Exactly how hard is it to learn to play the piano?

Getting started is easy

Of all instruments, piano is both the easiest and the most difficult to learn. Learning the first few notes is very straight-forward and the beginner will quickly be able to play some easy, tuneful pieces. Making progress after the first couple of years can be more of a problem, and as the student moves onto more challenging repertoire the piano becomes a very difficult instrument. The main reason for this is simply that piano music contains so many notes. The pianist has to read from the treble clef and the bass clef simultaneously and often has to read 4, 5 or 6 notes at the same time.

Don’t expect too much too soon

If your child wants to learn to play the piano you should have realistic expectations about what he or she might achieve. It is important not to start too young, or at the very least, not to be too demanding over what young children should be able to do before about the age of eight or nine.
On the whole, younger children will find reading piano music pretty confusing, but if they can be allowed to stick to fairly simple pieces they will be able to develop their left to right hand co-ordination which will stand them in good stead once they are older.

Persistence is important

Piano playing is both mentally and physically demanding. Children who do well at it will probably be at or near the top of their class academically. They will have learned to read words very easily and often will be fairly good at maths (especially at spotting patterns). Even then, they will need a lot of parental encouragement if they are to put in the practice necessary to fully master the piano. In the end, it is the ones who keep on taking lessons for the longest who usually learn the most and end up being the best pianists.


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