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Learning to play piano with passion PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 05 May 2009 12:12


As Featured On EzineArticlesMost people learn to play piano by starting to read notes: right hand, then left hand, then both together until they can play a few songs from a book. I would say that about 90% of people learn to play piano this way. This is normally when people become discouraged or they loose interest.


I also took piano lessons the conventional way, but at the same time I had a passion for playing by ear. I liked it more to play my own tunes than I liked to practice my lessons. Therefore I lost interest in piano lessons and I eventually taught myself to play. There are a lot of excellent piano players that taught themselves.


If you want to become a good piano player, you must have a passion for it. The stronger the passion, the more you will be inclined to teach yourself piano. Passion often goes along with talent. But passion is even stronger than talent. A teacher can only guide or direct you, but in the end you have to learn how to play yourself.


The best way to learn to play piano is therefore to blend your learning with passion. But how is this done? As a piano teacher I have found that the best way is to sit down with my new students and ask them what they want to accomplish and even what tunes/songs they want to play. Most of them want to be able to play by ear and many of them want to be able to improvise. Many others want to be able to play by reading chords. Some would like to play folk songs, some want to play in a band and others want to play jazz.


Learning to play piano with passion

This is why I teach piano by introducing chords and chord theory right from the start. I also teach my students to learn in pictures and by ear. E.g. they learn chord types, chord formations and scales both by listening to the chords and scales and by learning the visual patterns in which they occur.


In this way, two things happen:

1) you learn to play piano with both your left brain and right brain
2) you have a better sense of accomplishment, for you learn to play songs with two hands right from the start.


You can learn to play piano just by reading chords from chord charts without being able to read a single note. When you play in a band or if you accompany a singer, you do not necessarily have to play the melody together with the chord structure. On the one hand. this means that guitar players may have an advantage in learning piano in this way, and on the other hand this means that all band members can play from the same chord charts.


This however does not mean that learning the skill of note reading is a bad thing, but theory and note reading must never be at the cost of keeping passion and a sense of accomplishment alive. To me it makes more sense to introduce note reading at a later stage, and then primarily on a one-note-level, where you use it to read a melody line or a bass line. After that, if you desire to play more classical pieces of music, you could always work on your note reading skills. By that time however, you would have a better understanding of why you play what and even be able to improvise or play any song by ear (depending on how well your ear is developed).


It is very much like reading a good story. If you are extremely interested in the storyline, that passion will keep you reading and will even help you to read better and faster.


If piano playing was just about reading notes, then it would have been called piano "reading" and not piano "playing."