There are many reasons why you might want to buy a DVD or video piano course instead of having traditional lessons with a piano teacher. So here are my top ten tips on how to succeed with piano lessons on video.
1. Buy the right course. This may seem simplistic but different courses have different ways of presenting lessons on video. You need to find out what is going to suit you; otherwise you’ll be fighting the course instead of learning to play piano. Read my article Learn and Master Piano or Rocket Piano: Which Should I Choose? For some great ideas on how to choose the best course for you.
2. Set out a timetable. By this I mean, set out your lesson time and practice time as you would with a real piano teacher. Obviously this depends on your work commitments and because this is a video course we can be a bit flexible here, so if possible set out particular times of each day for practise (write it down) and pick a day and time for your actual lesson ( write that down too) and stick to it. We are trying to create a habit which will become a lifestyle.
3. Start at the beginning with lesson one. Its very tempting to skip a few lessons and try and get to the end faster, don’t do it. Enjoy what the early lessons are showing you even if you sort of know what’s going on. There’s always something new to learn and you are bound to learn something new with every lesson.
4. Use the pause button and play again. If you didn’t quite understand something, rewind and play it again and again. This again is very simplistic but you’ll be surprised at how many students won’t ask a teacher to explain things again because they think it silly to ask. Having a video piano teacher is brilliant for this and in fact I would say is a massive plus over a flesh and blood teacher ( sorry teachers, but I am a keyboard teacher myself)
5. If possible, have someone listen to you playing once a week. Now I understand this might be a tricky one to pull off as most of us live with families but it’s important because you won’t be able to hear your own improvement but somebody else once a week will. I can tell when a student has put the practice in by the improvement of the playing and with practice there is always improvement and I always tell them they have improved or that’s sound great and they love it, that sense of satisfaction that their practice has paid off. Now I don’t have any special gift that enables me to do this, I believe that everybody has this ability if you can call it that and if somebody says to you, “wow that sounds great” believe me you will feel fantastic.
6. Don’t give up. Okay, let’s get this one out of the way, it’s going to happen, you’re going to get frustrated and you’re going to think about giving up. You’re a human being aren’t you, its normal, it happens to nearly everyone especially in the early months. IT WILL PASS. Keep doing what you are doing and it will pass. Now, get an A4 piece of paper and write in big letters DON’T GIVE UP. IT WILL PASS and keep it near the piano or keyboard. It works I promise you.
7. As you progress play what you know. Don’t forget to play the pieces you have already learned to play. Its not all about learning to play the next piece but enjoying your piano playing by playing the pieces you can now play and lets face it, that’s what its all about, sitting down and playing a piece of music on the piano, there’s nothing like it and its good for the soul.
8. Finish what you started. Don’t stop half way through the course because you can play a couple tunes, finish the course. You’re not done until that last page is turned and the last video has played.
9. Buy some song books. When you have finished your piano course go out and buy some song books or music books if you’re in to classical music and learn how to play them. Learning to play the piano is all about enjoying playing the piano so pick your favourite songs and learn them and enjoy it.
10. Keep these tips near the piano. If you stick to the tips I outlined here you will play the piano, I have no doubt. Just copy this page and print it out, be my guest and read it every day and you will succeed.
Now its up to you, go and get the best piano course you can and get started, you know you want to and its brilliant when you can sit at any piano in the world and knock out a tune.
To your music success