Do you have a secret dream of learning to play the piano, but worry that it would be too hard to learn now that you’re an adult?
I’m always amazed when adults tell me they’ve dreamed of playing piano, but believe it’s too late for them to learn. I wish I knew where this belief came from — it’s simply not true!
Adult piano lessons can be a rewarding process for both the student and the teacher. And playing piano is certainly a wonderful stress-reliever for busy lives.
If you’re an adult who is ready to play piano, here are some helpful tips as you find a teacher and become a student once again.
Find a great piano teacher.
Find a teacher who is passionate about and experienced with teaching adults, and who has adult students in her studio. If a piano teacher’s experience and specialty is starting young children, and her studio is full of 5-15 year-olds, she may not be the best choice.
Why? As a teacher, all her preparation, repertoire, and teaching tools are geared towards children. That’s not to say she couldn’t teach adults — but her studio is geared for a younger age group.
A teacher who enjoys teaching adults will have music, piano methods, and exercises specifically to help adults learn and get the most enjoyment and success from piano lessons. The way adults learn, and how we are motivated, is very different than for children.
A great piano teacher is your ally and biggest cheerleader!
Choose your piano method.
Are you really wanting to play classical? Or is jazz more what you’re looking for? Maybe you’re not even interested in learning to read music — you just want to be able to improvise on chords and read lead sheets. Why not take lessons that are giving you exactly what you want?
There are so many ways to go about learning to play piano. Talk to prospective teachers about the methods they teach, and find one that will teach you in a way that makes you excited to play every day.
Make the time.
Adult piano lessons are a commitment of time and resources in a busy life. It helps to make a conscious decision to devote the part of your everyday routine to piano practice. If piano is low on your to-do list, you’ll end up practicing only on weekends — which will lead to a disappointing experience for you. Really.
So carve out just 10 or 15 minutes a day to totally devote to piano. It will work wonders! Even better if your practice can be at the same time every day. Make practicing a part of your life, just like taking a shower or brushing your teeth, and you’ll enjoy steady progress and success.
Be a student.
Ask yourself: are you truly willing to be a student, and be taught?
One of the most difficult things for my adult students is releasing control of the learning process. I understand — as adults, we need to make decisions, solve problems, and decide the best way to do things. But piano lessons are different.
You’re a beginner. Accept that, enjoy it, and allow your teacher to guide you in the learning process — even if you don’t understand why she might be asking you to practice a certain way, or you’re just sure you can do it faster or better. After all, who is the expert? If you knew the answers, you’d already be playing piano!
Lastly, patience is a virtue. Learning to express yourself fluently at the piano is like learning a new language: it takes time. Be patient! Play each and every piece, from the first one you learn, with intention and beauty.
Don’t ignore the journey by focusing on the destination. You’ll miss out on enjoying all the simple pieces if you believe anything less than Chopin isn’t really playing the piano. From the moment your fingers touch the keys, you’re playing piano. Enjoy it!
Your piano lessons, and the time you spend every day at the piano, can bring you happiness from the moment you start.
It’s never too late to learn to play piano!