Piano Lessons for Adult Beginners: Getting Started

Love piano, but nervous about taking adult piano lessons? You're not alone.

No doubt about it - it can be a challenge to learn something new! After a life full of:

  • Jobs, parenting, bill-paying,
  • Never-ending to-do lists,
  • Ups and downs, failures and successes...

Habits. Routines. Ruts. Sound familiar? You can choose to take time for yourself and learn piano.

Vintage piano player
Photo by Darius Soodmand / Unsplash

Yes, it does take time -- but wouldn't it be wonderful to choose to take the time just for your dreams and goals? And please, please, put aside your fears that it's too late, or that you'll look silly as an adult beginner.

Learning to play an instrument is always a good idea!

It's never too late to learn piano!

The most important thing for you to decide as you embark on learning piano is what do you most want to play?

The biggest mistake I see so many adults make in starting lessons is to simply call a well-recommended teacher, and start lessons without considering what kind of lessons they should be taking.

Is your goal to play beautiful classical music? Maybe you want to play old standards and jazz tunes - and be able to sit at the piano and play from a fake book.

Or do you dream of just sitting at the piano, and playing improvisationally, expressing whatever you are feeling at that moment?

Perhaps you'd love to accompany your worship band at church, and need to understand how to play chords from those lead sheets.

It's important that your adult piano lessons fit your playing goals - not that you simply sign up with a teacher and hope someday, years from now, you'll be able to play the music that you love.

I believe in each person's innate ability for personal expression through music! You are no exception! I'll say it again: YOU can play the piano! :-)

Adult Piano Lessons - Tools for Success

Choose the right teacher for you.

Really talk to prospective teachers, and find out if they specialize or love to teach piano lessons for adults. Find a teacher who has a clear method for adults. Make sure her teaching style works well for you. Don't settle!

Manage the details.

Piano lessons are a commitment in a life that's full already. I know! But you and your dreams of playing piano are worth the effort! So plan ahead. Schedule time for practice in your daily routine. Make sure lesson costs fit into your budget. Leave adequate space in your schedule to arrive at lessons on time, without feeling frazzled.

Change your thinking!

Do thoughts like these plague you when you sit down at the piano?

"I'm not very good."

"I get so nervous."

"I'll never be able to play like I want to."

"I just want to play perfectly!"

Can you see that these negative thoughts can create performance anxiety? Talk about taking all the fun out of playing the piano!

It's important that you work to change your inner dialog. When you catch yourself running through negative thoughts in your head, just stop. It's hard - I know!

You've probably got a good negative thought habit going. But stop yourself, and replace those negative thoughts with something positive.

Here are some ideas:

  • "I'm learning more every day."
  • "I love playing the piano!"
  • "Just think of the pieces I'll be able to play in 6 months!"
  • "I remember when I didn't even know what a C chord was - how far I've come!"

It might feel a little strange at first, and you might not actually believe the positive things you say to yourself. But over time, the discipline of positive thoughts will change your daily outlook, improve your practice time, and give you a daily appreciation for what you can do.

Commit to success.

Don't expect that you'll magically find the motivation to practice at 9:00 at night after you've had a busy day. Give yourself the gift of time. Put your practice time higher than laundry on the priority list. Talk to your family about your piano lessons and ask them to support you!

Create a ritual.

I'm a big believer in the power rituals to keep you happily focused on what you want to achieve. There's nothing mystical about these kinds of rituals -- they are simply little groups of actions that create a positive feeling for you.

What time of day are you most energized and happy? Use that time to create your practice ritual. Light a special candle, make your favorite tea or coffee and read an inspiring poem, or a psalm. Do some stretches to loosen up from sitting at a desk all day. Anything that makes you happy, include it.

I also encourage you to decorate the space around your piano in an uplifting way, whatever style you love. Even if you simply have a keyboard tucked into a corner of your room, be intentional about making that corner inviting. Hang a motivational poster, or group some favorite family photos there. Clear away the clutter so you don't have to move things every time you want to practice.

Make your piano or keyboard bench somewhere you like to be!

All of these tools have a common purpose. To encourage you!

Take action. Follow your dreams!

Create the time and environment you need to succeed. Make learning to play piano a priority, and enjoy every step and every little success.

Here's a useful YouTube video to get you started:

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