How to get back into playing the piano after a long absence
Are you an adult who used to play the piano and are you thinking of taking it back up again? Are you little lost on where to start, and what to expect? Then this article is for you!
Read on for tips and advice on how you can get back to playing the piano after a long absence.
What not to do
Let’s start by discussing what not to do!
Sometimes adults can be a little impatient. It is not uncommon to see adult restarters do the following:
- Go out and buy a piano or keyboard
- Try to play an advanced piano piece
- Practice haphazardly, get nowhere and end up frustrated
You’d be surprised how often this happens!
Please don’t fall into this trap. Playing the piano is not like riding a bike. It is rare that you can pick up where you left off years ago.
And the longer the gap, the harder this is.
I know that it is easy to get frustrated with yourself if you can’t do something you used to be able to do. Don’t let it discourage you. Be patient and above all be kind to yourself.
You will most likely have lost finger dexterity. Your memory may be a little foggy too.
But the basic technique will (should) still be there. You will remember how to sit at the piano, how to hold your hands. You’ll remember what it was like to practice.
You’ll be surprised how much you start to remember once you get going again in a structured manner.
Another advantage you have is that you have inside knowledge of what it means to learn an instrument. You know it takes years, not months, to play at an advanced level.
Recognising that fact puts you lightning years ahead of most first-time beginners. They often underestimate the dedication required to get to a proficient level.
I do occasionally meet adult restarters who are a little ambitious about where they are and how far their current abilities can take them in a short period of time.
It appears to be particularly common if the student reached an advanced level in their younger years. But if there has been a 30-year gap, you probably won’t be able to restart at that same level.
Luckily, it doesn’t have to take years to get back to your previous skill level. You merely have to be patient with yourself and allow yourself to relearn things! Take your time. Go slowly.
There is nothing worse than looking back in a few years from now and regretting the haste and impatience!
Finding a path forward
Let me give you a tip if you are serious about wanting to restart playing the piano.
Think about the structure of your learning. Don’t start your education aimlessly because it will get you stuck!
Too many adult restarters have no clear idea of what they’re trying to achieve. They pick a piece, find a YouTube tutorial, learn 20-50% and get bored.
Don’t let that happen to you.
Try and find a method that gives you some structure and a goal-oriented path forward.
There are options abound!
You can find an online course or program. These usually contain videos and tutorials you can follow. Such online resources can be fantastic to get started and rebuild your confidence.
You can supplement your learning with apps and books too. You can keep a practice diary and a goal or motivation board to hold yourself accountable.
Many adults find it helpful to get some private instruction for at least part of the journey. A piano teacher can help you discover the gaps in your knowledge and technique. Their ability to provide feedback is invaluable. They are great motivators and can help keep you accountable.
And if private instruction is too costly, find out if you can take part in group lessons either near you or online.
Find personalised help
I stopped playing for several years in my early 20s. When I returned to the piano, I tried many different methods. I tried online forums; I took video courses. But it was the decision to go and find a teacher that catapulted me forward.
The personalised approach and the feedback I received was instrumental in getting me playing again.
A teacher is your best bet if you would like personalised help. They can tailor the journey for you in a way no app or video course ever can.
Don’t forget that as an adult you are free to choose a teacher that matches your learning style.
With the internet now omnipresent in our lives, you can even find a teacher who teaches online. That means you are no longer bound by geography to find someone with whom you click!
My last tip is this: Don’t forget what brought you back!
Whether it was seeing a friend play the piano, or going to concert and longing to touch the keys, something triggered the desire to make music again.
Hold on to that! The road ahead will be bumpy, but if you keep the fire burning, I promise you-you’ll be able to tackle it all.