I’ve come up with a new term to describe what is perhaps the best way to learn piano: “Minimum Viable Piano.” It means to learn just what you need to get to a certain level of ability, and then to do a lot of that!
Do you know chords? Great! Then play tons of songs with the chords you know. Can you play a simple jazz solo? Wonderful! Then play 30 jazz tunes and have the time of your life, improvising simple yet beautiful solos.
The “minimum viable piano” concept sounds so obvious when you hear it, but the sad truth is that the great majority of piano students unsuccessfully take the opposite approach. They spend 90% of their time practicing things that are way too hard for them and then get frustrated because they never “sound good.” In fact, you’ll become a much better pianist if you spend most of your time playing “laterally,” that is, at your current level, and the remaining time working on more challenging material.
It’s really about developing “fluency.” And as with language, no one ever became fluent in a language by only learning the difficult words! But ironically, this is what most people do with their piano playing. No wonder most piano students get frustrated at some point!
To learn more about this and what it means for you, check out my podcast below. One of the big ways you can begin having more fun at the piano and improving at the same time is by understanding and applying my idea of “Minimum Viable Piano” to your own playing.
So much about successfully learning jazz (or any other music, for that matter) depends on having the right mindset, and you’ll find that if you apply this concept of Minimum Viable Piano to your own playing, you’ll have more fun at your current stage of development and you’ll make more progress towards playing at the advanced levels.