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How to Teach Yourself Piano at Home

So you’ve decided to take the plunge and want to know how to teach yourself piano at home. This is not going to be an easy journey. It is very easy to sit down at the keyboard and pick out a one-fingered tune. But if you want to play properly, then it is going to take some work, but that’s the fun of it!

Plenty of Resources

You can get lots of help online these days, but be careful what you pick. An established music teacher would be a good start. You can use them as a guide when you need to. And they will certainly teach you some of the basic technical positions for hands and fingers you cannot learn yourself.

Now for the Good News

All you need to start is an instrument and a whole load of commitment. Then you are ready. You will need to do what just about every other self-taught player has done. Start slowly, work at your own pace, and don’t try and rush it. We all learn at our own speed, and there is nothing wrong with taking your time to get something right before moving on.

And if you are sitting there thinking, “Can I do this?” The answer is yes. It won’t be easy, and doing it on your own at home with just a little online help makes it a bit harder. But yes, you can. So let’s get started with learning piano on your own.

First Things First

It is going to be hard to learn the piano at home if you haven’t got one, so let’s talk about that. What you choose will be decided for you depending on where you live and your budget. I am going to assume you’re not going to pay $150,000 for a brand new Grand Piano. And that you will start a little smaller. So what do you choose?

Initially, you will probably be choosing between an upright piano or an electronic piano/keyboard. There are other kinds of pianos and keyboards. However, we’ll focus on the best pianos for learning at home.

The Upright Piano – Old Style

Upright Piano

You probably have a fixed picture in your mind of an upright piano. Indeed there are those designs still around, but the newer models are far different. Before you decide on an older-style upright, you must ask yourself two questions.

Do you have enough space?

If you are going to buy a second-hand “old-style” upright, you are going to need plenty of space. They take up quite a lot of room. But there might be a more pressing problem.

Can you get it inside your property?

If you have a house, then it might not be a problem. If you live in an apartment and several floors up, it might be. Dropping it through a window hanging underneath a helicopter is not an option. This will probably lead you to a newer design.

The Upright Piano – Modern

These are popular, but once again, you will need to have adequate space in a room. It will need to be permanently sited. However, getting it in and out, even on the top floor of an apartment, isn’t a problem. Unlike the old-style pianos that are in one piece, the latest pianos are assembled on-site.

There are plenty of options at a range of price points by some great manufacturers. From Yamaha, considered by many the world’s finest manufacturer of pianos these days, is this Yamaha YDP144 Arius Series Piano with Bench. A cheaper option, again with the full 88 keys, is the Donner DEP-20 Beginner Digital Piano.

The Portable Keyboard

The Portable Keyboard

For those with space problems at home, this is a great option. They are lightweight but still full-size. They can be placed on a table or used on a stand. And they can be put away to save some space after use. As a result, they’re some of the most popular beginner pianos.

They also often come with some interesting options. The newer upright pianos may have a range of piano sounds, but these have a little more. You will find there are orchestral and other acoustic instruments. Some even have drum patterns to accompany you.

The Keys

If you go down the keyboard route, make sure that the keys are at least semi-weighted. That will make them feel more like a real piano. Also, try and get a full 88-key keyboard. You may find you need the extra octaves as you improve. And again, it will simulate a real piano.

Prices can vary, but don’t just buy a keyboard because it is cheap. This Donner DEP-20 Beginner Digital Piano 88 Key Full-Size Weighted Keyboard is excellent value, or for more of a budget option with some extras included, there is this Starfavor 88 Key Digital Piano.

If you have a bigger budget, Yamaha does some excellent digital keyboard pianos. A good example is this Yamaha P125 88-Key Weighted Action Digital Piano.

What next?

So you have your instrument, what next? It looks daunting, doesn’t it? At first, it will. But the first few steps only involve you getting used to the keyboard and the sounds the keys will give you.

A Period of Experimentation

Just a week or so while you get familiar with the instrument you bought. A good place to start is to find “Middle C” on the keyboard. It’s probably one of the most important steps to learn to play piano at home.

Sit in the middle of your keyboard and look at the keys. You will see that the black keys are grouped in stages. Two, then three, then two, and three, and so on.

Starting from the left of the keyboard, go to the third set of two black keys. Just pass over the groups of three black keys. You will see that these two keys are very nearly halfway down. Look at the left key of the two black keys. Now go to the white key immediately to the left and next to it. That is Middle C.

What from there?

What from there

You can play around from here and get the feel of the keys and the sounds. But you can also play your first scale. The scale of C starts on a C. You then just play all the white notes with your right hand until you get to another C.

That is eight notes away and to the left of the next set of two black keys. You will hear its order and progression in the sound as it rises through the scale. The notes of the scale are – C, D, E, F, G, A, B, and C. It is a good idea early on to start to memorize and recognize them by name.

Octave up and octave down

Going up from one C to the next C, eight notes away, is called an Octave. You can also go up again, and you will hear that the sound is the same, but the notes are an octave higher. You can even go up again.

What about down?

From your original C, you can do the same things. Play the same series of notes, or scale down. That gives you the octave down. Just for a few days, you can try and pick out some tunes in C.

And from here?

Well, you need to find some good resource material on the internet. But to do everything by yourself could be a problem. Just learning notes is one thing; learning how to play them is another.

Early, correct techniques need to be mastered

Posture is one, how you sit. The movement and position of hands and fingers, even wrists and elbows. These things are important. The wrong techniques will prevent your growth.

A Teacher?

Might be a good idea occasionally, but not all the time. You want to know how to teach yourself piano at home, don’t you? But there are some things they will teach you. Maybe every second month, you can go back just to check everything is okay.

The teacher might give you exercises to do which will be helpful. Combining self-teaching with a little professional expertise is not a failure. It is a big positive for those wishing to learn to play well.

Want to Play the Piano or Another Instrument?

We can help you take the first step. Check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Digital Pianos For Beginners, the Best Cheap Keyboard Piano, the Best Kawai Digital Piano, the Best Digital Grand Piano, and the Best Portable Keyboard Pianos you can buy in 2021.

You may also enjoy our detailed reviews of the Best Student Trumpets, the Best Beginner Saxophones, the Best Beginner Electric Guitar Packages, and the Best Acoustic Guitars For Beginners currently available.

And don’t miss our handy guides on First & Easiest Songs You Should Learn on PianoPiano Pop Songs Everyone will Love, and Easy Christmas Songs For The Piano for more useful information.

How to Teach Yourself Piano at Home – Final Thoughts

My advice would be just to try. It is complex and complicated at times, and it takes a lot of work, but the result is more than worth it. You can check out Teach Yourself to Play Piano: A Quick and Easy Introduction for Beginners to get yourself started.

Just remember that you are embarking on a wondrous journey. Music is something that you will find is irreplaceable. Enjoy every minute of it.

The very best of luck on your wondrous journey into music!

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About Jennifer Bell

Jennifer is a freelance writer from Montana. She holds a BA in Creative Writing and English, as well as an Associate of Applied Science in Computer Games and Simulation Design.

Her passions include guitar, bass, ukulele, and piano, as well as a range of classical instruments she has been playing since at school. She also enjoys reading fantasy and sci-fi novels, yoga, eating well, and spending time with her two cats, Rocky and Jasper.

Jennifer enjoys writing articles on all types of musical instruments and is always extending her understanding and appreciation of music. She also writes science fiction and fantasy short stories for various websites and hopes to get her first book published in the very near future.

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