Most people want to be able to play the piano, it seems to me.  When I go to a doctor or dentist, hairdresser or chiropractor, and they ask what I do and I say I teach the piano, they tell me how much they’ve always wanted to play and ask me if it’s too late for them to learn.

My answer is always an immediate  It’s never too late!  I teach people of all ages from 5 to 75 and although the process can take longer if you’re older, a bit of hard work and consistency can get very satisfying results.

Make it a priority

In order to succeed,  you have to make the piano one of your priorities in life.  It can certainly be difficult if you have a busy life with work, children or grandchildren.  But where there’s a will there’s a way!  The best thing to do is carve out some time early in the morning – if that’s when you are at your best – or evening if that’s when you feel more inclined – and do your practice every day.

Put piano before doing the housework or washing or gardening, as a lot can be achieved on the piano in a very short time.  Aim for fifteen minutes a day to start with.  So many adults I’ve talked to who say it’s really difficult to find even 15 minutes a day for piano practice realise as we’re talking that they make as much as three hours a day for television viewing.  You have to decide which you would rather do.  The choice is yours. 

Get a piano

You’ll need something to play on!  To start with it doesn’t have to be anything fancy.  A keyboard will do.  But the time will quickly come when you yearn for a good instrument that is a pleasure to listen to.  There are many really excellent electric pianos on the market these days (see below) and these have great advantages – affordable, easy to move, don’t need tuning, can be used on low volume or with headphones – but an acoustic piano is a very different instrument and has much more heart.  If you have room and can afford one, go for it!

Get a teacher

Although there are lots of YouTube tutorial videos that teach how to play the piano, and this is certainly somewhere to start, I cannot recommend having a private teacher highly enough.  As a teacher myself, I have seen the results of people who have tried going it alone.  A teacher can give you personal attention and make sure you’re not getting into bad habits, can recommend the right music and inspire you.  Also, it’s great to be accountable to a teacher as you’re much more likely to work hard at it.  Try to take weekly lessons as I find those who have a lesson every other week don’t stay driven during the second week.

Get the habit

Replacing a long-standing habit with a new one isn’t an easy step to take.  But here’s the thing – the first step is really hard – and then it quickly gets a whole lot easier.  Every day, you make that choice to do your piano practice instead of turning on the television.  Link it to another daily habit.  Do you do a workout every morning?  If so, it can follow that. Do you brush your teeth every morning?  I hope so!  It can follow right on from that.  The idea is that linking it to something you already do daily can make it much easier.

Why do it?

There is a lot of evidence to suggest that learning the piano and reading music is extremely beneficial for our brains.  There is some evidence that it might hold Alzheimer’s at bay, for instance.  So this is another reason to seriously consider taking up the piano and making that life-long dream a reality.

How long will it take? 

How long it takes depends on many things – what you want to achieve and how complex the music is – and, crucially,  how much time and effort you put into it.  Learning the piano is an on-going hobby.  There’s no moment when you think you’re done, but you’ll have big moments when you realise you’ve reached a goal.  It’s important to acknowledge your accomplishments along the way and share what you’re doing with others.


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