Learning piano as an adult

Hands Playing a Digital Piano

A BEGINNERS GUIDE

So you’re late to the party but always wanted to learn how to play the piano. Don’t let that hold you back, here’s a quick guide to get you on your way.

  • Start now, no magic here you can’t learn if you don’t begin.
  • Pick any method to learn by, try a different one if your initial choice isn’t working.
  • Practice regularly, really learning the piano takes dedication and practice.

START NOW

Make that decision to start now. Whether you are a senior, forty-something fresh out of college or teenager it doesn’t matter. Everyone has to start somewhere and it’s always better to start now over later. Now it is too late to become a concert pianist. But it’s not too late for your own enjoyment and to impress a few friends along the way.

Being older does come with certain advantages when it comes to learning the piano, or any instrument. You are able to set your own priorities and learn in a way that best suits you. Feel free to experiment and change course. 

MAKE THE COMMITMENT

It would be great if this was going to be an easy journey but that isn’t how learning new skills works. You will need to commit time and effort into this endeavor. Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint. Learning a new skill takes time, perseverance and the discipline to stick with it. Some portions will come easily and quickly to you and other things will frustrate and make you want to quit. Persevere and keep going, it’s the only way to accomplish your goal.

CHOOSE YOUR METHOD oF LEARNING

You might think this is important, but at the beginning it really isn’t. You can start with books, free resources on YouTube, online lessons or a teacher. You are allowed to change your approach to learning and find the one that works for you. It might be with adult learning method books or having a piano teacher that holds you accountable. Maybe a combination of methods is what you need. The only really important thing is you pick one to get you started. 

SET ASIDE CONSISTENT TIME FOR PRACTICE

Consistent practice schedule is key to improving your skills. Set aside dedicated time daily to sit down and practice. Whether it’s only 10 minutes a day to 2 hours, that regularity will make the biggest difference. Four 30 minute sessions a week is far more effective than a single 2 hour session a week. Schedule these practices when your mind is feeling fresh. Then work on the parts you find difficult and technical portions first while you are fresh. Be sure to schedule a day or two of rest. Your brain benefits from both consistency of practice and rest to consolidate what you have learned.

You can read our guide aimed at beginners to have an effective practice session HERE.

DON'T SLACK ON THE FUNDAMENTALS

It is important to establish proper fundamentals right from the very beginning and continue to work on them. Proper seating position ties into your arm and finger technique. Building a solid foundation will help prevent injury and lower the strain on your muscles so you can practice longer. Working on your scales, chords and arpeggios reinforces your fingers’ muscle memory in how you navigate. You need to train those pesky fingers to be able to run the keys without dripping over themselves.

STAYING MOTIVATED

You will hit difficult sections that are hard to get through. Times when you get frustrated with what feels like a lack of progress and your skill at the piano seems to have plateaued. Annoyance at that 6yr old on YouTube that can play near perfect. Don’t compare yourself to others and their polished pieces. You are not seeing the months of work they put in beforehand and their own struggles have been conveniently edited out to publish online. You don’t get that choice, you have to live through it.

Take a moment and recognize how far you have come and your own accomplishments. Record yourself early in your journey and compare your ability to now. Feel pride in the progress you have made and recognize that yes it is hard work but the payoff is worth it.

Sometimes you might just need a change of pace. New teacher, new material, new method or maybe even a break for a while. It’s okay for you to want to mix things up a bit, it’s natural after a while and sometimes even required. If it works for you, do it.

DECIDE TO AND START PLAYING PIANO

You now have the basic framework on where to start learning the piano. The next step is entirely yours to start now. If you wait till you have time or what you think is the right time you may never start. And really what is the point of life if you don’t pursue your own dreams and ambitions.

Remember these key points…

  • It’s not too late and you are not too old.
  • Learn that song you’ve always wanted to play.
  • It’s a marathon, not a race.
  • Enjoy the journey