Should You Learn One Song at a Time on the Piano?

Learning to play your favorite songs on the piano can be a rewarding challenge for musicians and non-musicians alike. The Beatles, Billy Joel, Dolly Parton – it’s all within reach if you are willing to practice and study.

But can you really take on more than one song at a time? And can you genuinely learn to play the piano with pop songs or without a teacher?

Truthfully, you can only go so far by teaching yourself songs on the piano. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a good place to start. For piano lessons in San Antonio with an expert musician and educator, contact Kosha Music Academy today.

Should You Learn One Song at a Time on the Piano?

Yes, if your goal is to simply learn tunes by rote on the piano, you should learn them one at a time. Learn the right hand melody either by playing it by ear, reading music, or copying a video, then learn the left hand accompaniment. After you can play both parts independently, put them together. After you have initially memorized the music, let it “rest” for a day or two, then revisit the tune. During this time off, you may forget some of what you learned – this is fine. It’s part of the memorization process when learning piano music, and as you relearn it, you will know the music even more deeply. You will, in effect, be committing the music to long term memory.

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How Long Does it Take the Average Person to Learn a Song on Piano?

You should be able to teach yourself a simple new tune in a month or two, but the time frame will vary wildly. Do you already know how to read notes? Do you know what the different keys on the piano are? Do you have a good ear, or do you already understand music theory? 

If you already know a good bit about music, whether you are a guitarist or a tuba player, you can learn a simple song on the piano relatively quickly. If you have never studied music before, it may take you longer!

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Is Learning the Piano Possible Through Songs Alone?

The answer is – kind of. If your goal is to learn how to play a couple of pop songs (for instance, everyone wants to play “All of Me” by John Legend on the piano), you can teach yourself how to play those songs by rote.

“By rote” means you watch someone playing the tune, copy the movements, and memorize them. It would be similar to memorizing the moves in a dance, or the lines in a play. Memorizing these movements won’t give you any dynamic skills to enable the playing of any other pieces.

In other words, you’ll be able to memorize the movements for that piece or song, but you won’t necessarily know the piano keys, be able to read music, or use the fundamental elements of music-making to play other music in a timely manner.

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Can Piano be Self-Taught?

Yes, to a certain extent, you can teach yourself how to play the piano. There’s nothing stopping you from learning bass and treble clef notation, the piano keys, chords, basic music theory, your key signatures, time signatures, and more. Additionally, you can use various apps like Pianote and Simply Piano to get a head start, or you can buy your own method book, like the Alfred piano method for adults.

But that said, you will always learn so much more quickly with an experienced piano teacher. The reasons include, but are not limited to:

  • A skilled teacher can present information in a highly structured way, so that your knowledge builds upon itself and avoid gaps
  • A teacher will hold you accountable
  • A teacher will do more than teach concepts that you could learn online – they’ll teach you how to practice, which is the most important thing
  • Teachers can adapt the lessons to your specific goals, deficiencies, or strengths

For more information about music lessons in San Antonio with Kosha Music Academy, please get in touch! We can teach you in person or online, and we would be happy to hold a trial lesson.