Tips on How to Become a Better Piano Player

Looking To Improve Your Piano Skills?

Students of all ages can benefit from learning an instrument. If you’re trying to get better at piano, you’ve come to the right place. Below you’ll find a variety of tips and videos that will help you become a better piano player. There’s tips for beginners, for how to play scales, tips geared towards adults, and so much more. The videos feature Dr. Rod Vester, a pianist, composer, and music educator. You can find a playlist of all of Rod’s videos on Facebook or YouTube. If there’s a topic you’d like us to cover, let us know in the comments.

Becoming A Better Piano Player Takes Time and Effort

People who play the piano – whether they’re professionals or amateurs – should always be working to get better. Whether you’ve been taking piano lessons or you’re just starting out, improvement and progress are key. From improving finger strength to constantly challenging yourself, here are a few different ways you can become a better piano player.

Manage Your Practice Time

Are you only practicing when you have spare time? This could be why you haven’t seen much improvement. Practicing the piano shouldn’t be low on your list of priorities. If it’s at the bottom of the list, you should schedule some time each week to sit down and practice your instrument. Whether you practice every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for 30 minutes, or every weekday for an hour, find a time and stick to it. Commitment to practice is as important to improving your abilities as finding the right teacher. If you do find yourself with extra time, tack on an extra hour to your practice routine.

Practice Sight Reading

While sitting down and practicing the same piece of music until you play it perfectly is a good way to practice, switch it up every once in awhile by throwing a random piece into the mix. When practicing your sight reading, don’t worry too much about making mistakes. Simply play the piece from start to finish to your best ability, and run through it a few more times for good measure. Not only does this type of practice improve your improvisation skills, but sight reading is essential for those who are interested in joining a band or orchestra. When you do make mistakes, don’t look at them as a disappointment or burden. If you consider mistakes a crucial part of the learning process, you’ll likely find that practicing the piano will become more enjoyable.

Slow Down

Does how quickly a piece is played demonstrate the true skill of a musician? While in some contexts this may be true, those who play too quickly may start to miss notes and play sloppily. If you find yourself missing notes in a particular section, don’t rush through that section as quickly as possible- pause the metronome, slow down, and practice it until you get it right. No matter how well you think you know a piece, practice it at a slower pace every three or four run-throughs. After all, if you can’t play a piece at a slowed down pace how can you ever expect to play it quickly?

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Keep Challenging Yourself

This may sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many pianists stop challenging themselves once they’ve become semi-proficient at playing the instrument. As with any skill, you must continually challenge yourself in order to improve. If you aren’t sure which piece of music you should choose to challenge yourself, ask your instructor. They’ll know better than anyone what your strengths and weaknesses are, and they should be able to pick a piece that’s challenging but not impossible. For example, if you struggle playing with your left hand they should be able to pick a piece that focuses mostly on the left hand.

Make Sure Your Goals are Realistic

No matter what your goal is, make sure the goals you’re setting are realistic. If you’re expecting to become a genius at playing  piano overnight, think again. Becoming better at any instrument requires hard work, dedication, and practice. We’re only human and, as humans, we tend to dream big. If you’re struggling to meet your goals, take a moment to re-evaluate them. Make a list and go over the list with your piano teacher. They will know whether your goals are realistic or too lofty based off of your current skill set.

Learn To Play Classical Pieces

If you’re of the mindset that “classical music is boring”, hear us out. Classical music can be technically demanding. Once you start getting into some of the more complex pieces you’ll start seeing improvements in your technical abilities. Not only does classical music give you a solid foundation, but it’ll challenge you to become a more well-rounded musician.

If you’ve never played classical music before, pieces by Bach and Chopin are a good place to start. Choose pieces that will challenge you because you won’t improve if you only play what you already know.

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Practice Playing in Public

As a pianist, it’s important that you get used to playing the piano in public. Prepare yourself for the gig by putting on a rehearsal for your friends and family. Whether you play for an audience of one or one hundred, feeling comfortable during a performance is key.

Once you’re comfortable playing for your parents, invite some cousins or friends over for a recital. From there, start performing at private events, including Christmas parties, picnics, or school functions. Eventually, performing publicly won’t be a big deal and those sweaty palms will become a thing of the past.


Get A Teacher

One of the best things you can do to get better at piano is to learn from a teacher. Sign up for lessons with Music & Arts.

Updated: 5/23/2022

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  1. I took lessons as a youth. I was never good-always made mistakes. Now-some 40 years later, I’m in a position where there needs to be a substitute pianist-small bible study groups, devotions, free community meals where volunteer volunteer pianists, play basic traditional hymns. Many times in their absence, there is no music. I want so much to be the substitute-I love singing these hymns. However, my confidence is poor-I don’t have a place to practice and my skills are fair. I want to be able to sit down to a hymn and successfully play all stanzas of the hymns without mistake. I’m not able to afford piano lessons. I’ve been encouraged to ” just play” and not worry about mistakes. I was asked to play 3 hymns for a bible study; played the treble cleft very successfully-sometimes adding the bass. The devotional leader complemented on the basic melody of the treble. My confidence is growing because at times this task needs to be done,-I want to improve and cultivate my talent to become a hymn playing pianist.

    1. Glad to hear your confidence is growing, Ingrid! Stick with it, keep practicing, and you’ll become more and more comfortable each and every day. Thanks for reading!

      -Music & Arts

  2. I’ve been playing piano for 10 years. When I first started, I was 6 years old and had to be persuaded by my mom to practice. Over the years though, I’ve developed a passion for piano! I started playing in the first place because of how beautiful the music is, and I would be lost if I had never started. I find that sometimes I get into a rut and don’t practice much, but usually I just play when I feel like it. (Around 2 hours everyday) If you are thinking of starting piano, just do it! You won’t regret it. You’ll gain a talent, and if you decide not to continue, no big deal either. The more you practice, the better you’ll get.

  3. Hello there, I’m glad I came across this post. I am working on becoming a skillful pianist, also to be a good sight reader. Is there any book you can refer to me that specifically targets sight reading or should I just keep studying different classical pieces. As of now I can play Fur Elise in full. Thanks!

  4. I learned how to play during the summer and I want to audition in high school but people keep telling me that it’s not going to happen

  5. Useful ideas. However, I noticed you said nothing about actual piano techniques such as position of the hands, the fingers, specific practice techniques such as Forte, staccato, Etc in building finger strength and focus. There are a myriad of other things I could mention. The boy you sold on your photo was sitting way too long and his finger positions were atrocious. Thanks for the opportunity for feedback and for it’s a very practical ideas you did mention.

  6. When I was just 7 my Dad told me You need to go make some friends because everyday i would get on my computer get on this website and just play piano in till i made friends to encourage me to play piano in front of people i know this is why i have been doing it for 9 years

  7. As a piano teacher I agree with almost every phrase if this article but ….”Classical music might not be the most interesting genre of music to learn and play” ? Really? And what is?

  8. Very useful article I like it ,and I am shure that student who learn the piano for very helpful and very knowledgeable this article.

  9. How how can I improve in playing chord/score some technical songs? Sometimes I feel so discouraged trying to score songs but can’t pls what do I do

  10. Granddaughter age 11. Started piano last September and is already showing signs of potential. At present is playing on a $400 dollar electronic “toy”. Should parents be investing in a piano or a better quality electronic.

  11. Thanks so much for such a wonderful teaching. I am working to hard in order to become an expert in the near by future.
    Nevertheless, I will be happy to received more lessons from this site which will serve as guideline for me in becoming a good pianist
    Once more,I salute you!

  12. Thanks alot for these brilliant advices. Indeed I have learn that music playing is not what you know is what you don’t know, and continuous practice makes you perfect. Thanks

  13. Thanks,for a nice post,From now after reading this lesson iam feel stepped forward.Thanks

  14. Thank you ever so much. I‘ve learnt as a teenager and now at 68 have decided to buy an e-piano so I can practice with head phones especially in the evenings.
    I still feel, I will need to find an instructor. I‘m making so many mistakes …. all the time.

  15. Ouch, “classical music might not be the most interesting genre of music to learn or play”

  16. I love the articles and I would love to get some tutorials in my mail, as a beginner., pls can you do that?

  17. I’m planning to produce a piano my own piano music, which is why I’m currently looking for a musician that will be able to help me with the arrangements. Well, you’re right that it would be better if I’ll a lot more time for practice. I’ll also keep in mind to take it slow and continue practicing so it will be easier to create music.

  18. i believe these tips are very important. i especially loved the classical part of it, true, it’s boring but very crucial for any serious instrumentalist. i can’t wait to put them to practice.

  19. Being a very slow learner started late in life always wanted to play piano. I am into my first year learning and practising with a teacher, and reading through on your tips and to become a better player gives me and anyone at my level an inspiration to reach that goal, to make that dream become real one day.

  20. Thank you for this article. As a Minister of music, I am always willing to learn more!!!! God bless you ♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️

  21. Fab article. With regards to classical being boring, anime, or video game music is a great alternative. I am aiming to play Fodlan Winds. That is my 4 year target song.

  22. Wise suggestions for the learning process, which leads to successful achievements!!