Bottom line first – yes, you will benefit greatly from formal lessons right from the beginning. Bottom line second – yes, you will benefit even more from formal lessons than without them.
It seems that we tend to automatically assume that people who take music lessons are really “musical.” Well, they are. They learn to play to express themselves and their moods and their emotions. They learn to play to tickle the ivories and create wonderful melodies.
Do you want to learn how to play the piano? Here are the top 7 ways to make sure you are going about it in the right direction:
1) Think about what kind of music you want to play. Do you want to play classical, contemporary, light jazz, etc.?
2) Think about the kind of instrument you want to play. Do you want to play the organ, piano, bass, etc.?
3) Study the kinds of music that you want to play. This will help you decide what kind of music you need to be able to play right now. There are certain types of piano music that you need to be familiar with if you want to be able to express yourself properly on the piano. For example, if you are looking to play piano- Giuliani! No! Thank You!
4) If you need to, hold on to some fingers. You can use them as a plectrum. This will greatly help you hold down those notes that may come easier when you are playing faster. This is a technique that works well, just check out the way the masters play.
5) Remember that the key to learning anything is to practice. The more you practice, the faster you get. In order to keep those beautiful fingers of yours, remember to keep the interest and drive to be always learning new things. Music comes from within, so don’t force it.
6) You don’t need to have “talent” or “perfect Pitch.” There are people who are born with “perfect Pitch” and they hear a note once and that’s how that note is remembered forever. For the rest of us, practice, practice, practice.
7) Listen to a note. Another great thing to do is to try to identify the note the song is playing. This may not be a piece of music, but just a note. It helps to keep you in “Rhythm” when you are listening to anything.
8) Focus on the time between each “quarter-note.” Playing in 4/4 time, each quarter note gets a “break.” So, you could play quarter notes over two beats or you could play quarter notes over four beats. Do whatever it takes to keep the beat going.
9) OK, this one is a toughie. In effect, you are making a tag-along with the music. Really? You are doing this to play music. Yes, you are. I still need to refer to the example from above.
10) Play the piece of music or whatever you are trying to learn along with the music. When you are trying to learn the musical notes, notes, and durations, that is what you play through. When you are playing a melody, you don’t want to stop and wait for the singers to finish the last notes. You want to be part of the singers’ performance, not yours. I’m just the bass player!
11) Practice with your band, play with other musicians if you can. This also helps you to be a part of jamming, whether or not you are with a band. You will become a better player if you can simulate the band experience while practicing.
12) Get a sense of the overall performance. Do the other musicians featured in the video look like they know what they are doing? Are the transitions smooth? You will learn a lot about the “show” and how the musician(s) are communicating with each other through the performance.
13) Also, video the performing musicians, so you can see the facial expressions and conceded movements. You will also be able to see the way the performer sits in a chair and reaches for microphones, such as the way they reach around the body to grab the mic. Is the performer smiling or serious? This all helps you to determine how they will perform on stage since a serious performer very might sense that they are phony or not really delivering the “Sylvania dream” (i.e. a microphone and all).
14) Be aware of the microphone techniques. You don’t want to spend your money (and a lot of your effort too) on a video that doesn’t give you a good, honest picture of what the performer is really capable of doing.