Make Your Piano Lessons Work For You

By Ina Hunt

Mastering a musical instrument is an achievement that will open up new worlds to you. It keeps your brain in good shape and being able to play music is a great way to unwind after a stressful day. You may even make music your career once you've managed to master the instrument of your choice. A good way to start is with piano lessons but you need to know how to make these work for you.

Taking formal lessons is much better than just learning to play by ear. A teacher will show you how to sit, how to move your hands and fingers to the best advantage and the many different techniques of playing the instrument. You'll learn too how to read musical notation and about the theory of music, which will be useful for learning other instruments too. In other words, learning to play the piano can become the basis from which you can learn other instruments too.

One of the most important things to remember is that becoming a skilled pianist takes time. At first you'll learn very simple, basic pieces and this may be frustrating. However, these pieces will lay the groundwork for the more difficult ones you'll be playing later on. Like with everything else in life, you need to start small and be patient. A tennis player can't expect to win Wimbledon the first time round and in the same way, you can't expect to play a full piano concerto after only a couple of weeks.

Practice is very important. Try to set aside at least an hour every day for this. Your playing skills and technique won't just magically appear and you need to put in some effort. Remember that the sooner you master a particular technique, the sooner you can move on to the next step.

When you practice, don't only focus on the pieces you're learning. Set aside time for practicing scales too. These may be incredibly boring but they lay the groundwork for understanding the different musical keys, such as C major or A minor. In addition, they're a great way to loosen up your fingers and make the muscles in your hands strong and fit.

It's not only scales that will help you gain understanding into the structure of music. An important part of music education is musical theory, which involves learning about the different symbols and terms as well as how a piece of music is put together. A good teacher will include theory tasks in your classes and will even give you homework assignments to do.

It's very important that you get along with your teacher. He or she should encourage you and help you to develop your talent. If your teacher makes you feel uncomfortable for any reason, it may be a good idea to find another teacher who will be more supportive but who will also push you to become a better pianist.

Most great pianists will tell you that they got where they are not only because of their talent, hard work and discipline. They also persevered, even when things were difficult. If you keep it up and don't let any setbacks stop you, you may follow in their footsteps and become one of the greats yourself.

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