The piano is one of the most versatile of all the musical instruments. In western classical music, there are many solo pieces in diverse styles that have been written for the instrument. In addition to these, there are also plenty of ensemble or chamber music pieces. There are also many other interesting musical styles in jazz and other popular genres for those who learn how to play the piano to discover.
Learning any instrument is a challenge, whether you are learning it simply for your own pleasure or whether you wish to become a professional musician. With balanced teaching and a sensible practice regimen, however, you can make incredible progress, even if you are unsure whether you have any innate musical talents.
It is essential to have a good teacher who can guide you and make the learning process fun. Many people give up playing their instrument not because of time constraints or because they lack ability but because they are discouraged by unkind or uninspiring teachers. Whether you choose a teacher who can give you one-on-one lessons in person or you teach yourself by watching videos online or reading 'teach yourself' books, a reasonable amount of self-discipline is also necessary.
It is advisable to choose private lessons with an experienced and patient teacher when you start lessons, as a teacher will be able to give you guidance with regard to interpretation, technique, and general music theory. It is a good idea to learn music theory while you pursue practical studies, as this will help you to understand the structure of each piece better, which makes for a better performance. A good knowledge of music theory also makes it easy to memorize music for performance.
Many people long to learn an instrument but worry that they will not have enough time to set aside time for practicing scales and pieces. It is not necessary to put in hours and hours of practice every day, however. If you practice in blocks of fifteen minutes to half an hour, it is easier to find times to sit down at the keyboard than if you practice for long stretches of time without a break.
There are many methods for learning a new piece of music. While it can be frustrating for those who have short patience, slow practice is often the best way to make good progress. Practicing each hand separately is a method used by beginners and advanced performers alike, as it makes it easier to focus on balance (the differences in volume between notes), fingering (which fingers are used to play which notes), and other important aspects.
Memorization abilities are important for those who wish to perform written (as opposed to improvised) pieces without the sheet music in front of them. It is risky to learn a piece simply by playing it through over and over - this can result in getting 'lost', where a mistake in the middle means that you have to go right back to the start. If you work on different parts of the piece in isolation, you will have less of a linear understanding of it.
Whatever your reasons for wanting to learn how to play the piano, frequent practice along with attentive instruction can help you to develop quickly; you might even be surprised by the speed at which you progress.