Studying piano in your spare time, with no commitments and no stress, is definitely a good idea. However, in some cases it may be a good idea to have a teacher take you. In this article I will try to analyze the advantages and disadvantages of “do-it-yourself piano,” to try to answer the question: is studying piano on your own possible?
- I can't take piano lessons because…
- No. I want to study on my own!
I can’t take piano lessons because…
The reasons for avoiding the help of a teacher can be many. Private music lessons cost money, attending a school is time-consuming, and making a firm commitment to a piano teacher can be complicated for those with jobs with irregular or unpredictable schedules.
Finally, dealing with a with teacher can also be stressful, especially for those who have a reserved nature and struggle to play in front of someone else. Let’s try to analyze these aspects, one by one.
Private lessons cost too much money
Music lessons can be very expensive; they are certainly the biggest item of expense for people starting to play. However, music is a very special discipline, a mix of theory, coordination, and musical ear. To play the piano you have to develop skills that are physical and mental at the same time, but above all you have to learn a method of study, and for this a teacher is really important.
If enrolling in a music class is too expensive, I suggest you look for a private teacher and take at least a couple of lessons a month. You will make slower progress than taking lessons every week, but at least you will avoid developing flaws. On the other hand, I advise against joining group lessons, which are certainly cheaper but almost certainly useless.
I don’t have time for lessons
Sometimes the problem is not expense, but time. Work and family commitments can prevent us from planning lessons in advance, and it is not easy to find a piano teacher who has flexible hours.
However, this problem can be solved by taking online lessons. By taking lessons from your home, it will be easier to find a time during the week, and it will also be easier for your teacher to reschedule the lesson if you have unforeseen events or last-minute work commitments.
I tried but it went badly
There is no such thing as the perfect music teacher. As in all teacher-student relationships, complicity and trust will have to be built with your piano teacher. The lesson should be tiring but also rewarding and should help you make real progress.
Especially, your piano teacher will have to teach you how to practice on your own, at home. Learning how to practice properly is the main reason why piano lessons are important.
If you have tried with one teacher but failed, don’t give up. Try a second time with someone else, and if necessary a even third time. Figure out the right characteristics of your teacher, and keep looking. When you find the right one for you, your progress on the piano will be much faster and you will enjoy playing even more.
No. I want to study on my own!
Have I not convinced you or are some of these problems insurmountable for you? Do you still want to try to study piano without the help of a teacher? Here are what difficulties you will encounter, and some tips for overcoming them.
DIY piano: the difficulties
Studying piano alone is more difficult than studying with a teacher. In particular, it is not easy to study gradually and effectively. You will have to try to plan an orderly path instead of living day by day jumping from one piece to another.
Another difficulty with DIY piano is developing proper technique. Often people who study alone tend to stiffen their hand and wrist without realizing it. Particularly if you are just beginning to play the piano, it is very easy to acquire poor technique.
Finally, if you study alone you will miss the incentive of performance: having to play the exercises in front of your teacher is undoubtedly an incentive to practice more, even when you are tired or feel less like it.
Studying piano alone: the pleasure of discovery
Studying piano alone has more disadvantages than advantages, yet there are also positive aspects. In the study of music, the discoveries we make alone are often more lasting and profound. Studying alone means finding original answers to problems, and this can be very challenging, for someone.
Find out how my online piano lessons work if you prefer to study piano with the help of a teacher.
How to do it: practical guide to DIY piano
To study piano on your own requires certain qualities: self-discipline, order, and patience. If you believe you have these characteristics, then self-study may be within your reach. If, on the other hand, you do not have these valuable virtues, it will be very difficult for you to make progress on the piano.
Playing a few songs randomly will get you nowhere; you will have to plan a course of study and follow it even more diligently, since there is no teacher to guide and correct you.
Write a study schedule and try to follow it for at least six months. Keep an agenda of study sessions and try to study at least half an hour every day.
Some tips for “DIY piano”
- Write a study schedule of at least six months
- Keep an agenda of the study done
- Study every day for at least half an hour
What about the piano lessons on YouTube?
The Internet offers an abundance of teaching materials, and it is not easy to choose the right ones for you. You can find lots of free piano lessons on YouTube, however, going randomly means wasting time and not achieving any results.
Always try to evaluate the expertise of those who created the lessons and favor structured and organized courses that try to define a precise path. Jumping on YouTube from one video to another will get you nowhere.
- Try to evaluate the trustworthiness of the source
- Give preference to structured and organized courses
- Do not jump from one video to another
Remember also that the best courses are fee-based. Those who have worked for months and months in producing a music course are unlikely to make it available for free on YouTube. Making money on YouTube from advertising alone is much more difficult than you think.
Conclusions. Is studying piano alone possible?
Many good musicians have studied on their own; however, not everyone is capable of doing so. Moreover, piano presents specific difficulties: independence, reading, technique and harmony. Studying piano alone is only possible if you are aware of the difficulties and strive to overcome them.
I hope this article is helpful to you. What is your experience with DIY piano? Do you think studying piano by yourself is possible? Tell me your thoughts in the comments section below.