Common Mistakes You Need to Avoid When Playing the Piano


Playing the piano is a difficult instrument to learn, but it can also be one of the most fulfilling musical endeavors there are. However, just like any other skill or trade, there are common mistakes that you need to avoid when playing the piano. This article will talk about some of those mistakes and what you can do to fix them.

Familiarize Yourself With The Piano's Keys 

The first thing you need to do is spend some time getting used to where the keys are on a piano and what they're called. 


You may think that's an easy task, but it will be one of your biggest stumbling blocks if you don't take the time to explore this basic skill. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources for learning about music theory online, as well as in books and classes at local colleges or musical instrument stores.


If you don't learn the key names, it'll be hard to know what notes are in any given chord or scale. If you're ever stuck on a song and can't figure out which note is needed for an upcoming melody (or just want to improvise at will), knowing your piano's keys well enough to identify them by name may save the day.


It also helps if you have some familiarity with how chords work—what they look like and sound like, so that when someone tells you “You need another C minor seventh here,” or “We should raise this third degree of D major” then those words make sense. As the folks behind the PianoLessonsOnline website explain, knowing some of the coolest chord progressions in the history of music enables you to learn songs faster. It's not too difficult, but it does take time to become familiar with these concepts. The same applies to scales. 


So spend some time exploring the layout of your piano, and you'll be well on your way.

Don't Press Down On The Keys Too Hard

This will not only make your playing sound much louder than it needs to be, and also tire out your hand and fingers faster. So press with just enough pressure so that you can feel the keys under your fingertips when pressing down on them. 


This is optimal for two reasons: one being that you want to produce a soft volume in order to avoid disturbing people around.


The second reason being that if you push too hard with all of your force, then you won’t have any energy left over when the time comes for the next note or chord.


Keep Your Fingers Curved And In Contact With The Piano Keys

This will help to keep your fingers from getting jammed. If you have to press down hard on a key, then there is something wrong with the piano's action or hammers. Don't keep playing until this has been corrected by an expert.


If you are having trouble keeping your hands on the actual piano's key surfaces, use a towel rolled up and tucked into both sides of your bench to help provide some stability while playing.  The added height between the bench surface and the keyboard will also make it easier to see what is happening over top of all those black notes.

Use Your Thumb 

Use your thumb to play a note that is not next to one of your fingers. For instance, if your index finger is on a note, and you want to play the note next to it with your thumb or middle finger, use all four fingers. This will ensure that you don't accidentally change notes when playing chords.


Using both of your thumbs on one hand to play chords that are usually played with two hands is tempting, but this will lead you to fatigue faster than usual. This is also known as “thumbing.” You want to make sure that each side of the piano gets equal playing time during practice sessions, so be more careful when using both hands at once.  


When playing a chord, place your thumb on the bottom of the note that is played with all four fingers. For example, if you are using your index finger to play C and then use your thumb to hit A underneath it, this will produce an “open D.” 


If you only have three fingers free on one hand, try moving notes around until they are in reach of each other. For instance, instead of having E and G next to each other while at least two or more spaces away from F below them, move those notes up, so there's just enough space for another finger between them near the top row where D resides before hitting F. This way both hands can be used evenly during practice sessions without any concern about fatigue.

Play From Left To Right, Not From Top To Bottom

One common mistake that people make when playing the piano is to play from top to bottom. If you're reading music, it's going to be difficult for your hands and brain to keep up with what they should do if you try this method of playing. The keys on a grand piano are arranged in an order determined by how often each key is used, so start at the left end of the keyboard and work your way right across all 88 keys. 


It's not just about reading the music, though. The orientation of your hands and fingers will also change if you play from left to right instead of top to bottom. Start with your thumb on middle C, then put down your index finger on G above it. Put down second and third fingers next to those two so that they're all lined up in a row–second is F, third is E, fourth is D… this

ordering gives each finger an easy path for playing chords (more below). Your pinky should sit nicely against A at the end of the keyboard; leave it there while we talk about hand position.

Choose Music That's Appropriate For Your Skill Level

The most common complaint from beginner piano players is that they are often frustrated by their lack of progress. This usually occurs when the music chosen for practice requires a level of skill or technique beyond what was learned in lessons and home practicing. When this happens, it's important to either choose different songs more appropriate for your current ability (or easier versions) until you have mastered the skills needed to play them correctly – or find an instructor who can teach you those techniques before continuing on with advanced pieces. 


Do not just keep playing through these difficult passages without learning how to do so properly. That will only lead to frustration and discouragement, which will be enough reason for us all to give up on our musical goals altogether.


Learning to play the piano is a rewarding experience and one that requires commitment. If you're just starting out on your musical journey or if you've been playing for decades and are ready to take it up another level, these tips should help get you off on the right foot. Remember not to press too hard with your fingers, keep them curved, so they remain in contact with the keys at all times, use your thumb instead of two hands whenever possible (it makes things much easier), choose music appropriate for where you are currently skill-wise (don't try to learn Chopin when what's written down is really difficult!), and familiarize yourself with which key does what before moving onto something else entirely.

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