So you have decided to learn piano. As do many adult learners, you may be considering some way to teach yourself piano instead of taking private lessons. Self-study is a truly viable option today. Various methods and materials designed for motivated learner are becoming more and more available through online and other resources, and they have never been better. This article presents a few ideas for your consideration while you select a method for self-study.
To pursue your studies, you will need regular access to a piano or keyboard. Most programs and methods will assume that you will have a full eighty-eight key piano, with a realistic touch and at least a sustain pedal. You will also be purchasing a series of course materials and method books. Expect to spend about one to two hundred dollars for quality materials. You should also have a a metronome. Depending on the nature of your self-study program, you will probably want a CD player, DVD player or a computer set up somewhere close your practice area.
Your first task will be navigating through the myriad different methods and formats available to help you teach yourself piano. Take the time to find one that suits your goals and learning style. Remember to consider the basic style of music you are interested in. For example, you may wish to study classical music, jazz improvisation, or simply be able to play a few popular songs for your enjoyment. You should be able to find a program to match those interests. As you make your list of the many possible study paths available to you, take advantage of any free lesson offerings you will undoubtedly come across. An introductory lesson or two will give you a good sense of a program’s focus, style of presentation, and pacing.
You will find many sources for study methods, courses, sheet music, and supplementary materials. One of the most easily accessible source now is, of course, the internet. In addition to paid and free study programs, you will find several repositories of sheet music dedicated to famous composers or particular styles. For example, much of Mozart’s music is available for free at http://dme.mozarteum.at. Similar sites are available for other composers.
Try not to limit yourself to just online resources, but look your community’s services as well. Your local public library will probably have a sheet music section complemented by a collection of method books and recordings. Colleges and universities may allow the public to browse and even borrow their music school library’s collections. A trip to your local music store will give you the opportunity to gloss materials as well.
Once you have selected a method or program to teach yourself piano, set up a realistic weekly practice schedule. Four or five fifteen-minute sessions per week is a good starting place. In the beginning, the organization of the lessons will help you figure out what you need to practice and how to do that. As you progress, you may find that you need to expand your practice time to up to about a half hour or so per session.
Remember to take the time to enjoy music away from the instrument. You can augment your practice by actively listening to recordings, attending concerts, and even find a few fellow piano students to enjoy a bit of social time with. If you can get up the courage, it is extremely rewarding to play for other students at a similar level to you, as well as hear what they are working on. If you enjoy reading, find a few books on famous composers or music history. The author Charles Rosen has written several knowledgeable books on classical music for musicians.
As you teach yourself piano, think of your musical development in long term goals. The piano takes time to learn. You will probably find a fairly steep learning curve during your first few lessons as you digest its information, style, and work out a practice routine for yourself. To start with, assess your progress after about every three months of study. Look back to your first lesson, and think about what you have accomplished. If you have a solid program and are able to practice regularly, you may be surprised at how much progress you have made.
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