How To Learn To Play Piano When You Don’t Own One
Maybe you’ve wanted to learn to play piano since you were a kid. Or maybe you want to challenge yourself by learning a new musical instrument.
Whatever your reasons, learning a new skill is a brilliant way to expand your brain and unleash your creativity.
Regular playing an instrument can increase your IQ by seven points.
But there’s a problem.
You don’t own a piano. So how can you learn to play without an instrument?
Don’t worry. All is not lost.
Read on to discover how to learn play piano even when you don’t own one.
Start with learning theory
Music theory sounds incredibly dull. And if you want to play piano, you might not want to spend time learning about music. But if you take the time upfront to learn to read music then you’ll find it easier to learn the instrument later.
You’ll already be able to read sheet music and you’ll have the ‘dry’ stuff nailed so you can focus on actually playing.
Tuning into your sense of rhythm is important no matter what instrument you choose to learn. You can practice counting aloud. Or clap out rhythms to get used to how a tune works.
Timing is one of the more overlooked parts of learning an instrument. So getting your rhythm right before you sit down to play will make the learning process smoother.
Get an electronic keyboard instead
It might sound like an obvious option, but an electronic keyboard will give you a good substitute while you learn to play piano.
The size you buy depends on the space you have. Though many keyboards are easier to store than a full-size piano.
Establish middle C on your keyboard and you can still practice note placement. You’ll also be able to learn to finger and read music.
While most keyboards replicate the sound of a piano, they do have one advantage. You can jazz up a playing session by adding pre-recorded rhythms, which let you practice keeping time.
Or you can change the sound to a pipe organ or something equally fun for a different experience. It’s a good way to maintain interest while you learn to play piano.
Try our review of digital keyboards to find your ideal model.
Find a piano you can ‘borrow’
Do you know anyone with their own piano? Think of your friends, family, and neighbors.
Perhaps they’d be willing to let you borrow theirs while you learn to play piano. If so, arrange a time that’s convenient for you to pop round. Maybe agree to babysit their kids, giving them time off from parenting and you access to their piano.
If you want to pay for private lessons, then you may be able to gain access to the tutor’s piano to practice.
Alternatively, consider other public spaces that have pianos. Church halls often have pianos, and they may let you use theirs while you’re learning. Maybe there is a senior citizen care home near you. They often have pianos and the residents will love seeing a new face.
You may need to do a ‘skills swap’ and do something in exchange for the practice time. But whipping up cookies for a bake sale or painting a fence is a small price to pay for access to an instrument.
If you want to learn to play piano, there’s an app for that
There are apps for almost any leisure pursuit, social platform, or educational purpose that you can think of.
And learning to play the piano is no different. The apps are harder to use on a smartphone due to the size of the screen. If you have a tablet, then you’ll find it much easier. The apps aren’t as good a substitute as an electronic keyboard.
After all, the keys are closer together. And you don’t know how hard to hit them to make a sound.
But they’re far more portable than keyboards. And they help you to practice simple rhythms and the placement of the notes. Some are straightforward on-screen keyboards. Others will actually teach you to play.
And if you’re worried about noise, simply pop in your earphones.
You can squeeze in practice time on your morning commute. Or flick the app open while you’re got a spare ten minutes during your lunch break.
Investigate the possibility of renting a piano while you learn
Some companies offer rental packages. So you can pay to ‘borrow’ a piano while you’re learning.
This is a great way to gain access to an instrument while you decide which model you might like to purchase later.
In some cases, you can even buy the piano outright, using the rental fees as a deposit. So the rent you pay isn’t ‘dead’ money.
This might be a useful option if your child wants to learn. You can rent the piano while they decide if they really want to learn or it’s just a whim.
Check out our review of the best pianos for a beginner.
Finally, a paper keyboard will do in a pinch
Learning to play piano isn’t just about the music you make.
You can draw the keys on a piece of paper or a sheet of cardboard. It might seem childish but it will help you to learn the notes.
If you make a full-scale paper version, you’ll be able to master the spaces between the keys. Then when you sit down at a piano you’ll find the keys much easier to navigate. The real keyboard won’t be so daunting for you.
You might find it helpful to hum the notes as you ‘play’ them. This will help you fix the notes in your mind. Besides, the neighbors can’t complain about the noise if you’re not making any!
So those are our tips to help you learn to play piano without owning one.
Once you’re ready to buy your first piano, check out our buyer’s guide. It’ll walk you through the things to consider so you buy an instrument you’ll love.