Learning the piano may not be an easy task, especially when you are restricted by certain facts that you often hear from others. Well, these facts that they are telling you may not necessarily be true at all, with most of them being myths! Here are 10 popular piano myths explained!
1. The Long Finger Myth
It is assumed that those with long fingers tend to have an advantage over those who do not, the reason being that they are able to reach more notes simultaneously. However, being popular does not mean that it is true.
In fact, contradictory to popular belief, people with long fingers are actually more prone to making mistakes due to their wide finger span. Even if you do not have long and slender fingers, do not give up! It's all about practicing your piano techniques and your ability to make do with what you have!
2. Classical-Music-Is-A-Must Myth
You DO NOT have to start with classical music to learn the piano! The fact that popular piano schools like Yamaha are introducing beginner pop piano classes explains a great deal about how this is nothing more than just a myth. It really depends on your interests as well as your learning style.
If you are more of an auditory learner, pop piano lessons might actually be better for you as these lessons focus a lot on listening to the different chords instead of the traditional way of reading classical scores sheet. If you are a visual learner, classical music will be a better choice for you!
3. Children Learn Faster Than Adults Myth
While it is a popular belief that children have the tendency to learn faster than adults, this belief is actually nothing more but a myth. In fact, if anything, adults are able to concentrate for a longer period of time as compared to children who are mostly quite restless. Also, an adult possesses higher learning capability than a child. Just imagine, will a child be able to sit in for a university exam like an adult can?
The only reason why some adult seem like they are picking up piano slower is that adults tend to be more stressed with life, resulting in the absence of concentration to pick up the piano properly. Children, on the other hand, have nothing to worry about.
4. Long-Practices-Are-The-Best Myth
Many believe that in order to be a great pianist, you will need to practice long hours every single day like how most successful pianist would. Let's be honest with yourself, how sure can you be that you will be able to fully concentrate during these long hours of practice? While long practices seem to have worked for quite a number of pianists, it is probably due to their astonishing ability to stay focused for an extensive period of time.
If you are someone who finds it difficult to stay focused for a long period of time, doing so will prove to be less valuable than a short but well-focused practice. If you cannot concentrate for long hours, it is best if you follow the recommended piano routine. Two hours of practice every day is more than enough, giving yourself a rest every 30 minutes.
5. No-Writing-On-Score-Sheet Myth
Every pianist will at least encounter one person who will advise them to not write on piano score sheets. Again, this is just a myth. Using the same logic as studying, while some people study better without having to write notes, there are also others who learn better when they read their handwritten notes.
As for piano score sheets? Well, as long as your handwritten notes help you to understand the music piece better and you learn better visually, there is no reason to restrict yourself with rules set by people you probably never heard of before!
6. Finger Drills Myth
It is a common practice for most pianists to warm themselves up using finger drills, however, just because it is a common practice does not mean that it is 100% necessary. Although doing finger drills might help most people to warm up and get used to the placement of their fingers on the keys, the effectiveness of such drills can be quite different amongst different individuals.
Some people believe that playing difficult songs will help them to become not just physically, but also mentally warmed up for practice.
7. No-Looking-At-Hands Myth
It is a common misconception by quite a number of piano teachers that it is unprofessional to look at your hands while playing the piano. This is absolutely wrong and absurd. When pianists are playing the piano, looking at how their hands are playing and moving will actually help them to visualise the music better and help them feel the music's emotions better.
You might ask, how can I be so sure? Well, simply head over to YouTube and search for professional performances. You can easily spot the professional pianists looking at their playing hands from time to time.
8. Learn In Order Myth
Who says that you have to learn a piano piece from start to finish? Actually, it really depends on the learning style and capability of the pianists themselves. Some people believe that learning to play the difficult part first is more efficient. This is because after spending a great deal of time practicing the easy part (usually the start), you will be too mentally exhausted to persevere and learn the difficult part, resulting in inefficiency. Learning the difficult part first, however, might give you the momentum and confidence to finish learning the piano piece faster. After all, if you have already finished the most difficult part, what does the easy part count for?
9. Basic to Advance Myth
Although most schools and piano teachers will recommend pianists to learn their piano pieces according to their qualifications, learning advanced music while ignoring your qualification to do so might not necessarily be a bad thing either.
Using the same logic as the Learn In Order Myth, starting on more advanced pieces might as actually make things easier in the long run as you will be able to learn the easy pieces with ease and efficiency. In fact, you can learn whenever and whatever you want without caring for the exam or grade you are in. Practice makes perfect, it is entirely up to your learning style!
10. No Mistake Myth
Although this might not be considered a piano myth to some of you, this is the MOST important point that I will like to discuss in this article! Never be afraid to make mistakes! Do not be scared to disappoint your teachers or parents. To be honest, they should actually be happy that you are making mistakes.
Making mistakes is essential to improving your piano skills! Just make sure you do not make any mistake during the grade exam... Just kidding! ;) Making mistakes is good, it means that there are rooms for improvement. After all, what's the point of practicing if there is no room for improvement at all? One should always try to break through his or her limits!
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Wen Feng is a passionate music aficionado. He is constantly on the search for new music to listen to, with a particular interest in classical music. Piano pieces have always been a great companion and kept him calm throughout his school and work life.