Do you enjoy listening to pop songs? How about any classical music pieces? If you do then it might be one of the reasons you are considering learning the piano. Most music genres translate well on the Piano, if you have never taken any type of music lessons before from learning instruments like the guitar and violin to even voice lessons, you'll probably know that it can be one of the most rewarding thing you can do.

For most music students, their knowledge of music comes from studying the piano from a young age. After all, the piano is one of the most popular instruments to play in the world. If you like in a major city like Houston, New York, Los Angeles, or Boston, you have many choices for piano teachers to choose from. It's not too late! You can still learn to play the piano no matter what age you are!

Piano Student Starter Kit

As a new music student, you will need all the right items to help you succeed. One of the most obvious items to purchase before you start learning would be a piano, which can run up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you are still unsure about studying the piano in the long term, try to rent or borrow a piano or keyboard from the music store or from someone you know.

After the first couple of piano lessons, you will have made up your mind on whether you want to continue learning or not. If you are continuing, it's time to select a piano that will stay with you throughout your learning journey. This piano should meet your budget and should also be of quality so that it will last.

If you are new to pianos, understand that there are three basic categories to choose from. The most expensive piano that you can buy are acoustic pianos which are old-school pianos made out of hammers and steel strings all enclosed inside a wooden exterior.

The next option are digital pianos which mimic the sound of an acoustic piano and costs less and are smaller in size. And the last option is ideal for those on the tightest budgets which are electric keyboards. These have lower sound qualities compared to digital pianos and acoustic pianos, but are highly portable. However, they may not have the right touch or have enough keys to mimic a full-size piano.

Other items to purchase before you start your music education are books for finger exercises, music theory knowledge, and techniques to learn and practice with. And of course, most people will not be able to learn on their own, so you will also need reliable piano teachers to assist with your learning.

close-up of music book with sheet music
Photo by Michael Maasen on Unsplash

How Long Does it Take to Learn Piano?

When you first start to take piano lessons, it can feel like a journey with no end in sight. After all, most masters performers of the piano spend years practising behind the scenes before they are good enough to perform in front of a crowd. If you need a solid number to indicate exactly how long it takes to learn the piano, here is an estimate. Keep in mind that lesson progression will vary from student to student, so use this guideline to give you a rough idea.

Mastering the piano requires knowing the proper playing techniques which refer to how you drop your fingers onto the keyboard, the correct sitting position and posture when you play a piece, and how you display your music and express the feelings in the music. When you practise the proper techniques, you will gain finger strength, dexterity, and the coordination required to play songs. Plan to spend around 10-20 minutes a day to practice the techniques . This means that if you. practise 5 days a week, you should see visible improvements in you playing techniques.

Besides mastering the techniques, another major component to your piano education is building your song repertoire. Since it can be rather difficult to quantify the length of time it takes to learn a specific song, try using the guidelines found in different piano textbooks and music collections. These books usually organize the song by difficulty level. To give a rough idea, most music students can master a song at their skill level in around 4 to 6 months, with a playing time of around 20 minutes a day, 5 to 6 times a week.

Types of Piano Lessons in the U.S.

If you have never taken a music lesson before, you may not know how they work. First, understand that these lessons come in two main types - private, one-on-one lessons or within a group. There are also many topics you will learn in piano lessons, from music theory to actual practising in the studio. We will outline the benefits of both so you can choose the type that better meets your needs.

When you take private lessons with a teacher who has years of teaching experience, you will become a better piano player. However, understand that depending on the experience of the teacher, you might be paying a premium pricing for the teacher's individual attention. If you have the means to pay for a private teacher, you get to enjoy setting the learning at your own pace. You will also be unhindered by the progress of other students as when you are learning within a group.

There are also many ways that you can find a private piano teacher near you in Chicago, a piano school in Philadelphia, or a piano tutor anywhere in the United States. Using online websites like Superprof, you can narrow down your search and look for piano teacher candidates that suits you. Helpful filters like location and cost will assist you in making the right decision so you can enjoy your learning.

If private lessons aren't in your budget range, you have the option of enrolling in group lessons. This will break down the cost of each lesson to make learning more affordable. Many music organizations also offer free or low-cost music lessons to low income students, so if this is your situation, try taking advantage of these music programs.

Lastly, there is also the possibility of learning by yourself. Although not recommended for the absolute beginner, it is still entirely possible to learn the piano all on your own with the help of online videos and smartphone applications. The benefits of self-learning is that it is very economical, as many online videos are either free or for a minor fee. The downside is that you will not have direct access to an experienced tutor, so if you ever get stuck on a concept or technique, you are on your own!

guy playing piano outside in the sunset
Photo by OC Gonzalez on Unsplash

What Music Styles Can You Learn on the Piano?

With the piano being such a versatile instrument, there are many styles of music that you can play with it. First, there is classical music which was popular a few hundred years ago. Classical music was the entertainment for the upper class and the royalty of Europe with composers like Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven flourishing during this time.

Jazz is another music style you can play with the piano. It is a more recent invention and was considered to be rather rebellious in the early days of jazz. When you study and play jazz songs on the piano, you will require some improvisation skills so it is generally not recommended for beginner piano players.

Pop/Rock is another style on the piano which originated in the 1950's and is part of contemporary music. When you play this style of music, you have the total freedom to to explore new sounds. If you've taken voice lessons, you will now have the ability to both sing and play the piano and perform in front of crowds on the stage and at bars.

Staying Motivated as a Student

For all piano players, they spent years of practice in the studio before becoming a master performer. Often, you are required to practice every single day to continue progressing and so you don't lose your muscle memory. However, it can be difficult to start playing on some days, but we do have some motivation tips for you!

The first tip to staying motivated is to break up your practice period into smaller chunks. Instead of playing for 3 hours, try to play for fifteen minutes at different times during your day. This is a great way to practice if you are have other commitments such as school or work.

Another tip is to find another playing buddy who can hold you accountable and keep you on track. This is an easy task especially if you belong to a piano school or a studio. When there is a song you are trying to master, consider asking your friend if he or she wants to learn together and keep each other on track. If there are piano tutors available near you, try signing up for piano sessions so someone can keep you on track.

One more tip is to simply take a break! If you are finding it hard to stay focused and interested in playing your piano song, don't force yourself to practice. Music should be an enjoyable activity and it really shows in your performance whether you are having fun and connecting with the music or not. A short break can help you feel more refreshed and inspired.

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Former high-school tutor with a passion for science and technology, I now work in the software industry and enjoy reading and learning about all kinds of topics.