How Creativity and Passion Are The Most Important Things When Learning Piano
This post is the new manifesto for Pianostan.com. In the past with this site I was just doing what other people were doing with their piano sites or YouTube channels and trying to replicate it.
It was fun for a while and it had it’s moments but in the end it isn’t what I want this site to be.
I have learned to play the piano in a different way than most people (I think). There are three things that I attribute my piano playing to. The first is learning to play in a band, but that is a topic for another post. The next two are creativity and passion.
Without those two things I would never have learned to play at all.
In fact, when I am not feeling passionate or creative with the piano, or anything, I usually don’t play at all.
Creativity and Learning Piano
I have created about 15 full songs of my own on the piano. And I can play about 20 more little doodles that go nowhere but are fun to play that I made up myself.
I can play ZERO full songs by another artist. I can play the intro to this song and the verse to that song and the chorus to that song, but I can’t play a full song that someone else created. I just don’t want to.
If I do learn a song I have to change it in some way to make it fun or interesting to play.
To me it isn’t fun to learn a famous song because:
- There is a very specific way to play it and unless you play it that exact same way it’s wrong and it feels like a failure.
- Unless you have someone to play with you or sing to it, there is no point. I have about 30 songs I can kind of play, but if I played it for someone it would go terrible and it would feel like a failure.
- It’s already been played. It already exists. There’s no unknown there. A computer can now play any song from sheet music. That’s how I feel when I read sheet music. Like a computer.
With that being said, it isn’t bad to learn songs. It’s good for you to see the theory behind songs, what chords they use, how they mix melody and rhythm, and lots more.
Just don’t let that be the only thing you do.
Practicing will be a struggle and if practicing is a struggle you will give up quickly.
Creativity is the most important thing when learning piano.
The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination. -Albert Einstein
If you get into the habit of creating your own music you will practice ten times longer and more intense than you ever will trying to learn songs. I guarantee it.
Making my own CD required more practice and fun than I have ever experienced at the piano. I was having migraines for the first time ever and I thought I was losing my mind so I decided I was tired of complaining about them, I’m going to make 4 piano songs and put it on a CD.
All told I’m going to say I put in about 30-40 hours of piano time making those songs.
Every single minute of that was actual fun, and it was practice!
Never could I and never would I put that amount of time into learning songs off YouTube or sheet music.
I learned different keys and different techniques. One song was in A major, another in B major, and another in D flat minor.
Making a song in these keys is the best way to understand them, not repetition of the scale up and down.
Passion and Learning Piano
Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
You have to be passionate and enthusiastic about what you are doing to be successful. That goes for anything you do, but especially if you are learning piano.
It can be difficult at the start and you can go months without actually feel like you are accomplishing anything. So you need to be passionate about it. If you just kinda want to play a Justin Bieber song than you will never really learn anything.
It goes in cycles, sometimes you just don’t have it, you don’t feel like playing at all, and sometimes all you want to do is play play play.
I go through the same thing. I can not touch my keys in 3 months and be okay with it, but then I can play more in two weeks than I ever have in my life.
It’s weird like that.
Keep Up The Passion
To keep my enthusiasm up I always do two things. I find other people to play with.
One good jam session with someone else, even a bad jam session, is more fun than you will ever have playing by yourself. Ever. It gives you a reason to practice.
Maybe you work on a song that you guys played and try to add something to it for next time. Or you make up a song you want to play for next time. One good jam session with the band keeps me going for at least a month.
I create my own music. I like orchestral, solo piano, R&B, and hip hop. I hear something I like and I try to make something in that style.
It’s a project, it’s fun. And at the same time it’s practice.
You can make whatever you want but start making things you like.
If you like strings and movie soundtrack music stop learning pop songs on the piano. Start learning orchestral music.
It’s up to you, do whatever you want.
I don’t have fancy equipment by the way. You can see the photo of my “studio” above.
I have an iPod where I use Garageband and I have a laptop that isn’t fast enough to hook my keyboard into so I can’t record with it. And I have a pretty cheap keyboard, about 6,000 Vietnamese Dong or $200 USD.
So no using the equipment excuse as a reason to not create. I have done it before. Don’t do it.
If you want to be able to read sheet music and play pieces that already exist, I can’t help you. There are sites and things out there for that type of style and playing.
If you want to make your own music and jam out with friends then stay tuned to Pianostan.