<< Back To Home

How Adults Can Learn to Play Piano

Playing piano isn’t just a child’s pursuit; some adults want to learn to play piano as well. It can seem intimidating – after all, since most people who learn piano start out when they’re young it’d be harder to learn as an adult, right? It’s true that children have it easier learning things than adults, but that shouldn’t really stop you. You can do certain things to make sure you receive the maximum benefit of your piano practice as an adult.

The piano keys, even though they look confusing, can be learned quickly enough, even if it’s at first hard to figure out and master. White keys (which are most of the keys) are for normal notes (ie not accidentals), and the black keys play accidentals. Generally you won’t bother with the black keys a lot at first unless there’s music that needs it. Before you start to get down to the technique of playing piano, you first need to familiarize yourself with the piano. Proper posture should come first – lean slightly forward into the piano – and learn good positioning of the hands. The best hand position is a naturally relaxed one. However, curl your thumbs in toward the palm a bit to make them even to the rest of your fingers – this lets you play notes between the black keys.

Scales are another thing to learn. Start on a white key just before two black ones, play up the white keys with your right thumb, right index, right middle, and then repeat the next five notes in the same way, reversing the process in a reflection. Your hand transitioning, or ‘walking’ as pianists call it, is done by moving the thumb beneath the middle finger to the next note in the sequence.

That’s how to play a scale one-handed. First, start without sheet music because you don’t need to bother with it just yet. Start out your music learning by learning TV theme songs or something – you can generally play by trial and error to figure out the rest, as in the proper intervals if you know the first note of the song. This is a good exercise for learning by ear.

Really, you don’t actually have to know the right note at first. Try setting the song’s first note at C.
Even though it may not be the actual note of the song, the main objective for now is to figure out how to map the intervals. When you learn the song, you can look for the first note of the song and shift the notes as you need to get the song sounding right.

Of course you’ll need to practice and learn sheet music later on. It’s something that with practice becomes easier, like learning another language. Once you start learning sheet music, you have another skill necessary in becoming better at playing the piano. After you’ve learned to read music and play the piano, you should practice combining the two by sight reading.

Learning to play piano when you’ve grown up isn’t as difficult as most people may have thought – all it requires is a basic skillset that anyone can learn. The only way to get really good, though, is to practice with each day.