They say it’s never too late to learn. But for an adult who is interested in learning piano and doesn’t get a start as a child, it may look like a daunting challenge. Where to begin? There is much to know about pianos and music, and one might be correct to think it’s difficult. A lot of the difficulty depends on the intentions and desires of the beginner. Any endeavor that requires dedication and focus, such as making music, brings its own rewards. We believe the entire process involved is a noble and humbling effort. The more passion one has for the process, the more successful one will be.
Children who start piano lessons at a young age have an easier time of it because they have no preconceived ideas of it being difficult or complicated and the young brain of a child is much more adept at quick learning. Adults may have heard stories or read accounts of others’ learning curves and fear that learning to play the piano is beyond them. All of us have watched extraordinary professionals and thought, “Wow, I could never do that!” And it may be true that we can’t all master the piano like a concert pianist, but that’s not to say we can’t enjoy playing the piano and do it well. Myriad people, from ages five to eighty-five have learned piano and have reaped immeasurable pleasures from doing so.
Table of Contents
- 7 Benefits of Playing the Piano
- Finding a teacher and taking lessons
- Learning your first piano songs
- Budget and things to consider
- The Top 5 Best Pianos for Beginners
- About Euro Pianos Naples
7 Benefits of Playing the Piano
There is no other instrument that accomplishes the level of solo musicality that a piano does.
1). The piano provides both melody and harmony, thus does not need any In fact, usually the piano is the accompaniment to other instruments. Most sonatas for cello, violin, clarinet etc. are written with the piano as the accompaniment.
2). A piano makes a coherent tuneful sound right from the very beginning. Depress a key and you have a lovely note! Other instruments may take many months of study before a pleasant sound is produced (this is especially true of brass and string instruments as many a parent will attest!)
3). Mastering the piano requires a unique co-ordination which together with regular practice cultivates cognitive skills. You really do have to multi-task which builds useful mental skills!
4). Playing the piano often leads to performance opportunities whether for family and friends or at teacher recitals or even proper concerts. Learning to focus on sharing music rather than on our own fears and insecurities develops confidence and presentation skills necessary in life.
5). People play piano to relax. Surprisingly many physicians, politicians, lawyers and actors play piano to decompress after a difficult day.
6). For younger children – studying the piano aids in understanding math. Time signatures specify how many beats there are in bar. Notes each have a value (some are fractions). Learning to navigate a piece of music (often with the aid of a good teacher) is empowering and educational.
7). Seniors who suffer from Alzheimers or Dementia often find it hard to communicate. Music can be a wonderful gateway. That is why pianists in a senior’s residence are so popular. The residents are engaged and joyful when the piano begins to play.
To elaborate on that a bit:
Playing piano can be many things to different people. It can fulfill a creative urge. It can enhance social life and entertain or comfort others. It can be a serious profession for teachers and those playing in piano bars, places of worship and in acclaimed concert halls. It can be a hobby, an obsession, a pastime, or a way of growing cognitively, physically and emotionally.
Yes, there have been studies that learning to make music changes the brain and in children actually boosts their academic performance. One who has studied this is Glenn Schellenberg, a psychologist at the University of Toronto who conducts research on the effect of music and musical instruction, as well as being a music conductor. He suggests that spending money and time on music lessons and practice is a solid investment in mental fitness.
For all of music’s beauty, power and capacity to move us, researchers have concluded that music is just a mood drug if it is consumed only passively. If you want music to sharpen your senses, boost your ability to focus and perhaps even improve your memory, the latest word from science is you’ll need to play an instrument yourself!
Schellenberg’s research also addresses how children who take music lessons differ from other children. Children not exposed to music lessons tend to have a lower IQ than children that are taking music lessons. The music lessons themselves then cause further improvements in IQ.
So, it’s not a far stretch to believe that anyone wishing to better themselves will benefit from music lessons, even adults who did not have an opportunity to take piano lessons as a child. The point is: It’s never too late to learn.
Finding a teacher and taking lessons
There are many ways to learn piano. A competent piano teacher who comes to the house and spends an hour with you on the family upright is a model that still works. There are many excellent teachers available, as well as professional pianists who competently teach piano in their off time.
The costs for such private tutoring is usually commensurate with the abilities and reputation of the teacher. It helps to do your research, and ask around, “who do you know that gives piano lessons for beginners?” Colleges, universities, libraries, as well as any neighbors or friends who play are a good starting point. The internet will undoubtedly have a list of teachers in your location. Just ask for references and you should have no problem.
Through the magic of the internet, you can now buy beginner’s piano lessons online (check out Amazon’s best sellers), or even avail yourself of free lessons, but to seriously pursue beginner’s piano, we would encourage you to find a real, live teacher. There is no substitute for hands-on learning and discussion. Someone needs to hear your playing to correct your errors in real time, and to see you in order to correct a beginner’s piano hand position – a very important point.
Most pianists are nervous to play in front of others, so it helps to have someone to play for in person right from the get go. It is hard to learn physical activities from the page. Driving a car, playing golf or learning piano are activities that naturally call for tutorage. In order to develop good practice habits, it also helps to have assignments and goals set by a professional who knows the steps to learning properly and moving forward. Besides – it never hurts to have your teacher right there to praise your progress!
Having said that, there are many, many amateur pianists enjoying their music who have never had a formal lesson.
Some people just have the ability and discipline to dig in and learn on their own. It might be more difficult, but that is the way they are wired and how they learn best. To this, we can only say the best of luck and may you succeed. Some people can play by ear. Some people read from the sheet music. Your own individuality will dictate a lot of the learning process.
What needs to be learned, you might ask? There is much to learn, including: Sightreading, Notes, Intervals, Chords, Theory, Ear Training, Scales, Arpeggios, Rhythm, Articulation, Technique, Interpretive skills and Compositions. Does that sound like a lot? It’s not more than any person learns in doing something really well–including building a home, playing world class bridge, or competing in any sport. The details coming together is what makes the success so sweet. Music is a world with its own language, and you will be learning to fit into that world. With practice, you can graduate from chopsticks to Chopin if you have determination and focus. You may want to compose music or play lullabies for your baby. You may wish to jam with your friends Friday nights or lead your church Worship Team on Sunday’s. Every person has their own goals, their own dream. The main thing to remember is that it’s a journey, a process. So make sure you enjoy it. If you are always expecting quick, perfect results, you will rob yourself of the joy of learning piano.
Learning your first piano songs
Your teacher will have suggestions as well as beginners’ learning materials for you. For fun, there are websites that carry sheet music arranged simply for beginners, as well. A whole world of music opens up once you have a few months of basics down, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself poring over sheet music in stores and online. The important thing is to learn first and experiment later so you don’t shatter your own good intentions by biting off more than you can chew. The learning mind is a delicate organ that harbors a tiny critical demon. It is all important to stay out of its way and let your teacher be your only critic until you’re strong.
Budget and things to consider
The best piano for beginners is realistically the very best piano you can afford. Do not make learning the piano impossible or needlessly difficult by not providing a proper or even a good piano, something that lets the beginner understand how notes should sound during the learning process.
Many beginners feel they don’t deserve a good piano until their playing improves. How can it improve without a good piano? It’s a classic chicken and egg situation. Do not let that determine your choice – purchase the best piano you can comfortably afford and go forward from there. Some people opt to start with a beginner piano keyboard, for instance.
Nobody can truly judge what the best beginner piano is for you. Each situation is unique depending on the time, space, goals, and passion of the person learning not to mention the finances. A keyboard piano for beginners might be just the thing for someone who travels a lot and wants to practice when they are on the road, for example, or they may wish to practice at home with headphones so not to disturb others.
Electronic keyboards should have 88 keys in other words be full size. Anything less is confusing when you find yourself at a regular piano (which you undoubtedly will at some point). It is also important to have a “touch sensitive” keyboard – so that you can play a note loudly or softly which is necessary as you learn to play the “dynamics” in music. As you progress an acoustic piano will be necessary.
It’s obvious that most beginners are not going to go out and buy a high-end luxury piano before they even know how to play. But there are lower priced excellent instruments that can be used to assure performance value without having to mortgage the farm to pay for it.
Depending on how much space is available in your home, the type of piano you buy may be dictated by floor space. So let’s look at reasonable scenarios.
The Top 5 Best Pianos for Beginners
1. Yamaha Digital Piano or an Acoustic Piano
Yamaha’s upright pianos are a very popular choice for beginners. Their models go from inexpensive digital to mid-range uprights, as well as keyboards.
A Yamaha YDP143B Arius Series Console Digital Piano with Bench, Black Walnut can be had for under $1000. You might do some additional reading about the differences between digital and acoustic pianos before you choose, but if price is a major factor, this is a start.
We strongly believe that the acoustic piano is superior to the digital, because it has music created by real strings, real touch and real wood, in the tradition of excellent piano makers. Acoustic pianos offer a range and tone, and a keyboard-touch response that the best digital piano is hard put to match. All students should have the chance to practice, at the very least, on an acoustic model to understand the performance values between well-made and mass produced pianos. The mid-price range for a quality Yamaha acoustic upright (also called “vertical”) piano below is about $4,600.
2. Steinway Upright Piano
Steinway has a long-standing reputation for quality. The original Steinways were all handmade instruments like most of Europe’s fine piano makers. But at a point in time, Steinway began to mass-produce pianos, especially uprights, so that the rising middle class and schools could afford them. Their lowest priced Upright, the Sheraton Model 4510 below is priced at $34,200, and name recognition can command higher prices.
Used Steinways are plentiful, of course, but buyer beware of used pianos. Without an inspection by a certified piano expert (and tuner), it is very hard to know what damage has happened inside the case to a huge number of delicate parts put together in extraordinary ways. We don’t recommend buying used without an inspection and valuation from a trained piano technician.
Among upright piano brands, Steinway is probably the most pricey in the bottom of the line category.
3. Young Chang Upright Piano
Young Chang’s series of upright have been re-designed by award winning designer Delwin D. Fandrich. Part of the new design is the unique floating soundboard and direct coupled bass bridge which allows for a much better bass response than most pianos at an even larger size.
What this means to the beginner is more bang for the buck. This upright runs about $5300 and promises some quality under the hood
4. Sauter Upright Piano
Sauter pianos are some of the best upright pianos in the marketplace. Their reputation for performance and design is unrivaled in the industry. German designer Peter Maly created a series of unique uprights that have been winning awards ever since.
Our favorite is the Concent, which is a quality upright with a price that is usually lower than a new Steinway piano. But the value and styling are not comparable. Sauter pianos are high-quality verticals with a lush, full, singing tone featuring the patented RR double repetition action that will make you feel you are playing on a real grand piano.
5. Aire Baby Grand Piano
Beginners have many options. A small upright piano might be just the thing for your lifestyle and budget. But not all beginners need to worry about the price tag, and those with deep conviction in their passion to play may want to invest in a baby grand piano instead.
With all the flair and design anyone could want in a baby grand, the Euro Pianos model “Aire” is a handsome addition to a household that prefers an acoustical grand piano to an upright. No solutions are universal, but for sheer beauty and visual impact, this baby grand at $49,950.00 is guaranteed not to disappoint. As an added bonus, the Aire can be equipped with a hidden player piano system that will produce music without a pianist with just the flick of an iPad or your smartphone and a piano bar should you wish to create the atmosphere of a piano bar in your home.
About Euro Pianos Naples
Euro Pianos Naples is a respected distributor of European luxury musical instruments. The company’s origin dates back to 1965. Euro Pianos represents world renowned brands such as Sauter, and it has recently become a manufacturer of its own acrylic instrument – The Aire. Apart from being a successful retailer, consultant, and entrepreneur organization, Euro Pianos is actively engaged in the artistic and community life of Naples, Florida as an organizer and supporter of musical events throughout the years.