4 Piano Myths That You Should Know

4 Piano Myths That You Should Know
Photo by Zhuo Cheng you / Unsplash

Piano lesson myths are everywhere!

I'm continually surprised by the misinformation out there about beginning piano lessons.

Don't let these myths stop you from learning piano successfully!

You really can learn to play the piano. Don't ever let anyone tell you you're not musical!

Photo by Yanna Zissiadou / Unsplash

Piano Myth #1: The Big One

No question.

The biggest myth about piano lessons, among both kids and adults, is that piano lessons are magic.

As if your piano teacher has a magic wand, and can tap you on the forehead and magically implant the necessary knowledge into your head!

Funny, right?

But many, many of my students start beginning piano lessons believing that somehow lessons are where all the learning happens.

Yes, it's true that lessons are where you get information. You get instruction, feedback, and correction on your playing, and you get new assignments and challenges. You do receive teaching, and you do some learning.

But the real learning -- the real magic – happens at home, at your piano. While you're practicing and really discovering the music for yourself. When you really start to get in touch with your fingers and have "aha!" moments. When something your teacher told you finally clicks into place in your head, and you really get it. Magic.

Never forget that you are the source of the magic. Your teacher just gives you the formula and ingredients!

Piano Myth #2: If I didn't practice, I should cancel my lesson.

Well, of course, teachers love it when students are practicing piano diligently. But that doesn't mean that a lesson can't be useful if you didn't work on your assignments. There's always plenty to work on in a piano lesson!

For instance, your teacher might:

  • work with you on sight-reading
  • do flashcards for note, interval, or chord recognition
  • work on chord methods or improvisation
  • do technique work
  • give a music history or composer lesson

I could go on and on. Never assume your lesson isn't worth going to because you didn't practice!

Piano Myth #3: Mistakes are bad. My teacher expects perfection.

Everyone would love to play perfectly. But we're imperfect people - period. Mistakes are part of learning!

Your piano teacher, whether you know it or not, is your biggest cheerleader. Or she should be!

As I sit beside the piano with my students, I'm not counting mistakes. I don't even particularly care about them unless they're learned and I have to take a moment and correct them.

What I'm doing is sitting beside my students, mentally cheering them on as they play. Noticing the improvements, hoping for success at a challenging spot in the music. Making mental notes of the great things that are happening!

Your piano teacher wants you to succeed and understands that mistakes are just a part of the process. Oh, and we've been students, too, by the way -- so we understand that you're nervous and you want to do your very best at your lessons!

Piano Myth #4: Practicing is work, work, work.

Actually, practicing is just playing the piano.

Think about it. Practicing piano is playing your instrument. Not just a list of to-do's to get through. Every time your fingers touch the keys, you're playing.

So what if you took each and everything you need to practice (play), and made it the most beautiful musical creation you could? Yes, that includes scales and Hanon! :-) Wouldn't that change the way you looked at practicing?

It did for me. Now whatever I practice, I look at as playing. Everything I play has more life and musicality!