The necessity of using different learning styles to learn piano

While it’s important to identify what type of learner you are (“visual,” “tactile,” etc.), it’s also important not to let this limit you.  The playing of music includes all of our senses and if you really want to become an accomplished pianist, you’ll constantly push yourself to learn in different ways.

Let’s say for example, that you’re a “visual learner.” That’s great! You can probably read music very well and memorize music by remembering what the notes look like on the page. Use this ability.  Nurture it. Learn and enjoy as much music as you can by learning visually.

BUT, and this is a big one, it’s absolutely essential to branch out with your learning process, perhaps in this case by developing your ear. Listen to a recording and try to sing the harmony parts, the inner-voice lines. Or learn melodies and chords “by ear.” It may be painful at first, but whatever you do, do not say “I’m a visual learner so I’m not going to do that.” Or “I don’t see the benefit of learning that way.” This will limit you (and I see it all the time).

As recent studies in neuroscience have shown, music involves the “whole person” more than just about any other activity. So use this to your advantage when learning to play your instrument. Develop your auditory skills. Use your tactile senses in creative ways. I’ve known pianists who even copied out their piano pieces by hand in order to memorize them better. Clap your rhythms. Play hand drums. Dance to recordings to improve your sense of rhythm. In short, do anything and everything you can do to develop all your musical faculties, not just the ones that come easily to you or the ones you prefer.

Challenge yourself in the ways you don’t want to be challenged. This is one key to mastering the piano and becoming a fluent musician. (And while you’re at it…… remember to have fun!!!)

 If you want to try this right away, read here about the 2 ways to learn music. Identify the one you prefer, and then do the other one 🙂

Get my free ebook: Left Hand Techniques for Jazz Piano
You’ll also get my weekly jazz newsletter with practice tips and inspiration

Leave a Comment

Sign up for Blog Updates