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Beginner Piano Tutorial

Beginner piano requires you to decide what kind of music to play first. Classical and popular piano playing are quite different and require different approaches. Regardless of the piano style you choose, the first thing you will be confronted with as a beginner is reading music. For most people, sadly, this is where it ends. Reading music is either difficult or easy, and each person is different. Their difficulties are the direct result of the "method" they have chosen. But the simple fact is that 90% find reading music a deal-killer. That's because slogging through the symbols of a 14th century graphic language has none of the feel of the joy of music, at least to a beginner at piano.

Beginner Piano Can Be Disappointing

Many beginners quit at the first outpost. This is because many teachers and methods have not figured out how to present the materials of music outside of the confines of standard musical notation. So if you choose to plow ahead into reading music, expect to be bogged down for a bit. Your confusion will be caused by the minutiae of a 700 year-old arcane graphic language. It's not you that are stupid. It's that reading music is a multiple nightmare of planes, levels and concepts. Each of these elements take incredible skill to master separately, much less together.

You Don't Have To Start With Reading

There are many piano methods outside of notation:

Visually, by eye
Listening, by ear
By number
Using colors
By animal (yes, irrelevant though it is, it exists)

The list is endless, but only a few are of real value to the beginner, and some are valuable only in the presence of a nurturing guide. As a teacher, I test first to see if the student can withstand reading music. If they can't, then we find another way to begin. Reading music isn't the be-all and end-all of music. It's just the language musicians have agreed to use over the centuries, and you'll need it to explore the vast literature of music.

Choose Simple Goals

Here's a list of simple goals to attain for a beginner at the piano, regardless of the method used:

Create a "folder" in your mind called "playing songs."
Learn to play a simple song, even with one finger, by any method without reference to printed sheet music.
Learn about chords, which are groups of keys played at the same time.
Try to learn the song with chords in the left hand, melody in the right hand.

Separate Reading And Playing

In a separate "folder" begin your study of reading music. Do not mix the two "folders." Playing songs is not reading music, and reading music is not playing songs. Don't confuse the two. It's better to start with a simple system you can manage (by ear, by eye, by number) than to be immediately bogged down with the more complex, sophisticated system of reading music. Unless you already have some facility with sheet music, don't start with reading music.

PIANO BY NUMBER

We've turned notes into numbers for happy beginners at the piano!

PLAY ALONG SONGS ARE FREE!

Our PLAY ALONG SONGS are produced by Grammy Award winner Joe Castellon of Sesame Street. They're such an important element in making the piano fun for kids!

PLAY FUN & GAMES

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Our books and videos are created by Emmy Award winning composer and leading children's educator John Aschenbrenner. Get your child happily started at the piano!

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