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How to Play a Piano Without Taking Lessons

Updated on January 6, 2013

Have you always wanted to learn how to play the piano? Perhaps you never had the time for lessons, or could never afford lessons - in this day and age, there are many ways and resources out there for you to teach yourself how to play the piano without having to take formal lessons.

Now, if you want to be a concert pianist, or if you are reading this on behalf of someone who desires or has the potential of being a concert pianist, then this is really not the wisest route to take.

If you want to take up a new hobby, or a interested to pick up a new skill, I hope you will find this hub useful as an alternative to piano lessons.

Before you start, make sure you have access to a piano.
- If you know you just want to learn simple tunes using one hand on the piano, you could simply download an app on you iPad - where you get the keyboard on your iPad and you hear the piano sound. This option is really for those who are not serious about playing the piano with two hands or using the pedal... a piano keyboard on your iPad will have no bumps/protruding black keys like a real piano would, so the sensation will feel different.

But for a start, and as a beginner, this option is a viable one, especially if you just want to learn basic piano/music theory and are still in the process of deciding and determining your interest and aptitude for this particular instrument.

- You can get a keyboard for a start. It may not sound as authentic as a real piano, and the touch may be different, but it is still a step forward from an online piano or an app. There are all sorts of keyboards around, some have 88 keys and others 49, some can connect to your computer, to speakers.... How to choose a keyboard? Well, it would make a fun trip to your local music store to see what they recommend will fit your needs. You also get to try the keyboard to get a feel of what it may sound.

- A midi controller, unlike a keyboard, needs to be connected to your computer (to a software instrument) before it will make any noise. Basically, if you buy a midi controller, you need to make sure that you have a music software such as Garageband in order for your midi controller to be of any use to you. I higher recommend that you speak to a music retailer regarding this before you purchase a midi controller, especially if you are new to the piano and music recording. The good thing about the midi controller is that it is cheaper than a keyboard, and will allow you to record your music that you play.


An Example Of an YouTube Piano Tutorial

- A second hand piano is a good choice if you don't want to bear the cost of a real new upright piano. Make sure your piano is tuned though! For the sake of your progress and those around you, make sure your piano is tuned.

Where can you go to learn how to play the piano?
- Online

There are numerous videos on Youtube that teach you how to play the piano. Being able to see the fingers positioned on the keyboard, being able to rewind your video... watch it multiple times and play along... that will help you.

Do you want to learn certain styles? Classical, jazz, praise and worship ... there is so much resource available on Youtube waiting to be found.

In fact, there are videos available that teach you how to play certain songs - and if you just want to play a particular song, Youtube is a good place to search for these piano tutorials.

- Piano Books for Adult Beginners

You will find an assortment of piano books for adult beginners. These provide an excellent resource for those who have never touched a piano. Alfred's is one publisher that many music teachers like to choose. You can go to your local music bookstore to see what is available - most books are rather similar, and you would probably do fine without sweating over which one to choose.

- Teach Yourself

If you already have prior knowledge of another instrument, such as a guitar, or if you know how to read music notes, it would be very easy for you to teach yourself how to play the guitar once you translate all the music theory onto the piano keyboard. You might want to learn how to correctly position yourself on the piano keys so that you play with the least tension.

Things you should know

- Sit straight and tall, and your legs should be slightly apart, not locked together.

- Your fingers should be nicely curved, and you should be playing the piano with the pads on your fingers.

- Clench your left fist. Put your right hand over it. Lift it up and see the nice curved shaped? Now transfer that to the piano. Each finger should rest on one key (start with resting them on all the white keys first). Vice versa. This is how your hands should rest on the piano before you play.

- It is worth getting the advice of a trained teacher who can help you with the basics - especially posture - so that you don't hurt yourself while playing the piano with tension.

- Learning a new instrument takes time and patience. Hang in there and don't give up!


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    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      3 years ago from Oklahoma

      Wonderful tips for learning the piano.

    • orandze profile image


      3 years ago from Pittsburgh

      You give some great advice and have the right idea for people who are looking for a cost effective way to learn piano. As a piano teacher myself for 10+ years, you have no idea how many of my students have come to me with crazy ideas on how to save money. They're willing to either pay for the instrument or lessons, but not both! That's why I've been working on my own website called Lesson Unlocked to help those who can't afford it learn music more easily.

      The main problem I've seen with so many of the online and "teach yourself" methods is that there's no genuine feedback. Whenever you're doing something wrong, especially if it's something subtle, you'd never realize it!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      5 years ago

      I took years of piano lessons and have to say that I still am lacking in many areas. I can see how someone can pick up this skill without formal lessons if they are driven and consistent. Great advice for the novice.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      5 years ago from The Caribbean

      Really good information and motivational for the new beginner. Can you imagine that there is no piano store on the island where I live? Still, we find our way around that! There are lots of piano students. What does that say about the piano?


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