The future of music

Learning Piano as an Adult: 10 Easy Tips & What to Expect

August 4, 2023
Learning piano as an adult

Do you regret not taking piano lessons when you were a kid?

Well, you shouldn’t.

However, learning piano as an adult comes with certain challenges.

And in today’s article, we will help you figure out how to overcome them. 

With our piano learning tips and tricks, you can make your piano learning effective and enjoyable – as it should be!

Learning Piano as an Adult – Easy Tips 

Before tackling specific tips and solutions, we want to point out that it’s never too late to learn how to play piano or any instrument for that matter.

Learning piano as an adult indeed comes with many advantages.

In fact, it might be easier and more beneficial than you think!

Benefits of Learning the Piano as an Adult 

First of all, if you want to become a good piano player, enthusiasm matters a lot.

And as an adult beginner, you’re probably full of motivation. After all, you want to learn the piano because you want to, not because someone expects you to. 

If you’re doing it for yourself, you’re already on the road to success.

person playing piano with music sheet

Also, you’re an adult, so you already know what you like and don’t like. And playing the songs and genres you like is a huge part of learning the piano in a quick and easy way.

But even if you’re not sure what kind of music you want to play, you’ll figure it out in the process. 

Learning how to play the piano is an exciting journey, and there’s so much to explore.

You can discover new music styles and genres, combine different learning methods, connect with fellow learners… 

There are many ways to make your learning process interesting and versatile, and we’ll tell you how exactly in a moment. 

Learning the piano is truly one of the best things you can do to fulfill your time. 

And most importantly, you’re able to do it!

Even at an older age, people are able to learn new things. Your brain doesn’t simply shut down after your 20s or 30s.

There’s something called brain plasticity – it’s the capacity of neurons and neural networks to change their connections and behavior in response to new information. So basically, the human brain can be rewired, and it can always learn. 

In other words, people can start playing piano at 60, at 70, at 80, or even later. Of course, that may require a little more patience, but it’s definitely not impossible. Far from it, really…

person playing old piano

As an adult learner, you can learn at your own pace.

You can choose your own material and find a method that suits you.

You can choose when to practice, and how fast you want to achieve your goals. 

So, you’re in control of your own learning. 

That being said, you should try to think of your age as an advantage, no matter how old you are. 

Because regardless of how old you are, you’ll get all the benefits that piano learning brings. Some of the most important benefits of piano playing include:

  • piano playing boosts creativity
  • it improves memory
  • it’s good for your brain (it improves cognitive skills)
  • it improves fine motor skills 
  • it’s great for your confidence
  • it reduces levels of stress and anxiety 

As you can see, learning the piano will ultimately do you good. It’s good both for your body and your mind.

And with our tips and tricks, you can truly get the best out of your learning journey. 

1. View Your Age as an Advantage 

Learning how to play the piano at an early age might be great, but it’s not necessarily an advantage. 

Kids are great learners, but they don’t usually know why they’re taking lessons. They don’t have clear goals, and they usually don’t fully comprehend how beneficial piano learning is.

On the other hand, adult learners know what to expect. They also know what their unique learning habits are, so they can find a learning source and establish a practice routine that fits them perfectly.

Moreover, you probably have some experience with music. Maybe you had a few lessons as a kid, or you simply like to listen to music. Any kind of previous experience will help you learn more quickly.

It’s true – your age is your advantage. 

And your experience is your strength. 

2. Create Specific Goals 

Before starting with your piano lessons, it would be wise to set specific goals.

Do you want to master the basics so you can play your favorite tunes?

Do you want to study in-depth music theory so you understand music and eventually become a skilled piano player?

music sheet on top of piano

Even if you don’t have an ultimate goal (yet), try to set small, short-term goals. That way, you’ll feel more accomplished and organized throughout the process.

You can also set practice goals. This will also help you bring the best out of your practice sessions.

When certain techniques and songs start to seem too easy, it’s clearly a time to set a new goal. 

By the way, when picking songs to play on the piano, you can choose a song that is slightly above your level. That will help you learn new things and make progress. Just make sure you don’t choose something too difficult either. 

Setting up milestones and realistic goals will ultimately keep your motivation high. And enthusiasm and motivation are essential!

If you stick to your goals and schedule, you’ll probably be surprised how much you can achieve with self-discipline. 

3. Find a Good Learning Source

Another way to stick to your schedule and keep your motivation high is to find a reliable learning source that fits your needs.

As an adult, you probably know what your unique learning habits are. Maybe you require clear guidance and structure, and maybe you’re fond of flexibility and freedom to choose your own material.

Either way, there’s a piano learning option for you out there – you just need to determine what you want.

If you’re looking for a modern and flexible way to learn the piano, online piano courses and apps might be your thing. 

Online piano learning platforms usually offer structured piano lessons for beginners, and piano learning apps include fun, engaging lessons and gamified learning.

People are usually drawn to them because they’re affordable, convenient, and easy to use.

Did you know that some of them are even free? 

guy playing piano with headset

On the other hand, many people claim that nothing beats in-person lessons. 

Well, that might be true to some extent. With a piano teacher by your side, you’ll get clear guidance and direct feedback. 

You just need to make sure you find the right teacher. 

Find a relatable teacher and someone who utilizes methods that align with your preferences, goals, and abilities. 

Alternatively, you can find a piano teacher online. That way, you’ll have the advantage of learning from home while getting full attention and guidance. 

At the end of the day, you need to find something that works for you

That’s the only way to learn how to play the piano without feeling stressed, confused, or overwhelmed.

And learning the piano as an adult should be all about enjoyment, fun, and fulfillment. 

4. Establish a Practice Routine

Although it’s important to have fun and enjoy the process, you should also have structure and discipline.

And to eventually achieve your bigger goals, it’s crucial to establish a piano practice routine.

Ideally, you should practice every day. And your practice session should be at least 30 minutes long. As you progress, you can prolong your sessions and practice for an hour; especially if you want to reach advanced levels. 

Regardless of your goals, it’s important to practice regularly and consistently. 

It’s better to practice for 20 minutes a day than for 3 hours on a Sunday.

person playing black piano

The time required for you to learn the piano depends on the length and frequency of your lessons and practice.

But it also depends on the quality of your practice.

How you practice is just as important as how long you practice. Perhaps even more.

And to make the most out of your practice sessions, try to remember the following tips:

  • start your practice with warm-up exercises
  • practice with a metronome
  • include practicing scales 
  • familiarize yourself with standard notation
  • play simple pieces of music first 
  • maintain the correct posture 

5. Master the Fundamentals

This might seem like common sense, but it’s important to master the basics first.

The thing is, many adults decide to take piano lessons because they want to play the music they love. And that’s completely normal and understandable.

However, you need to be patient and master the fundamentals first. 

Although learning music theory and practicing scales sounds boring, it will actually make everything easier.

With the basic knowledge of notes, chords, fingering, and tempo, you’re ready to move on to playing songs and learning more complex stuff.

And although you don’t have to learn how to read sheet music to play the piano, we definitely recommend it. 

Of course, you don’t have to spend hours studying in-depth music theory if you just want to play fun, simple songs for beginners.

However, if you want to become a complete musician and improve your piano skills, developing sight reading skills is important.

By the way, if you learn how to read music, you’ll be able to play any song you want. Sight reading skills will open so many doors for you. 

And it’s not as difficult as it seems – it’s actually quite straightforward. You’ll just need some time and practice to get used to all of the symbols and markings.

music sheet on piano

Once you master the basics, everything will be so much easier.

Eventually, you will develop a musical ear. So besides being able to read music, you’ll be able to play the piano by ear.

And you’ll build up muscle memory. When that happens, you won’t have to think as much while playing the piano. 

6. Take Your Time

If you decide to learn how to read piano notes, you’ll have to be persistent and patient.

Gaining sight reading skills takes time, so don’t expect to get there overnight. But with enough practice, you’ll be able to read notes just like you’re reading this article.

And the same goes for learning new musical pieces, mastering new techniques, and so on.

No matter what your goals and wishes are, you need to take your time.

Learning how to play the piano should never be rushed. It’s not a race. 

To make things easier, you can also keep a practice journal. It’s a nice habit that will help you keep track of your progress. 

Fortunately, many online learning programs and apps keep track of your progress quite effectively. Some of them (gamified apps, for example) even give their students a reward every time they reach a certain level.

And although that can be quite motivating, it can also be tricky. Online lessons and apps are very engaging and efficient, but they also lead you to believe that you can gain piano skills within weeks.

Maybe you can learn the basics and some easy piano melodies within weeks, but that’s only the beginning. 

So, take your time, make sure you familiarize yourself with the basics first, and everything will turn out fine. 

7. Record Yourself Playing

One of the most important things about learning any instrument is to become aware of your weak spots.

If you’re taking in-person lessons, your teacher will be able to spot your weaknesses and help you improve them. But if you’re learning how to play piano by yourself, you won’t have that opportunity.

Therefore, the easiest way to track your performance is to record yourself. You can use your phone, or your computer, or get a special recording program.

Either way, try to actively listen to yourself playing. If something sounds off, you’ll probably hear it.

That way, you’ll be able to improve your rhythm, dynamics, or any other potential problems. 

woman playing piano with headset

8. Work on Your Weak Spots 

As we’ve just mentioned, once you notice your weak spots, you should work on their improvement.

If you’re learning scales and you feel like you’re not able to play them smoothly, divide them into smaller chunks. Only play two or three notes, until your fingers get used to it.

Also, play them slowly first. Once you feel comfortable, you can increase the speed.

And the same goes for playing songs. 

Don’t play the whole song over and over. Stick to the parts that feel difficult, and practice them until they feel comfortable. 

If you actively work on your problem areas, you will significantly improve your performance. 

Plus, you’ll make your practice sessions as effective as possible. You won’t make progress if you keep playing the things you already know while skipping that difficult part.

9. Play the Songs You Love

As an adult piano learner, you probably have certain songs in mind that you wish to learn.

And that’s a great motivation in the piano learning process.

Whether you decide to take online piano lessons or you hire a teacher, you’ll probably get some freedom to choose the songs. 

Of course, you’ll also need to get through some basic musical pieces, but once you master the fundamentals, you can play anything you want, especially during your practice time outside of your regular lessons.

And we suggest playing the songs you love. As long as they’re suitable for your skill level, of course.

Luckily, there are many Youtube tutorials and online courses that can teach you simplified versions of certain songs. 

And if you learn how to read notes, you can simply download or purchase the sheet music you need and learn it by yourself.

Practicing songs will ultimately help you improve your skills. 

By the way, try to look for familiar harmonies and patterns in each song you play. This will help you learn new songs more quickly. 

But this is also the most rewarding part of your learning process, especially if you choose the songs you’ve always wanted to play.

10. Have Fun 

If you play the songs you love, you will look forward to your practice sessions. 

And that’s kind of the point, right?

guy with ring playing piano

Having fun and enjoying your lessons is very important.

Of course, it won’t always be that way. Sometimes you’ll feel discouraged and even frustrated.

And that’s simply a part of the journey. 

Learning how to play the piano is not easy, no matter how old you are. It’s demanding and challenging, but it’s also extremely rewarding. 

It will all be worth it in the end, and that’s the only thing that really matters. 

But if you add excitement and versatility to your lessons, everything will be easier. Moreover, that will probably make you more productive, and you’ll achieve your goals sooner than you think.

There are many ways to make your piano learning fun and interesting. 

For instance, you can take advantage of technology and modern online learning tools. Some apps and courses offer piano learning games, quizzes, interactive lessons, and so on.

Using different learning methods will help you stay focused and interested. So, although it’s important to maintain regular practice and follow the suggested learning path, you should also be spontaneous.

You can also explore new music genres and styles. If you get out of your comfort zone, things can become exciting again.

The piano is a beautiful and versatile instrument to learn, and there’s so much to learn and discover. 

What to Expect 

It’s true – the piano is one of the best instruments to learn. It’s versatile, relatively easy to learn (compared to some other instruments), and popular. 

But you should also be prepared for some challenges.

For instance, developing a sense of rhythm takes time. 

And the same goes for developing sight reading skills, finger dexterity, and muscle memory. 

But once you master the basics, everything will make much more sense, and you’ll be able to learn new songs and techniques with confidence. 

If you allow the piano to become an integral part of your life, you’ll achieve anything you set your mind to.

You just need to find a reliable learning program or a piano teacher you can relate to.

Besides finding a learning source that fits your needs, it’s also important to get the right piano. 

There are many options to choose from. You can get a standard upright piano or a digital keyboard. Nothing can beat the sound and the feeling of a real piano, but keyboards are usually more affordable and they provide flexibility and modern features.

piano keys

Once you get the right instrument for you, you can begin with your lessons.

And if you approach them in the right way, you’ll probably learn how to play the piano without hassle.

There are so many options to learn the piano nowadays, so why not take advantage of that?

Even if you hire a piano teacher, you can use online learning tools, play educational games, test your knowledge in an online quiz, and so on.

Plus, there are many free online resources you can use. 

So, it’s actually not that hard to learn the piano as an adult these days. You can even learn it without leaving the house. 

The tricky part is to continue learning.

But if you keep at it, you’ll be amazed by how much you can do. 

The truth is, there is no right or wrong way to learn piano. You should learn it in the way that suits you. If that happens, we’re sure you’ll want to learn more and continue with your lessons.

One of the biggest advantages of learning the piano as an adult is the fact that you already know what you like, and you probably know what you’re capable of in terms of dedication and focus.

Final Thoughts 

At the end of the day, with dedication and persistence, you can do anything.

But finding a good learning source and maintaining regular practice is also essential.

If you incorporate all of that into your daily routine, you won’t have any problems achieving your musical goals. 

And don’t forget – it’s never too late to start learning the piano! 

Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

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