It’s easy to see why piano so often clinches that top spot when it comes to beginners looking for a musical instrument to learn. After all, simply pressing a key delivers some sort of sound, and after a few practice sessions, a total novice will probably be able to string together a basic tune. However, when things get a little more complex, and musicians decide they want to develop their talent, it can get a bit more difficult. In fact, people often say that the piano is one of the easiest instruments to learn but equally, one of the most difficult to master. But what makes the piano such a difficult instrument to play?
While learning simple songs like ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’ or ‘When The Saints Go Marching In’ require just one hand and therefore might come quickly, mastering more intricate melodies means taking things to a whole new level. You will have to simultaneously play with both hands – with both hands moving independently from one another.
OK, so you’ve got to grips with the idea of playing with both hands – at the same time – now it’s time to bring in your foot. That’s right, if the piece requires, you’ll also have to use your foot to press the three piano pedals, which will then in turn, change the sound of each key. This means multi-tasking not only with your hands but your feet too if you really want to conquer those more complex tunes.
As if reading music wasn’t hard enough, playing the piano requires you to read more than one note at the same time. With a total of 88 notes on a piano, that’s 88 individual notes to learn, as well as a combination of notes as chords. And remember, you have a total of 10 fingers and thumbs, on your two hands, which means a player might find themselves having to read just as many notes all at once, which often proves to be a hugely difficult task.
Not only will a pianist need to read multiple notes, but more often than not, they’ll have to read two lines of music at the same time – or in other words, read double clefs – at the same time. Simply put, imagine having a line of music for each hand, and reading them simultaneously.
So, I’ve highlighted the need to multi-task and read multiple notes but what makes things even harder is having to do this without looking at your hands. To be a good piano player, your hand-eye coordination needs to be taken up a gear. Simply put, you’re going to have to translate the notes you’re reading into a tune on the piano, with very few opportunities to actually look down at your hands while playing.
While playing the piano is undoubtedly difficult, things will seem a whole lot easier if you have a professional teacher by your side supporting you. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced player, then get in touch with me, Annette Beaumont Ellis. I offer bespoke piano lessons in London to adults and children.