‘I wish I had never given up playing the piano. I would love to learn to play the piano again.’
This is one of the phrases I hear a lot as a piano teacher at Online Piano Academy. Many adults yearn to return to playing the piano and to piano lessons. Often people get caught up with ‘life.’ Then when life becomes less frantic, people finally have time to rediscover their passion for playing the piano and decide to resume piano lessons.
First of all find a qualified, experienced piano teacher. Find a piano teacher who you align with. It is important to learn good, solid piano techniques and to set realistic musical goals. Have a quality, well-tuned acoustic piano or digital piano to practice at home. Invest in an adjustable piano stool so that you are sitting at the correct height. This is fundamental to proper piano technique.
The whole body is involved in playing the piano, the fingers, wrists, arms, shoulders, and more. It is important not to hold tension in the body and to relax while playing. BAPAM* provides information on holistic health for musicians and performers. Always warm up with scales or exercises before playing to avoid tension and stiffness. Make sure your hands are warm, do not play with cold fingers. Play in a room that is at a comfortable temperature. If you suffer from any aches or arthritis, it is important to tell your teacher. Although you can find a lot of inspiration from YouTube, having a teacher is indispensable as he or she can help you with technique, correct fingering, suggesting appropriate books and repertoire, setting realistic musical goals and so much more. Also, a piano teacher can constantly evaluate your playing and suggest ways of improving. Having a piano teacher saves you a lot of time and frustration, and you will be able to make much more progress in a shorter space of time. Try not to choose a teacher based on price, as you get what you pay for.
Set musical goals in collaboration with your teacher. Examples of goals can be learning specific repertoire, taking a piano exam, performing, memorizing a piece, completing the grade 4 theory book, learning all the scales up to grade 5, mastering a specific technique, learning how to sight-reading through a series of books, and so on. Choose the repertoire you want to play and decide how much time you have to devote to learning the piano. Do you want to brush up on music theory? Or perhaps you want to try improvising or composing? You now have the opportunity to take ownership of your learning.
Discover the type of piano music wants to play. YouTube and Spotify are great for this, as you have access to an endless library of music. Do you want to play classical piano, jazz piano, film music, or pop music? Or perhaps you wish to play a combination of styles. At Online Piano Academy, although I am classically trained, I teach all styles of music. Students play repertoire from composers such as Bach to Chopin to contemporary repertoire by composers such as Hans Zimmer and Einaudi. Learning piano now is quite different from how it may have been for you some decades ago. Teaching resources and methods have changed, and you are no longer obliged to take piano exams. If you do decide to work towards piano exams, you will notice the exams have changed too. See my recent blog entitled Which Exam Boards Do I Recommend.
Although pianists spend a lot of time practicing as a solitary activity, playing the piano can also be a social activity. If you have face-to-face piano lessons you can play fun piano duets. You might be able to find a piano meet-up group in your area or attend a summer school. For more information on this, see the useful links page on my website. Or you may wish to perform in a local amateur festival ( either face-to-face or online). There are also Facebook groups that focus on the piano in which you can post your performances. You can also join my Facebook group Online Piano Academy via the Facebook icon on my website. Music is a universal language, and it is a lovely way to connect.
The most important thing is for your musical journey to be fun and enjoyable. You are never too old to return to playing the piano. Not only is playing the piano good for the brain, but it also has many emotional benefits and physical benefits. Music is linked to mathematics, it is good for coordination, and music is art. Music is simultaneously so many things on so many levels. I think the reason so many people are drawn to music is the emotion that it creates. Playing the piano, and music in general has so many wonderful benefits. It is no wonder that so many adults are now returning to playing the piano.
If you are thinking about returning to piano lessons contact me via the website or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book a free consultation.
‘Play the music you have always dreamed of playing.’
*BAPAM =British Association for Performing Arts Medicine
Here is a link to some whole body warm up exercises that you may find useful
Visit my Useful links page for more information.