Can i learn piano by myself?

Posted by: Fatih

Can i learn piano by myself? - 01/06/13 11:32 AM

Hi Guys,

I will tell you what i have been through.

I bought a piano and i registered to a music school. But the people were so unrespectful. So, i quited after only 1 lesson.

2nd music school was fine but we had issues about prices and i couldn't even get a lesson.

Yesterday i called a teacher, whom i found on a website. He came to my house a couple hours ago. It was the funniest 1 hour i have ever had because HE COULDN'T PLAY PIANO. He was just doing some accords to look like he could play but he couldn't. I told him "Sorry sir. But you don't know how to play piano". This was the weirdest thing i have ever done smile . But he deserved that.

Anyways, i am so pissed off now. I can play Jingle Bells and some simple songs that i learnt by myself from my piano book and i believe i can move forward with the help of online lessons. I know the notes. I need practice on sight reading.

What do you think? Can i do it alone? (I am 22)

Let's say you think i can do it alone. But how will i get over solfege???

TY smile
Posted by: wouter79

Re: Can i learn piano by myself? - 01/06/13 04:22 PM

Yes but most learn much quicker and better with a teacher.
Posted by: BillTheSlink

Re: Can i learn piano by myself? - 01/06/13 04:43 PM

I can only say that I have been told so and hope to do so myself. Like the above poster said however, most people will learn faster with a teacher. You must remember however, that hundreds of thousands of people in the United States have learned to play either by themselves or with just a mentor to give helpful hints and tips. In today's computer age these hints and tips can be gotten off of the Internet. With all we have available to us there certainly should be no reason why you could not teach yourself. You have to remember that for every instrument there was ever made throughout time someone somewhere taught himself to play it for the very first time in human history with no guidance whatsoever.

The method books and resources we have today are excellent. For instance the program I am using, which is from the now defunct US School of Music, was used by Lawrence Welk to teach himself accordion, which as I understand it is about the most difficult instrument to learn, and was good enough for him that after he turned 21 he left the family farm to study music at the Conservatory all while being a professional musician to support himself and put himself in graduate studies. Although that program is no longer available Alfred's Teach Yourself Piano or the Alfred's Basic All In One Piano Method books 1 through 3 Are Great place to begin.
Posted by: Mayla Fox

Re: Can i learn piano by myself? - 01/06/13 06:28 PM

Sure, you can learn on your own! It won't be the same as if a caring, knowledgeable teacher is also invested in your endeavor, but perhaps that is not what you are actually looking for?

Yes, ages ago, people taught themselves to play each instrument ... and then, throughout the ages, documented successes and failures in all fields have taken place on behalf of humankind and to the benefit of instrumentalists. You can get helpful hints from YouTubes, yes, but that alone doesn't give you a second set of eyes and ears to help you understand whether or not you are actually enacting what you feel you are learning.
Posted by: personne

Re: Can i learn piano by myself? - 01/06/13 06:41 PM

I believe it is better study appropriate hand positions with a teacher.
Although some self-tought people play very nice, I am sometimes terrified to look at their hands - you can also hurt yourself by using incorrect technics.
But is is my humble opinion.
Posted by: PaperClip

Re: Can i learn piano by myself? - 01/06/13 07:28 PM

Like guitar, but unlike violin unless you're the next Vivaldi, it is possible to learn the piano without a teacher. But it isn't possible for everybody.
Posted by: dmd

Re: Can i learn piano by myself? - 01/06/13 07:51 PM

Originally Posted By: Fatih
I can play Jingle Bells and some simple songs that i learnt by myself from my piano book and i believe i can move forward with the help of online lessons. I know the notes. I need practice on sight reading.

What do you think? Can i do it alone? (I am 22)


A lot of the answer depends upon what you mean by "Learning" to play piano. If you mean ... Can I learn to play the right notes on a few tunes ? .... you have already done it with Jingle Bells.

If you mean ... Can I learn to be a concert pianist ? ... probably not.

If you mean play a few songs for my family and friends at get-togethers the answer is probably ... yes.

It all depends upon how good you wish to get.

Starting (and staying) with a teacher is probably the most dependable way to learn to play well. Going it alone, while possible, is not the surest way to go.

If you can afford a teacher, I might suggest you trying to find a credible teacher instead of all of these bad news things you have been trying and then see how it goes. There are very good teachers out there, you just have to find one that works for you.


Posted by: BarryR

Re: Can i learn piano by myself? - 01/06/13 08:12 PM

Originally Posted By: Fatih
Hi Guys,

I will tell you what i have been through.

I bought a piano and i registered to a music school. But the people were so unrespectful. So, i quited after only 1 lesson.

2nd music school was fine but we had issues about prices and i couldn't even get a lesson.

Yesterday i called a teacher, whom i found on a website. He came to my house a couple hours ago. It was the funniest 1 hour i have ever had because HE COULDN'T PLAY PIANO. He was just doing some accords to look like he could play but he couldn't. I told him "Sorry sir. But you don't know how to play piano". This was the weirdest thing i have ever done smile . But he deserved that.

Anyways, i am so pissed off now. I can play Jingle Bells and some simple songs that i learnt by myself from my piano book and i believe i can move forward with the help of online lessons. I know the notes. I need practice on sight reading.

What do you think? Can i do it alone? (I am 22)

Let's say you think i can do it alone. But how will i get over solfege???

TY smile



Paul McCartney quit piano lessons after just a few lessons...!!!
Posted by: Mae L

Re: Can i learn piano by myself? - 01/06/13 09:18 PM

Of course you can do your own research n teach yourself. I often come across some people called themselves self-taught pianist, self-taught artist, self-taught plumber, self-taught mechanic, etc.

BUT a good teacher has a lot to offer. S/he is your loyal audience who gives you positive n productive comments, your motivator, your supporter who understands what you are struggling with. A good teacher also knows what you can and can't do, and assigns you the proper pieces and exercises to work on to help you succeed.
Posted by: riley80

Re: Can i learn piano by myself? - 01/06/13 09:47 PM

I don't understand the solfege comment. Can you explain?
Posted by: Electrokid

Re: Can i learn piano by myself? - 01/06/13 11:37 PM

Yes, you can learn by yourself...I did...just remember, the only person you need to please is yourself.....if it sounds good to your ears, thats all that matters.
Posted by: Charles Cohen

Re: Can i learn piano by myself? - 01/07/13 01:21 AM

You can get "ear-training" programs -- some free.

They'll give you practice in solfege (which I think we call "sight singing" in North America).

Also, there are some music teachers using Skype (and other internet software) to give lessons. You might look for one of those.

One reason for a teacher is to tell you:

. . . You're playing that wrong.

If you record your practice, you may be able to figure that out yourself. But it can be tricky, especially as the music gets harder, and the rhythms become trickier.

. Charles
Posted by: CarlosCC

Re: Can i learn piano by myself? - 01/07/13 04:15 AM

Yes, you can.
And don't forget to have fun.
Posted by: dkong99

Re: Can i learn piano by myself? - 01/07/13 06:46 AM

Short answer - Yes you can.

For myself I resumed playing the piano after over 45 years. My experience with piano lessons was a rather painful one, my mother would punish me if I didn't learn the lesson as fast or as well as she wanted me to, so naturally when I was allowed to quit to learn the violin, I did so eagerly.

However, I decided once I was in my 50s that I needed to let go of these childhood traumas, perhaps it helps that I've had enough lessons on both the violin and guitar that the basics are firmly instilled. I've resumed the piano using the Alfred's Adult course, at my own pace and this time, I'm enjoying it.

Oh, when I started playing the piano again, my youngest sister sent me my old lesson books. I looked at the progress I made when I was 6 and thought my mother was way off base. If I had had an actual teacher like my younger sister did who knows how far I would have progressed? But the point is I'm playing now which is what really matters when all is said and done.

DAVID
Posted by: wouter79

Re: Can i learn piano by myself? - 01/07/13 09:20 AM

>With all we have available to us there certainly should be no reason why you could not teach yourself.

I do not agree here. Yes probably all mistakes and missteps are documented somewhere on the web but that does not really help unless you can (1) read them (at least a significant part of it) (2) put them in the right perspective. I don't believe a beginner is in the right position to do this. A teacher is there to bring the right info forward at the right time and to explain it.
Posted by: Fatih

Re: Can i learn piano by myself? - 01/07/13 11:27 AM

Guys, i thank you all so much. Great suggestions and experiences about that.


Thanks to Bill. I bought Alfred's book that he mentioned. And i already got to chords in a couple hours. I am having a great progress. I will keep going.

All your encouragements gave me a great appetite to do that alone. Maybe i will get a teacher when i really need it. Maybe i post some of my videos here. So you could play how my progression is going. It seems like , yeah , everything is doable without moving where you are with today's technology.

I learnt even Fly fishing on the web while there are no fly fishers in my country. laugh How great is that? Glad that i can speak English...
Posted by: dmd

Re: Can i learn piano by myself? - 01/07/13 11:31 AM

Just one more caution for you Faith.

Your focus seems to be on how FAST you can go through things.

Be careful with that.

You may get to the end of the book and find out that you cannot play anything very well and have to start all over. It happens.

Try to take pride in playing things very well.

Make sure you play with correct timing and play musically.

Good Luck.
Posted by: Frito

Re: Can i learn piano by myself? - 01/07/13 11:46 AM

Without a teacher, there is a real risk of picking up bad habits that are difficult to break. A good teacher is indispensible for learning good technique.
Posted by: Barbareola

Re: Can i learn piano by myself? - 01/07/13 01:53 PM

Originally Posted By: Mae L
BUT a good teacher has a lot to offer. S/he is your loyal audience who gives you positive n productive comments, your motivator, your supporter who understands what you are struggling with. A good teacher also knows what you can and can't do, and assigns you the proper pieces and exercises to work on to help you succeed.


Very true. Also, a good teacher will challenge you while making certain that you don't overextend yourself.
Posted by: drazh

Re: Can i learn piano by myself? - 01/07/13 03:13 PM

Hi
No you cant . Find a good teacher as soon as possible
Posted by: CarloPiano

Re: Can i learn piano by myself? - 01/07/13 03:54 PM

Yes, you can learn without a teacher but don't expect to go too far... I thank god my house wasn't build by a self taught architect smile
Posted by: hamlet cat

Re: Can i learn piano by myself? - 01/07/13 04:18 PM

Only the OP can know if he needs a teacher. The need for a teacher has a lot to do with desired goals, and individual abilities, aptitude, and resourcefulness. If one desires to be an accomplished concert pianist, trying to go without a teacher might be an challenge. If one wants to play some pop/rock/dance/whatever, and really does not care if aspects of his playing are consistent with strict classical guidelines, then no, a teacher is not necessary to learn. Everyone has different needs. The OP should know in his heart if he needs a teacher or not.

Posted by: Temperament

Re: Can i learn piano by myself? - 01/07/13 06:23 PM

My musical teachers were always the great composers of the music I am playing and the many artists performed it.

In the last 50 ys. you have the most valuable feedback previously not possible: records of own playing. With digital pianos it is even easier. I am far from being a professional player but am able to improve. I am 55, restarted for some 6 ys after a break of good 35 ys. Playing now ca. half of J.S.Bach's keyboard music (WTC, suites, etc.).
Posted by: Norrec

Re: Can i learn piano by myself? - 01/08/13 08:29 AM

It sounds like the original poster is in the same position I was 3 years ago. I was around 22, had enough money for a keyboard, decided it was time to start learning how to play. I too purchased Alfred's adult course and wanted to try going it on my own. You'll certainly be able to play the pieces in Alfred's and it'll feel good to work through them knowing you're improving. The thing that you need to watch out for, that I didn't pay enough attention to, is that you're actually playing whats written in the book and not just what sounds 'right'.

A few months ago after learning my first peice not in Alfred's (there was a long break in there, I haven't been playing for 3 years straight) I decided to get a teacher. We decided to start about half way into Alfred's to get a feel for where I was at. I thought this would be easy since I'd been working through Alfred's already. So I practiced the few assigned peices and went in expecting to do great. Indeed, what I played sounded fine to me. It sounded fine to my teacher to. Then she started pointing things out - I'd added a note there, I'd changed the rhythm here, things like that. It didn't make the peice sound wrong it just wasn't right. This bothered me first because I thought I was working through the Alfred's peices to learn the skills and techniques I'd need to play advanced peieces, not just to learn simple versions of Jingle Bells and Greensleaves. In fact it was the reverse - I'd been learning simple versions of Jingle Bells and Greensleaves and brushing past the techniques unintentionally. Secondly, I wasn't even aware I wasnt playing what was written. The most recent example of this is Hanon's 6th. I thought "oh, this is easy" and played the pattern up the octave then down the octave. Then I played it in lesson and found out when you get to the top of the octave the pattern's a little different, and when you get to the end it's a little different to. I hadn't been aware because I wasn't reading the music I was just following the pattern that sounded right.

Recording my playing might have helped, but probably not. It's really helped having a teacher point out my mistakes once a week so I know exactly what to focus on moving forward. Esspcially with fingering, lots of times I'll make up my own and when the teacher forces me to do it correctly it's always ended up being much easier.

It's very true what you'll read about self teaching - you can do it but it's going to be slower than with a teacher. With a teacher I'm working through the book slower, but I feel like I'm learning piano quicker.
Posted by: sinophilia

Re: Can i learn piano by myself? - 01/08/13 09:10 AM

Like Norrec exemplified, without a teacher you need to be extremely careful and literally 'keep an ear out', listen to other people play (not just newbies but real pianists) on YouTube, have somebody listen to you playing, record yourself, even take videos of yourself to check your position, etc. Ironically, I think to learn an instrument by yourself you need to have a decent ear before you even start. Or to do some ear training.

Personally, right now I wouldn't want the stress of having to prepare for lessons and perform in front of the teacher. I just want to have fun and I don't care if I won't be able to play difficult classical pieces any time soon. I'm self-disciplined enough to practice every day without teachers or exams. Better, I like it enough to do it anyway. I think having a teacher would make me like it less - but that's just me!
Posted by: dmd

Re: Can i learn piano by myself? - 01/08/13 09:23 AM

Originally Posted By: sinophilia
Personally, right now I wouldn't want the stress of having to prepare for lessons and perform in front of the teacher.


This is always one of the issues associated with taking lessons. If the student could get over the idea that a lesson is like a "test" or a "performance" then it would not be as stressful.

One should view a lesson as simply an opportunity for the teacher to observe the student playing the piano and make suggestions based on those observations. Then the student works on things for a period of time and they get together and see how it is going ... then, more observations and more suggestions.

I like to space my lessons out for longer periods of time. That is because, first ... they are expensive ... and second, I have been playing for awhile and can work on various things on my own. I just need the instructor to insure that I am moving in the right direction.

However, if they were not so expensive, I would have a teacher more often. It couldn't hurt.

When I have my lesson, I try not to feel like I am showing the teacher "how good I am". Instead, just play things like I normally do as best I can and let the chips fall where they may.
Posted by: Fatih

Re: Can i learn piano by myself? - 01/08/13 12:46 PM

Guys , i thank you all so much. I will tell you something good. After reading all your comments , most of which were saying that i should get a teacher, i found a teacher today.

He came to my house and i had a fantastic lesson. You were right guys... It's necessary to work with someone who knows how to do it.

And there is 1 thing that no one mentioned here: When you have a good teacher, besides all things he teach you, he will encourage you to work hard like a cheerleader. Right now i am practicing crazily, to impress my teacher next week smile .

I thank you all again...
Posted by: neildradford

Re: Can i learn piano by myself? - 01/08/13 02:12 PM

Congrats on finding a teacher Faith, I don't think you'll regret your decision and I wish you all the best with your piano journey.

Neil.