It’s been 3 years now since I started learning the piano and I often hear others say how they wish they could play an instrument. Trust me when I say it’s never too late to learn! Even just committing to 30 minutes 3 or 4 times a week is enough to get you started.
I’m part of many piano communities (Instagram, Tiktok and a Discord server) and have seen so many adults go from being a beginner to getting to a decent level of playing.
Here are some tips if you want to start playing the piano as an adult.
Just start learning, the quicker you start, the sooner you will start playing pieces you love.
Here is a recommended piano course book to get you started: piano adventures for adults.
Learn to read music
If you never read music before, it can be quite daunting but there are a lot of resources out there to help you. A lot of beginner piano courses start introducing notes one by one so you learn as you go, and the music sometimes has the note names written on and eventually removes them.
On YouTube you can find lots of tutorials that will teach you how to play songs note by note without even having to look at music – I would avoid this. Learning to read music is so valuable as it makes more music accessible to you and you don’t need to memorise everything.
If you are memorising each note without having the music score, you will forget the piece if you do not play it a few times a week. If you learn to read music, you can always come back and play the pieces you’ve worked on in the past.
Get a starter keyboard with a pedal
Pianos are expensive so it’s a good idea to start with a cheaper digital piano. The things you want are a pedal and touch sensitivity. Weighted keys are fantastic but tend to be on more expensive pianos. Buy a cheaper piano for now and upgrade when you know you are committed to the instrument.
Digital pianos are better at this stage as they require less maintenance. Many people give away free pianos on Facebook but this is usually because they want it out of their house without having to pay for removals. These types of people are usually old and neglected and can take a while to tune and fix, costing lots of money.
If you do want to get a second-hand acoustic piano, take a piano technician with you to view it.
This is a popular beginner’s digital piano: the Yamaha P45.
Be realistic about how you will progress
As a ballpark figure, a grade a year is reasonable. So don’t expect to be jumping straight into Chopin Preludes as a beginner.
There are a lot of fake piano progress videos on YouTube that may leave you feeling like you are not as good as others at the piano. Compare yourself with your past self rather than other people.
Filming yourself is a great way to look back on your progress. It also gives you a better understanding of how you sound and what you need to work on.
A teacher is worth the money
Having a piano teacher really helped me stick to the piano. I was able to get professional advice on what I needed to work on and there are so many technical skills involved in the piano that you will struggle to learn alone.
Play songs that are manageable for your skill level
When you first start playing, you might find the songs you are learning boring and be keen to move on to something that sounds more impressive.
Working on songs that are manageable will allow you to build the foundations you need to play more difficult songs later. Songs that are too hard for you will leave you feeling discouraged.
No piece is off limits
While I maintain that you should play pieces that are your level, there is nothing wrong with attempting to play something beyond your level for your own personal enjoyment. But you just need to be aware that if you play something beyond your level then it is going to take you a long time, and you will probably lack a lot of the technical skills to make it sound good even if you hit the right notes.
So play it for you, but you probably don’t want to perform it!
Have a list of songs you want to learn
When I hear a song I want to learn, I write it down in my notes app on my phone and if I feel the urge to start a new song, or I’ve got a bit of time and want to play around with a new piece, I try to learn it.
Have free play time
It’s good to have structure to your practice and work on your set pieces, but every so often it’s nice to pull out a book of Disney songs and have fun, or run through some old pieces and have a bit of relaxed playtime.
Start an Instagram or Tiktok piano progress journal
I try to post daily on my piano Instagram and Tiktok. This keeps me motivated to finish pieces and work on my hard sections.
You can follow me on Instagram here and Tiktok here.
I even have a piano blog here!
But cover your feet!
I’ve made the mistake of playing the piano with my feet on a show and I’ve had a few messages commenting about it and asking me to send close-up videos of my feet pressing the pedal. Be careful!
Join a piano discord
I’m part of a small but lovely piano discord of adult piano players. We’re all adult learners and share practice tips, ask questions and talk about what we are learning. Join it here.
I used to play music when I was a kid but I never took it seriously haha. I would love to get back and play again. These will help a lot. Thank you for sharing!
I learned to play piano when I was 13. I haven’t been playing it for quite a long time. I need to start playing piano again. I was such a good hobby.
I would love to learn to play the piano, I’ve wanted to ever since I was a kid! These are great tips for learning to play as an adult. Spending your free time practicing is important! x
Lucy | http://www.lucymary.co.uk
I had piano lessons for about 9 years and I really enjoyed learning. Luckily I can just about still play, but I wish I could play more often (no keyboard/piano with me at uni). These are great tips for beginners, note learning is super important x
I never learned any musical instruments when in school and always regretted it, so this gives me hope and boost to start and give this a try! The piano has always been on my radar, so I might give this a try! Love all these tips x