When it comes to learning piano, it can be difficult to imagine doing such a complicated thing without the help of an experienced teacher. While having a well-trained teacher is the best way to learn piano (as they are able to individually tailor each lesson to your individual needs), sometimes finding a teacher isn’t possible for the life phase you are in. For example, you may not have enough money to afford paying for a weekly lesson. Alternatively, you might not be in an area where there are teachers available, or maybe your schedule is so crazy that you can’t find the time to schedule a lesson in.
Learning piano without a teacher is certainly not the easiest way to learn this complicated instrument. Thankfully, there are several tools that you can use that will make sure that you grasp the basics, are adequately challenged, and make progress at the pace you desire.
1) Lesson Books
The next time you find yourself near a music store with a good selection of books, take some time to flip through the music books targeted at teaching (rather than just being compilations of sheet music). The three most popular teaching method books are Alfred, Bastien, and Faber & Faber.
When choosing a book, make sure that it is:
- At your playing level (you don’t want to start at a book that is too easy or too hard for you!)
- Part of a series (you want to make sure that you can advance using future books written by the same author so that you are able to absorb their lessons fully)
Hearing yourself play the piano as you are playing is very different from listening to your playing from a recording. Make sure to record sections of each piece that you are working on, and then spend some time focusing on the play-back. This allows you to listen critically to how you sound – whether your timing is correct, how good your expression is – without also trying to focus on playing the piece at the same time! Using a recording device will help you improve faster on your own than you would if you tried to teach yourself and play the piano at the same time.
It might seem hard to believe, but there really is an “app for that” when it comes to piano! Browse through your iTunes selection to see what sticks out to you as helpful. Whether it is theory flashcards, a metronome app, a way to track your progress or the Singspiel lesson substitute (c’mon, we had to mention it!) apps are an inexpensive way to achieve a quality lesson from the comfort of your home.
With these tools and some significant determination, it is more than possible to achieve your piano goals on your own – but if you do have a chance to learn from a teacher, it is always best to do so… there is no substitute for their education and expertise!