Learning Piano on your own

November 4, 2006

341.jpgWhat’s the problem, no time for teacher?

Too stressed but still want to play piano without a teacher?

Well with today’s software learning to play the piano is much easier!.

(Even a dog can play piano now!)

Before getting deep into software reviews, we will present an article discussions other alternative methods.

Here we will point up excerpts of a very interesting article on the pitfalls that you should avoid when trying to learn piano on your own:

While no self-training program can provide the many benefits of a committed private piano teacher, some individuals may lack time, funds or motivation to learn to play from a private teacher and will seek to train themselves, perhaps with the help of software, videos or other modern learning aids. The problem with using such learning aids by themselves is that the average beginner is in no position to evaluate their potential effectiveness, let alone their pedagogical soundness or applicability to his own situation and needs. Thus, in some sense, those who train themselves are likely to be “flying blind.” If you need to train yourself at home, here a few tips that may help you avoid some of the many pitfalls inherent in self-training.

As we have said many times on the site, modern multimedia software can be a very powerful aid to learning to play at home and can help you determine if you have the interest and motivation to take lessons effectively from a private teacher. Much of current software is pedagogically sound and has the virtue of always being available when you are. Assuming that you have the time and motivation to use software, the inevitable issues that arise are how to choose the best software for you and how to use it to best advantage. Keep in mind that even the very best programs won’t work well for every student and that no software is as flexible or knowledgeable as a well-trained private teacher.

Software isn’t the only tool you can use to learn at home. There are MANY video courses and books that claim to help you learn to play, including numerous ones available through the Internet. In our experience, the quality and value of these is highly variable. Determining the worth of an individual “method” can be virtually impossible for the beginner. That said, there are a few principles that will serve you well in evaluating various self-proclaimed “revolutionary” methods. First, if a method promises to teach you to play in a day, a week, or a month or asserts other “miracles” associated with its use, be cautious. Almost by definition, these “play-in-a-day” methods must be incomplete and focused entirely on immediate gratification, rather than building the necessary knowledge of music theory, sight reading, and technique that can only come with hard work over time. You may learn to play a few simple songs, but what happens when someone asks you to play a piece not included in the method? Even Mozart, perhaps music’s greatest prodigy, couldn’t have learned to play piano well in a day. So unless you’re convinced you are so talented that you can absorb these other critical elements of music training through your skin, we suggest that you give little consideration to those methods that promise “miracle” results.

Setting aside the “miracle methods,” which, unfortunately, constitute the bulk of what you will find advertised online, what criteria can you use to evaluate other video, software, and book methods which don’t make such claims? First, look for detailed descriptions of what the method embodies, including what is taught at each level, the specific manner in which critical elements (music theory, sight reading, technique, etc.) are introduced, and the types of music taught (strictly popular tunes vs. a well-rounded collection of popular, jazz and classical works). Second, be wary of any method which uses “position playing,” rather than emphasizing reading music by recognizing intervalic relationships and notes. Position playing methods will ask the student to place the hand in specific positions on the keyboard which span five notes and to change the hand position to another specific hand position to reach new notes. Such methods don’t teach the student how to read music and generally produce students who are locked into playing by position. Third, give little weight to “testimonials.” In our experience, the promoters of methods offered online are usually very unwilling to give e-mail addresses that will allow you to ask your own questions of those providing the testimonials. This leads us to suspect that some of those individuals giving the testimonials are either paid for their comments or are friends of the promoter and, therefore, incapable of giving an unbiased, let alone knowledgeable, viewpoint. Fourth, look for a detailed statement about what the promoter considers unique and advantageous about the method. Merely stating that the method is unique does not constitute evidence that the method is advantageous for anyone, let alone you! Fifth, look for a money-back guarantee. If the purveyor of the method is that sure that the method is good, he should be willing to give you your money back within a certain specified period of time if the method doesn’t work for you. Sixth, if you can’t find enough information on the Web site advertising the method to draw an informed conclusion, look for an e-mail address that allows you to write the person selling the method, not just an address for orders. Then, write the person with your questions. If you don’t get a reply that answers them, you can draw your own conclusions.

It may seem like a miracle when, after putting in a lot of time, effort and commitment, you are able to play the piano, but the fact is that this achievement is no miracle at all. If you’re willing to bring that kind of commitment to the table, chances are you’ll learn to play at least to some extent, irrespective of your level of inherent talent, the method used, or the way in which you do it. You’ll almost certainly learn faster and avoid mistakes with a good private teacher, but, like a lot of things, playing the piano is, in the final analysis, “5% inspiration and 95% perspiration.” There are no miracles involved, just good, hard-working students who really want to learn to play.

I hope you found the article as intresting as I did. 🙂

In the following posts will provide you with reviews of the best software for helping you learn and practice piano.
This type of software is not only for beginners. There are some software to point up to advanced to students who want to perfection themselves. Others teach you harmony, composing, and improvising. There are excellent software out there that can make you a better piano player. We will review them in the following posts. Keep tuned!.
Please write us comments!




  • Start Piano Lessons Now & Play Like A Pro. Impress Your Friends Today!