How To Teach Yourself Piano …
Without A Teacher
Although it is possible to teach yourself piano without a teacher, we have to tell you that there are a LOT of very good piano teachers out there who not only will prevent you from forming some bad playing habits, but will also keep you motivated and hold you accountable for making progress each lesson. There can be something very motivating about promising someone else you’ll do something, and paying them to help you!
But maybe you just want to teach yourself piano? If that's the case, here are a few tips and techniques that will help you along the way.
‘Discipline’ Is Not A Dirty Word!
A little discipline never hurt anyone – in fact, it’s helped quite a few people, and it can help you in your piano studies. We’re not talking about over-the-top, fanatic, clock-watching discipline here…just some consistency and self-motivation that you’ll need to muster from somewhere inside that fabulous brain of yours.
Here’s a fantastically simple technique: time blocking. We all block out time for important activities – sleep is probably the most obvious one. Why not block out 30-60 minutes every week or two to work on your piano playing? Better still, how about blocking out just 5-10 minutes per day to practice one or two concepts, musical phrases, or new techniques? You’ll be amazed at the progress you’ll make every week just by playing a few minutes each day.
Block out that time. Schedule it in your planner. Set an alarm on your phone or PDA. Call a meeting with yourself and no one else! You’ll be so glad you did.
Set A Goal, Begin Tracking It, And Get To Work!
Sorry if that sounds a little harsh…it was really meant to be quite simple. Just pick a direction, locate a “landmark” in that direction, and start moving!
What would make you happiest to achieve with your piano playing in the next week or month? Would you like to learn to play a favorite song? Maybe you’d like to conquer a tricky part of a piece you’ve been working on. Hey, how about learning to improvise on the white keys only? The possibilities are endless and as individual as each of us.
By picking a goal, it gives you a direction and a feeling of accomplishment once you get there, no matter how easy or difficult the goal may be.
You should also come up with a way to track your progress toward that goal as you teach yourself piano. Otherwise, you’re likely to be too hard on yourself, replace the goal with another one, forget about your goal altogether, or not stop to realize the progress you’re making. A digital or tape recorder is probably the easiest way to measure your progress.
Simply start recording at the beginning of a song, phrase, or practice period one day, and turn it off when you’re finished. Practice for a few days – even if it’s just for a few minutes a day – then go back and listen to the recording after playing the now-practiced song/phrase once through. You’ll probably be fairly amazed at your progress. Make a recording of your current progress after the first recording. Repeat this process until you’re satisifed that you’ve achieved your goal. Then – you guessed it – set a new goal.
Find A Good Lesson Plan
Although it’s certainly not necessary, having a method or prescribed lesson plan will help keep you on track and mark your progress as you teach yourself piano. It will also help you set realistic goals for yourself.
There are a number of excellent piano methods available – both online and offline. Ask your favorite pianist for some suggestions, or get some suggestions from your nearest music store. Search online for software, e-books, or video lessons.
There are so many possibilities, the trouble will be in finding the method that works and feels best for you. As we come across methods worth recommending, we’ll certainly share them with you here on this website, too.
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