There is much evidence that music can not only greatly improve our stress levels, but also our mood. According to one Canadian study, this is true for people who like music and even for those who don’t.

Learning how to play piano is probably equally as enjoyable, however it’s not as easy as simply listening.

If you have a dream to learn to play piano, but don’t know where to find beginner piano lessons, why not look into lessons with a private piano tutor?

“I’m able to sometimes express things even more articulately on the piano than I am with singing.” Harry Connick Jr.

This article will show you the many ways that it is possible to have piano lessons with a private tutor and what to expect when being tutored piano for beginners.

Research your Costs

Research all the costs associated with your piano lessons. ⎢Source: Unsplash

Once you have asked around, searched online or checked your community notice boards, you will have probably found a few potential tutors. Find out what their costs are and if you are intending to actually purchase your own piano for plenty of practice, do some research into the cost of second hand and new pianos.

At this point it will be helpful to know whether you want to learn on a grand piano, electric or upright piano and all of these have varying costs depending on the make and condition of the piano.

Once you have your piano and tutor, your private piano lessons can begin.

Private lessons have so many advantages, but some of the most important are that you and your tutor will be able to tailor a programme that is suited to your specific needs and objectives.

Perhaps you are keen to learn how to read sheet music, improve your coordination or master arpeggios - all of these goals can be discussed in your first meeting with your tutor, which is why you should remember to leave some time for this administrative discussion.

Why your Tutor will evaluate you

In this first lesson you and your tutor will get to know each other and your tutor will also spend some time evaluating your ability as this will guide the level of the programme you undertake together.

Here, it is important that you mention your weaknesses and strengths as far as your piano playing ability goes as this will greatly help the evaluation and get you on the right track as soon as possible.

Constantly Revising and Studying Technique

Once you are in the rhythm of your piano lessons for beginners, not only will you be expected to practise on your own (and this is a key reason why you made the investment to purchase your own piano), but each lesson will comprise some revision.

Don’t be surprised if your piano teacher asks you to repeat the exercises from the previous lesson.

Remember that practise makes perfect, especially when it comes to learning a musical instrument.

sheet music and piano
With the right teacher, reading sheet music will be easy. ⎢Source: Unsplash

When it comes to piano technique, there are several major sections that your tutor will cover as you learn to play piano.

  • Reading piano music
  • Recognising piano notes
  • Coordination of hands
  • Learning chords
  • Playing scales

You have so much to look forward to, because as you progress to mastering more and more of the techniques, you will be able to easily play almost any piece. Until then, make sure you make the most of having a private tutor, as learning these techniques on your own would be far more challenging.

Don’t be discouraged by your mistakes as this is how you will learn and the more you practice and listen to your tutor’s advice, the faster you will progress.

Other aspects of piano for beginners that you can expect from you tutor will be learning how to position your hands, play in time and to keep the correct posture.

Almost all of your time with your tutor will be spent learning and memorising new techniques. Once you have mastered these skills, you will be well on your way.

Playing Songs on the Piano

One of the most gratifying parts about learning how to play piano is to apply your newly-learnt techniques to the test by practising them in a song. However, often the songs that are chosen by the teachers of music schools can result in the student wanting to give up.

Make sure that this doesn’t happen by choosing a song that you really like as this will be sure to keep you motivated to keep practising.

In case you need a few suggestions, here is a list of wonderful songs suited to beginner piano lessons.

  • Imagine by John Lennon
  • Beethoven’s Fur Elise
  • Comptine d’un autre été l’après midi by Yann Tiersen
  • Someone Like You by Adele
  • Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen
female pianist
Ask your piano teacher to teach you to play your favourite songs. ⎢Source: Unsplash

You might also want to check out these fantastic options too:

  • Life on Mars by David Bowie
  • La groupie du pianiste by Michel Berger
  • Mistral gagnant by Renaud
  • Lucie by Pascal Obispo
  • Let it Be by The Beatles
  • Don't Stop Believin' by Journey
  • Love Theme From St. Elmo's Fire by David Foster

Your piano tutor will be sure to place the sheet music for you in order of their degree of difficulty, but regardless of how challenging your lessons get, you are bound to enjoy yourself with these songs.

A further bonus is that most piano teachers can re-transcribe some of the more complicated pieces in order to make them easier for novices. Whether it is blues, rock, pop or jazz, almost any piece can be simplified and tailored to piano lessons for a beginner, this can go a long way to keeping you motivated and excited about your piano lessons.

Every Tutor has their own Teaching Style

Piano teaching methods all compromise  the same foundations, however each tutor will have their own unique style and method to impart these to their students.

This is why it is important to find the right tutor for you while you bear in mind that it is impossible to predict with certainty what the outline of your lessons will look like before you have met spoken to him or her about it.

Many tutors on online platforms like Superprof, offer introductory free lessons and this is a great opportunity to see whether you think you will get along with your tutor. It also allows you to experience their style of teaching and find out what is on their typical programme.

Remember to give as much input about yourself as well as your piano playing goals as you possibly can at this lesson. This is where you can discuss whether you would prefer to learn a variety of techniques at once or concentrate on one aspect at a time.

Everyone is different and some people need variety to stay motivated when learning to play piano, others find it difficult to progress, until they have mastered each aspect.

One of the great joys about learning how to play piano is that the journey can begin at any age, it doesn’t matter whether you are an adult or a child or what genre of music you choose to learn.

girl playing piano
You can start to play piano at any age. ⎢Source: Unsplash

Private tutors have the ability to adapt to their students and one of the advantages of learning this way, is that you can actually have input into the design of your own piano learning programme.

There may be an area of piano playing you would like to focus on, or a certain piece that you want to master, simply communicate openly with your teacher so that your goals are aligned.

Even though your piano lessons are bound to cover a variety of topics like music history, theory, reading sheet music and so on, learning how to play piano in private has so much flexibility and cannot be compared to group lessons in formal music schools.

In fact, learning music theory - and indeed, how to play the piano - can be different for everyone, the important thing is to find a tutor with whom you can work to reach your personal goal.

As you progress, your enthusiasm will grow and your goals could change.

Perhaps you started out with the intention of finding a new hobby, or playing for fun, only to realise that you have the potential to take your piano lessons more seriously. Talk to your tutor and find out if and how, you can adapt your programme. If this isn’t possible, you may need to find a new tutor – but be sure to have that conversation first.

The world of music is limitless and it could turn into a journey that gives you much satisfaction for far longer than you ever intended.

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Niki is a content writer from Cape Town, South Africa, who is passionate about words, strategic communication and using words to help create and maintain brand personas. Niki has a PR and marketing background, but her happiest place is when she is bringing a story to life on a page.