This is quite a subjective question because everybody is different, and some people will find it much easier to learn to play the piano than others. For one, some people just have an ear for music and can play by ear.
These are the people who will generally turn into the highly skilled prodigies, as they can hear a piece and then play it back without having to read sheet music.
However, for us normal folk, learning to play the piano can be a bit harder. So, how difficult is learning to play, what is so difficult about it, and how can you make it easier on yourself?
The Difficulties of Learning Piano
Before we get into talking about how to make learning the piano much easier on yourself, let’s take a look at the main challenges.
1. Learning the Keys
When you first start learning to play the piano, one of the most difficult aspects is learning the keys on the keyboard. Most pianos have 88 keys, assorted into white and black keys.
A regular piano has all 7 notes, A-B-C-D-E-F-G, starting from left to right, and once the 7 notes have been gone through, they start over at a higher octave. The black keys are the sharp and flat notes corresponding to the white keys which they surround.
For instance, the black key to the left of the white C note will be C flat, and the black key to the right will be C sharp. Learning the notes and key placement can be difficult for some.
2. Learning to Read Sheet Music
What some people find to be the most difficult about learning to play the piano is reading sheet music. You will learn how to read the staff, both the treble clef and the bass clef; you will need to know which notes are represented by which lines; and you will need to learn about identifying tempo and speed, as well as how to identify full notes, half notes, and quarter notes.
This can be quite challenging, but some simple lessons or tutorials can help make it easier in this regard.
If you want to be a professional piano player, you will need to learn all about sheet music. Being able to read sheet music is a fundamental piano playing skill. Once you master reading sheet music, you should be able to open up any sheet and play whatever song simply by reading the music.
3. Using Both Hands in Unison
Something else most people find to be very difficult about learning to play the acoustic piano is having to use both hands in unison to play different chords. This is much different than an instrument like the guitar, where both hands are used to make the same sound.
With a piano, both hands have to work in unison, but they also work independently to make different sounds. Moreover, playing a chord or note with one hand will look different than when it is played by the other. This requires a whole lot of manual dexterity and the ability to multi-task.
4. Building Up Finger Strength and Muscle Memory
What some people also find difficult is building up the finger strength to continuously hit those weighted keys, as well as being able to play quickly and smoothly. The only thing to be done here is to practice, practice, and practice some more. Building muscle memory and finger strength is all about practice.
How to Make Learning Piano Easier?
Let’s quickly go over some of the best tips for learning the piano quickly and easily.
It is recommended to learn the basics first, particularly key layout and sheet music. Although this can be difficult, once you master these, everything else becomes much easier.
It’s best if you find a teacher, somebody to show you how it is done; it is always easier to learn with a teacher than to do so on your own. This could take the form of real lessons, or you may choose to use YouTube tutorials.
Read our blog How Hard It Is To Learn Piano By Yourself?
Unless you are born with a ridiculous amount of talent, you will need to practice a lot. Practice makes perfect, and the more you practice, the better you get. Try to set aside at least 1 hour every day to practice.
What you also need is to know what your goals are, as well as what your limits are. Do you want to play in concert halls for paying customers, or do you want to play cowboy saloon tunes for your friends?
Learning the piano is not the easiest thing in the world, especially if you want to learn all of the fundamentals to become a professional player. That said, if you take it slowly and work in a step-by-step manner, no matter your talent level, you should be able to learn how to play the piano.