Learning to play the piano takes work and commitment. As a beginner, you have plenty of room to learn and grow your piano playing skills.
However, most beginners often make a lot of mistakes that impede their playing and practicing progress. It’s, therefore, important to be aware of some of the common mistakes you’re likely to make when starting out on a piano.
When you know the mistakes to avoid you will progress faster and have an easier time with your lessons.
In this post, we look at the five most common mistakes beginners usually make when learning to play the piano and how you can avoid them.
When starting out in their piano lessons most people tend to ignore their sitting position.
Your sitting position may seem like an obvious fact to consider but it’s a rule often broken by most beginner piano players. Poor body posture will limit your ability to play and practice in the right way or for a longer time. Bad posture can also result in bad playing techniques and affect your ability to focus.
It’s also not good for your health. When you sit too far or too close to the piano, or even too high or too low, you may end up suffering the discomforts of stiff shoulders and backaches.
To achieve the right posture always sit in an upright and relaxed position. Keep your shoulders square to the piano and hold out your forearms to the level of the piano keys. Maintain your forearms parallel to the floor. Your fingers should also be rounded.
Remember that the piano is a large instrument so sit in a position that gives you access to the piano keys without straining or leaning forward. Good posture will help you build confidence and learn to play the piano like a professional.
Using a metronome helps you in several ways. It helps you to improve your tempo and rhythm as well as your overall piano playing technique.
However, most beginners tend to ignore the metronome, especially when they're in a hurry to practice their recently acquired skills. You don't necessarily need to run your exercises too fast to become a better piano player. Take your time and use a timer of some form in your practice.
Understandably, it can be quite tempting to forego the metronome but always resist the urge. This is because if you fail to practice to a time reference of some form you will end up rushing your scales or even play your chords at an uneven tempo.
Don’t ignore the metronome just to rush through your practice if you want to develop an intact technique. Using the metronome will also reinforce rhythmic confidence which is an essential quality of any piano player.
If your digital piano doesn't have metronome, try upgrading to latest digital pianos which have many advanced features.
Another common mistake most beginners make is looking down at the piano keys too often. They tend to forget that the goal of learning to play the piano is to be able to keep your eyes on the music sheet while your fingers work on the piano keys and only glance down at the keys occasionally to see a note.
However, most piano learners are often tempted to look down and confirm the accuracy of the note before playing.
Checking the keys too often will hinder your progress. You need to train yourself on how to check the keys occasionally while keeping your eyes focused on the music sheet.
Piano students who often make this mistake will have a hard time learning and memorizing a piece and always end up creating short parts of the entire melody or playing a piece with mistakes.
Learning to keep your eyes on the music sheet takes some time to master but it’s an essential part of your lessons if you want to become a good piano player.
Beginner piano players have a tendency of sticking to C Major while playing the piano. This is because C Major is the easiest key to play a wide range of songs on piano. When playing in C Major you don’t need to bother with sharps and flats.
Beginners also like to play in C Major as this is often the most commonly used key in teaching piano. C Major is also the easiest scale to play on the piano. It’s a great key for playing simple songs. However, not all songs are in C. It’s, therefore, important to learn to transpose songs into other piano keys to match different voice ranges.
You should learn to play in G and D then progress to the other keys. Learn to use black keys such as B Major, G-flat, and D-flat. These keys help you to achieve a natural position of your hand while playing the piano. Your longer fingers can focus on shorter keys while the shorter fingers play longer keys.
This is an effective learning approach that helps you to build a better flow of your fingers. Don't just focus on playing C Major but learn the other keys as well.
Scales may feel pointless or even boring when learning to play the piano but you should never forget that they are an important part of your piano lessons.
Keep in mind that you’ll eventually have to learn scales if you want to become a proficient piano player. You should never neglect scales in as much as they seem less important in your lessons.
The more you practice scales the more you improve your overall dexterity and ability to sight read music and play different keys at the same time.
It takes time, effort, and commitment to master piano skills. Becoming a proficient piano player is also about maintaining a routine and practicing regularly.
Make a point of practicing at least 4 to 6 times a week if your schedule permits it. More importantly, you should be aware of the mistakes you make or can potentially make while learning to play the piano.
Identifying your mistakes and learning how to avoid them is the best way to improve your skills and progress faster. As a beginner, don’t aim for perfection but simply enjoy the learning process while striving to improve your skills each day.
Remember, the more mistakes you make the more you learn and the better piano player you become.
Linda Ritter is a passionate pianist and a songwriter for more than 7 years. With a Masters in Music, she has explored the world of music and has collaborated with several musicians and brands like Roland, Tune Core, and plenty of blogs.