20 Steps to
Learning the Piano
1. Immerse yourself in music. Listen, sing, watch others play. Do this daily. Acquaint yourself with the piano and all its parts and sounds. Learn about the strings, soundboard, pedals, and lid… all there is. Toy around and test everything!
2. Begin without note reading. Learn easy, simple improvisation and playing by ear. Use the pedal. Explore. Don’t be afraid, test drive your instrument; it is hard to break!
3. Learn how your body works and how to use it when playing. Learn about proper posture, hand position, weight balance and how to relax.
4. Learn the names of the piano keys and your finger numbers.
5. Pick a simple piece of music, with only a few notes and learn it by ear.
6. Observe how a melody moves; up and down in steps, skips and repeats. Learn to read a simple piece of music with notes in the same way. Practice to really listen to everything you play. Do this daily.
7. Play five finger patterns all over the keyboard, and in many different keys. Use a lot of black keys! First without notes to learn the geography of the keyboard, and then with notes using “landmark notes” to find your way.
8. Learn to identify and play simple harmonic and melodic intervals from unison to a fifth. Learn the difference between a half step and a whole step. This will help you with note reading a lot!
9. Practice to play loud (forte) and soft (piano) and anything in between.
10. Learn to play staccato and legato.
11. Master playing pieces with simple
melodies where the hands take turn to play. (Not simultaneously yet).
12. Continue with simple pieces that
use both hands at the same time. Always practice hands separately first.
13. Learn about basic chords and how to
play them in root position.
14. Learn to play a C major scale in
one octave first in each hand separately, and then in contrary motion. Do
the same with the A minor (natural)
15. Play simple pieces with the C major
scale and chords.
16. Continue to learn to identify and play all intervals
unison to an octave, melodic and harmonic.
17. Continue to learn all major and minor scales with the same fingering in one octave by ear, hands separately. Learn about the changes in harmonic and melodic minor.
18. Practice playing chords with only
white keys: Also learn to play chord inversions. Play pieces using chords, blocked and broken. Make
sure to use the correct fingering.
19. Learn simple pedal technique: How to use
and change the pedal smoothly.
20. Take time to learn basic music
Rinse and repeat this process with gradually more advanced materials!