If you’re an adult wondering if you’re too old to learn the piano, we have some good news - it’s never too late to explore your musical side. Your ability to play won’t be limited by your age, but by your persistence and determination to learn.
Here are eight practical tips for adults learning the piano that will help you successfully develop your skills.
1. Find a piano genre you enjoy
Are you an avid jazz listener, classical enthusiast, or pop pianist? Narrowing down what piano style you like best is a critical first step, as it will help you find a teacher who specializes in that style.
Not only that, but it will also keep you interested in lessons. If you’re learning music that you don’t even like, it can be hard to stay motivated. Not sure what piano style you like? Check out the Ultimate Guide to the 5 Most Popular Piano Styles.
2. Find the right teacher
A great teacher will not only inspire you to become better than you ever thought you could be, but he or she will also expose you to new ways of learning, practicing, and refining your skills.
Take some time to evaluate a teacher’s credentials. At TakeLessons, each of our expert piano instructors is experienced and knowledgeable. And with TakeLessons Live, you can try out a piano teacher for free with a 30-day trial before making a long term commitment.
3. Choose between a piano and keyboard
Determine whether you want to invest in an acoustic piano or a keyboard, as both have their benefits and drawbacks. An acoustic piano is typically much more expensive than a keyboard, but it can be financed with no interest under rent-to-own programs.
Digital keyboards, while less expensive, can lack the “feel” of a real piano. The keys don’t feel as heavy or as responsive as an acoustic piano. Keyboards do have several benefits though, such as the ability to use headphones, play with multiple backtracks, and change your instrumentation.
4. Become familiar with the musical alphabet
Learning to read music is very important when learning piano as an adult. If you don’t already know how to read music, there’s no better time to start than now! Begin with a few notes on each clef and gradually work your way to reading and memorizing more and more.
5. Join ensembles of any kind
Ensemble playing is highly beneficial in developing your musical ear as a pianist. However, pianists can sometimes struggle to find suitable ensembles. Check your local community college to see if they have a non-audition orchestra that you can sit in on.
You can also check local studios to see if they have any piano bands. Chamber music is another fun option for classical music enthusiasts!
6. Be patient and confident
It can be hard not to overly criticize yourself when learning something new, especially as an adult. You may find that you aren’t able to do something as quickly as you might have thought, but keep in mind that learning to play the piano is a process.
Make sure that you mentally acknowledge your accomplishments – however small they may be – so you don’t become frustrated throughout the lengthy process of learning.
7. Establish a practice routine and stick to it
Learning to play an instrument is like being on a diet. You have to carefully track your progress, what you’re practicing (and when), and maintain your discipline daily. Keep a practice log to write down what you’ve worked on, for how long, and on what day.
Make sure to practice at least 30 minutes to an hour per day. Practicing in this manner yields results much faster than trying to cram 3 hours into only one day per week.
8. Learn melodies by ear
Playing by ear isn’t super important in a classical setting, but it’s absolutely necessary in the jazz world. If you can “hear” what you want to play in your head before you play it, you’re well on your way to becoming an impressive soloist.
Practice some of your favorite songs by ear and try to figure out the melody to the best of your ability. If that’s easy for you, try figuring out the accompaniment too! Learning piano as an adult can be intimidating, but don’t let fear deter you from learning a fun, new hobby.