So you have decided to learn how to play the piano? So how do you play the piano? Do you need to learn to read music to play, or?
Just Play Me!
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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 from being a remarkable solo instrument, the piano can be played in an orchestra as a part of the orchestra, with an orchestra as a soloist, and be used as an "orchestra" for many types of accompaniments.
The piano is used as a tool for conductors and other musicians studying an orchestra score and as a workstation for composers writing music.
The piano is also one of the most versatile ensemble instruments. You can play duets, trios, quartets etc. together with many different instruments. And let's not forget the joy of playing four hands, 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...
The piano can also be played in almost any way and style you love. Jazz, Classical, Rock, Blues- you name it!
There are also any number of ways you can enjoy playing it. By ear, improvise, with sheet music or not, playing chord piano...
There are no "must" or "should". The Piano is there for you to enjoy in any way you like!
How to Play the Piano: By Ear, With Sheet Music, Improvise
What is the “right way” to play?
play piano by ear, or do you have to learn to read notes to be able to play? I still get these questions from time to time.
There is no wrong way to play, and no, you do not have to read
notes to play any instrument. It would be like asking if you could speak
without reading from a book.
Playing music is a form of language. It is different
in different countries, regions and also is expressed differently from
person to person.
Expressing yourself with music through an instrument is one of the most wonderful means of expression we humans possess.
Play Piano with Sheet Music
Most of the music in the world is actually 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
how to read music
is also like learning to read written language. It is not necessary- but how limiting not being able to!
Imagine all the amazing “stories” or compositions by other
composers, from different epochs and in styles you would never have
access to otherwise!
Traditionally, mostly 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 traditionally these styles are
learned, taught and performed by ear and made personal by improvisation.
This is good news, because if you can read music you can also get
a “taste” of many different styles of music you might otherwise not be
able to try out!
Play Chord Piano
Playing Chord Piano is a great tool to quickly learn how to play the piano in a useful and fun 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
You can easily learn how to play the piano with chords and accompany songs or to improvise. With chords you can also make up your own pieces.
Learning about chords will also deepen your understanding of
one of the largest building blocks of music- harmony, and this will in turn make
it easier to read music!
Learn to Improvise
Actually, you don't have to learn to improvise. Just play whatever you like and enjoy the sounds of the piano to your hearts content!
Improvising at the piano may sound fantastic or terrible. It doesn't really matter.
In order 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 new repertoire.
So, what are your favorite ways to play?