I’ve been doing some research in my hopes of trying to help prospective piano students find resources that are actually helpful for them. I’ve found tons of misinformation about learning the piano that are designed to sell the student something rather than teach them how to be successful in this field. The problem area comes back to the importance of finding a good piano teacher and the reasons why you need a piano teacher to learn the piano.
Proactively, I’ve been looking at the core reasons as to why students are delayed in their learning. I’ve found countless wasted time and apps that have promised piano fluency but have fallen short of that promise. These are time wasters that have to be avoided. Learning the piano is not a short process. If you have been a long time reader of mine, you know that it takes time to learn an instrument. Don’t waste months of time on schemes that are just used to take your money. A piano teacher is the absolute best way to learn the piano.
You will have someone to correct your mistakes
This is probably the number one reason why I would suggest someone that is just beginning to learn the piano to have a piano teacher. A piano teacher will be watching your playing and correcting you as you go. I often have multiple corrections for a student during the lesson. My reasoning behind correcting my students is because I don’t want them to think that they are playing correctly when they’re not. Think about it like this. Would you want someone to never tell you when you make mistakes? In the future if you do fail, they would just sit back and watch. I would much rather have someone tell me when I’m doing something wrong.
You will have a resource to ask questions
Honestly, I would always pick having a teacher for a new skill over not having one. The reason is because I love to ask questions. If you’re a naturally curious person, you will have questions and that is completely normal. Teachers love it when their students ask questions! I wish some of my students would ask more questions. When you’re asking questions, it helps the teacher to see that you are interacting with the material and that you are putting in effort to learn the piano. I had a student that asked me tons of questions all of the time and he is now playing level 7-10 music. It pays off to ask questions so don’t be afraid to ask them.
You will have access to more resources such as books, videos, and lessons
Piano teachers are the masters of resources. They know which piano competitions are available or which events are happening locally in your area. Piano teachers also have knowledge of which books you should use. The list goes on and on. I would pick a teacher just because they have the knowledge and access to these resource. For me, I have access to resources that students don’t know about. I tell them all about the resources that are available and they are welcome to start using them.
You will be held accountable to practice
Practicing is the number one priority when you are learning the piano. I have many students that only rely on our lesson time to practice and this is incorrect. Your practice time should be triple the lesson time that you have with your teacher per week. For example, if you have 30 minutes of lessons with your teacher, you should be practicing an hour and a half on your own. Practice needs to be done on your own when you can apply the skills that you were taught. You cannot advance for long without individual practice time. Practicing is also the best part of learning the piano and I enjoy it a lot. Even though I am the teacher now, I still have my own practice time that runs about two hours per session.
You will be able to watch someone that plays well
“Watching and listening are irreplaceable when you’re learning”
Have you ever heard of the Suzuki method? The process involves watching a teacher do something and having the student copy. I use snippets of this method with my students. In many ways, they don’t know that I am sharing with them years of my experience. They don’t have to go through the wasted time I lost when they’re learning the piano. They have me there to guide them and that is why it’s so important to have a piano teacher. My students are also encouraged to watch other piano players. We watch them play in order to see how the technique should be utilized and to hear how the song should be played. It helps tremendously when you consider that the student is learning a great amount just from watching someone else.
I also play for my students to help them see more specifically what the technique and sound should be. When they are looking at the sheet of music, they might not be able to translate to how the song should sound like. I encourage them to go online and find recordings of the songs. They are also encouraged furthermore to listen to these recordings multiple times and not just once.
You don’t have to waste your time on other stuff
In the modern world, we are constantly exposed to distractions. These distractions can be incredibly problematic if it begins to delay your learning time. In the span of four months, I have expectations to where my student should be playing at. There’s no other way to avoid the actual work that needs to be put in order to learn the piano. More specifically, note reading is tedious but has to be mastered in order to play the piano. My students despise this task, but we work countless hours to master this skill. There’s no avoiding the actual work of these tedious tasks.
More doors will open for you
When I had a piano teacher, he introduced me to multiple opportunities where I could learn beyond just in lessons. I had the opportunity to learn how to write ballet music and I was able to join a concert band ensemble where I could play my instrument. Other examples of where I had more doors open for me was when I was in school. My music teacher introduced me to outside orchestra ensembles that I could join. I ended up auditioning for them and joining. It was such a good experience for me and I will always be grateful for the teachers that opened those doors for me.
“The piano will always be there for you every time you need it to be”
Falling short of your original expectations is normal. If you’ve found that you lost time on the progress that you would have made on the piano, it’s going to be okay. Nothing is perfect and there are a lot of misinformation on the internet. I am a firm believe of hard work and diligence. If you are able to teach yourself how to play the piano adequately, then do so. However, the best results I’ve seen in my career are from students that received private lessons from a piano teacher. There are so many benefits to having a piano teacher and these are only some of the reasons why you should consider having a piano teacher to teach you how to play the piano.