difficulty all the time.

2) Playing without sheet music – it takes effort and practice, but it’s certainly possible to play music by ear. Some people have it more naturally than others, but in the end it boils down to practice like everything else. Don’t think that you’ll be able to do this at a whim though – you’ll need some solid practice before you’re able to reproduce pieces you’ve heard.

3) Using chord symbols can help play the piano – a number of expert pianists, most notably those involved in jazz, use lead sheets. “Fake books” are musical books which have their songs in a “lead sheet,” containing just the musical melody and the specific chords for the song. This kind of playing the piano requires you to learn some chords in the least, and you’ll also have to understand how to read music in the treble clef.

This type of playing the piano is certainly accessible to anyone, though most consider it to be only suitable for professionals – this is certainly not the truth though, as it’s a simple method which can teach you a huge amount in a relatively short period of time. It’ll only take a few weeks before you’re playing the piano well enough that you’ll take great pride in your playing and will want to play for your friends.

These techniques are mostly all feasible, and can be learned from a teacher. The most important thing to do is to learn how to combine all three of them – learning how to read music, then developing a hearing sense for it, and then learning the chords and how to use them in creating your own music. It doesn’t really matter what method you’ll start with – as long as you eventually learn all three, you’re all good.

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