Is it possible to learn piano songs easy? In this article, I will share my experience with learning piano at the age of 45. I will take you through my piano journey from the moment I started to my present piano experience. I will also share what piano app I used to play.
How to learn piano songs easy – this is the question many people ask. The piano is such a beautiful instrument but not necessarily easy to learn. Often we hear a beautiful piece or a song and we say – I want to learn piano.
Many of us had previous attempts to learn an instrument in the past but for some reason, we stopped playing.
In this post I will share my story of how I learned piano, what piano app did I use and what struggles I had in my way. If you want to learn to play piano too, read on, and I will share all my struggles and give you tips from my experience.
Why did I start playing the piano at the age of 45?
My piano story started two years ago when I was 45. We noticed that our daughter started showing interest in playing the piano. Several times I saw her sitting in her school atrium and trying to play the piano. That time she was part of a school choral as well and it looked like to us she was really interested in playing the piano.
We decided to buy her a digital piano Kawai KDP 110 for her 10th birthday. It is a mid-range 88 keys piano that is perfect for someone starting to learn. Also, we signed her up for piano lessons that she attended on a weekly basis.
Long story short, after three months of practice and going to piano school she did not practice enough, nor she was showing a real passion for piano. This is how her piano story ended and my piano story started …
Having such a beautiful instrument at home that was not being used was for me a complete waste. One day I approach the piano and tried to find my way. Obviously, it was a disaster as I never played the piano or any instrument in my life.
I am a computer programmer by heart with a very analytical mind so I had to resolve it in my own way. I started by watching tutorials on Youtube. It was helpful but the knowledge was very dispersed. I could not find a channel that had a comprehensive piano tutorial.
So what I really needed was a step-by-step piano lesson for beginners. I did google research and a few online piano apps came to my attention: Playground Sessions, Flowkey and Simple Piano. All three have an app that you download and play along with.
However only Playground Session is a fully interactive app that you download and install on your PC, laptop, or pad. You also connect your piano with your laptop or pad so you can monitor your progress.
It is not only an app but also a Bootcamp course, other courses that you unlock as you go, and a library of songs that you can practice. Is it the best piano app to learn? I don’t know, for me it was. This is what I used and I was able to learn quickly. So I started using the app …
Beginnings – first month
I started with Bootcamp course that is divided into three sections: rookie, intermediate and advanced. The lessons are organised in a way that you play very simple notes and you follow the bar on the screen to match the tempo.
At the end of the lesson, you get a score on how well you performed. Normally the notes are part of famous songs like Fur Elise or Hallelujah so basically by playing the simple notes from the beginning you can hear the music of the song you know which could be very inspiring. I think the overall Playground Session methodology is that you learn piano by playing. It starts from playing just single notes by the right hand, few notes, part of a piece, and then slowly introducing the left hand and playing a bit more complex pieces.
A good start and the first song
I remember I was really excited that I was making good progress. I was so thrilled that I played for 2-3 hours per day, sometimes even 4 or 5 hour or full day. Simply I noticed that soon I should be able to play my first song.
I completed my Bootcamp very quickly and it was time to learn my first song: Lean on me that is considered one of the easy piano songs for beginners.
that you can find in Playground Sessions library. It took me maybe two weeks to learn and remember all notes and one more week to play it well.
There is one important thing you have to know. Learning a piece and playing it your own way is one thing, and learning it with a proper tempo and play along with the app is the second thing.
If you know all notes by heart already, it is easier to follow the bar in the app and get a 100% score.
Anyway, I was really happy that I can play my first piece in such a short time.
Intermediate – up to 6 months
The next step was to complete the intermediate Bootcamp. This part was not super difficult but in some lessons, I simple struggled. Any intermediate or advanced Bootcamp lessons are both handed with a rookie or intermediate arrangements that you learn.
The intermediate Bootcamp is where you can increase your skill levels of playing with both hands.
Sometimes you find a particular lesson very easy and you complete it in 30 minutes and sometimes you simply cannot get it and it takes you 4 hours.
I remember occasions when it was very frustrating to complete a lesson. I learn one big thing from playing the piano: determination. You simply don’t give up, you keep going. If it is too much, just take a break and try tomorrow.
My plan was not to skip any lessons until I complete them. It was working very well and this is how I made my progress. However, I remember I had to skip my final assessment of one or two lessons as the tempo was too fast and I could not complete it.
I think it is ok, there is always time to come back and finish it when your fingers are stronger and you are more mature with piano.
As a general rule, though, I tried to not skip any lessons. I think I completed the intermediate Bootcamp after 3 months and this is where I started thinking to play more difficult songs from the intermediate level.
Playground Session levels and what I have learned
You must know that in Playground Sessions they did such a good job to prepare pieces or songs in three different arrangements:
- rookie – single notes both hands.
- intermediate – left-hand plays chords and right-hand plays music – to learn piano by chords
- advanced – left-hand plays chords, arpeggios or any other combination and right-hand plays music
So far I have played only Lean on Me and I noticed that playing rookie arrangements will not help me to advance faster to the next level. So I decided that any piece I learn from now on will be at least the intermediate level. This is how you learn piano by chords.
I think it was a good idea and I was able to learn the following songs on intermediate level: Hallelujah, (Everything I Do) I Do It For You by Bryan Adams, Blank Space by Taylor Swift Canon In D by Pachelbel, Game of Thrones Main Theme by Ramin Djawadi, Halo by Beyoncé Knowles, Let It Be by The Beatles, My Way Frank Sinatra. It is hard to believe but it is true.
Please note that these pieces/songs were in intermediate arrangements. You can see the full library of songs in Playground Sessions Song Library.
Getting advanced – 6 months to 2 years
Some of the songs I mentioned in my previous paragraph I was learning alongside the advanced Bootcamp course I started doing after 6 months. Few of those lessons in advanced Bootcamp are quite difficult. This is where you learn a lot of different things like arpeggios, and music theory.
It took me more time to complete this part of the Bootcamp and I still had to skip few lessons as, simply, my fingers were not fast enough. It was worth it, though. During that time I was trying to pick a new song every 3-4 weeks.
I think if you ask a piano teacher what songs you should learn they always say: pick one difficult piece or song that you can learn within 3 to 6 months and pick one that you can learn within few weeks. And this is what I was doing.
In between Bootcamp course
As you learn through the app you also unlock different courses, e.g. scales or chords. Then you can go to that course and practice a particular scale or scale chords.
This is very helpful because by playing scales and scale chords you are boosting your overall piano knowledge and you make your fingers remember key placement on the keyboard. Also, you learn piano chord notation that Playground Sessions use in the app.
Below is a screenshot from my Playground Sessions Dashboard after 10 months. The total number of days and hours is the time I purely spent with the app. Learning and playing with the app was only 20 % of the time I spend with the piano.
I also watch and play along with video tutorials I found you Youtube or anywhere. Simply, if I found an interesting piece of music I wanted to play it.
Getting off the grid – let’s play what I like
This was the most exciting time! Now, after completing the advanced Bootcamp I could choose and play what I liked (not really but with some reasoning). Alongside my journey with Playground Sessions I was able to develop some music taste; basically musicians, singers, or pianists that I like the most.
My favourites will be always: Chopin, Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, but I also like to play any famous song that comes to my attention like Taylor Swift, Frank Sinatra, Brian Adams, The Beatles, Sia, John Legend. There is a pretty good mix here. To get piano sheet music free I was using Musescore. This site has a lot of piano scores that I could trial and see if I am able to play it.
Presently I regularly play: Prelude in E minor by Frederic Chopin, Prelude In C by J.S. Bach, Spring Waltz (Mariage d’Amour) by Chopin, Nocturne Op.9 No 1 by Chopin and Comptine d’un autre été (Amélie) by Yann Tiersen.
To enhance my piano repertoire I am working on: Nocturne Op.9 No 2 in Eb Major by Chopin and Nocturne in C Sharp Minor (No. 20) by Chopin.
Below are all the badges I gained with Playground Sessions.
I hope my piano story helps you to decide whether to play the piano or not. Honestly, if you told me in the past I will play the piano I would laugh at your face (this is what my wife said).
Sometimes our lives take unexpected turns but often we get something really good out of it. It takes time and determination to stick to the plan and practice every day. However, it is the only way to make a progress.
I remember days I had a difficult lesson or part of the piece I was learning that I could not pass. And that moment where you are really stuck is the most important part of your learning. Simply don’t give up. Just stay focused on the task and say “I can do it”.
Please don’t get me wrong; at least a few times I was thinking to quit as it was getting too difficult. Overall, I think I succeeded and I still play almost every day, just because I like it. Maybe I don’t play at a professional level but I play and this is the most important thing.