Music has been part of our human culture since the dawn of man, with the oldest instruments ever discovered dating back to 40,000 years. Listening and learning to play music can have many positive effects to the human brain and can be a highly enjoyable activity for many. For younger children, evidence suggests that playing piano from a young age can have many positive effects on a child's mental and physical growth.

Historically, instruments similar to the piano has been around in the form of simple keyboards that could be played using the hands, wrists, fists, knees, and even feet. Early scales were much simpler, however, with the 13th Century scales being diatonic (GABCDEF) instead of the twelve tone chromatic scale we use today.

In early 1700, the first modern piano as we know it today was built by Bartolomeo Cristofori in Italy. As an expert harpsichord maker who was also employed by Ferdinando de’ Medici of the famous Medici family, the keyboard of the very first modern piano looked very different to today’s piano keyboard layout - with the natural keys were black while the accidentals were white.

With such a fascinating history and a gorgeous sound it is no wonder that the piano is one of the most popular instruments to learn in the United States, with piano students everywhere from Houston and New York City to Los Angeles. No matter how old you are, it is never too late to start taking music lessons, with piano being no exception. If you are living in the city of Boston and are looking for a reliable piano teacher near you, you are in the right place!

How Long Does it Take to Master the Piano?

One of the most common questions beginner students ask themselves is how long it actually takes to master the instrument. After all, it's good to have a timeline so you know how you are doing with regards to your learning progress. Although lesson progress will vary from student to student, it's useful to have a rough guideline so you can set realistic music learning goals for yourself.

Learning Techniques

Piano technique involves more than just pushing the correct keys at the right time. It involves 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. Other things related to technique are your finger strength, dexterity, and the coordination required to play most songs.

Depending on how dedicated you are as a student, plan to spend around 10-20 minutes a day to practice your technique at least 5 to 6 days a week. After about 12 weeks, you will see visible improvements in you playing techniques.

Playing Songs

Besides techniques, another major component and also the reason why many people choose piano for their musical education is to play songs! With so many beautiful pieces out there to play, from classical to jazz, most students have goals to play songs from the first day of their musical education.

You're probably wondering now, how long does it take to become good at playing songs on the piano? The answer to this question can be tricky to come to terms with, as different songs have different difficulty levels. If you are trying to learn Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, you will notice a big difference between its difficulty levels compared to a classical and famous piece like Fur Elise.

person's arms playing piano and holding a guitar at the same time

Since it can be rather difficult to quantify the length of time it takes to learn a song, try using the guidelines through different piano textbooks and music collections where often there would be a level of difficulty in the form of learning levels. But generally, most music students are able to master a specific song at their skill level in around 6 months time, factoring in a practice session of around 20 minutes a day for 5 to 6 times a week.

How to Find a Piano Teacher in Boston

When it comes to locating a music studio or school where there are dedicated piano teachers, it can take some work. Being in a large city such as Chicago, Philadelphia, and Boston can make things easier. It's an important step if you are set on taking private music lessons alone with a tutor or in a small group. This is also preparation work that you should be willing to invest into before you commit yourself to learning the piano. With Boston being a big city, you will have a lot of options to choose from when it comes to your music education.

finders on a piano keyboard close-up
Photo by Arjun Kapoor on Unsplash

Ask Friends and Family

One fast way to find a reliable way to find a teacher near you in Boston is to ask your family and friends who are already studying the piano. Perhaps they have a beloved teacher who they can recommend to you, or a music school where you can find dedicated tutors to meet your learning needs.

If you don't know anyone who plays the piano, try asking friends who play other instruments such as the guitar and the violin. In the music world, a lot of things are interchangeable, including instruments. Chances are if you only have friends who play study the guitar with a teacher, their guitar teacher will likely know other music teachers in their circles who may teach piano.

Check Local Listings

A lot of times, good music schools are small private businesses run on tight budgets and often with none or few employees. This also means they will have less resources to market themselves around your city and scale their music school business as most of their students might have signed up via word-of-mouth.

While their marketing budgets might be small, you can find often find posters advertising these small businesses on local classified, as many of these music schools might not have their own websites. Try checking on community posting boards at your local public library, community centre, or a music store near you. You can also take a walk around your neighbourhood where you may often find posters advertising local music schools teachers close to you.

Use the Internet

From voice lessons to music theory, living in the age of the internet offers numerous modern conveniences as you are able to look up teachers who are currently teaching piano near you. With online search engines, you can generate lists of music schools near you as long as you type in the right keywords, such as "online piano teacher".

One other way to find a suitable piano teacher for your music training is to use specialized websites such as Superprof . These websites usually lists numerous tutors with teaching experience of all levels for all subjects, from voice to piano. There are also helpful filters that you can use to narrow down your searches based on preferences like proximity, location, price range, and experience level.

person in dreadlocks playing a brown piano
Photo by David Vilches on Unsplash

Private Lessons vs. Group Learning

When you are starting out on the piano, one question you might have is if you should take private lessons or group lessons. From learning music theory, practising in the studio, reading music, and learning all the styles of the music, they are all very important to a musician's education and can be accomplished in both group or private lessons. There are also benefits and downsides to both.

One factor to consider is the cost of the lesson. Depending on how many years of experience your music teacher has, private lessons can cost anywhere between $30 to upwards of $150 an hour! If this is something that is not in your budget range, don't stress! Instead of hiring a private teacher you can opt to take group lessons instead. The larger the group session, the cheaper your music lesson tuition fees will be.

Another factor to consider is if group lessons are right for you, as not everyone is well-suited to group lessons. For example, shy children may not enjoy the experience of having to learn and play music in front of a large audience. But generally, if you have the resources to afford private, one-on-one piano lessons, then it's highly recommend that you choose this option where you can study at your own pace without the distractions of other students.

Staying Motivated While Learning Piano

No matter what instrument you play - from guitar and violin to the piano, most music students, will always experience periods where they might feel unmotivated to practice their music. Like an 'artist's block', there are some ways you can get yourself out of this funk.

One way is to switch the style of music that you play. If you find yourself always playing classical pieces, perhaps it's time for a change, try playing a jazz song instead! You may find that you'll enjoy the change. For others, becoming motivated in their musical journey involves the help of friends. Try looking for some good buddies to play music with, over the years you may even become good friends!

Another way to stay motivated is to enroll in a formal music school program that will keep you on track. This way, if you don't feel like practising one day, you will master the energy to force yourself as you have to keep on track with the program without dropping out.

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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.