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  • Writer's pictureClara Sohyun Park

A New Hobby for Adults: Learning Piano

Updated: Aug 28, 2023

Is learning the piano a challenging endeavour? 

In some ways, It's pretty straightforward. You can pick up a simple melody in just a few minutes.
Playing the piano doesn't require the precision of hitting pitches like string instruments do, and it's not as challenging as mastering the technique of producing a sound like wind instruments.

However, here's where it gets interesting. Some of the most complex and breathtaking music ever composed is intended for the piano. The world's greatest piano players devote their entire lives to perfecting their art.

So, what's the reason for this?

The piano, even though it's simple in some respects, becomes increasingly intricate as you advance. It's akin to peeling back the layers of an onion; there are numerous depths to explore. This instrument provides an easy entry point for beginners and an expansive, challenging terrain for those aspiring to achieve mastery.

As an adult pianist, you've got some fantastic perks:

Motivation and Flexibility:
No parent-enforced lessons here!
You choose what, when, and where you want to learn.
It's all about your passion and drive.

🎵 Experience
You've grooved to tunes for years, right?
Your musical tastes, rhythm, and melody appreciation are already in place!

📚 Discipline
Thanks to life's lessons, you've mastered discipline.
That's a HUGE plus in your piano practice regimen.

Play the song that you like
Take the time to explore pieces that align with your current level of expertise. During this exploration, hidden gems may surface, revealing pieces that resonate deeply and were previously undiscovered by you.
Complexity doesn't always translate to beauty. Some of the piano's most treasured melodies, like gentle notes, find their magic in simplicity. Moreover, while most of us may not rise to the ranks of world-renowned concert pianists, we still possess the potential to acquire impressive skills.

Reading sheet music
One common challenge we often encounter is the intricacies of deciphering sheet music. This complexity can make transcribing piano music feel like a daunting task.

The combination of musical notes, clefs, key signatures, time signatures, dynamics, and various other symbols can appear overwhelming, especially to beginners.
However, with patience, practice, and a systematic approach to learning, this seemingly complex code of music notation becomes much more understandable and manageable.

Let's take a moment to catch these elements at the beginning will give you a solid foundation for interpreting and playing the piece effectively.

🎵 Clef Signs: Look for the treble clef (right hand) and bass clef (left hand) on the grand staff. They set the stage for your musical adventure.

🎵 Key Signature: Sharps (#) or flats (b) at the beginning tell you the key. These notes are your musical guides throughout the piece.

🎵 Time Signature: That fraction-like number (e.g., 4/4) explains the rhythm. It's your metronome for the piece.

🎵 Notes: Each note is a pitch. Higher on the staff means higher on the piano, and vice versa. Start by naming them.

🎵 Note Durations: Those note shapes and flags tell you how long to hold each note. They're your musical clocks.

🎵 Rests: When you see them, it's your cue for silence. Rests have durations, too.

🎵 Fingerings: Some sheet music offers finger numbers above or below notes. Handy for smooth playing.

🎵 Dynamics: Express yourself! "Piano" for soft and "forte" for loud, along with other markings, guide your dynamics.

🎵 Phrasing: Curved lines connect notes to show you how to shape your musical phrases.

🎵 Repeats and Endings: Don't get lost in the maze. Repeat signs and endings help you navigate the musical road.

🎵 Pedal Markings: For advanced pieces, pedal markings guide your use of the sustain or una corda pedal.

🎵 Tempo Markings: Tempo instructions like "Allegro" or "Adagio" set the speed of your musical journey.

More tips. 

1. Set Goals: Setting achievable goals can motivate your practice. Whether it's learning a specific piece, improving your technique, or mastering a particular skill, having goals can keep you focused.

2. Seek Guidance: Consider taking lessons from a qualified piano teacher. They can provide structured guidance, correct mistakes, and offer personalized feedback, accelerating your progress.

3. Record Yourself: Recording your playing can be a valuable tool for self-assessment. It allows you to listen objectively to your performance and identify areas for improvement.
4. Patience and Perseverance: Learning any musical instrument is a journey that takes time and effort. There will be challenges and moments of frustration, but with determination and a positive mindset, you can overcome them.
Start with simple pieces and gradually tackle more complex compositions.
Focus on your journey, stay patient, and keep playing. When you look back a year from now, you'll be amazed at your progress! 🚀

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