How to Play the Piano

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So you have decided to learn how to play the piano. But how do you get started? Do you need to read music to play, or are there other ways? Let's look at some of the many ways you can enjoy playing the piano!

The Many Uses of a Piano

The piano is a superstar instrument with many talents. There are many styles and ways to play. The piano is like an orchestra. You could say that with ten fingers you can play ten different instruments!

Except for being an extraordinary solo instrument by itself, the piano can be played as a part of, or as a solo instrument with, an orchestra. The piano can also be used as an "orchestra" itself for different types of accompaniments.

The piano is used as a tool for conductors and other musicians studying an orchestra score, as well as a workstation for composers writing music.

How to Play The PianoJust Play Me!

The piano is one of the most versatile ensemble instruments. You can play duets, trios, quartets, etc., in an ensemble with many different instruments.

And let's not forget how to play the piano with company: four hands, as a duo, or even six hands!

So, the piano is a solo instrument, an orchestra, provides accompaniment, a tool for all musicians, a workstation, and an ensemble instrument.

A piano can also be played in almost any way and style you love. Jazz, Classical, Rock, Blues, you name it!

There are several ways you can enjoy playing it. You can play by ear, improvise, play with sheet music or not, and play chord piano. There are no "musts" or "should" on how to play. The Piano is there for you to enjoy in any way you like!

How to Play the Piano - By Ear or with Notes?

Expressing yourself with music through an instrument is one of the most wonderful means of expression we humans possess.

Is there a “right way” to play? Can you play the piano by ear, or do you have to learn to read notes to be able to play? 

Nope. There is no wrong way to play, and no, you do not have to read notes to play any instrument! It would be like saying you couldn't speak without reading from a book...

Playing music is a form of language. It is different in different countries, regions and is expressed differently from person to person. 

Play Piano with Sheet Music

Piano with sheet music.

Most of the music in the world is never written with notes.

And many musical traditions of the world are based on rote-learning, which is learning from a master by watching and doing, not by reading musical notation.

But learning how to read music is like learning to read a written language. It is not really necessary, but how limiting not being able to! Imagine all the “stories” or compositions by composers from different periods, written in styles you would never have had access to without sheet music.

Traditionally, most of the so-called Western “Classical” music has been written with notation. Today, even jazz, blues, and rock pieces can be found as sheet music. Even though these styles are traditionally learned, taught, and performed by ear and made personal by improvisation.

This is good news because if you can read music, you can get a “taste” of many different styles of music you might otherwise not be able to try out!

Play Chord Piano

Playing a piano chord.

Learning chord piano is a great way to quickly learn how to play the piano in a fun and practical way.

The piano, as well as the guitar, are the ultimate instruments for chord playing. Chord piano is easy to learn, hardly requires any note reading, and sounds great!

You can learn how to play the piano with chords and accompany songs or improvise relatively easily. With chords, you can even make up your own pieces!

Learning about chords will deepen your understanding of one of the building blocks of music- harmony, and this will, in turn, make it easier to read music!

Learn to Improvise

Piano on the beach.

Actually, you don't have to learn to improvise. Just play whatever you like and enjoy the sounds of the piano to your heart's content!

Improvising at the piano may sound fantastic or terrible. It doesn't really matter.

To let loose and learn how to improvise, you first need to stop being careful and cautious. There are no rights and wrongs when you improvise. You decide.

You can learn how to play piano by ear, learn to improvise and how to play the piano with chords, or you can read sheet music to learn a new repertoire.

So, what are your favorite ways to play? Share your story here!

My Piano Playing Story

How did you get started playing the piano? What inspired you to do so? Share your story with other piano players from all over the world!


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