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Learning Piano as an Adult

By Dan Olson

When people hear that I am taking piano lessons and have been learning piano as an adult, they are fascinated that this would be something that I would consider at my age. Piano for adults is something that many people don’t think is something they can do or should even consider. They feel they may be too busy, or they are too old. That simply could not be more wrong. As an adult it is very beneficial to learn new things, like learning to play the piano. It exercises your brain, is a great stress reliever and well, it’s really fun. I’m very happy with this endeavor in my life and highly recommend it to you. Let me tell you more about why you too should consider learning to play piano as an adult.

Is it too late to learn piano as an adult?

Let’s address the age thing right off the bat. First let me say you are never too old to learn how to play piano as an adult. The human brain is created for lifelong learning and is happiest when it is learning. There are so many benefits in teaching an adult brain new things. It can increase your cognitive ability. As you age your brain can lose or diminish in certain functions. Doing something like learning to play piano as an adult will cause your brain to create new pathways and connections to recapture those functions. This is called brain plasticity. This is where your brain will find new ways to do functions it has lost or used to do before. Learning piano as an adult helps the brain to do this. So, things like hand to eye coordination, timing and rhythm, memory and memorization can all be improved by just learning as an adult.

Can you learn piano as a busy adult / learn piano fast?

The single most important challenge you will have when you decide to start learning to play piano as an adult is finding the time to do it. When I first started learning how to play I was 55 years old. I had a job that had me traveling quite often. I was always asking my teacher to change my times and days. But that wasn’t the only thing, changing times and dates also messed up my practice times. So it’s important that when you decide to start taking lessons, you consider some options that are more flexible in ways where you can schedule your time to learn and practice. In this case I would recommend that you look at a self-teaching model like online piano lessons. Can you teach yourself piano with online lessons? Yes, however, some are more than just self teaching piano, they offer a curriculum and method of teaching that can be customized where you can design the type of lessons and speed of what and how you learn to play. For me this was everything. If you want to take a lesson at 10PM, that is hard for a teacher to be that flexible. Online piano lessons take care of that.

Can you learn piano without a teacher / learn piano alone?

So, I covered this a little bit in the previous section but let me take it a bit further. I started with a piano teacher. His name is Ben Camp. He is the best there is by the way. Ben and I did the lesson thing for four years. Then one day we decided that the method and way he was teaching me could be converted to an online scenario. We then created Learn Keys By Ben.

You may ask why can’t I just go and buy some books and start learning to play beginning piano for adults. I would tell you that you would have to be very disciplined to do that. You will find that it helps to have the guidance and teaching vision of a teacher. Just buying a book will probably never get you there. Learning to play as an adult is so different than as a kid. Kids are usually taught to read and play the melodies of songs. You may want to learn to play song accompaniment or you may want to do improvisational Jazz or Blues, or you may want to learn to read music, so you can play sheet music arrangements. This type of customization requires a teacher or a teacher’s guidance. So, if you are a busy person like I am, then online lessons that have a versatile teaching method like Learn Keys By Ben can really be the best way to learn piano on your own.

Is learning piano expensive / costly?

It can be very expensive if you are having private lessons with a piano teacher. One question you may ask is how much are piano lessons compared to other options and are they comparable? In-person piano lessons are usually around $40 for thirty minutes, plus, you have to go to the teacher’s studio for your session. Many of the online options can offer you a much more economical way to go. You can pay monthly, semi-annually or annually and you can use the service as much or as little as you want and the amount you pay remains the same.

So let’s look at the average cost of piano lessons compared to online lessons. Meeting with a piano teacher once a week will cost you about $40 dollars per week. You can practice all you want but you only get 30 minutes of instruction. With an online piano lesson service like Learn Keys By Ben you will pay $16 a month for unlimited sessions with a teacher led lesson. For comparison on just the instruction part with an online service you can do 30 mins of sessions everyday which would give you 150 minutes in five days. In a month you would have 600 minutes with every minute costing you 2.5¢ a minute and with a studio lesson you are paying $1.00 + a minute. But not only are online lessons more economical, you always have the service 24/7 to go back to when you are practicing.

What about the cost of the keyboard or piano? It’s true that regular piano lessons can be expensive, but without a keyboard or piano of your own in your home, making progress in your lessons is going to be difficult. Luckily, adult beginner keyboards aren’t as expensive as they used to be, allowing you to jump into learning piano as an adult, without investing too much money. To help get you started, I’ve picked out a few keyboards below that are cost-effective, but are perfect keyboards for a beginner learning to play piano.

Casio Privia PX-S1100BK 88-Key Full Size Digital Piano

Casio PX-S3000 88-Key Touch Sensitive Privia Digital Piano

Casio Inc. CTK4400 PPK 61-Key Keyboard

You can definitely go for more expensive keyboards if you know you’re going to stick with learning piano (which we suggest you do!), but if you’re not sure how long this hobby will last, pick up one of these great recommended keyboards, and start learning!

What is the best way for adults to learn piano?

In my opinion you have to choose what works best for you and you have many choices to choose from.

Personal piano teacher: There are many options and ways in which to find a great teacher. I would suggest that you look at things like their teaching method, what kind of students they have currently, do they focus on classical training or will they customize to you. Make sure they are close to you, too much travel time will make it hard to hang in there. A personal piano teacher can definitely be a great way to learn piano. It’s going to be one of the most expensive routes you can take, but having a real professional and teacher help you along the way will no doubt help you reach your piano goals.

Group lessons at a school: There are courses that are available through community centers and junior colleges. Some teachers also offer these types of lessons. They have many limits on customization. But they let you learn piano for less. Unlike the personal touch you’d have from a personal piano teacher, these group lessons aren’t going to get everything done. These may work better in conjunction with a lot of piano practice at home, as well as going to group lessons. Getting books and self-help resources may work together with group lessons to provide the best piano learning environment.

Books and Self-Help resources: This is the most inexpensive way to go, in fact it lets you almost learn piano for free. However, all the responsibility to create your own learning environment falls to you. This may work for some, but it takes a special type of person. Just like group lessons, you’re going to be giving up a lot in order to keep the price down. Perhaps books and self-help resources in conjunction with group lessons will be a better experience. With just books, you can often run into roadblocks that are hard to fix on your own, which a professional can help with. Because you’re working alone, this may end up being the least time-effective method. If you’re a busy adult trying to learn piano, learning just from a book is going to take far too long to see actual results.

Piano Lessons Online: For most adults this option is the best. And there are many types out there to choose from. There are sites that cater to kids, they may prove to be a little too simple. Some sites focus on teaching you through their exclusive software and you have to hook up your keyboard, these can be very interactive, but can be hard to really learn how to play. I would suggest that you look for a site that has a video instruction. A session with your teacher, where the teacher demonstrates how the piece is played. I would also look for a site that offers the fundamentals as well. You should learn how to read music, even if it is only to play chords and charts. You should look for the session to provide an audio clip of the music so you can practice learning in real time and beats. Finally, it should provide the sheet music as a part of the lesson. One that is printable, and you can put into a binder. And you should pick a site that lets you sign up and pay monthly, be able to pause it and come back, so you only pay when you are actively learning. All this and more is available with Learn Keys By Ben.

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