Should You Teach Yourself Piano?

People who have wanted to learn to play the piano have traditionally taken lessons with a private teacher. However, there are also many self-taught pianists, and today teaching yourself to play is easier than ever, thanks to modern technology which has given us interactive piano software, video lessons and online courses – all of which offer great alternatives to traditional tutor books. But is it really a good idea to teach yourself to play the piano?

Many people will say no. They’ll point out that learning with a teacher means you get the benefits of one to one attention from a qualified professional, who can help you to develop correct technique and avoid the development of bad playing habits. A teacher can also provide a lot of moral support and encouragement when you feel frustrated or upset about your difficulties or lack of progress (all piano students feel like this occasionally). And if you want to be a professional pianist, a good teacher – or probably, several – is a must.

But what if you just want to learn for fun? And what if private or even group piano lessons are too expensive, or inconvenient, or you can’t find a good teacher in your area? In that case, teaching yourself to play the piano can be a more attractive option. If you decide to go this route, it’s very important to follow a course of high quality piano instruction – don’t just try to piece things together by yourself, as you’ll miss out on a lot of key skills. You also need to be very well motivated and self-disciplined enough to keep practising every day, even when you’re not really in the mood, and there’s no teacher to stay accountable to.

It is possible to develop into a decent pianist by teaching yourself. Just be aware that there are potential pitfalls, and if you want to develop your playing to a very high level, you’ll probably want to seek guidance at some point.

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