Are some people more apt to learn to play the piano?
Many parents ask me if their child is “naturally gifted” at playing the piano. Although it seems like a very simple question the answer can be very different and difficult to explain. So there are a couple of questions:
What would be your definition of a “naturally gifted” piano student?
Is learning to play the piano really an easy task for anyone?
How much effort are you expecting to put in?
How much effort are you willing to put into your piano education?
Many people believe that people or children that are gifted at playing the piano, really don’t have to work at it. It just all comes naturally to them and that they are just lucky. As Mozart said, “It is a mistake to think that the practice of my art has become easy to me.” So, from one of the most impressive composers of classical music, it is not that it is easy to him, but he puts in the work and the effort to be great at playing the piano. I think that everyone would agree that Mozart was indeed very gifted at playing the piano, and he even said that it was not “easy”… so if it wasn’t easy for Mozart it is a little unbelievable that it would be so easy for any of the rest of us.
Students learn in different ways.
Teaching piano lessons for many years you see that every student is different, and there are different styles of learning. Some students may be have a better ear, other students find it easier to sight read and still others have a better memory. Finding out what your strengths at learning to play the piano and also what the difficult tasks are and improving them will all help you become a better pianist.
Students who will always play the best will be the students who put in the work of practicing on a consistent basis. With regular practice, playing the piano will become easier, reading music will be like reading a book and your muscles will be used to the way the move on the piano. Just like most things with repetition your body is able to perform tasks that you wish it to do. You will start seeing that pieces of music that at one point was very daunting is now much more within your abilities.
Are you willing to put in the work to become great at playing the piano?
For some students they are able to grasp music fairly quickly without practicing… at the beginning. Usually these students strength is they have a good memory and can sight read enough. However, as they progress in their piano studies, without practice they will hit a wall. Music will progressively become harder and they will be unable to keep performing harder and longer pieces of piano music without the necessary practice that is needed. After all, if classical composers needed to practice, doesn’t that tell the rest of us that it is just a natural part of becoming great at playing the piano?
Why does it seem easier for some people?
Some people enjoy the work. Yes, it is that simple. To some students practicing isn’t a chore that they are putting off for another time, instead they put in more time practicing, and the more time spent practicing, less time is needed to master different pieces of music. Because you are building your sight reading skills and your technique. Having a good attitude and practicing the piano will give any student the tools they need to be “naturally talented” at playing the piano.