With a tradition of at least two centuries, learning to play piano has followed a predictable course. Usually, a family who had a piano, made the decision for their next generation of pianists to follow in the footsteps of the earlier ones, and go for either a traditional or formal method of learning to play piano. Three learning methods.
1. TRADITIONAL WITHIN FAMILY LEARNING
Learning to copy what the players in the family played by simply watching over the shoulder of the player, asking questions, and being shown which notes to play. Copying ! This “ teaching “ family member often passed on a poorer standard of tuition, and most of their bad habits, rather than what a trained and experienced teacher would do. In lots of circumstances, the main skill of learning to play piano was figuring out how to mimic what the student heard, or as it’s commonly known Playing by Ear.
This in itself is a great skill to have as a musician, but is very limiting if a career as a professional player is concerned, where at higher levels, the skill of sight reading is often an essential one.
It goes without saying that any student wanting to play classical music MUST learn to read music rather than try to play Mozart, Beethoven or Chopin by ear – that would be sacrilege !
During my time as a teacher, I found many students learning to play piano needed to go back to basics and be taught the fundamentals such as the correct way to sit, their posture at the keyboard, and their hand and arm positions. With several of them, the results were outstanding with just a few lessons. Very rewarding.
2. THE MORE FORMAL LEARNING STRATEGY
Employing the services of a qualified and / or experienced teacher. Even with beginners piano lessons, this method can have excellent results and it usually happens in a shorter time span than the previous method. By engaging the teacher’s services, the student’s goals and aspirations can be assessed and a course of action will be undertaken to achieve the goals in the most efficient manner.
Many teachers, usually those who teach classical music, prefer to engage students in a series of annual examinations using highly experienced teachers / examiners at the conclusion of each year of study, but having suffered that type of teaching as a child student, with the tension of preparing and practicing the same compositions and finger exercises for at least half of the year, [oh – my poor parents ears ! ] it’s not high on my list.
In many cases, the pressure of this type of piano study has the opposite effect and the dropout rate is very high. However, there are many students who love to get involved with examinations and end up with a certificate to display their progress.
3. MOVE FORWARD TO TODAY
In recent years, due to the ever increasing popularity and usage of the Internet, there is a third method of learning to play piano – all the way from beginners piano lessons to a high standard of professional competence. This method is called Online Teaching, and takes many forms. Some systems offer first lesson free of charge, and some offer first ten lessons free of charge.
With some organizations, everything is online and you’re able to consult online with the provider / teacher, and with others you get hard copies of the lessons mailed to you on CD /DVD.
WHICH METHOD DO I PREFER ?
Not easy to make a choice, but in most cases, I’d suggest a starting point for learning to play piano would be professional tuition for about ten lessons to make sure those important physical aspects of playing – correct hand, arm, and seating positions are correct from the start. This method removes the workload of correcting bad habits and allows the student to make excellent progress.
Follow this method for a while and then I’d suggest you Google “ Online Piano Lessons “ and check them out. Your teacher may be happy to guide you through your first few online lessons More information on learning to play the piano and purchase online piano course and instruments is available here or just to the right.
A Grand Piano of exquisite beauty. Looking at it makes you wish you could play piano !The Stuart and Sons Australian made instrument featuring a case of Huon Pine.