So, you’re thinking about piano lessons. Maybe your 8-year old is showing interest in the piano at his grandma’s house. Or maybe you’re retired and finally have time to make use of that dusty piano in the corner but need a refresher on your skills. Or perhaps your daughter has been playing the piano for the last 5 years and her piano teacher just moved away. Whether it’s you or someone else in your family wanting to learn more about piano, you have started researching the best options in your area, jotting down names, numbers, and websites. You might be overwhelmed by which teacher to choose, the cost involved, or what time of day would work to fit it in. At this point in the process some may ask the question, “Why not just learn piano from tutorial videos on YouTube?”
With this option now at our fingertips, many may be tempted to turn to YouTube videos to learn basic piano skills or fun songs. Though there are some very helpful piano tutorials on YouTube, those who depend solely on these tutorials will be at a great disadvantage in their piano education. Here are some considerations for why one-on-one piano lessons with a piano instructor are still the best way to learn piano:
1. Proper Technique
Learning the correct hand and pedaling techniques requires the presence of a teacher to model proper technique, guide the student effectively, and provide necessary feedback. Technique may not be the most popular aspect of piano lessons, but learning correct technique early on will create a much smoother transition to more difficult music later. Students who fail to learn correct technique will not progress as quickly and will rarely progress past a certain level.
2. Theory Through Music
Certain fundamental theoretical concepts are necessary to create a solid foundation in piano — rhythm, notes, dynamics, musical terms, and so forth — students absorb these concepts much more easily under a teacher’s guidance. A teacher will introduce these concepts through appropriately-leveled music in a way that is tailored to the student’s ability, learning style, and personality. That may mean that one student spends one week on a particular concept while another student spends three weeks on the same concept. Piano teachers have the freedom and training to tailor lesson plans and methods to their individual students’ needs. Learning music theory solely from YouTube tutorials will inevitably lead to holes in your piano education and cause frustration.
3. Piano Repertoire
Just as piano teachers are able to tailor instruction to individual students’ needs, they are able to choose music based on each student’s level, strengths, weaknesses, and tastes. Because of their training and experience, teachers know the vast and growing world of piano repertoire. They know what to look for to determine correct levels of pieces and the best places to find music. Piano teachers have the amazing opportunity to help expand their students’ musical perspective and taste beyond what they already know in a way that YouTube just can’t.
Probably the most important aspect of teacher-student interaction is feedback. Students who have better “ears” than others may be more capable of hearing when they’ve played incorrect notes. But the majority of piano students are not in this category. Even those with good “ears” still need feedback on things such as interpretation and rhythm. One of the most difficult things for most piano students to master is rhythm – not just comprehending the fact that a quarter note is 1 beat or a half rest means silence for 2 beats, but what the rhythmic elements all together make you feel. Rhythm is not simply a mental exercise or the ability to tap one’s foot. The individual elements of rhythm within a piece create overarching patterns and movement that bring the notes alive! A piano teacher can help his or her students to feel and understand rhythm in ways that a video tutorial cannot.
5. Performance and Adjudication Opportunities
Most piano teachers are members of local and national piano associations, which allows their students to participate in local, regional or national festivals, adjudication events, and competitions. Talented piano students who wish to excel beyond basic piano skills would certainly need access to these opportunities through a local piano teacher.
These are just a few reasons why YouTube tutorials are not a sufficient avenue for piano education. Piano teachers provide unique knowledge, personal skill, and valuable interaction to those wishing to learn to play the piano successfully. Here at Hoelscher Music Studio in Greenville South Carolina, we provide just that. Call 864-982-0498 today to schedule your free introductory lesson!