Over the last two weeks, we’ve busted two popular piano myths:
After breaking down those myths, I hope you can see that learning to play the piano doesn’t have to be tedious or difficult.
Today, I’m going to help keep your spirits up and make the learning process even more beginner-friendly but still rewarding.
Let’s find out as we debunk myth #3…
Myth #3: Knowing music theory is a must.
Learning to play scales is commonly held as an absolute necessity. The vast majority of piano teachers even make it a prerequisite for beginners.
But music theory – both the notation (the music you see on the page) and the many different musical concepts (such as scales) – can be very confusing to a beginner.
Besides, isn’t music theory only one aspect of learning to play music?
The thing is, music theory isn’t essential for any beginner to master piano!
You don’t have to put up with tedious drills and boring practice.
There are many well-known pianists who didn’t learn piano theory and scales in the beginning. Despite this, they can perform some of the most beautiful and captivating music.
Take me for example…
My parents didn’t have the money to send me to private piano lessons or summer music camps.
So instead of learning to play piano the traditional way, I watched hours of YouTube videos and listened to thousands of other pianists – watching them closely and learning to pick things up by ear.
I had only taken 3 “formal” piano lessons when I auditioned for college, yet, I was able to play the same music as other auditionees (some who had taken 10 years of traditional lessons)!
The thing is, I did learn scales and music theory, but not right away….
I learned it much later on in my piano journey because I wanted to, not because I had to.
Subtle difference. BIG effect.
Because I learned music theory when I wanted to, the challenges that came along with it actually encouraged me to work harder, instead of making me want to quit.
Let’s talk about how you can play your favorite songs on the piano without having to learn music theory.
If you haven’t done so yet, I recommend reading last week’s blog, where I talked about the four chord progression that will allow you to play literally hundreds of songs!
You’ll be amazed at how much freedom you can enjoy with chords, so keep practicing until you’ve mastered them.
Then, you can take your chording skills to the next level by improvising and playing the melody on top of your strong foundation. (Because guess what…you don’t need to know all the rules of music theory to improvise well!)
One of the biggest benefits of not relying on sheet music and music theory, though, is learning to rely on and strengthen your ears.
Being able to play more by ear (ie: being able to play the piano by replicating the sounds or tunes you hear) will ultimately give you greater and more long-lasting freedom on the piano. Why? Because you’re no longer a Follower, only playing what you see in front of you…You’re a Creator, playing what you love in your own unique and personal style.
Stop complicating piano with music theory! This simple method has worked for thousands of my students all over the world.
Come back next week, and let’s debunk the fourth and final myth.