One of the most common questions I get asked is: can I teach myself to play the piano? OK, this is a tricky one. Although I firmly believe that a professional teacher teaches the most effective way to learn to play the piano, I also appreciate that some people prefer to teach themselves. Ultimately, if you are keen to have a go at teaching yourself, make sure you get the best results by combining that with lessons from a teacher. In the meantime, here are my top tips to getting started if you’re thinking about teaching yourself to play.
This might seem like an obvious starting point, but you’d be surprised at how many beginners miss the importance of having their own instrument – whether it’s a piano or keyboard. Simply put, how are you going to teach yourself to play if you don’t have regular access to the keys? If you’re worried treating yourself to a brand new piano or keyboard will be expensive, why not consider exploring second-hand options?
An alternative option is to rent a keyboard or piano, especially if you’re not 100% sure that you want to learn or not. Renting a keyboard or piano is a good way to try your hand at playing before committing to buying your own instrument.
I get it, the first time you look at your keyboard or piano can be pretty overwhelming – after all, learning to play music is essentially like learning a whole new language. Don’t worry though, you’ll get there if you stick with it.
There are a total of 88 keys on a keyboard or piano – 52 white keys and 36 black. The first step to learning the notes is finding the middle C – you’ll find a lot of beginner pieces work off this note. Start by sitting down and positioning yourself in the centre of your piano. You’ll see there are a set of two black keys, then a set of three black keys, repeated. If you find the middle set of two black keys – the white key immediately to the left is the middle C.
Going from left to right, from a C, the notes – which are all letters – go in this order, repeatedly: C,D,E,F,G,A,B.
When it comes to playing the piano, getting your posture right is essential, regardless of what level you’re at. In fact, so many pianists often overlook the importance of posture but seriously, it can have a huge impact on how a piano player looks and feels when playing. Ultimately, you need to get into the habit of perfecting your posture in the early days to prevent any potential long-term health problems, as well as fatigue and tension build-up. Plus, a better posture can have a positive impact on how your play.
A few factors that need to be considered when working on your posture are the height of your piano bench, the distance between your bench and piano, your hand shape, wrist positioning, back posture, and head position.
Like most things, teaching yourself to play the piano is possible, but it takes a considerable amount of practice and patience. And, while you shouldn’t expect overnight results when being taught by a professional, I can assure you that the process will seem a lot easier. Plus, you’re guaranteed to learn both the correct techniques and posture if you have a professional teacher supporting you.