Arthur C. Clarke once shared his wisdom when he said: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” What technology has enabled us to do thus far....truly...is... amazing...
We have cars that assist us with our driving, we can chat with our friends anywhere in the world almost instantly, and we have a wealth of information at our fingertips. No wonder our computer can teach us how to play the piano.
With computers that can drive better, or even play chess better than humans, it’s possible that software can be considered as more effective than a human teacher. However, technology also has its challenges and limitations, making one wonder whether it can replace a one-on-one session with a music teacher. Let’s have a look.
Back To Basics
To understand whether or not piano software succeeds in teaching you how to play the piano, you have to ask yourself what playing the piano actually means There is a fundamental difference between playing the piano and just being able to play songs on the piano. And what is the difference?
What we need to take into consideration is that people mean different things when they say they want to learn how to play the piano, or that they can play it. At the end of the day, some people simply just want to be able to play their favorite Adele song. They want to play songs that they are emotionally engaged with, but they have no need to be an accomplished artist. For them, a YouTube video might do the trick. They can’t care less about scales or proper technique.
In order to be a successful artist that plays in concert halls, your learning process needs to include the fundamentals of music learning, including music theory, reading music, phrasing, technique, posture, rhythm, and motivation.
Motivation is the most important aspect. No teacher or software will be able to teach someone if they don’t want to. Once the desire is there, the rest will become easier.
These fundamentals are what helps you to know how to play and work with the piano. This is what separates the someone that know how to play the piano from someone who knows how to play a few songs on a piano.
If you just want to know enough to be able to sit at the piano and play your favorite songs, piano software and YouTube videos can absolutely teach you that.
If you want to go beyond the ability to know how to play songs - maybe you want to learn more about the technique, notation and music theory - it can be possible, (albeit more difficult ) to accomplish it without a teacher.
But that will all depend on the type and quality of the piano software you opt for.
With these different options of learning the piano, it’s important to remember that no one product or service will fit the solution.
Comprehensive Consideration For Piano Learning Software
The fact that you are researching the possibility of investing in piano learning software shows that you have the desire to pursue your love of making music. This is the first step of your learning process that will ultimately lead to your success.
The second thing you need to think about is, what exactly is your goal? What are you hoping to achieve during this learning process? Once you have established this, it will be easier to find the best method of learning for yourself.
What Does Piano Software Offer?
Most software programs provide a carefully thought out curriculum that takes you step by step in learning the basic elements of playing the piano, This will include the notes, scales, chords, chord progressions, and different rhythms.
Some programs also assist you in the learning of how to read sheet music and how to play by ear, giving you an opportunity to have a more in-depth study of the music elements.
A major advantage of piano learning software is that you can learn how to play on your own time. Some people will flourish in such circumstances as they struggle to learn under pressure or simply don't have the means of taking lessons. But be careful to avoid this interaction completely, especially with younger students who need a little push once in a while.
Advanced Piano Software
Your advanced programs provide different tools to keep it interesting. These tools can help you work your way through your music by giving you the option to watch and listen.
The computer will play you the song, which you can then play afterward. You can also play with one hand while the computer plays the other hand for you. This makes it possible to improve on specific problem areas. Some of the best software learning programs currently on the market includes:
As with any instrument, the success will only be evident if you put the time and effort into it. A regular practice routine with piano software may be able to stand on its own, but for some students, a teacher is irreplaceable.
The Human Touch
There will always be a place and a need for teachers when it comes to teaching a student how to play the piano. Piano teachers are more hands on and can teach you subtle aspects of playing the piano ( especially for beginners), something which simply cannot be done with software.
When you struggle with something specific, the teacher can give you personal advice on how to improve when you don’t know what you’re doing wrong. Maybe your posture needs a small tweak, or it’s the slight tilt of a hand.
Piano software was largely designed to teach a bigger target market, so it can't be accurately adjusted to your specific (or smaller) needs.
It’s important to remember that if you want to learn how to play the piano proficiently, there are no easy shortcuts. To learn the piano you require motivation and dedication with regular practice sessions. At the end of the day, it all comes down to personal preference and what you can afford.
The Final Verdict
Of course, it would be closed-minded if we don’t consider the advantages of piano learning software. It would be a real shame to have the technology available and not use it.
The reality, however, is that having a private teacher can be more expensive than buying a piano learning software program. But remember, while the software can stand alone for some students, it will be more effective when used in combination with a real teacher. The learning process will only be improved and you will be able to boost the effectiveness of your practice sessions.
With the latest technology, an experienced teacher and a lot of practice, it is very possible to become the piano player that you want to be.
About the Author: Helen Baker
I am a freelance teacher and writer based in Ann Arbor, MI. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Music, I spent some time teaching English in Paris and, thereafter, returned to Ann Arbor where I was involved both in the media and academics. Currently I am a stay at home mom, working as a freelance writer and teacher. I love all my guitars and I also have an affinity towards old grand pianos. I love singing, traveling, reading, writing, watching films and spending quality time with my husband.