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How is the piano a complete instrument?

By , published on 14/07/2017 Blog > Music > Piano > The Piano at a Glance
Contents
  • The Piano: An Instrument with a Wide Range of Techniques
  • The Piano: An instrument that requires complete concentration
  • The Piano: An Instrument that Improves your Listening and your Dexterity
  • Learning to Play the Piano with Private Tutorials

When you first start studying music, there are different ways to choose your instrument. Maybe you’ve just liked that particular instrument for a while and quickly decided that you wanted to learn how to play it.

Sometimes it’s a case of copying our parents, family members, or friends. In other cases, fashion may dictate what we choose (like with learning to play the guitar in the 70s).

It goes without saying, nobody chooses a musical instrument at random and we almost never choose an instrument based on the techniques required to play it.

We need to forget misconceptions like:

  • The violin is the hardest instrument to learn.

  • The drums is the most complete instrument because it brings together the other members of the band.

Each instrument has its own characteristics and techniques.

I chose to learn to play piano because I liked it. I thought it looked and sounded beautiful. I’d definitely recommend playing piano to anyone who wants to start learning a musical instrument.

Why should you start learning how to play piano? I’m not saying you have to enroll on a piano course immediately. You can play whatever instrument you like. Here are just a few reasons why I think starting piano lessons may be for you…

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The Piano: An Instrument with a Wide Range of Techniques

From sight reading to fingering and improvisation, there is a wide range of techniques that can be used when playing the piano. Learning piano requires a lot of work from various parts of your body. Parts you can see and parts you can’t.

We can clearly see which parts are very useful. However, there are also parts that you wouldn’t think are very useful when you’re just starting out.

Can you play piano with just your hands?

It may seem like a simple question but it isn’t. Of course, your hands are important when you learn how to play piano but they almost never work alone. To fully appreciate piano playing, you need to also think about the work being done by your eyes, your memory, and your feet, too.

How do I improve the flexibility of my hands? Mastering these keys will require a lot of dexterity. (Source: Wallpapers Wide)

With that said, let’s look at our hands first. Training them includes hard and pure technical exercises. A pianist needs dexterity, speed, and precision and working on these skills will make you better technically. Once a pianist can seamlessly coordinate their hands, eyes, and brain, the hardest job is done. All that’s left is to maintain these skills through practicing regularly.

Of course, when you first learn piano, your piano teacher will focus on your hands. However, that’ll be just as you get to grips with the accompanying music theory and learning how to read piano music notation.

Don’t worry, not every piano lesson will focus on your hands and how to read music. Once you’re reading music and using both your right hand and left hand confidently, you’ll start incorporating the other parts of your body, too.

We’re going to take a closer look at these and see the role they play in playing the piano. We’re going to look at body parts that many instruments exploit and also body parts that are specific to the piano itself. First we’ll start with the link between your eyes and your brain.

When you play a piano or keyboard, your eyes take in visual information from your sheet music, the keys, and your tools and accessories. All this information is then processed by your brain which organizes everything. Learning to play piano requires you to use your brain a lot since every action is coordinated.

It doesn’t just involve your physical dexterity at the keys. You also have to read the music and have a sense of rhythm. In fact, you have to train your brain to simultaneously deal with a huge amounts of information just to play piano scales or a simple chord.

I’d recommend that any piano player train their brain before training their hands. There are plenty of ways to do this but that’s a story for another day. You’ll find things very difficult as a musician if you can’t read sheet music, for example.

Where do your feet come into it?

You can’t talk about how useful your feet are without talking about the pedals. It’s their most obvious function when it comes to playing the piano. You need to train your feet in a particular way to ensure that the piano still sounds beautiful.

Coordinating your hands and your feet at the same time can be difficult. This is how playing the piano can be as complicated as playing the drums.

Do you use your feet when you play the piano? We don’t mean like this… (Source: CD and LP)

When playing the piano, the right foot tends to do most the work as it manages the sustain. It’s tricky. It’s hardly surprising that operating the pedals is usually one of the last things we learn how to do when playing the piano.

However, there’s another thing our feet do when we play the piano. They can keep time in the absence of a metronome. This is especially useful for beginners and your music teacher will probably encourage it.

I’d encourage anyone who’s starting out to tap their foot along with the rhythm. On the one hand, it allows them to focus on their timing. On the other hand, it encourages them to move their feet, which will be useful when the time comes to learning how to play songs using the pedals.

The Piano: An instrument that requires complete concentration

I often say that choosing to play the piano, rather than another hobby or skill (usually sports), teaches the student some important lessons:

  • How important your brain is.

  • How we improve mentally by learning to play the piano.

  • The important important concentration skills we develop by playing the piano.

  • How to concentrate on our hands, on the sheet music, and on the pedals at the same time. This means you have to be able to ignore certain other things.

  • We also learn how to work hard when things get difficult. This is a very important quality in our everyday lives.

  • We also learn to listen and to let things go. Let me give you an example. After a hard day at work, the piano is a great way to relax, unwind, and to think of something else.

Isn’t the piano a great way to gain confidence?

But of course! Learning the piano, and getting better at it, is great for morale. Playing music for your friends and family is both an enjoyable and rewarding experience. When you’re learning music theory and applying it to the songs you love, you’ll feel so proud of yourself.

You’ll gain confidence with every success: you’ll get better at remembering melodies and perhaps you’ll even learn to play by ear, too. The confidence you gain doesn’t just help when it comes to learning music. It can be really useful in our everyday lives.

It’s also great for relaxation. Every time you sit yourself down at the keyboard to play a song, you’ll feel your daily woes just disappear. Music is great for this kind of thing. Of course, don’t forget keep practicing your chord progressions, scales, and arpeggios. You can’t just keep playing your favorite tunes just because you’ve had a bad day!

Is the piano something you can do as a job?

In some cases, yes. Some people focus on this from the second they start learning while others decide to become professional musicians once they’ve got what it takes.

A pianist can play in a band, an orchestra, or as a soloist.

Composition, which is also part of learning to play the piano, is always a path you can go down.

How do I become a professional pianist? Being a pianist isn’t your everyday job. (Source: Classic FM)

We should also mention the pianists who decide to pass on what they’ve learned by becoming a teacher. Wanting to share their passion and knowledge wouldn’t be possible if they weren’t skilled musicians.

The Piano: An Instrument that Improves your Listening and your Dexterity

It’s obvious that the piano is well-rounded instrument. It’d be unfair to say it’s the best musical instrument outright since every instrument is different and unique it seems pointless to compare them.

However, if we focus solely on the piano, we can see that it’s a very comprehensive instrument. That’s why we recommend that children learn how to play the piano.

When it comes to technical, physical, and mental development, playing the piano gives them an opportunity to develop their listening and concentration skills. These qualities also are useful when it comes to learning other things.

In this sense, whether for professional or personal reasons, the piano is a comprehensive instrument. Whatever your reason for learning is, you have to make sure you enjoy it!

Learning to Play the Piano with Private Tutorials

Piano lessons are obviously to help you to learn to play the piano. In addition to teaching you how to play, your tutor can probably also advise you on which piano you should buy.

Where can I find a piano tutor? Your tutor will be crucial when it comes to learning to play the piano. (Source: Piano Lessons)

How can the piano change your daily life?

Since a piano is such a holistic instrument, it helps us see the bigger picture. It can teach us values and form habits that are easily transferred into our everyday lives.

Piano lessons can teach us about more than just the piano. For a tutor, teaching is a huge responsibility that has to be taken seriously. It’s their livelihood, which is why you’ll almost never find free piano lessons…

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