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Becoming Great At The Piano: How To Excel And Have A Great Music Education

How do I become great at playing the piano?

There are many different styles that both piano teachers and parents/students believe is the best way to learn to play the piano. Some piano teachers are extremely rigid in their methods, teaching style and practice requirements. Some of my piano student’s parents really don’t believe in making their children practice because they just want a low key fun experience. Another common belief is that it is easy to play the piano. You just have to be able to understand the notes and play the song how you hear it. It is actually more complicated than that and having a serious and complete music education will show you just how much is involved and how much you will be able to advance.

Is Practice Really Important?

Yes, practicing at anything will help you advance and become better at anything that you wish to accomplish. Learning to play the piano and practicing on a consistent basis will help build and improve your technique and muscle memory. Have you ever wondered how some people seem to play the piano so effortlessly and quickly. It is because with consistent practice your fingers are able to move in ways that they have done so many times before and not requiring your brain to actually read and process the notes and articulations.

Depending on the age and skill level of each student there are different requirements on practice. I would never expect a young beginner to be spending hours practicing pieces of music. On the other hand I would be quite shocked if an advanced piano student told me that they spent only 15 minutes a day practicing. Because as piano students advance pieces of music get longer and harder requiring more time and effort.

The importance of Music Theory!

Learning and understanding music theory is just as important as practice! Some people wonder why that this is the case. After all music theory doesn’t require you playing on the piano. So why is it just as important? Music theory is learning what music is trying to convey to you. If you do not know how to read music and apply what the composer was instructing you to do, it will make little difference that you are able to press the keys on the piano. If you wish to truly become great at playing the piano, learning your music theory will be a vital part of your piano lessons.

One of the great things about learning to play the piano and learning music theory is that once you learn it, you have it. As long as you keep using the skills that you have mastered and learned you will never have to repeat that effort.

Some of the most important concepts of music theory for you to learn as a pianist is:

  • Learning rhythm and timing

  • Articulations and meanings of musical terms

  • Dynamics

  • Phrasing and analyzing music

With the knowledge you gain from music theory you will be able to play any piece of music that you desire to learn as well as compose your own pieces of music. Without the ability of understanding music you would never be able to compose your own music.

If you learn your scales and your arpeggios…….

Part of piano lessons should always be learning your scales, chords and arpeggios. For young beginners it may be put on hold until it is easier for little hands and minds. But the further you progress in your piano education the more technique you will learn. By playing your scales, chords and arpeggios you are developing patterns that your hands are used to and can play quite easily. You are also becoming more familiar with all keys, both major and minor and how your hands move depending on the key you are in. That way when you are playing an advanced piece of piano music you see patterns that your hands are familiar with and your hands play it without using much thought behind actually reading the notes one by one.

On your way to becoming an advanced pianist you will be able to perform the following:

  • Play your scales both major and minor in multiple octaves

  • Play your primary chords in major and minor keys, also their inversions

  • Play you major and minor arpeggios in multiple octaves

  • You should also have a strong grasp of music theory and understanding musical terms and symbols

Can anyone learn to play the piano?

Learning to play the piano is something that is a gift for anyone of any age to learn to do. There is no special age that says you are too old to learn to play the piano. Many adults decide that they wish to finally learn how to play the piano and become quite proficient at playing in a relatively short amount of time. Pianists who started their piano education at an early age of 3-5 years old and continue their piano lessons throughout their growing up years are extremely blessed to be able to become advanced pianists at a younger age. No matter what a person’s age though, it is always the right time to begin to learn the piano.

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