Adult piano lessons: Now it is easy to find time to play the piano between the numerous activities that you need to juggle throughout the day. Know yourself so that you can choose the correct approach to learning piano as an adult.
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Not sure if you want to take it up? Been thinking about it for quite some time but still not able to decide what you should be doing next?
I think it is perfectly alright!
A lot of adults would be in your state, considering the number of priorities they are anyways juggling with in life. To accommodate time for your new hobby and that too for a few months would definitely make you sit up and think about it.
After giving it a lot of thought, if you still are not able to completely remove this idea from your mind, then may be you should just give it a try… and not worry too much about the results.
After all, it is something you always wanted to do. And with so much learning resources available today (most of it free), even money is not a constraint nowadays. Besides, in today’s time, everybody believes in the concept of lifelong learning!
You’re never too old to embrace a new hobby, and that includes learning to play the piano. So go ahead and let the real music come out — don’t worry about scales, arpeggios, or reading notes.
Adults Learn Differently from Kids
As an adult, it is important that you know yourself so that you can choose the correct approach to learning the piano.
Adults learn differently from kids, some adults will usually expect to move at a much faster pace compared to kids, some are there for fun, some prefer to learn retro/melodious songs, etc.
Adults also need lot more flexibility, just because they have other commitments as well. If you intend to take lessons from a personal teacher, discuss if the lessons can be taken late in the evening or on the weekends, with arrangement to cover lessons in case you miss a few.
- Know yourself – Adults learn differently from how kids do. Plan your adult piano lessons accordingly. Do you like to learn alone or in a group, prefer learning from books or prefer videos, and so on.
- Flexibility – Adults need more flexibility in learning. Some students prefer lessons every two weeks instead of every week. Know what works for you!
However, even though as adults, we are used to figuring things out on your own, when it comes to learning the piano, its safe to assume that the piano teacher knows the best and just leave it to the teacher to decide what works best for you. At times, you may not understand or agree why your teacher’s asking you to do things a certain way, but you need to remember that they’re the knowledgeable one.
- Musical Focus – Learn what interests you! Make sure your learning is focused on what you like, be it classical music or jazz or pop songs. Some are bad at reading music but can play basic melodies and improvise with chords. An experienced piano teacher should be able to give you lessons considering your interests/limitations.
- Planning for Success with Your Adult Piano Lessons
Planning is important just because you will have other commitments as well. Without proper planning, you will constantly have something else to be done and your lessons will take a back-seat every now and then.
- Right Teacher – Find a teacher whose style will gel with the kind of person you are. Your teacher should have experience teaching adults, because the learning styles for children’s and adults’ do differ. In a studio packed with a younger group, you could feel out of place. So do be sure to pick a piano teacher who knows how to teach adults to play the piano.
In case things are not working out, don’t be afraid to learn on your own using software & books. These can be of great help if you are unable to leave your home for lessons.
- Plan your Time – As an adult who’s learning piano, you’ll need to plan your time, since you will always have so many other things to do. Besides taking the lessons, you need to devote at least some time to practice (preferably 20-30 mins every day).
- Think Positive & Be Patient – Set your expectations right. Learning to play the piano is going to take some time, so avoid negative thoughts and just believe that you can learn it. Just be consistent and you’ll notice your skills grow, and remember to have fun while learning. Keep in mind that you can still be a good piano player, and not know how to play a complex Beethoven or Mozart piece.
- Prioritize & Delegate – Just make sure you delegate or postpone whatever comes in the way of your practice time. If you don’t get time to practice, you may not see good improvement in your piano playing ability. Of course, you will need yours family support here!
I am sure you must already be aware of some of the steps above; you just need to put those in action. Learning piano as an adult is not difficult; others have done it and you can do it too!
Even Adults Need Music
Music is not just for children, even adults (especially the seniors) stand to gain a lot from music, and need music for their overall well-being.
I understand that most adults doubt their ability to learn to play a piano, or any other musical instrument, after a certain age, but that is far from the truth. We all can speak in rhythm, we all can hum a simple melody, we all can even walk in rhythm.
So there’s music in everybody, waiting to come outside. The false perception that only talented people can play the piano is denying many from having great fun and enjoyment.
We live in a stressful world and adults who play the piano cope much better. Everyone needs music and no talent is required.
You just need a caring teacher with good learning materials and an environment where learning (and more importantly having fun) is encouraged. That’s where adults feel safe and open up to learning the piano.
The non-musical benefits of adult piano lessons are equally as important as the musical benefits.
- Better self-esteem
- Improved mental capacity
- Fun and Joy
- Improved outlook on life
- Stress reduction
- Overall improved wellness
- Companionship and friends
Learning to play the piano will give you a great sense of accomplishment as you actually learn to play – at your own pace – and that pace is a lot faster than you would believe.
So if you’ve always dreamt of playing a musical instrument, just do it!
Its okay to learn to play for recreation, so even if you have to start playing with as little as one finger on each hand, just do it.
Over time, you’ll definitely learn to read music, to play using chords, to play by ear, and even how to compose your own music, but make sure you start learning in a stress-free and supportive environment!
Adult Piano Lessons: Its More About Enjoying than Competing
If you’re a senior and wish to take piano Lessons, you need to keep in mind that learning piano at this age should be more about enjoying your life and improving your quality of life, and less about competing. There are so many people who wish they could play a musical instrument, but the fact is…
You are never too old to enjoy playing the piano!
And if you’re worried that learning the piano is difficult, you should understand that music education is not only about learning to play an instrument; it’s also about wellness, health, and improving the quality of life.
For elderly people who wish to learn the piano, joining a school is recommended than learning on their own. Though nothing stops you from learning on your own, there are several benefits of joining a school where you get to interact with more people who share similar hobbies.
If you’re an elderly person and wish to take piano lessons, go to a school/studio where you can find like-minded people. You’ll find companionship, fulfillment, excitement, improved confidence, pleasure, and relaxation.
Seniors love group music classes because of the social aspect of the class – “they come as much for the interaction with each other, as they do for the actual learning of music”, which is not at all a bad thing.
Schools with a size-able adult piano class also organize Piano Parties and have lots of fun together. They learn to play the music they love and lessons are taught in a stress-free supportive environment.
So don’t fear; remember its not just about talent, or playing as if you’re Oscar Peterson. Piano lessons for adults should be be fun, where you laugh, learn, and share with other piano students.
Adult Piano Lessons: Why Its Never Too Late to Learn?
When Clemency Burton-Hill returned to piano lessons as an adult, she found herself in good company. Grown-ups everywhere are learning the instrument to relieve stress, focus their minds – and for the sheer joy it brings.
They say that youth is wasted on the young, but it’s nothing compared to piano lessons.
When I look back at my younger self and remember how I battled against learning the instrument and how quickly I gave it up, I’m gnawed at by rage. Why, why didn’t I practise when I had the chance? And why do I find myself in my thirties, suffering the mortification of learning the piano again, the indignity of being rubbish at something my eight-year-old self could do, the sheer misery of the difference between how I want something to sound and what actually happens when I play?
The only consolation I can take from this is that I’m not alone. I often hear from listeners on my BBC Radio 3 Breakfast show who say they’re revisiting in adulthood the instruments they gave up as children, and it’s invariably the keyboard to which they return. Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger recently wrote a beautiful book – Play It Again: An Amateur against the Impossible – that explores the year he spent learning Chopin’s No Ballade 1, aged 56. And he was just one of the many high-profile amateur pianists, including actor Simon Russell Beale and the former UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Ed Balls, who were persuaded to tackle Schumann’s Kinderszenen (Scenes from Childhood) live onstage at a concert in London last year.
Gluttons for punishment?
So what’s behind this trend, I wonder? Why are so many otherwise sane adults submitting themselves to the strictures of daily scales and arpeggios and asking the terrifying question of whether an adult brain is still plastic enough to learn – and memorise – some of the most complex music ever written?
“It’s an overriding passion, not just for the music [but] for the challenge,” reckons Lucy Parham, the leading concert pianist who taught Rusbridger his Chopin. “And the challenge is constant: there’s always a harder piece, you can always take it to the next level, you’re never finished. But there’s also the fact that the piano is your friend; it’s always there. That gathers more significance as you get older: what you can express through it, in a personal language, becomes incredibly important.”
This is certainly true for British actor and director Samuel West, who tells me he recently bought himself a “proper” piano again, and has started practising daily for the first time in 30 years. “As an adult you’re much more knowledgeable about your own moods, so it becomes much more possible to use music as a way to express yourself,” he says. ””If I have a little piece I can play, I can listen to myself better, I can express myself better. That’s entirely a function of being older, and that’s a joy.”
West, also an amateur cellist, had nurtured a desire to master the Aria from Bach’s Goldberg Variations for as long as he could remember. “It was something I felt I really ought to know. It’s simple, but it’s difficult and complex enough to keep me going until I die. Consider Glenn Gould: he rarely ever recorded the same piece twice, but he famously re-recorded the Goldberg Variations when he was older, despite having had huge acclaim when he was twenty-three. He didn’t feel he’d said enough.”
West would be the first to admit he is no Glenn Gould. Didn’t he find the learning process maddening, given how out of practise he was? “The fascinating thing is how much my hands remembered,” he says. “When you’re small you learn faster, your hands are more adept, it’s just much, much easier; as an adult, the fear that getting back to any kind of match fitness will take forever is a bit depressing. But it’s worth it: I got myself a piece I’d wanted to learn and I taught it to myself and that was really satisfying. Even if my fingering was rubbish.’
Keys to happiness
An easy reward for the amateur pianist lies in the fact that, unlike a violin or cello, the keyboard is percussive. While the instrument certainly has its challenges – around 88 of the damned things – at least when you strike a key, you know what note will sound. “With the piano you can play small things beautifully because you don’t have the tuning challenge,” Parham points out. “That makes it slightly more doable, and intellectually, people like it very much. When you learn as a child you do it because, say, your mum makes you go to piano lessons. But when you make the conscious decision to learn as an adult you’re paying with your hard-earned cash and time.”
Then there is what Parham calls “the de-stressing element”. She cites one of her students, a banker, who travels constantly for his job but is learning a fiendishly difficult Schubert sonata. “Instead of reading endless emails on the plane, he’s downloaded the score onto his iPad and he studies that,” she says. “He loves it.” Gripped as we are by the supposed wonders of daily ‘mindfulness’ meditation – apparently even Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic is a fan – it’s intriguing that Rusbridger describes practising the piano in similar terms. On the mornings he plays before heading into the office, he notices an increased zing and focus for the rest of the day. “With other people it’s yoga or a run or a burst in the gym,” he writes. “Twenty minutes on the piano has the same effect for me. Once it’s in the bank I’m ready for more or less anything the day can throw at me. Without it, things are harder.”
This perceived magical effect is grounded in hard science. Ray Dolan, one of the many neuroscientists Rusbridger talked to in an attempt to understand what was happening to his brain during his Chopin year, explains that whenever Rusbridger plays the piano, his brain is liberated from the “explicit… over-representational mind” of his day job. That has advantages not just for his brain but for his body. He goes through the piano days calmer; everything benefits.
But perhaps above all else, there is the sheer joy of playing. My decision to get back to the piano was inspired in part by the lovely things that happened whenever I walked past one of the pianos that street artist Luke Jerram placed all over New York as part of his project Play Me, I’m Yours, launched in London in 2009 and so popular it was subsequently rolled out it in cities all over the globe. “The piano is such a great communal thing, such a great bringer together of people, even if you can only play the simplest thing,” Parham says. “It makes me sad that more people don’t get back to it as adults for the simple fear of not being good enough. They’d never think that about sport: people pick up a tennis racket or kick a football about even though they know they’re no Andy Murray or David Beckham. I’d like to start a campaign: just do it!”