My Experience in Learning to Play the Piano
I got a piano when I was 26 year old.
I had longed to play the piano since I was a tiny kid, and my
grandmother, whom I adore, had a piano in her house.
But she gave it away to my aunt when I was still small, so after
I got married, and someone offered a piano to us for $280, we bought it
instantly, even though it meant that we had to live off our food storage
for a couple of months, and scrimp like crazy.
Paying a teacher was out of the question, so I set
out to teach myself the piano.
The first thing I did was sit down and memorize a very familiar hymn.
I played it over and over again, perhaps several hundreds or
thousands of times, until I could play it adequately well.
I then played that hymn at church meetings whenever the regular
accompanist wasn’t around. I
couldn’t play anything else, but I had one song that I could play
I then set out to learn to read music.
I got any music I could find, and just played it once, then went
on to something else. My goal
being to learn to recognize notes, not to learn a piece by rote
memorization as I had the first piece.
I did memorize a couple more hymns, so I could play three, and
would rotate between them.
There came a point when I had learned to read music
pretty well, that I almost couldn’t play the hymns I had recognized by
rote, because I wanted to read the music rather than play from memory.
I got to the point where I could sight read pretty
well, and figured that I was at the end of my musical learning, oh, I
might become a little better, but I had essentially learned all there
was to know about simple piano playing for my personal enjoyment.
It was at this point that I encountered a thought
that forever changed my piano playing life.
I had always thought that playing the piano by ear was reserved
for a few select pianists that were born with the gift.
It suddenly dawned on me, that the way to play the piano by ear,
was to play the piano by ear, or in other words, if I wanted to learn to
play the piano by ear, I would have to practice at it.
So I started playing jingles from commercials.
Before long, I was able to pick out simple tunes of songs that
are very familiar to me, and even to add accompaniments.
When I started playing by ear, I also realized that my
sightreading skills improved dramatically, since rather than reading
every note, I was able to put my fingers where they should be according
to the feel of the music.
You can learn to play the piano in the same way I did.
"Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song." Psalms 95:2
"Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music." Psalms 98:4