Hand on piano keys

Start With Piano: 10 Reasons Why It’s The Best Foundation

Are you interested in learning an instrument, but aren’t sure which one you should start with? Or perhaps you have a specific instrument in mind, but are worried it will be too difficult to start right away? Here are 10 reasons why you should start with piano.

Here you’ll learn why it’s the perfect foundational instrument and will help you to learn and understand any additional instrument that interests you.

1. It’s Easy To Understand the Note Layout

Of all the musical instruments, the layout of the keyboard is the easiest to understand. The notes are all laid out in a row from lowest to highest. In fact it’s so logical and visual that someone can play exactly what they mean to play even if they can’t hear the notes at all!

Additionally, this also makes it easier to understand various aspects of music theory, particularly scales, chords, and intervals. This is again because the player can immediately see visually the relationship the notes have with one another and therefore more easily comprehend the patterns.

2. It’s Easy to Take Care Of

Piano tuning tools

Typically a pianist doesn’t have to do much to keep their instrument in good condition. As long as it’s located in a stable environment you typically only need to call a tuner every six months max. There are even plenty of very stable pianos that would stay perfectly healthy if left for 2 years or more between tunings.

Most other instruments need to be tuned, cleaned, or otherwise maintained every time you play them, so that’s yet another obstruction for a beginner musician who may take awhile before learning how to do such things well.

3. It’s Easy to Play in Tune

As long as the piano has been properly maintained (see reason number 2), a pianist doesn’t have to worry about playing in tune. It just happens because every note on the instrument is already in tune.

For other instruments this is not quite the case as it can take quite some time for a beginner figure out proper finger placement, breath use, or embouchure. This is especially difficult if the player hasn’t yet developed an ear for music and proper intonation.

4. It’s Easy to Make Sounds that Sound Good

Animal with big ears in tall grass
Photo by Magda Ehlers from Pexels

As alluded to above, the basic act of making a sound on a piano is very easy: Simply press a key and the piano will sound a relatively beautiful note. Even my cat can play nice notes on the piano!

(Note: There is a lot of practice and technique that advanced pianists must do in order to attain even more beautiful and intentional tone, but even beginners can create a sound that is perfectly acceptable compared with beginners on other instrumets.)

Most other instruments can take a large amount of practice and technique before even a relatively nice sound can be made. With string instruments, for example, not only does the left hand need to find the correct placement to make sure the note is in tune, but then the right hand has to learn how to bow properly so the note will be clean and full, not breathy or scratchy.

5. You Can Usually Find a Piano Fairly Cheaply

As I’ve mentioned in my article How to Pick a Piano, it can be quite easy to find a decent piano for a great price.

This is because many people don’t want to deal with having to move a piano, so will often let it go for very little or even free (except moving costs of course!). If you’re feeling up for it and the circumstances are right, you could potentially even move the piano yourself and therefore get an even better deal!

6. You Learn to Read Notes on the Two Most Important Clefs

The grand staff on a piece of piano music

The two most commonly-used clefs in music today are the Treble Clef and the Bass Clef. Most instruments only use one of these, or if they use both they specialize in one and rarely use the other.

Piano uses both the Treble Clef and the Bass Clef simultaneously, in what we call the Grand Staff. Fluency of the Grand Staff makes it infinitely easier to study whatever aspect of music you like, whether it’s music theory, choral works, the music of your favorite rock band, or orchestral reductions.

7. You Can Play It Alone

A single flower
Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash

Most instruments only play one note at a time. While this can sound very nice, it can also be somewhat boring for the player. Players of such instruments often find it’s much more rewarding to play with others, either with a chamber ensemble, band, orchestra, or just a good old piano for accompaniment.

Because the piano is capable of playing single notes to create a melody while also adding other notes as accompaniment, it’s the perfect solo instrument. Who needs friends?!

8. You Can Play It With Others

A cat and dog snuggling
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

The piano is also an ideal cooperative instrument. Wherever you go there are people looking for a pianist because it can give you the accompaniment of a full band or orchestra with just two hands.

Think about it: What instrument do people gather around to sing Happy Birthday or Holiday carols? The piano of course because it can do everything and allow everyone to just sing and enjoy themselves!

Here’s a joke to similar effect: Q. How many bassists does it take to screw in a light bulb? A. None–The pianist can just do it with the left hand!

It’s important to note here, though, that if your dream is to play in a large ensemble, such as an orchestra or symphonic band, the piano isn’t necessarily the best choice of instruments. This is because in such groups there’s usually only one pianist, if any, so your chances of getting the spot are diminished. However, learning the piano will help you learn other instruments much quicker, as I’ll discuss further in reason number 10.

9. It’s an Ideal Instrument for Composing

Perhaps you have your sights on becoming a song-writer or composer. Because of its wide range the piano can play just about any note any other instrument can play. This makes it by far the best instrument to use for this purpose.

Additionally, the fact that understanding piano makes it easier to understand harmony and music theory in general will put you light-years ahead of those who are trying to compose on other instruments.

As a pianist you’ll have an easier time communicating your composition to other players, either via notation or a written chord progression, because it will be easy for you to understand that stuff!

10. You Can Use the Piano to Help Learn Other Instruments

Whatever other musical aspirations you have, the piano will help you get there. If you want to sing, the piano will help you greatly to figure out the melodies you’d like to sing. If you’re working on playing other instruments in tune you can compare pitches with the piano to make sure you’re on track.

Whatever’s needed, the piano is by far the best “helper” instrument.

If you read through all ten reasons why the piano is the best instrument to start with, you probably don’t find it hard to believe that the piano is the only instrument all music majors are required to study, regardless of their primary instrument.

In college music courses pianists often have the easiest time understanding music theory and ear training. They can also more easily study whatever musical score they like because of the luxury of the Grand Staff and the capability of playing multiple notes at a time.

Make Practice Time Easier By Planning Ahead!

Hands playing piano keys with a metronome and pencil nearby

Learn how to plan exactly what you need to do each day to accomplish your goals. Then all you have to do at practice time is sit down and play!

The Piecewise Practice Planner will help you make meaningful progress every time you practice, even with as little as 5 minutes per practice session.

Best of all, it’s completely FREE–to opt in, click the button below!

Are you considering learning the piano? I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to voice questions, comments, or concerns in the comments below!

Heidi has been involved in music in one way or another for most of her life. She studied music composition in college, has taught piano, voice, composition, ear training, and guitar, and has worked as a piano tuner and technician. Before the pandemic she loved playing concerts at retirement communities, bringing the joy of music to those populations. She is currently working on learning more about the connection between music and healing.

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2 thoughts on “Start With Piano: 10 Reasons Why It’s The Best Foundation”

  1. Imagine how surprised I was when I saw a large grand piano in my uncle’s living room yesterday. Since he just bought it a few days ago, he should ask an expert to check on its condition. After all, you were the one who mentioned that tuning our piano is a must at least twice a year so it can keep making nice sounds.

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