🎹 Don't miss Sweetwater's Prime Time sales event on digital pianos and MIDI controllers! Now through October 16!
This is definitely a commonly asked question. The question is asked usually because you can’t afford lessons or maybe you’re not sure how serious you are about learning the piano and you don’t want to break the bank.
Regardless of the reason, I am here to answer the question and also give you some insight on ways to go about it!
My opinion is that yes, you can definitely learn to play the piano without a teacher or instructor. Some people have the opinion that you should wait until you get lessons so you don’t develop bad habits, but I don’t see any harm in learning the basics if you simply can’t wait. Some of the biggest musicians in history never took lessons. Now with that being said, I’m sure most of these examples had some bad habits. I am going to point out a few things you should be doing if you’re learning without a teacher.
1) Acquire A Keyboard To Test The Waters
Perhaps this is the most simple suggestion that is common sense. However, people do ask if they need a piano in order to learn. I believe you need access if you truly want to learn and progress the way you are going to want to.
For this, if you don’t already have a keyboard, start with something simple and easy. Since you’re saving money on lessons, try and find something that is cheap, yet quality. A simple, budget digital piano will work. You can view my list of the best options here.
2) Learning To Read Music
Now I know, not every musician knows how to read music, but if you’re looking to learn piano, you will most likely want to develop some skill in reading music. This is going to be one of the main things teachers will focus on with you so don’t take this step lightly.
I would recommend getting yourself a nice lesson book that you can follow and learn from. These will teach you the basics of the treble and bass clef, along with basic fundamentals and techniques of the piano. I strongly recommend checking out my post on lesson books for adult beginners as these are the top picks from some of the most renown instructors.
For starters, I would focus on learning the read the treble clef first. This is the clef that all instructors will first have you learn as most instructors will focus on having you play with your right hand first. Here is a great guide I made for beginning students to check out on the treble clef.
3) Piano Apps
These are great tools that you can use to help further your knowledge. They are actually quite fun to use and they do give you some great knowledge that you might not find easily without an instructor. The good thing is that most of the are Ios or Android devices and most people have these accessible to them.
There are some incredible online piano resources in which you can take full courses. I put together an in-depth list that I think you should definitely check out. These resources will really help you understand the basics of the piano.
If you want to look at the best apps for the piano you can do so here. These are all options that will help you with reading music and learning songs. You will find these a lot of fun and they are oftentimes designed by great instructors themselves. Technology is really helping with the learning growth in the piano because of programs like these.
You can also check out some piano games in this article here. These are fun games that help you learn the piano in a different way.
Scales are going to a super important part of any instructor’s routine for students. I recommend finding a nice book on scales or finding lesson books that touch on scales greatly. These are something you will practice pretty much throughout your entire musical journey.
Finger dexterity is the big thing that comes from this. You will find your timing and rhythm improving with these scales. This will take you to the next level and teach you the different keys in music that you will need to learn.
5) Set A Goal And Stick With It
Try to practice 20-30 minutes every single day when starting out. This is the minimum I would suggest to put in every day. If you are inspired and feeling like you want to play for 6 hours, great! You will see progress faster with the more time you put in, just like anything else in life.
6) Youtube Videos And The Internet
These are your friend. Go on youtube and search for lessons and songs that you want to learn. There is so much information that is quality available to you on the internet. This is another reason why technology is making it easier for musicians to get better and learn.
7) Metronome Use
I would recommend finding an app for a metronome that you can use or purchase a cheap one. These are the most beneficial thing when it comes to playing in time and forcing your fingers into dexterity exercises. Metronomes work your brain and your fingers in ways that you don’t always work them.
Yes, you might develop some bad habits, but I recommend just doing your best to follow the lesson books and videos/ apps. Don’t let people discourage you from playing because you don’t have a teacher.
If you can get to the point where you can afford one, then yes, of course, go out and find one and see how you like it. It will most likely be a great experience and help you take your game to the next level.
Are you debating which instrument to learn first between the piano and the guitar? Check out my guide here.
Did you take up the piano without lessons? What were some of the things you went through and what did you find to be the most helpful? Let us know below!