Options for adult who wants to learn piano
January 14, 2015 1:58 PM   Subscribe

I would like to learn how to play the piano and am considering whether to learn via adult education courses, private lessons or teach myself. Or even a mix.

I would like to get the most bang for my buck. If it matters, I used to be able to read music while being in a choir but haven't read music in a decade although I still retain minimal information. If you have taken an adult education course, what has been your experience? I am mainly worried about the quality of instruction. Will it be a waste of $90-150 and I should just opt for the private lessons? My options for adult education courses in my city:
-beginner piano, 8 1.5hr sessions
-instant piano for those with no spare time, 1 3hr session. Claims "learn to construct major, minor, and seventh chords; memorize chords and transpose them from one key to another"
-learn how to read music, 5 2hr sessions

A quick google search shows rates of $25-40 for half hour and hour lessons. If I go the private route, how many lessons will I need?

Or could I just teach myself via google, youtube, etc? If so, please provide any links to tools that have been useful to you or others. My main concern is that I'll learn something the wrong way which may be difficult to unlearn and affect my playing in the future. Thanks!
posted by shortstuff13 to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
You can't beat private lessons and practicing 5-6 days a week. The way you learn piano is to practice and get immediate feedback, which pretty much means your teacher needs to watch you the whole time. In a class, you're not going to get that. Videos don't give you feedback and make it hard to keep a good practice schedule, so I wouldn't recommend them unless you've self-taught other things that normally require lessons or schooling to achieve competency.

It's hard to speak to timing without knowing your goal, but if you practice and take lessons, you'll be quite impressed with yourself a year from now. Probably 2-3 years as an adult to make piano a lifelong skill you can continue to teach yourself without letting many bad habits creep in, but maybe faster depending on how well you take to it and how much time you have to practice. If it took 5 or more years, there'd be nothing wrong with that so long as you were okay with spending the time and money on lessons and practicing.
posted by michaelh at 2:16 PM on January 14, 2015 [2 favorites]

2nding private lessons. I took private lessons for nine years as a kid and it helps to have someone sitting next to you to help you learn.
posted by tacodave at 3:03 PM on January 14, 2015 [2 favorites]

I learned at first through group piano lessons. I didn't learn much. I'd only recommend them if you wanted to just dip your toe in to test the water before taking the full plunge.

Of course, now I teach some piano lessons so I'm a bit biased.

The more you practice on your own, the more worthwhile the lessons, so you'll get the biggest bang for your buck by always being well prepared for your lesson.
posted by lownote at 4:57 PM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

Thank you all for your input! Private lessons it is!
posted by shortstuff13 at 6:24 AM on January 15, 2015

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