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8 Key Mistakes You Want to Avoid When Learning the Piano

 by Autumn Huerter

A smiling young woman playing the piano at home

Learning the piano can be a lot of fun, but it does require a level of dedication and patience. Just like with any skill, there are some common yet crucial mistakes that you will want to avoid making in an effort to have a smoother learning experience. For those taking face to face or virtual piano lessons, you may have already encountered some of these mistakes. There will likely, however, be a few that surprise you! Continue reading to get more details on these mistakes and how you can improve your piano journey. 

Mistake #1: Playing with tense fingers.

Right out of the gate, it is natural for you to feel stiff or nervous when approaching learning a new instrument. This fact may cause you to tense up or have difficulties navigating around the keys. Your hands and fingers are absolutely essential to playing the piano, so if they are too tense or stiff, you need to find a way to relax. Try doing a few light stretches and take a couple of deep breaths. When working with a piano instructor, they will have some tips on what you can do as well.

Mistake #2: Trying to go too fast.

Enthusiasm when it comes to learning the piano is a great trait to have! After all, this will help you to feel motivated and inspired to keep practicing and learning new things, even in the face of setbacks. However, trying to take on too much too fast can actually be detrimental to your playing. You could wind up developing bad habits, skipping over the fundamentals, or even burning yourself out. Here at Music House, we recommend practicing at least 20 minutes a day. If playing is causing you stress or you’re getting frustrated with your development, try stepping away for a few hours and trying again later.

Mistake #3: Overlooking important details.

Music is very layered and there is so much to learn and master. The details of a piece are what makes the ordinary extraordinary and can really help elevate your playing to the next level. All too often, however, those who are just beginning to learn the piano might overlook elements such as dynamics, tempo, and weight. All of these factors come together to make the piece sound as it is written. Make sure that you are noticing these things and including them in your practice.

Mistake #4: Having poor posture.

Slouching or having poor posture at the piano will not only impact your playing, but it will also do a toll on your body. One of the first topics that your instructor will address when taking face to face or virtual piano lessons is just how important posture is. They will demonstrate what good posture looks like and will coach you on how to properly sit on the bench and hold your wrists. It is necessary to take this lesson seriously and implement it when practicing on your own.

Mistake #5: Skipping practice at home.

Let’s face it: there are days that you simply aren’t going to feel motivated to practice. That is a fact, even if you are someone who truly enjoys playing the piano and has a passion for music. However, it is still vital that you practice for the minimum 20 minutes a day to keep up with your muscle memory and not lose any progress that you have made. If you aren’t feeling well or are burnt out, try listening to piano music for a half hour instead or simply review any notes you’ve left on your sheet music. Even a little bit can go a long way!

A happy young boy learning the piano in his living room

Mistake #6: Playing above or below your skill level. 

Progressing to the next stage of learning the piano can call for a certain level of discernment. After all, you don’t want to stay in your comfort zone too long and let your skills grow stale or stagnant. On the other hand, you don’t want to try a piece of music that is above your current skill level and get discouraged or frustrated. This is where taking face to face or virtual piano lessons can make a huge difference! A trained instructor will know exactly when to move into the next set of lessons and keep you consistently moving forward but not in a way that is overwhelming. 

Mistake #7: Not recording yourself. 

There are times when you will make a mistake or hit a wall when learning a piece of music and you aren’t sure how to move forward. This is extremely frustrating and may even prompt you to want to quit. Before you think about doing that, try recording yourself playing! It is recommended to use both audio and video recording when filming yourself practicing. Doing so will provide you with another perspective and a way to see and hear yourself in a way that you otherwise wouldn’t before. Reviewing the recording will allow you to review many elements of your playing, such as your posture, your hand movements, and the quality of your tone and sound.

Mistake #8: Not performing in front of others.

For many beginners, there is nothing more nerve-racking than the idea of performing in front of others. Stage fright or performance anxiety is a perfectly normal part of the process, however, don’t let it get the best of you. One of the best feelings a musician can experience is the thrill and reward of performing in front of a live audience. Don’t worry, though! You don’t have to get in front of a large auditorium of strangers your first time around. Instead, invite a few close family members to watch you perform at home or another intimate setting. Start here and work your way up to more formal performances over time. The more you do it, the easier it will become.

Learn the Piano at Music House

If you have been trying to learn the piano on your own and haven’t made much progress, don’t be afraid to call in the pros! Here at Music House, we offer our students both face to face or virtual piano lessons. Our locally owned and operated music school is focused on creating a welcoming community environment where students of all ages can come together to connect and learn. Plus, our great team of highly talented staff and instructors are there to help you every step of the way to become the musician you aspire to be. Contact us today for more information!

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Written by Autumn Huerter
Autumn Huerter
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