At the beginning of the piano lesson book, there should be a section of information that will teach you about the piano and all its many parts before you even begin to play. Knowing this information will not only help you understand the piano, but also build an appreciation for the incredible instrument. When purchasing your first piano lesson book look for sections that include the following:
About the piano, different types of pianos, and how the piano works. I especially liked learning how the piano worked. Did you know that small hammers actually make the sounds of a piano? These hammers strike different size strings inside the piano and thickness of those strings is what produces the high and low sounds. Ever wondered how the pedals affect the sounds of a piano? In the “About the Piano” section, it should explain this in great detail. I learned that the right pedal also called the sustaining pedal does just that. It holds notes longer than normal. Most people think this pedal makes the piano note louder, but it actually just holds the note longer. You’ll have to find a great piano lesson book to find out what the other pedals are for.
In addition to learning about the piano you will also want to learn how to care for your piano. What is the use in spending all that money on a beautiful instrument if you ruin it because you never learned how to care for it? In piano lesson book I purchased the Caring for your Piano section included how to check if the piano is in good condition and most importantly should you play on a piano that has broken parts. This book suggest that you can start to learn as long as all the middle keys on the piano are working properly, but you will need to get the broken keys fixed in order to enjoy a great song as you getter better at playing the instrument.
A great piano lesson book should also include how to tune your instrument or rather how to find a good tuner for your instrument. I learned that a piano should be tuned to “concert pitch” and it should be tuned 2 times a year at minimum and 3 times for a quality condition. With out knowing these things you may get scammed by someone that recognizes that you know nothing about your instrument. They may tune it incorrectly or worse charge you more for additional and unnecessary tunings. After you have tuned your piano and made any repairs necessary learn to take care of your piano correctly. The piano lesson book I purchased clearly explained many necessary cleaning habits for the piano. For example, do not use silicone wax to polish the piano furniture or frame because it can not be removed later or if the piano is ever refinished. One incredibly important tip I learned had to do with where I live. Did you know that high humidity causes damage to your strings? I would have never guessed that having a piano in Florida would require me to need a dehumidifier. Or even if you live in a climate that has dramatic weather changes. Tips like this save hundreds of dollars in repairs…All the more reason to look for a good piano lesson book.
Also, if you are preparing to purchase a piano you may want to find a great piano lesson book that includes this information. I planned on learning on my grandmothers so there was no need to buy a new piano right off the bat, but the piano lesson book I purchased had 6 detailed pages on finding a good piano at a great price as well as what to look at when inspecting a prospective piano for yourself.
Now that you have a good understanding of the piano and how to get one its time to find a piano lesson book that will do a good job teaching you to play. Now, I can not vouch for every book out there, but one thing that I have found in common with each piano lesson book is that they include pictures. Some are better than others and some books are illustrated for children. Now, I appreciate the pictures, but I don’t want a piano lesson book that will make me feel or look juvenile in my learning. So, depending on you age you may want to look for a piano lesson book with adult content. If you have followed my advice above any book that includes the above information is most likely targeting adult beginners. A children’s piano lesson book will not go into as much detail (like above) as an adult book.
What will a good piano lesson book include when teaching a reader how to start playing? Great question! The one I found includes hand positioning as well as the position of your body. You will need a stool at the appropriate height so that your forearms are horizontal with the keys. My piano lesson book has actual (real world) pictures instead of drawings. Now that you know your body position, finding a book that teaches hand position will be easy (every piano lesson book teaches this because it is so important.
In addition to playing in the appropriate position your piano lesson book should teach you to play tunes using all of your fingers, how to reading music, and playing chords. I enjoyed the sections that taught you to play different parts for each hand. This was a little tricky to master because your writing hand or dominant hands wants to be dominant when playing the piano as well.
One thing I found especially important was how to practice. If you have never played an instrument before, you have no clue how long you should practice, what to practice, or even if you are practicing correctly. A great piano lesson book will teach you all of this.
Here are some tips I have picked up as I began to play the piano.
1. Find something that will motivate you to keep going. There will be many days that learning to play the piano goes on the back burner. If too many of these happen you will lose interest and stop learning. So find a motivator and up coming concert or talent show, a friend, whatever.
2. Schedule a time to practice. If learning to play the piano becomes a part of a routine you will have more success. Playing the piano will become important in your life because you have set aside time to do so.
3. Take your time with each lesson. My piano lesson book gave specific instructions on how to practice. If you complete the practice and are not satisfied with how it sounded repeat the lesson at your next scheduled practice. If there’s one thing I have learned from my piano lesson book its that the one lesson builds from the previous. If you have not mastered a previous lesson you will not master future lessons. In the end, you will have poor results and most likely loose interest in playing the piano.
Now that you know how to play where do you go from here?
The piano lesson book I purchased has an entire section that gives tips on becoming a better piano player or pianist. After teaching the basics, the piano lesson book you choose should include advanced music. The author of my piano lesson book even includes how to read sheet music so that I can purchase songs that I enjoy for use when I practice. Tip: this will keep you from purchasing another piano lesson book and practicing uninteresting songs.
There are many online resources that can teach all of the information you would find in a great piano lesson book.