The Best Complete Guide to Piano Lessons and Everything You Need to Know to Get Started

Hi, welcome to my blog, if this is your first time on here. I’m going to tell you all about piano lessons: where to look for lessons, which books to buy, how to pick a teacher, when to practice, and many more. I’ve found that many students don’t know that much about piano lessons before getting started and I haven’t seen a complete guide to help students get started on the internet yet. I thought I should be the first one to pioneer this guide. I’ve also linked the products into this post, so it is easier for you to purchase what you need.

Purchasing a Piano

Not many students know where to purchase a piano. I wrote a blog that discusses the various types of pianos to buy for different level players. When you’re just beginning, it’s best to purchase a keyboard. You don’t know if you’re going to like piano and purchasing a keyboard is more affordable than buying a real piano. I would choose a keyboard that has 88 keys as that means it’s a full piano. And I would make sure that it comes with a stand to hold it up. Quality is definitely better than a cheap keyboard. I would not buy a keyboard that is $100 or less, especially if you’re going to buy it online. You never know what you’re going to get. And in my experience, these kinds of keyboards are flimsy and not worth buying. If you can, I would consult with your piano teacher about the best keyboard to purchase. If you can’t, I would look at the reviews online. Essentially, a keyboard with 88 keys will not be cheap, but it’s better than wasting $80 on an unusable keyboard on amazon.

I’ve looked on amazon and here are some keyboards that I recommend:

https://amzn.to/2ALaigj

https://amzn.to/31Pspxz

Additional things to consider are if the keyboard comes with a piano bench or not. It’s nice to have a piano bench, but it’s obviously not necessary. Check to see if the stand where it holds music is either flimsy or unusable. I would purchase a music stand if you find that you need to do so. It will hold your music for you and you can put it behind your keyboard.

I think pedals are absolutely necessary to purchase. Most keyboards support the use of an extended pedal, but you should be careful to check if the pedal is compatible. Look at the requirements of the keyboard before buying a pedal.

Another accessory to purchase later on in your studies is a piano light. You need good lighting near your piano and I would either purchase a light that clips on to your books or a lamp near the piano. Pictured below is what my set up looks like:

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I have an upright Pramberger piano that I love, but yours will most likely be a keyboard. It’s okay, I think keyboards are wonderful also.

I’ll link to my blog post about the cost of pianos here: How much does a piano cost? (Keyboard, Upright and Grand Piano) A helpful guide to also buying a piano

Buying Books

The music store is your best bet to buying a book, but online on amazon is wayyyy better; it’s cheaper online to purchase than purchase in a store. If you are an adult, I would purchase the Faber Adult Lesson 1 Book and nothing else. People have a tendency to buy books that contain material way beyond their level. Don’t waste the money. If you are looking to purchase a book for a younger child five years or younger, I would buy the Primer Level Faber Lesson Book. If your child is older than five years old, I would purchase Lesson Book A Faber Piano Adventures. And if they are teenagers, I would suggest starting them in the Lesson Book B Faber Book with the Faber Writing Book B.

Buying books is not an ordeal to stress over. It would be stressful if you buy unnecessary books. I can’t imagine having books you can’t use just sitting there.

Looking for a teacher: music store vs. independent contracted teachers

I am an independent teacher and I do not teach at a store. I’ve found that teachers at music stores cost more than independent teachers. For independent teachers, you’ll have to travel to their home to have a piano lesson. There are some teachers that teach online. I would avoid lessons online because they’re much more of a hassle than necessary. Regular lessons range from being 30 minutes, 45 minutes, or 1 hour. Typically, a piano teacher will not teach less than 30 minutes and no one will teach for more than an hour. A decent price for a 30 minute lesson is $30-40. And anything more than that is not worth the price. Lessons are going to be once a week. If the child is younger, I would suggest trying 20 minutes twice a week if the teacher is okay with that. Younger children tend to have more difficulty sitting still for 30 minutes at a time.

Finding a great teacher will take multiple attempts. Some teachers’ styles of teaching might not vibe with yours. And you have to be picky when choosing a teacher. Once you’ve found a good piano teacher, treat them well and make sure your payments are on time. A good teacher is one in a hundred. Trust me.

How do I practice?

Practicing is an art that will take time to master. I would strive for 10-15 minutes of practice every day because quantity is going to be better. It’s better to practice often than to practice one hour once a week.

Imagine if you’re paying for lessons and you see your teacher once a week. Seven days go by and you haven’t even opened your book. Oops. Seven days is a long time to waste and you’ve most likely forgotten what your teacher taught you. Remember: practice often.

If your teacher assigns you a song, practice the most difficult parts of the song. I wouldn’t waste my time on repeating the same easy parts. Your time is valuable and it is not a good use of time to play only the easy sections.

How long does it take to learn the piano?

It varies for everyone and I wouldn’t be worried if it takes you two or three years to start seeing significant results. Three months or less is not enough time to learn the piano. I would look at learning the piano as a long term endeavor. The more time you invest into practicing and learning the piano, the better you’ll become.

For young children, three years is a decent amount of time for them to grasp all the basic knowledge and skills they’ll need. Adults will learn faster, but be wary of not committing and quitting early. Just because you’re older, it doesn’t mean that you won’t struggle with musical concepts either. A good piano teacher is an absolute must if you are serious about learning the piano. And YouTube will not suffice along with apps like simply piano.

As a music teacher, I’m sad to say that I don’t endorse apps for music learning. I think Josh Wright’s videos on YouTube are superb for learning piano concepts. I also recommend Paul Barton’s videos for advice on the piano. I just don’t like music apps. They charge too much and many aspiring piano players waste their money on them.

How do I stay motivated or how do I find the time to practice with my busy schedule?

All adults will struggle with committing to a practice schedule. I am guilty of this too, don’t worry. I usually practice the hour or two hours before my lesson starts. And I think that’s okay. I understand that all of us have other responsibilities and obligations. We don’t always have time to practice. Don’t be hard on yourself for this.

As far as motivation goes, you have to keep trying. A great teacher will be able to keep you on track and you just have to trust the process. You’ll start learning the basics and it’s okay to start from the beginning; everyone has to start somewhere. Just don’t let yourself quit right away until you have given it your best try. 

Types of pianos

There are multiple types of pianos and I will provide a picture for each type.

Digital Piano:

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Keyboards:

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Upright Piano:

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Baby Grand Piano:

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Grand Piano:

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Brands of pianos

Yamaha pianos are great for long term piano students. They last forever and the touch is a little heavy. I find that the sound is less resonant, but these pianos are beautiful.

Kawai pianos are also fantastic. I suggest looking into deals or coupons before purchasing these pianos. On their website, they offer great deals. Music stores often offer deals on these pianos. And the price range for these high quality pianos are high.

I can attest to Pramberger pianos being the best. I enjoy the light touch, bright sound, and the great quality of the keys. These pianos last forever and I would never purchase another piano other than a Pramberger piano.

Other brands you may see are Bosendorfer, Bluthner, Steinway & Sons, Bechstein, Fazioli, Mason and Hamlin, Stuart and Sons, Schimmel, and Grotrian Steinweg.

The best selling piano brands are Steinway & Sons, Mason & Hamlin, Bosendorfer, Fazioli, Kawai, Bechstein, Baldwin, Charles R. Walter, and Yamaha. 

I suggest that when you are looking at pianos, consider the touch of the piano (how it feels when you play it- light/heavy), the sound (bright/deep), the color (black, wood, or white), and where you are going to place it in your home.

Print sheet music at home

If there are songs that you want to play, but you don’t want to buy the entire book, check out sheet music online. I would google “canon in D piano sheet music” and print out the public domain copy of the song. There are popular songs that don’t cost anything to print and there will be songs that you have to pay for. I wouldn’t purchase anything unless you know that the sheet music the owner provides is unique and can’t be found anywhere else.

Additional Resources

I have other blogs about playing the piano below. Pick the ones you need and I hope this information is helpful for you! Continue to read my blog for more information on playing the piano.

Five Techniques/Exercises for Beginner Piano Players to Gain Finger Strength and How to Play Better

How to afford multiple music lessons at a time

5 Simple tips on how to improve communication with your piano teacher or the student’s parents

What to expect from your child’s teacher

5 tips on how to find a good piano teacher

Keyboard or Real Piano?

Is amazon trustworthy for buying piano books?

Do you like reading my blogs? If you want more, please check out Cleverly Begun and Live Strong and Beautiful

Rant about online sheet music

OKAY, so this isn’t a regular blog post and I hope it’s okay if I rant just for today. I am so upset by some companies or other websites that are charging for sheet music. Sheet music IS public domain. Chopin didn’t intend for his music to be sold by these companies. He wrote tons of music and it’s wrong to make your own profit off of his work. These companies probably can’t even write their own music if they tried. They’re lucky that these composers are not around to sue all the money from them. Students, parents, and teachers are looking to find sheet music to develop their playing. How is it fair to charge $2 for a piece of sheet music? I understand everyone wants to make money, but this is not the right way. Unless you are making your own music or making your own content, then please don’t sell other people’s stuff. I am so frustrated that I have to heavily search the internet to find a Chopin etude. They can’t possibly think that this is the right thing to do. Scribd is also a culprit at this. All of this music should be public domain. I hate that people are trying to monetize over everything. If you are a parent, teacher, or student, please be aware of these websites. Sheet music should be completely FREE. It should be illegal to sell a copy of Beyonce’s sheet music for the piano on the internet. It takes no effort for these people to use the sheet music. And that gives them NO right to sell it. I’ll show you some examples:

Please be careful. You shouldn’t have to pay for sheet music. If you want my help finding any music, just comment below or subscribe. Thank you 🙂

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