Is Piano Hard to Learn? 7 Things You Must Know Before You Start

is piano hard to learn

The piano or keyboard is probably the most popular and a great first instrument for many people – but it is not necessarily an instrument to learn.

It takes many years of hard work and long practice sessions. Then why do people say it is an easy instrument to learn?

Or is it hard to learn only for some people? Let’s find out.

Why is Piano a Suitable First Instrument to Learn?

1. Provides a Solid Foundation for Music

The piano is set up intuitively, with a simple layout that you can learn quickly.

If you start playing the keyboard or the piano, you will realize that all the notes are placed one after the other, which means you can alternate between the black and white keys to produce the sound you want.

The way it’s set up gives you the firm and fundamental knowledge of music theory very quickly, making it a less complicated option than string instruments.

2. Improves Dexterity and Coordination

is piano hard to learn

There are very few musical instruments that do not need hand-eye coordination. Most of them require using both hands, and even using feet, like in the piano.

When beginners start learning the keyboard or piano under a good teacher, the instructor first teaches them to play different things-like chords, scales, and arpeggios-with both hands.

This experience of playing music with different hands improves dexterity and coordination, which is a valuable skill to have both physically and psychologically.

This can also help you play piano and sing at the same time.

3. You can Learn Plain Melodies Quickly

One of the main reasons, piano is a great beginner instrument is the instant gratification it offers after a few weeks of practice.

The time between learning the basics and playing a simple jingle is comparatively faster than other instruments.

Most beginner piano players stay interested in the instrument because they see instant results, which is a great motivator.

7 Things you Must Know that Make Learning Piano Hard

1. Reading Sheet Music

piano sheet music

Reading music from the sheets is a minor hurdle every pianist must go through.

If you start reading and understanding grand staff from a young age, it will come to you like a second language since you are still in the learning stages of life.

However, it can be a challenge for some adults.

It’s not that hard to learn to read the notes by taking them and playing them on the piano – playing different parts with both right and left hands makes things difficult.

Of course, if you keep working on it, sight-reading will become easier.

But most importantly, don’t rush the process; learning to sight-read is like learning a whole new language, vocabulary, and symbols.

But there is a great benefit to learning to read sheet music; it will allow you to play almost any song on the first try just by reading the sheets, no matter what era the composition may belong to.

2. Playing Chords

It’s a common problem among novices; since it is hard for them to wrap their head around the idea of playing with both hands simultaneously. It Is the most basic requirement that may seem hard.

Traditionally the left-hand plays the bass notes and chords of a song, while the right-hand plays the melody and higher notes. This may seem challenging because our hands are not used to performing independent functions. However, this issue can be solved with simple brain exercises to improve coordination.

3. Hand Independence

While playing, both hands are required to play not only different parts but also different rhythms on some occasions. It takes a significant level of concentration, but it’s not impossible.

This part of playing the piano can be extra challenging, depending on your dominant hand.

If you are right-handed, you will indeed need to train your left-hand more; if you are left-handed, you will need to prepare your right hand more.

A skilled piano player can play the same piece of music with both hands independently with years of training.

4. Playing by Ear

Playing the piano by ear is possible, but it is challenging to do this with any other instrument. It takes a lot of experience to know how to turn a single note on a piano into a chord.

To play by ear, you need to hear a chord in a song, then find each note in that chord and replicate it on the piano. This might be challenging because most people aren’t born with the perfect pitch to know if they are picking the right note or chord.

5. Pianists also use their Foot

Piano Pedals
Piano Pedals

If you have seen an upright acoustic piano, you know that it has pedals. Specifically, there are 3 of them, and those piano pedals perform particular functions.

Types of Pedals

  • Sustain pedal
  • Una Corda pedal
  • Sostenuto pedal

These three pedals either sustain a note, make a chord or note soft or lower the note of a piano.

While concentrating on your hands to improve their speed and dexterity, people forget about the pedals. This can be a tricky situation to navigate for some first-timers. But if you have a keyboard or a digital piano you won’t have to worry about it.

6. Having the Wrong Expectations

Most people wish to learn piano to play their favorite songs.

They want to play compositions from their favorite brands or singers or Mozart or Chopin, but this won’t happen from the get-go. As a beginner this is too much to expect as an instant result. Because of this most people give up halfway on their journey.

You will have to start with nursery rhymes: maybe ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ or “Mary had a Little Lamb.

Do that for a good year, and perhaps you can think about pop songs like “Don’t Stop Believing” or classical pieces like “Sonata in C major.”

7. 88 Keys to Memorize

88 keys to memorize

The layout of the piano is like a double-edged sword, meaning, its simplicity is its complication.

While the layout of the keys on the piano is simple to memorize, there is a lot to memorize, which can be intimidating. One easy way to do this is to label the keys. There are a lot of ways to do this – you can use stickers or markers or readymade piano stickers.

So many keys also means that the piano has the most comprehensive pitch range of all instruments, which speaks for its versatility and difficulty simultaneously.

The good thing is that you have no repetition of notes, so you won’t hit any confusion when finding the pitch you want.

5 Tips to Help a Beginner Learn Piano

1. Learn with Instructor

There is a reason that the traditional student-teacher relationship gives excellent results. It is more efficient than learning and navigating on your own. And with the world connected to the internet, you won’t even have to step out of your house. You can learn the piano from your living room through online classes.

Taking piano lessons from a professional pianist will accelerate your progress by many folds. They can and will point out all your mistakes and give you insights about music simultaneously.

It has been shown to improve frequency and commitment to the practice.

Check out EnthuZiastic piano classes for a personalized piano learning experience.

2. Use Online Resources

Now, if you want to learn on your own, there are plenty of online resources on the internet to do that too. You can watch Youtube videos, free recorded classes, or read books and blogs to learn to play the piano.

3. Go Slow

It is pretty evident from what we have discussed earlier that you need to learn a lot of stuff. Just don’t rush things. Make sure you practice properly, no matter the speed. You should slowly start understanding what you are doing. You can always speed up later.

4. Focus on Technique

Your technique is essential; make sure it is perfect. Because if you are practicing day in and day out, but your form, positioning, and technique are wrong, it will hurt you in the long run.

The sooner you realize any mistake you may have the better because it is hard to unlearn a habit. So be mindful of your practice.

5. Create Routines

Lastly, set practice routines. Schedule or block out a fixed slot for your piano practice time.

One of the most compelling factors to success is long-term consistency. Setting a regular practice routine and sticking to it will help your study of the piano become a normal part of every week.

Check out EnthuZiastic piano classes for a personalized piano learning experience.


How Long Before I am Considered a Good Player?

While we understand the enthusiasm, this question has a subjective answer. Since everybody is different, the pace of learning differs too.

So if you take that aspect out of the equation, it will entirely depend on how well you want to play – because producing a tone on the piano is relatively easy.

Becoming a virtuoso or concert pianist takes almost 10-15 years of diligent practice.

There is a lot to be learned. But anybody who has been practicing for a good 2-3 years can be considered a decent piano player.

Read: How Long Does it Take to Learn Piano? For more details.


Can I teach myself piano?

Of course, you can teach yourself how to play the piano, but only to a certain degree. You can reach the intermediate stage all by yourself with diligent practice. But to go to the next level, you will need some assistance from a piano teacher.

Is piano easier than guitar?

The guitar might seem like an easier choice. But when you get into the details, you will find that getting started with the piano is much easier. It is because the layout of the piano is easier to memorise and learn. This makes the piano an easy instrument for beginners.

Can you learn piano as an adult?

Just like any other skill in the world, you can learn it at any age. There is no boundary to learning. It doesn’t matter whether you are new to the piano or returning to it after a long time; you can learn it.

Read: Learning Piano as An Adult: Where to Start? For more details.

What is the best age to learn piano?

The best age to learn the piano is between 6-9 years. While older students may have it easier to move around the piano, kids can develop music sense faster.

What do I need to know before learning piano?

Some things you need to bear in mind include: making sure you have a reliable instrument, learning piano takes time, and your hands might not move properly right off the bat.

learning piano

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We have discussed a lot of factors that can make it hard or easy to learn the piano as a beginner.

All that said, it’s really nothing to worry about. Yes, it is a bit of a learning curve, but learning the piano is well worth the time and effort.

No matter what age you decide to learn the piano, you can mesmerize the audience with your beautiful performances.

So keep practicing, and you will cross every hurdle that would make the piano a hard instrument.

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