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 – I 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.
The biggest mistake people do with piano for beginners is that they try to learn with sheet music and sight-reading instead of focusing on chords! That’s what frustrates so many people and causes them to fail their plan and abandon the piano soon after they started.
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.
If you play guitar, so think about that from a guitarist’s point of view – when you started to learn guitar, did you go straight to playing complex fingerstyle song arrangements, using music note sheets, that involve both playing 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. 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.
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 – when you play with chords – you enjoy massive creative freedom, since 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.
Think about that! Elton John. Billy Joel. (check out Billy Joel in action. Spectacular!) 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? No sir!
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 – so the smart way is to take full advantage of that fact!
To explain my point, here is what most books and courses will try to get you to play: (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…)
While all you really need to play the song BEAUTIFULLY and just like Paul McCartney played it himself looks like this: (It’s actually a very simple song!)
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.
“Give someone a fish and you’ll feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime.”
This is the perfect analogy about learning classical piano pieces through note sheets (which will give you just one fish) vs. learning some chords and some strumming patterns. (thousands of songs have now opened for you, have fun for a lifetime)
K then, now I’m done with trashin’ the traditional method of learning. (-: So how my ideal way of learning the piano does look like?
Alright Then, So What IS the Best Way to Learn Chords Piano for Beginners, FAST? How Do You Use 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 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 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:
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 that actually work:
The “Teach Yourself” Method (Not Really Recommended):
If you want to teach yourself and you are a truly a 100% autodidact – what 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.
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.
Very quickly I was amazed by myself and the beautiful music that came out of my hands. And that was all for the price of a single piano lesson with a teacher – 40$ !
The course I took is called Piano For All and I could not recommend it more highly if you are after a no BS approach to learn the piano fast.
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! Check out
So do your math and think what method will work better for you, and then go for it, and start playing the piano!
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.
So I 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. Thank god for YouTube! (:
What’s your favorite piano song of all time? Please share with us in the comments below. Cheers
*Originally posted in April ’15.
Here’s one of my favorite piano songs of all time to cap it off:
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