HOW TO PLAY PIANO >>—->ffaaassttt?
In 1906 an Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto, observed that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population.
Taking the observation further he noticed that 80% of the peas in his garden were produced from 20% of the pods.
Years later, economist Joseph M. Juran called this 80/20 rule the Pareto principle.
Productivity experts like NYT bestselling author Tim Ferriss have popularised this approach as a means to learning quickly. For instance, when it comes to learning a language a good question to begin with is: what are the 20% of the words that are used 80% of the time?
Find the 80/20 rule in the subject of your studies. What are the main ideas? What are the most important elements that yield the biggest return on investment? Start with these questions.
We hear it all the time.
You know, the fast pace of the world.
Well, it is no different when trying to learn a musical instrument.
How to learn to play piano quickly in terms of trying to skip a lot of dogma and just play sooner than later.
This is what we will deal with here on this page. Trouble is there are ways to approach this “fast” business that get you to the goal line, of course, but it will be up to you to score.
I know that when I started to learn the piano I had to be patient. At the beginning it doesn’t hurt to get some good professional training to identify and eliminate the problem areas in your playing style.
This will mean so much to you later on in terms of speed and accuracy. If you are unable to find a Piano Teacher or do not really want one then the following list will address some of the primary points relevant to the task of quickly learning to play the piano.
These should come off as both obvious and not so obvious as you identify your own style comparing that to what is said, beginning with:
(1) Proper body position so as to curb soreness in your mid and lower back for instance. This is ‘my’ situation often and, although, I did not have a professional to guide me when I first began to play piano if I had then I could have surely avoided much pain.
Proper Positioning....she is ready to kick your butt.....
I say that because today after many years of playing that would be the first point I would mention to a beginner. Once your back starts hurting or the muscles show fatigue this pain will not go away until you get up and leave the piano and stretch of relax in another position then return in a few minutes.
So sitting posture is very important and aids learning but another point to consider is that a very good piano seat with lots of cushion and support is a step in the right direction. Often people will disregard this as a minor detail but this is not minor and once you learn this it will stay with you as a mental note all of your playing days.
(2) Proper Breathing Technique. You can develop this quit easily in my opinion as soon as you have the proper posture at the piano established. You might ask: “How does breathing affect my playing?”
A good question indeed. I’ll answer it this way. If you are bent over the piano with your shoulders forward and your head stretched up to the music trying to read the notes in that position and your hinder parts all curved like the Hunchback of Notterdame then it goes without saying your breathing is significantly hampered.
You’ll be breathing like you just ran a country mile. Or you will be wheezing and going it like you would if you had a fever when indeed you’re not out of breath neither do you have a high temp. What is happening is you’re just not getting any air, well not enough anyway. The odd position you’re sitting in is preventing proper air flow.
Sit right up straight with your arms extended and your hands in position and your back and torso at a right angle to the piano. This way you can breath normally and perform at a high level for a longer time period.
(3) Unorthodox Hand and Finger Positions. This should be a quick fix it seems to me. Simply study the hand position of others playing the piano and observe your own hands. Then you’ll be able to see clearly what problems your hand position may present.
This, of course, is something that will come in time but the thing is if you start off on the wrong foot (hand really) and do not check this it will be with you as you develop and practice and it will be hard to change later on. Things to look for are fingers that stick up in the air like they are injured, or thumbs hanging down and resting of the key-slip of the piano.
Maybe it starts with the position of your forearms, wrists, hands and fingers. My own approach to this is to have these members just mentioned at attention, alert and on the ready to attack notes as they show up.
Remember it is your hands that form the positions that makes the music so you don’t want to compromise them in any way. They need to cross over one another once in a while and fingers to be limber and in a position to accept the road the music lays out for them.
As I said earlier some people have a certain style that make you enjoy the form they have and so try to emulate their hand positions and movements. There is no copy-rite on that. You are already ahead of the game in terms of learning to play sooner than later if you can correct these simple points just mentioned.
Now we should try to introduce a procedure that promotes the plan. The procedure will not advance very far if we as learners can’t get the negative thoughts on the subject out of our heads. This material is given with the intent that former beliefs the potential piano player has in mind about piano training and all that practice be liberated expelled giving way to a new day so to speak.
- Children learn faster than adults. This is a false statement but does carry some validity in it. Let me explain. It seems obvious that children “should” retain patterns and runs better than an adult. But, what is never mentioned is the fact that this may be true (not always of course) but then again children are less handicapped with all the pressures that an adult generally has to deal with in terms of being a father or mother etc.
- Also, piano teachers will tell that often what children have in terms of retention they loose in terms of desire. It is my belief that an adult who is determined to play the piano will create the same type of focus that isnecessary for quick-learning simply because they are committed. So all matters being considered my opinion is as it always has been that anyone can learn to play the piano. They just have to have desire and determination.
- I did not play piano as a child therefore how will I ever be able to play as an adult? Another bogus statement. It’s never too late! This has been my affirming statement throughout my website.
- If the older would-be piano player will take a few minutes and scan their developing years as a child they will probably realize the potential and drive they had for certain activities such as sports in all its many flavors.
- The idea is and it appears certain through research that if you had a stimulating nurturing aptitude toward achieving high goals as an athlete, for example, then it is highly likely that this attitude will carry over into any field you take an interest in throughout your lifetime.
- Conversely, the same research proves that if this is not the case then it could prove to be a bit harder. Still, all-in-all, if the desire is present the goal can be achieved. The old adage fits here I think “….where there is a will there is a way….”
- I must practice everyday. Anyone knows that practice is essential. I try to practice for one hour everyday. Now, “do” I practice everyday for one hour? That is the question and I will be honest with you in stating that I do not. There are plenty of days that I cannot practice for one hour it may be only 15 minutes that day.
- Sometimes even when I do practice for my one hour I may have to go to the piano several times during that day to get my one hour in. Some days sadly I do not get there at all when this happens don’t feel guilty but do have conviction that tomorrow’s practice time you will do better. Then there are days that I will sit and play for two hours and more.
- The point I’m making is that practice is a necessary and vital tool but to be so regimented in it is not. Having said that this should not undermine the piano player who plays everyday for great lengths of time. The amount of time is optional and circumstantial it seems to me and depends on the goals you have in mind.
- I know a fellow who plays piano for three hours every day. Am I condemning that? Not at all! The point is this, practice at your pace but in the end you must practice.
- I could never be a great pianist if I don’t have long, slender fingers. You know what I just read a very good biography on Beethoven called “Beethoven: The Man Revealed” by John Suchet. This is an excellent read and for the better part of 360 pages the author gave insight to every detail seems like of Beethoven’s life including his eccentricities and smallish stature including his “short stubby fingers”.
- Beethoven is the greatest of the greats and his stature refutes this false claim that to be a great pianist you need to have long, slender fingers. Just remember that the greatest pianists came in all shapes and sizes. There is no preference to long slender fingers. In fact you will often hear stories of pianists with “long slender fingers” and how they would “trip over their own fingers” in a similar way when describing a clumsy person “tripping over their feet.”
- Long fingers actually are more of a hindrance in one sense as it seems the ill fated carpal tunnel syndrome, which is a painful condition of the hand and fingers, often follows these long fingers around.
- If we could order fingers fit for piano playing we should ask for tapered fingers no matter how short or long they are. This tapered shape, it seems to me, would fit between the ivory and black keys very nicely.
- Improvisation is something I will only be able to do in the future, after I understand theory better. To improvise means to create and perform (music) spontaneously or without preparation. I would say to this “start now”. Start improvising immediately. As soon as you are able to.
- Improvisation is the core to enjoying the piano. Every piano players dream is to be able to create their own material. There are various types of improvisation like jazz improvisation or mental improvisation or emotional improvisation and so on. It is a fact that you will always need courage to improvise and courage comes from within.
- Knowing theory will never give you courage or make you a better improviser because this is not the type of thing that is taught necessarily but that is God-given. It’s a freedom and spontaneity that expresses that which you instantly hear in your brain the moment you sit to play.
- It’s like writing a novel in ways the sounds are channeled down to the keyboard much the same as the characters and their actions are given to the author. It’s imagination on fire. A revelation sometimes good but sometimes bad but never identical to anything else.
- Playing other instruments becomes easier once I learn the Piano. This is another myth. I play seven instruments and I can assure you that the piano did nothing toward my improvement on the, for instance, alto saxophone or the mandolin, etc. Now this may be true when you are dealing with stringed instruments only. By way of an example we could think of how the guitar, for instance, gives guidance to the bass guitar and the fiddle to the mandolin, etc.
- The piano has an altogether different profile. It’s in a class of its own. In fact some of the very greatest guitarists never ever had piano lessons.
- It is true that every instrument will have it’s challenges and you will have to deal with them one by one without, I’m afraid to say, the aid of your ability to play the piano. However, I will say this from experience and based on the fact that of the other instruments I play I like to think the piano gave an “overall” better sound.
My closing comments on this matter are: '…anything is possible'. It is entirely up to you. Your goals are YOUR GOALS. This is personal. No one else’s business. Your desire and ambition to “get it done” as they say is the only matter of concern. For instance I may want the best for you but ultimately it is up to you isn’t it!
Written by Duane Graves
2 thoughts on “Learn to Play Piano >>—-> faasssttt”
I really like the myths section of this post. My friend is a piano teacher who has several adult students, all of whom do just fine even though they never played as children. I have short fingers, and yet I’ve managed to play the violin for 20 years (people also say they need long fingers to play the violin). It all goes to show that these limitations are really excuses. If you want to learn, you can find a way. I do have to say, though, about whether knowing one instrument helps you learn another one: I agree this doesn’t help when it comes to techniques. Even other string instruments are difficult for me to learn to play, because they’re different weights, and require a different amount of space between the fingers, etc., which means different techniques. I think , though, there is one way that already knowing an instrument helps you learn another one. It has to do with the fact that you’ve already trained your ear to hear musical patterns. But yes, when it comes to physically playing the instruments, knowing another one doesn’t really help.
Thank you, Shanna. I appreciate your comments and the fact that you read the article through. I know from your reply that you know that learning to play an instrument regardless of what it is take effort and that anyone can learn to play piano or other if they will drop the excuses and put forward the effort. All the best to you for the future, Duane.