5 Biggest Mistakes for Piano Beginners
If you or your child are considering piano lessons, it's important to know some common beginner mistakes. Avoiding these mistakes will help make your learning more enjoyable and make it more likely you'll stick with it!
Biggest Mistake #1: Getting a Piano that doesn’t work for you
Trying to fit a large piano into a small room? Playing your favorite melodies on a small child’s toy piano keyboard? These are examples of piano purchases that don’t work. Here’s what you should consider when purchasing a piano:
Beautiful grand pianos can cost $10k-$200k, while there are some 66-key keyboards that cost $60. Make sure you find the right fit for your budget.
Plan to spend between $400-$1200 on an 88-key Piano Keyboard with weighted keys.
Or, plan to spend around $700-$2000 on an upright piano.
BUT a $60 keyboard will get you started. It’s best to just get going, so don’t let cost hold you back!
Piano Keyboards vs Acoustic Pianos:
Many beginner pianists wonder, “Does it matter if I have an acoustic piano or a keyboard?” The answer is - No. As long as it has weighted keys. Acoustic is not always better than a keyboard. For example, if you have an old acoustic piano that’s out of tune and has broken keys, it won’t be very enjoyable to practice and you will probably practice less. On the other hand, if you have a 66-key keyboard with flimsy plastic keys, this may also be less enjoyable to play.
In both scenarios, you have a piano to practice on, so, mission accomplished! But you want to also have an enjoyable playing experience.
Use an 88-key keyboard with weighted keys (weighted keys means the keys are heavier to press down, so it has the same touch as an acoustic piano), OR
Use any acoustic piano you like - but please tune it, and please repair it if any keys are broken, for the most success.
Biggest Mistake #2: Not Practicing Consistently
Learning piano is one of those great examples of long-term gratification - something that happens little by little over a long period of time. Becoming a pianist is not about the destination, it’s about the journey. It’s about the 20-minutes you enjoyed sitting at the piano over days and weeks, months and years, as your skill builds slowly and satisfyingly over time. You don’t have to practice hard core, but you do have to practice consistently. The consistency is what produces the results.
Practice frequently for shorter periods of time (versus infrequently for long periods) to get the best results. Our Piano 101 Course video tutorial series includes “practice labs” where you can practice along with Charissa and her model student, Christine, to encourage you to keep reviewing and deepening your capabilities.
Biggest Mistake #3: Trying To Learn All By Yourself
We all have our inner “Lone Wolf,” and it might be tempting to try to teach yourself - but that’s not a good strategy when it comes to piano. The journey you are going down requires mentorship to keep you on track!
Get yourself set up with support and guidance! The Music Junction’s Piano 101 Course is like having your own private music teacher to go through all the piano basics step by step, with lots of demonstrations and guidance so you know you’re on the right track.
Biggest Mistake #4: Practicing Mistakes
The old saying “practice makes perfect” is a great rule of thumb, EXCEPT when you are practicing incorrectly. Repetition builds your brain’s connection to whatever you are repeating so that you can reproduce it easily. That can backfire if you are repeating a phrase incorrectly. The same is true for practicing with poor technique, creating rigidness around it that’s hard to change later.
Practice slowly to make sure you are playing correctly. Also, practice your music in small sections and repeat them many times. To make sure you are building healthy habits, our Piano 101 Course gives visual demonstrations of how to hold your hands and play with proper technique, the way experts recommend. You can use these demonstrations to check yourself and feel confident you are going down the right track.
Biggest Mistake #5: Forgetting Why You’re Doing It
It’s easy to lose track of what inspired you to want to play piano in the first place. Why did you start piano? Maybe it’s because there’s a song that you love and always wanted to learn. Maybe it’s the vision of playing music in a living room for family and friends. Maybe you see yourself on stage, playing with a band or giving a solo concert. Or maybe it’s something you’re drawn to because it makes you feel creative and artsy. Whatever it is, make sure to stay connected to what inspired you, so that practicing is connected to a greater vision than just that 20 minutes you’re spending at the piano. This will motivate you to keep going until you make that vision come true!
Try this Visualization Exercise: Visualize yourself for a few minutes each day as an advanced pianist. Visualize the sights and sounds. What are you playing? Where are you? Who’s there with you? This will make that vision vivid, and it will be in your mind as you work on your craft! Visualization techniques are a great way to motivate yourself in accomplishing your goals, so we recommend applying this to anything that’s important to you - including becoming an amazing musician!