In today’s post I’ll answer some of the Frequently Asked Questions of prospective adult piano students:
Can an adult with zero music experience learn the piano?
Of course! I’ve successfully worked with numerous adults who have taken up a musical instrument for the very first time. While it’s true that children may absorb musical skills to the extent that their still-evolving brains are actually changed, adults, because of their already hard-won intellectual and physical coordination skills nevertheless learn faster than kids.
What’s the best instrument to learn on?
All other things being equal, an acoustic piano. That said, the feels and sounds of high-quality digital pianos are amazing these days, and can easily substitute for an acoustic instrument. I don’t, however, recommend learning on a non-weighted action keyboard like a synthesizer. Learn more about choosing an instrument here.
How long does it take to learn to play?
Learning the piano – for which more music has been written than any other instrument – can be a lifelong hobby (or, for some, profession). There are numerous skills developed in learning to play, which is one of the things that makes learning piano so beneficial for adults, especially older ones. With an established practice routine, an adult student can learn the rudiments of good technique and reading/rhythm skills within a few weeks to a few months. Each of these skills has a limitless progress curve, though, so that as long as you play you’ll continue to improve each one, making you a better, more confident and more fulfilled musician.
How can I make the fastest progress?
The most important keys to fast and steady progress are good practice habits, quality instruction, and a long-term focus measured in years, not months.
How long will it take to accompany myself singing?
Piano students who also like to sing can learn to accompany themselves with a few basic chords very quickly. Believe it or not, it only takes knowledge of three or four chords to play simple accompaniments for literally hundreds of pop and rock songs. As you expand your knowledge of chords, develop your technique, and perhaps learn some fun arranging skills, your ability to accompany yourself singing a wide variety of styles such as jazz standards, Broadway tunes or classical songs will continue to advance.
How long does it take a complete beginner to play genuine classical music?
Beginners with a good practice routine can typically begin learning genuine repertoire from the classical canon (such as brief masterpieces by Bach) within 6-12 months.
What does it take to learn jazz?
That depends on what you mean by jazz!
How long does it take to learn to improvise?
You can improvise at your very first lesson. Improvising, after all, is how every child learns to speak their language. They make a lot of funny mistakes but don’t care. Similarly, what I call not-knowing is the best attitude to bring towards learning musical improvisation. Learning to improvise develops numerous musical skills. Plus, it’s a lot of fun!