Piano for Beginners – Learn Piano EASILY By Avoiding the Biggest Learning Mistake!

Hey there! My name's Cooper, I am discovering the world while running my online teaching business, playing venues with a band / solo, and trying to learn with the most inspiring musicians wherever I go. In the last 8 years I've spent long periods in Australia, northern Europe, the USA, Sri Lanka and more. Originally I am from Tel Aviv, Israel. I hope I can be a helpful friend on your musical journey. ūüôā

(Last Updated On: November 15, 2018)

The piano is truly the father of all musical instruments. The deep, rich, full and complex sounds and arrangements it produces have no rival in the music world. Especially if you strive to become a multi-instrumentalist and enrich your musical point of view of all instruments РI think that you will reap the most benefits from playing the piano out of all other options.

It's not a surprise that just about every university music program includes¬†piano lessons regardless of what is the student's¬†major instrument. The piano¬†opens your whole point of view to incredibly wider dimensions. It's been called “the father of all instruments” for a reason.

With that said, the piano also has the reputation for being the hardest to become good on. My 2 cents here are that I think that the¬†biggest mistake people do with piano as beginners is that they try to learn using “old” methods that were meant more for classical music – with sheet music and sight-reading – instead of¬†focusing on chords! (which are a lot more simple¬†and sounds better in my opinion, especially when you sing on top of it)¬†That's what frustrates so many people and causes them to fail their plan and abandon the piano soon after they started. So if you're into playing modern music and songs – read on!

See one of my piano covers in the paragraph below, and you can see more on my YouTube channel. You too can play like this very soon.
piano yamaha

Forget about the sheet music you disliked as a kid, we now have a much smarter and modern way to learn how to beautifully play “the father of all instruments”.

Guitar Tricks Free Trial

If you play guitar, so think about that from a guitarist's point of view Рwhen you started to learn guitar, did you go straight to playing complex fingerstyle song arrangements, using music note sheets, that involved playing both the chords and the melody all together? Heck no!

You started with chords and from there on you were able to play any songs you wanted. People who play complex fingerstyle arrangements on the guitar which involve chords and melody at the same time are very rare and almost all of them have only gotten into it after years of playing. Bottom line РI think that the piano can and should be approached with exactly the same idea in mind!

The idea is that chords, along with chord patterns, (the relatives of the guitar's “strumming patterns”) will¬†enable you to play ANY song immediately – instead of struggling with melodies and sheet music for weeks just to play a single song.

The insides of a Baldwin grand piano I recorded on in the last summer. A true piece of art.

The insides of a Baldwin grand piano I recorded on in the last summer in Austin, Texas. I still always find it cool to see how the insides of a piano look like an art piece.

You can (and should, at least in the beginning) play piano without sheet music and notes, and sadly, that's not what most methods and teachers will tell you! Personally, I even prefer chords played and melodies sung instead of both of them played like how it is supposed to sound with sheet music.

Also Рwhen you play with chords Рyou enjoy massive creative freedom Рsince there are dozens and dozens of ways that you can choose to play a song, (by playing around with different accompany patterns on those chords) and ALL these ways would sound great!

Unlike with sheets and notes where there is only one way of playing “right” and any small mistake can sound¬†so harsh. No thanks. I like having fun and being relaxed when I play music, and just go with my own creative flow.

So here's what most outdated, classical teaching methods will try to teach you to play. Sure, it sounds nice, but it'll take you months just to play that ONE piece smoothly, and remember that real music on stage never even sounds like that. Instead, there are chords played and the melodies are sung.
Let It Be – The Beatles [Piano Tutorial]

And here's how the real deal sounds like on stage. Paul McCartney playing Let It Be live. Pay attention to how the piano part is a lot more simple. You can learn that piece in a month from now even if you have never touched a piano. It's also a lot less stressful to play.
Paul McCartney – Let It Be – Live at Anfield, Liverpool 1st June 2008

Think about that! Elton John. Billy Joel. (check out Billy Joel in action in this super cool video) The Beatles. Coldplay. The Rolling Stones. Do you think that if you want to play all of their songs you need to learn piano in the ordinary and frustrating way through sheet music? The good news are Рdefinitely not.

Learning piano for beginners is ten times easier than how 95% of the books and courses make it seem like! And guess what? Most of the times even the performing piano rock musicians themselves don't use sheet music, they use the chords and their ears.

That's exactly where lies the biggest difference between rock music and classical music – in classical music there's one way to play a piece “right”, while when you're playing modern music using chords you can come up with a different way every time you play the song, and it'll all sound good. So the smart way is to take full advantage of that fact.

To explain my point, here is what the Let It Be version that most books and courses will try to get you to play looks like on paper:¬†(or any other song – but only a few months down the road… First you will have to¬†wade through a lot of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star kind of stuff…)
piano for beginners let it

Above: Let It Be in the way that most teachers/courses/books will try to teach you. That's the arrangement from the first video that I showed you.¬†Way over-complicated and leaves you with just one way of “playing it right”, so all of your own creativity is blocked, unlike with chords – where you can take your interpretation to wherever YOU want, and play it a bit differently every time – it'll all sound good.¬†The note-by-note version above does sound nice – but it will take months to get to a smooth performance of this¬†melody & chords combination just with this ONE song.

While all you really need to play the song BEAUTIFULLY and just like Paul McCartney plays it himself looks like this: (It's actually a very simple song!)

piano for beginners let it be

That's all you need. Simple! In fact, as much as Let It Be is a piano classic, it's a very simple song that's also very similar (musically) to thousands of other songs, which means you'll shortly be able to play those other songs as well. That's the beauty of learning chords instead of notes.

So do you see where the problem lies with the traditional, outdated and popular ways of teaching piano?

So dump the sheet music, don't waste y'er time, and focus on chords. That's all it takes to start playing gorgeous music very quickly.

‚ÄúGive someone a fish and you'll feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime.‚ÄĚ

This is the perfect analogy about learning classical piano pieces (or popular songs) through note sheets (which will give you just one fish by teaching you the song note for note) vs. learning some chords and some strumming patterns. (thousands of songs have now opened for you to play in the style that YOU choose, and you can have fun for a lifetime)

K then, now I'm done with my opinion on the traditional method of learning. So how the ideal way of learning the piano does look like in my opinion?

Alright then, so what IS the best way to learn chords on the piano for beginners, FAST? And how do you actually use those chords?

First of all, you want to understand that learning even just 10 basic chords will make you able to play around 80% of all of the rock and pop songs you can think about. So you're getting an unbelievably huge value on the time you put in here when learning those chords. Let's dive in and see what are those chords.

Chord formulas and basic chord charts are the right¬†place to begin with. With piano, unlike guitar, it's way¬†easier to learn¬†any chord because the keyboard and all of it's notes are¬†laid¬†out in simple two-dimensions view right in front of you, unlike the “4D” approach that the guitar fretboard takes. (up/down/left/right)

That means, that once you learn the “1-3-5” formula¬†to form major chords, (and the lowered 3rd to form minor chords) you can¬†figure out by yourself how to play ANY¬†major or minor chord you want to play within seconds! That is – assuming you already know the keyboard note locations which you can learn in the first day on the piano.

For example, here's all you need to play a C chord, which is about 20% of Let It Be and thousands of other songs. (refer to the Let It Be chord chart in the above paragraph to see the real life example)

piano for beginners how to learn piano

It's THAT easy! If you have a keyboard at your reach, go ahead and try it right now! Easy, right? Now press a G and an F chord. See how it's already starting to sound like a song?

In fact, just by learning C, G, Am and F chords along with a few simple patterns you will be able to play thousands of songs! Let It Be is included. It's as simple as that and you can see a great demonstration of the simplicity in this video. 

So when it comes down to learn chords piano, I suggest two ways to learn piano:

The “Teach Yourself” Method:¬†

If you want to teach yourself and you are a truly a 100% autodidact Рwhat you need to do is find easy songs to begin with, and learn their chords. Then, learn chord accompany patterns which is what makes those chords sound good throughout a whole song. That's the tricky part and you can find many lessons about the topic in YouTube.

That's a simplification- you also better do technique exercises, finger dexterity drills, etc. At least in the beginning to get you going.

piano for beginners

This dude definitely knows how to rock the piano chords – Elton John.

The “Take A Course” Method:¬†

I believe in a more organized and well-structured way of learning. This way, I can save a lot of time wasted by¬†messin'¬†around without a “guiding¬†hand”, and get to play all the songs I love¬†way sooner.

So as soon as I realized that the sheet music approach from my old books won't get me anywhere, I started searching online for a course that will teach me piano in an effective way. Eventually, after researching and reading a lot of different reviews, I purchased an online course that thought me everything from A to Z about chord fingerings, chord patterns, and how to practically play in the best way.

The course I took is called Piano For All and I could not recommend it more highly if you're after a chords approach that'll help you learn piano fast. I see now that it has already around 12,000 user reviews (which makes it one of the most popular music courses on the web) on Udemy with an average of 4.7.

Anyway – fast-forward to four¬†years later,¬†and I am happy to say that today the piano is in a constant competition with the¬†guitars for my “favorite instrument crown”. I play it every day when I am home,¬†and I have played piano on stages and open mics more than a couple of times. I even invested in a very high quality Kawai electric piano that makes the story even more fun!

So do your math and think what method will work better for you, and then go for it, and start playing the piano!

pianoforall review

This is a screenshot from the course that I learned with – Piano for All. You can read my full review about it right here.


learn piano

Here I am in a recent picture, caught while making a funny face at a show with the Blues & Booze band in Tel Aviv. ūüôā

This is how I sound like, in a “What A Wonderful World” piano & harmonica cover I made: (at the point when the video was recorded, the only piano lessons I ever took were from the course I mentioned above)
What a Wonderful World: HARMONICA cover, piano & flute, enjoy!

What If I Don't Have A Keyboard Or Piano Right Now?

If you currently don't have a piano or keyboard to start with, look here for good keyboard options. I won't go into details in this article, but you can look here for good keyboard buying guides for beginners.

Anyway РI hope that was a good read, and I hope you'll have a blast on your piano journeys! Enjoy Elton John rockin' the piano chords below in a 1980 performance that blows me away time after time. (:

What's your favorite piano song of all time? Please share with us in the comments below. Cheers¬†ūüôā


Here's one of my favorite piano songs of all time to cap it off:

Elton John – Tiny Dancer (Central Park 1980)

Hey there! My name's Cooper, I am discovering the world while running my online teaching business, playing venues with a band / solo, and trying to learn with the most inspiring musicians wherever I go. In the last 8 years I've spent long periods in Australia, northern Europe, the USA, Sri Lanka and more. Originally I am from Tel Aviv, Israel. I hope I can be a helpful friend on your musical journey. ūüôā

18 comments for “Piano for Beginners – Learn Piano EASILY By Avoiding the Biggest Learning Mistake!

  1. tony
    December 24, 2018 at 2:44 PM

    thanks a lot great

    • Alon Cooper
      March 31, 2019 at 8:19 AM

      My pleasure Tony.

  2. Ultrawoman
    May 29, 2018 at 3:02 AM

    This makes me feel I can really do it!!!

    • Cooper
      June 1, 2018 at 4:16 PM

      You can!

  3. Hanna
    February 15, 2018 at 3:07 AM

    Hello,great wed site just love reading all about piano.I love playing.But having so much trouble with timing

    • Cooper
      February 16, 2018 at 7:04 PM

      Thanks Hanna, glad you’re enjoying Guitar Songs Masters. Regarding timing issues, a metronome or a drum beat app (like Drum Beats+ for example) is the best helper on this front, and I recommend practicing with one of them at least for a few minutes in every session.

  4. Daniel Kurt
    January 25, 2018 at 1:16 PM

    This Let It Be performance was absolutely amazing. Actually that was the main reason I decided to buy the course earlier this week. So far it’s going great and I’m very glad I’m finally putting my piano to a good use, so just came back to say thanks. Daniel

    • Cooper
      January 26, 2018 at 9:21 PM

      Glad you’re enjoying the course Daniel, all the best

  5. Robert Lydash
    November 7, 2017 at 4:45 PM

    Although I am beginner but I want to learn piano fast, do you think it can help me? I really appreciate your reply… Thanks..!

    • Cooper
      November 10, 2017 at 5:04 PM

      Hey Robert, Yes, I started with this course as a complete beginner as well. ENJOY

  6. Jake Kriss
    June 27, 2017 at 12:28 AM

    Hey man, just came back here to say thanks!! I started playing piano about eight months ago after I read your article here and got those lessons and I now manage to play a bunch of my favorites! They still do not sound as good as I want them to sound but heck, a year ago I couldn’t believe I’d do that,

    You’re an inspiration, thanks!

    • Cooper
      June 28, 2017 at 4:41 AM

      Wow man, that’s really awesome to hear that you’ve been doing well on the piano.

      Keep it up, and as I always say – there’s no better motivation than playing more and more of your favorite songs. Always be sure to print out your favorites and place them next to the piano – you will never be bored again.

  7. Damien
    March 18, 2017 at 2:26 AM

    I agree, notes are such a hassle. Will give those lessons a try. Who’s your favorite pianist?

    • Cooper
      March 20, 2017 at 4:43 AM

      Hey man. My favorite pianists are Elton John, (I was lucky enough to see him live in 2016) Billy Joel and Billy Preston (he played sometimes with The Beatles and my favorite song by him is “Nothing From Nothing“)

  8. Daniel Krejci
    January 20, 2017 at 6:32 AM

    very interesting.

    • Cooper
      January 27, 2017 at 3:47 PM

      glad you liked Daniel.

  9. Jocelyn
    October 16, 2015 at 1:58 PM

    I agree and you do make sense with the chords thing. I really wanted to play the piano for a long time, this might be the chance so I’ll try out this course. Gracias

  10. matt
    February 5, 2015 at 12:30 AM

    That video of tiny dancer was so good. Even tho I’m far from being an elton john fan.

    I don’t play piano myself and don’t intend to but when I tried to start learning guitar from music sheets the results were the same. Got me frustrated as hell. Only came back to it about 5 years later.

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