5 Common Mistakes Made by Piano Beginners

There are certain things beginners do that hold them back from progressing on the piano as fast as they could.  Here, we look at the most common of those mistakes.

  1. Beginners look at their hands instead of looking up at their sheet music

The instinct is natural – we are doing complex movements with our fingers, and so we want to look at them.  A beginner is convinced that by looking at their fingers, they will play more accurately, but actually, the opposite is true.  It’s hard to believe until you try it two or three times, and then you find that what you’re playing flows better and faster.

It’s like letting go when you’re ice-skating or roller blading.  It’s scary and you feel out of control but unless you let go, you can’t skate.  And unless you look at your music, you can’t know where you are in the music and what comes next.

  1. Beginners don’t practice every day

It’s so easy to think that if you haven’t got an hour to practice, it’s not worth going to the piano, but it’s not true.  If you have two minutes, it’s worth sitting at the piano and playing something.  More often than not, whatever was stopping you from practicing doesn’t seem so important and you end up playing the piano for 15 minutes, or maybe even 30. Professionals practice for several hours every day.

Of course, you have to be careful not to lose your job or forget to pick your children up from school, but you can always put a timer on if you have to be somewhere.  Even doing five  minutes two or three times a day can be very productive.

  1. Beginners try to teach themselves

This isn’t impossible, and some piano players have successfully taught themselves.  But for the average person, this is a really long, hard road.  Music is a science as well as an art, and some of it really needs personal explanation and assistance.  It’s very easy when teaching yourself to get into bad habits right from the start which are extremely difficult to correct later.

A teacher needs to show a beginner how to sit at the piano as well as watch their hand position so that they play with the greatest ease and mobility.  Beginners who teach themselves are easy to spot as they usually have no clue how to use the pedal, play with flat fingers, and play huddled over the piano keyboard. Workaround here could be to check some online piano courses.

  1. Beginners don’t invest in the right instrument

It’s best to get the best piano keyboard you can afford. This is because inferior keyboards don’t make your fingers work in the way a real piano does.  The keys are much easier to press down, and are often a bit smaller than the keys on a real piano.  So you don’t get the work-out that weighted keys give you.

You also can’t get much expression from a cheap keyboard and expression is essential on the piano, otherwise music sounds mechanical, even computerized.

  1. Beginners play too fast too soon

Everyone who dreams of playing the piano dreams of running up and down the keys with the easy elegance of a famous pianist.  But the truth is, practicing slowly is critical to developing good technique and accuracy.  It is, in fact, often harder to play slowly than fast, as when we play fast we can get away with a lot of imperfections.

So, if you’re a beginner on the piano, take stock of any of these mistakes you’re making and put them right.  I’m sure you’ll see – and even feel –  the difference in the long run!

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