Soft pedal, sostenuto pedal, sustain pedal…just the names bring to mind one of the most popular instruments in all of history - the piano.

The grand piano is widely considered as the mother of all instruments. It is often a symbol of luxury and elegance, with its long horizontal lines, its outstanding sound and grand style, it is an object of fascination for both beginner and professional piano players.

Whilst it is never too early to start appreciating music, it will take some time, effort, and commitment before you are ready to play one of Beethoven's Piano Sonatas or Ravel's Boléro.

But if you are a passionate musician, then it's worth learning to play the grand piano! We promise it will be an experience you will never forget.

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Playing the Grand Piano for beginners

What are your goals?

Although learning to play the piano is a challenge for anyone, with enough hard work and commitment it is achievable. From the very beginning, it's important to set out and define what your goals are.

Set achievable and realistic goals within a short time frame to help keep you motivated and track your progress. For example, maybe you want to learn a certain number of scales or want to be able to read a specific piece of music. These are excellent goals that will help you when learning a new instrument! You'll be able to improve your knowledge of musical theory, scales and posturing and finger positioning along the way.

The damper (or sustaining pedal) helps you mute the sound of the notes.

One of the most common goals for students is to be able to play certain passages or pieces of music by their favorite composers or artists (that is appropriate for their specific level). You can find a number of piano books and sheet music that adapts well-known classics and makes them approachable for different levels.

As you progress, with each note, octave, and rhythm that you learn, you'll gain ease and understanding of playing the piano and it will soon become smooth and effortless.

With practice and commitment, you'll be able to play different melodies smoothly without having to look at your sheet music, and you'll master different techniques as you go play different pieces of music and explore music by different composers and musicians.

Train your musical ear

Another important skill that you'll develop as you learn the piano, is to train your musical ear. This is just as important as being able to coordinate your hands and finger positioning. Playing by ear means that you'll be able to hear a piece of music and replicate the notes, rhythm and sound on the piano. The same is true if you’re playing an electronic piano or a grand piano.

Here are some useful tips for developing your musical ear:

  • Listen carefully to a piece of music
  • Start with smaller passages and work your way up to large passages or whole pieces of music
  • Try to think about the structure of music, notes and rhythm while listening
  • Learn the different movements of your hands and fingers, as well as feet on the pedals
  • Think about the level of technique required when playing a certain piece of music

On the piano, here are a few specific steps you can take:

  • listen to music that you are learning regularly before playing
  • attend music concerts and live performances
  • Watch videos tutorials
  • Watch professional videos on the internet

Remember that training and developing your musical ear will help you to become a better pianist!

 Learning the piano for fun

Love and commitment for the piano is one of the most important prerequisites when learning to play the grand piano.

We understand that it can be tough to stay committed when you're struggling to learn the minor scales or when you just can't wrap your head around your music theory lessons. But here are a couple of tips to keep you motivated.

Increase your repertoire- don't stick to just boring technical pieces that are part of your national curriculum. Choose music that interests you and motivates you to learn.

Explore other styles of music - why not try jazz, blues, or even the latest pop songs.

Put on a concert - share what you've been learning with friends and family!

Get creative - don't be afraid to put your own spin and creativity on the music that you are playing.

Switch up your practice -  why not try playing on different days of the week or whenever you get a free moment rather than forcing yourself to play when you are busy or uninspired?

Follow this guide on how to choose the right piano for you...

Playing the grand piano

The una corda, or soft pedal, changes the timbre of your piano notes.

Whether you’re learning on a grand piano, acoustic upright, or digital piano, even advanced players become discouraged at times and want to give up playing.

Learning any instrument such as the piano requires regular practice, dedication, and determination in order to really advance in your practice.

In the same way as learning a foreign language, a new sport or a new artistic technique, playing the grand piano will require you to invest time, money, and energy. However, it can also be tremendously rewarding!

Discover different piano lessons Vancouver here.

Online piano lessons

One of the most convenient ways to progress is through online piano lessons.

With online piano lessons, you'll be able to learn piano from the comfort of your own home and connect with tutors around the world. This is often considered one of the cheapest and most cost-effective to learn the piano, especially when you have a busy schedule.

Be patient with yourself

As you're sure to find out, playing the piano takes a lot of time and perseverance. Here's a bit of advice for when you're losing patience and ready to give up.

  • Practice regularly but only 15-30 minutes a day if you're pressed for time. This can sometimes be more effective than practicing for hours on end
  • Don't be overly critical of yourself. Everyone learns at their own pace.
  • Be patient and take it one day at a time
  • Play pieces that you enjoy

Would you also like to learn to play the digital piano?

Steps for learning to play the grand piano

Can you quickly learn how to play pieces of music on the piano?

The best way to ensure you succeed at playing the piano is to develop a plan and to set concrete goals for yourself. Your teacher can help you to achieve your goals and learn skills techniques and theory that will help you become a great piano player.

Learn at a music school or conservatory

By taking lessons at a formal music school or conservatory, you'll be able to sign up for piano lessons and be well on your way to advancing in musical theory and technique. You'll work with experienced teachers and learn from a set curriculum in order to really progress.

Most music schools offer group lessons as well as private lessons and have differentiated lessons based on your level, ability and age group. In music schools, each lesson will normally focus on music theory, learning the scales and reading music.

Teach yourself the piano

You may also wish to learn piano on your own or at least teach yourself the basics through online tutorials and resources. This can be effective to a certain extent.

However, with the right resources, and perhaps a close friend or family member that can offer you guidance and support, learning the piano on your own can be another option.

If you are opting to learn the piano on your own without a music teacher or formal training, here are a couple of helpful tips:

  • Invest in theory books, piano tabs and sheet music which will help you to learn finger positioning
  • Check out piano tutorials online to practice different techniques and exercises
  • Listen to piano CDs regularly to develop your musical ear

Play the grand piano with a teacher

Studying music, and especially learning how to play the piano, is a common dream.

The proven easiest and most effective method of playing the grand piano is to learn with a private teacher. A private piano teacher will be able to help you learn piano with personalised exercises and teaching methodology suited to your level and objectives.

Private piano lessons are not necessarily more expensive than group lessons at a music school or conservatory. The advantage is that you will be able to progress faster, as the lesson will be dedicated 100% to your specific needs without having to learn in a group class with 10 other students.

There is also greater flexibility in terms of your schedule, level and skill when working with a private piano teacher.

But what's the best way to find a private piano teacher?

Here are a couple of tips:

  • Visit your local music school and ask for a list of teachers that offer private lessons
  • Check any notice boards in your local community centres, in cafés, schools, or grocery stores where you'll be to find ads for teachers offering their services
  • Ask friends for recommendations - they may have worked with a piano teacher in the past and would be able to recommend an excellent teacher
  • Superprof! Our platform puts private teachers in contact with aspiring pianists in their local area and online -

Discover also what type of piano you should buy for your young player...

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Yvette

Yvette is a freelance Canadian writer living in Paris. She spends her time between Toronto and Paris and likes to travel and learn. She's the proud mom of two strong minded women and enjoys her free time giving back to her communities.