Learn the piano now - the perfect start for beginners!

by Elke Galvin October 27, 2022 • 7 minute read
Your guide to easy, beautiful piano sheet music, a step-by-step approach using the right technique, and all the tools you need.
fingers on a piano
Here's all you need to have the best possible start into your piano journey: You'll learn which tools you need, and which stuff you can perhaps happily do without. You'll define what kind of beginner you are, and how to modify your approach to piano playing accordingly. And then there's that perfect sheet music - beautiful, never boring, sheet music for beginners that will have you start playing directly!
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Kick-Start Your Personal Piano Success Story

The right tools and the right setting for your start will make it so much easier to learn the piano as an adult. Motivation and preparation are key. You need:

A piano

A licensed vendor will be able to advise you in detail. Here are a few thoughts. Basically, you can buy three different kinds of pianos:

  • A mechanical piano: The feel of playing a mechanical piano is incomparable, but the expense for maintenance (tuning, transportation, space ...) is higher, too
  • An E-piano (digital piano): Looks like a mechanical piano, but works with Electricity. Lighter than a mechanical piano, and you don't ever have to tune it. You can also play with headphones on if you want. Some hybrid pianos are both electric and acoustic.
  • A stage piano: This is even more portable! A basic electric piano without any surrounding "carapace". A stand and a good pedal are bought separately.

There are good-quality used instruments available. If you buy an e-piano pay attention to a good, piano-like keyboard feel. You don't have to worry about the number of instrument sounds your instrument offers.

Your favorite sheet music

You don't have to start out playing nursery songs. Let's be honest, which adult would want to sit down and practice "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and the likes ad nauseam every day? No one. So just choose an easy, beautiful piece in any genre you like (you'll find a beautiful selection here or further below!).

Correct technique

Fingerstyle, posture, and fingerings should be good from the get-go. It is hard to get rid of bad habits once you're used to them. Get someone to show you the basics, or (with a bit of experience) determine the fingering yourself - and then stick to it.

A teacher

We`ll be frank: Learning to read sheet music and the right piano technique are skills most easily acquired via lessons with a teacher. Whether that's an actual human physically sitting in front of you once a week, or, well, an actual human tutoring you online, or via Youtube - that's up to you. But it's quicker if you don't have to do it all by yourself.

A metronome

This little helper works its magic right from the start: Learning the right rhythm is much easier with it. You start out slowly and then increase speed until you can play it in tempo. There's really no way around it. If you don't want a mechanical one, there are electronic ones, even wearables. Some sheet music services (like OKTAV) include a metronome feature in their sheet music player.

A swinging metronome

You might think you need these, but...

...it's up to you to decide whether these features make your life easier or not. It's not a bad thing to know they exist, though, so you can make an informed decision about whether you want to include them in your practice or not.

Sheet music with letters above the notation

Some platforms install letters on top of their notation so you don't have to remember how the tones A or a D (for example) look. The downside: This does not ease you into reading sheet music. It won't teach you to read music at all. We recommend you just add your own annotations to difficult parts and train notation sight-reading. It's not that hard.

Chord annotations above the score

Chord symbols enable Jazz musicians to determine within seconds how to embellish melodies. But to make use of them you need to have a substantial knowledge and skill base (chord inversions). Plain old sheet music is enough to start out with - or do you really wish to begin your piano journey wondering what the best finger position for Gm7/C is? If you do we are not stopping you. You might want to read up on some basic music theory here and chord alterations here.

Sometimes useful: A score-roll with sheet music that "hikes along"

The ordinary music sheet is still the most versatile, flexible learning device you can have - digitally or printed. It allows you to vary your (practice) tempo or to repeat difficult passages easily. However, sheet music scores that automatically center and highlight where you are within a piece offer easy orientation for beginners and can be especially useful on small displays. Good sheet music services allow you to switch between both modes.

person playing the piano while holding a phone

What Kind of Beginner Are You?

Even though you might consider yourself a beginner, you might be more advanced than you know. Here is our task list for you to focus on - check which group you belong to:

I'm a complete beginner

  • Learn to read sheet music
  • Practice with method books for beginners
  • Practice daily, take a teacher if you want

I've played the piano before, ages ago

  • Refresh your sheet music knowledge
  • Play scales and finger exercises
  • Schedule regular times to practice songs that you enjoy

I can read music & play other instruments

  • Work through a method book for piano
  • Get acquainted with the correct technique
  • Choose and practice songs you enjoy
  • Record your performance occasionally to analyze strengths and weaknesses
a woman practicing the piano

How Adult Beginners Have Fun Learning the Piano

Beginner method books typically aim at little children. But adult brains learn in a different way. Adults are self-motivated, they want to decide both method and tempo themselves, and to plan their learning experience. This can be a huge advantage: You will have acquired both a distinct experience and taste in music, which can work to motivate you if you take it into account when choosing piano music to play. Any previous learning experience supports your piano learning process.

Adult piano beginners expect recommendations, instruction, and a customized and personalized sheet music choice that enables them to progress autonomously.

a woman tapping on digital sheet music

Here's the Best Sheet Music for Beginners

Try these ten beginner-friendly sheet music favorites! And if that's not enough, there's plenty more easy sheet music where they came from.

  1. River Flows In You by Yiruma
  2. Comptine D'un Autre Été (from "Amelie") by Yann Tiersen
  3. Bella Ciao - Traditional
  4. Hedwig's Theme (from "Harry Potter") by John Williams
  5. He's A Pirate (from "Pirates of the Caribbean") by Klaus Badelt
  6. Le Onde by Ludovico Einaudi
  7. Can You Feel the Love Tonight by Elton John
  8. Wellerman - Sea Shanty
  9. Thank You for the Music by Abba
  10. Für Elise by Ludwig van Beethoven

Bundles: How to Build Your Repertoire Fast

If you really want to kick-start your piano repertoire, don't just randomly choose one piece after the other. Plan your song list as you would for a concert. How do the pieces you want to play connect? Perhaps, at some point, you'll actually want to perform your music for friends and family - a themed performance using a sheet music collection is fun to prepare. Check out our song bundles!

Disney Favorites for Easy Piano

This beginner-friendly Disney bundle contains 8 hits from movie classics "Lion King", "The Little Mermaid", "Aladdin", "Frozen 1 & 2", "Encanto", "Pinocchio", and "Pirates of The Caribbean". If you love Disney movies the "Disney Favorites for Easy Piano" are your best friends!

Best of Coldplay for Piano Beginners

This best-selling British band has quite a selection of ballads that make piano players' eyes water with joy. "Best of Coldplay for Piano Beginners" features easy versions of "The Scientist", "Fix You", "Viva la Vida", and "Clocks". Enjoy!

Elke Galvin
Elke Galvin is a British-Austrian singer, multi-instrumentalist, and writer. She has worked both as a musician and journalist for over 25 years. Not only is she an acclaimed songwriter, she loves to write about music, too! Making music theory easy to understand is her passion, as is writing about music styles, music and the brain, and how to have fun learning and playing music.

Frequently asked questions

  • How do I learn to read sheet music as a beginner?
    If you're able to read letters you are perfectly capable of reading sheet music! Good beginner method books and videos will make it easy to access music notation. It won't take you long to figure out the basics, and after that, you need to keep up with it and consolidate your new skill.
  • How do I know how my sheet music is supposed to sound?
    Ideally, you'll find sheet music AND audio samples so you can hear how the results of your practice are supposed to sound. Consider taking a few (online) lessons in the beginning.
  • Can I teach myself to play the piano, without any teacher?
    Yes, you can. Good method book and digital learning platforms offer to teach you tailor-made programs to enable you to cross the finishing line - even if you don't have any idea about reading sheet music or playing an instrument. But you need to be persistent because regular practice is important. If you want to, there's always the option of hiring a piano coach if you have insurmountable difficulty when learning alone.
  • How much time should I reserve for practice each day?
    Every day or every other day, if you can. At least one quarter of an hour. This is more effective than torturing oneself for hours with one huge practice session.

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