From The Blog Of Ric Overton...

Learn To Play The Piano

One request that I get from time to time is “Is it to late for me to learn to play the piano?”  Of course, my response is “It’s NEVER to late to learn”.

There are a lot of courses available on the internet that are good courses to take to learn the piano when you are older and have an interest.  One I can suggest from personal experience is  Scott offers a very intuitive and concise way to learn.  Some more traditional teachers may say that this course doesn’t go far enough to explain all of the details.  My opinion is that it is pretty “spot-on” in its delivery.  No frills, just a simple and easy to understand course on learning to play the piano.

Nothing happens overnight but, one thing I want to point out is;  when you look at the piano most people see 88 notes.   All different, all types of notes, lines, squiggly things, etc. and after all “who can learn all of that”.  The secret is that there are only 12 notes that you have to learn.  These notes are represented in different places on the music staff (the thing with five lines and little round things in it) and all music has a set of rules you have to learn.  Once you learn those 12 notes and where they are located on printed music – you’re off.

I use (like many others) a book called a “fake book” and it has only the one note of the treble ( the notes you hear sung) and chords symbols.  Some people refer to this as a lead sheet.  Then with a little practice ( i suggest at least 30 minutes ) (yes, you do have that much time in your day) (if I do, then trust me, you do too) and a little concentration and little else, you can be playing in just a few weeks.  If you really listen to yourself then you can get the hang of it in no time.

Do I suggest getting a teacher?

Always-Always-Always !!!!! And did I mention ALWAYS !!!!! I suggest getting a teacher.  Here’s why and then I will explain how.

Teachers are going to give you structure to what you are trying to learn.  They are going to help you understand those “little rules” I talked about earlier and it will also help you overcome your natural fears of being wrong or doing something wrong and sounding awful.  A really good piano teacher will take you to a new understanding  with logical progress.  There’s no need to learn how many sharps in the key of E if you don’r understand the C scale.   A teacher will help you learn what you need to know to progress in a reasonable fashion.

Finding a teacher.

Here’s how I would go about finding a teacher.  Go to and look in your area for a teacher.  Contact them and explain what it is you are trying to accomplish.  If you are a parent looking for piano lessons for your 10 year old daughter then you will want to tell your potential teacher exactly what you are looking for.  If you are comfortable with a male teacher or a female teacher, or perhaps you have a special needs child or a child with behavioral problems, then all of this should be discussed with the potential teacher.

If you are a middle-aged person and are looking for a fun, casual experience, perhaps you have a situation that you need classes in the middle of the day or possibly at night, this needs to be discussed.  If you have special needs or really want to learn a special type of music, then you should discuss ALL of this with your potential teacher.  If again you are looking for a particular experience this should be discussed as well.

Lastly, if you are an older adult and looking to simply learn some of the songs that you have enjoyed all of your life, then you need to discuss this with your potential teacher.  If you want to learn 3 Christmas carols, your teacher needs to know that as well.  Perhaps you just want to be able to read the hymn book – Tell Your Piano Teacher.

The most important thing to understand THE MOST IMPORTANT  is that you should consider your potential teacher a future member of your family, you should feel as if you can trust this person and you should fell 100% comfortable with them.  If you don’t feel at ease with your first conversation, pick up the phone and call the next teacher on the list.  Not every teacher is made for every student.  Not every student is prepared for every teacher and a professional teacher understands this.

Private, Group or Online

This is actually a REALLY good question.

Private Piano Lessons

Private lessons are made for that serious student who may learn at a faster pace or slower pace than others.  Perhaps you want personal attention or you may have special needs or desires that simply can not be met with others around you.  You know yourself better than any one else does.  You certainly know yourself better than a total stranger.  Many great teachers teach very well in private or group classes.

Group Piano Lessons

Group lessons are made for that student that tends to be more social and feels more comfortable in a group situation.  I have seen some professional teacher do a very good job in a group situation.  I know that group is particularly enjoyable for (strangely enough) very small children and senior citizens.  It becomes a big family and builds camaraderie within the group.  This is also generally a little less expensive way to learn.

Online Piano Lessons

Online lessons are becoming more prevalent and more relative as technology changes.  Online is generally thought of as slightly less expensive, easy to maneuver if you travel or are not always at the same place when it comes lesson time.  Often these programs are built and designed for large groups.  Many people are finding online lessons MUCH easier than the traditional way of learning.

The point is find a teacher and start learning today.  It’s simple.  Trust me – if I can do it any one can do it.

When you have a chance visit

Ric Overton

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