We all learn the ABC at school quite naturally, but we rarely realize that the first few letters of our alphabet are used for a very different kind of “language”: the codification of music .
Just as you can read books, magazines and newspapers, you can read, write and play music scores thanks to the C, D, E, F, G, A, H, C scores .
It used to be a matter of course that all music beginners, who wanted to learn an instrument, first had to learn to read music .
Especially in classical music, music theory and the notation system are indispensable tools for musicians, singers and conductors.
These days things look a bit different, and while grading still accounts for two-thirds of the class at the music school, there are now alternative ways to read music when learning to play piano .
More and more music experts argue that practice is more important than theory , hearing is more important than reading music and creative freedom is more important than strict instruction.
One may wonder why music theory and reading music are so important for music courses, singing lessons and piano teachers, and what that means for beginners .
Is it worth taking the risk or are you plunging straight into the abyss if you miss the basics of music theory while learning to play the piano?
Music theory for the piano: Is it possible to learn music alone?
Learning music theory and reading music by yourself has several problems, which is why music school teachers and private music teachers advise against piano lessons .
In some cases it is not that risky …
Depending on the situation, the autodidactic learning of piano notes and music theory can make sense.
Depending on the circumstances and circumstances, this method may be appropriate:
- For musicians who already have several years of experience on the piano . It will be easier for them to acquire music theory themselves, as they already have basic knowledge of piano techniques and playing by ear. The extra theory will help them even further, especially if they want to make piano playing their profession.
- If you take music lessons at a music school or as a private lesson to strengthen your existing skills, to deepen your piano skills or to work in music that you do not treat in classical lessons, such as jazz, soul or blues.
These are the risks when learning music theory alone:
- You could learn bad habits.
- You could memorize false information.
- One could quickly lose the desire, because one lacks a teacher as a motivator.
Of course, the options listed below must ensure that the difficulty level of the pieces you play increases, and that you can progress quickly in piano playing learning .
These are the least risky methods if you want to learn music theory without losing your musical future.
Piano lessons: How much time do you need to learn piano?
Before you take up the challenge of learning music theory as quickly as possible, you should first realize what that means …
Like a foreign language, learning music theory takes time, motivation and concentration.
You do not just learn a language so fluently by having a few hours of language teaching and never spending time in the country where the language is spoken.
The codification of the music needed to read, write and play a note, a rhythm or a chord in a score should not be taken lightly.
Many music beginners, especially children, give up after the first difficulties in reading music.
Many are discouraged, unless, of course, they are forced by parents or other adults and thus receive a poor education in music theory, which only leads to underestimating the student’s musical abilities.
Learning to play the piano and thus deepening their knowledge in music theory requires continuous learning and practice , so there is no well-defined time that can be defined for it.
For the entry, the improvement up to the absolute mastery of the music theory one should plan several years.
And of course, it takes even longer to consider all the subcategories and subconcepts of music theory that are sometimes overlooked in classroom teaching.
That explains why many well-known artists have made music careers without being able to read music , and why there are so many piano learning methods without music theory on the internet …
Can I learn to play the piano without note reading?
Learning to play the piano without understanding music theory and being able to read music without notes is difficult but doable.
It is hard to believe that many famous contemporary pianists, musicians and pop artists can not read music .
Of course, they often work with a team of musicians, music teachers and vocal teachers who are experts in the field of music, but that also shows that everything is possible.
Everything is possible – apart from classical music, also called ” art music “.
Strictness, self-sacrifice and hard work are the key words in this traditional form of music, for which Mozart is the perfect example of the piano, and which can only be conveyed in writing in the form of a score.
If you want to learn to play the piano without music theory , you are more likely to turn to other genres like jazz, soul or pop.
The learning method without music theory, which inspires creativity and offers a space for compositions and pianists who want to be real virtuosos, requires many skills.
It requires a very good ear.
The ear must be so sharp that you can re-enact a piece of music on the piano without using notes.
This type of piano also requires talent as well as many memory exercises and a good deal of curiosity about the instrument, its keys and pedals.
Because you do not necessarily have to read music for modern songs, they are accessible to all and a few chords allow musicians complete freedom in their interpretation of the pieces.
This less conventional music is conveyed verbally or via recordings and is especially in the so-called “beatmakers” in vogue.
Some producers also connect piano with electrobeats, eg. Ryan Leslie, Pharrell Williams or Frenchman Dany Synthé.
Therefore, it is not surprising that today you will find both musicians who can play piano without notes, as well as those who rely on scores on the piano.
A modern allrounder can do both one and the other!
Our tips on Music Theory & Piano Online Learning
Necessary or even essential is music theory, if one:
- Wants to work with music while playing music.
- To read notes, rhythms and harmonies slowly, to memorize certain passages better.
- Wants to be able to decipher scores and every single note.
- I want to participate in symphonic concerts and therefore have to be able to read a score exactly.
If you’re wondering if it’s worth the effort, you just have to ask yourself if you’re going to become a professional musician someday. B. wants to play in an orchestra.
Whether at the piano, on the guitar or as a singer – learning music theory means learning:
- Sheet music with her figures at the beginning of the staff.
- The violin and bass clef as well as their respective function.
- The different notes and their values within each piece.
- The breaks.
Without these fundamentals of musical theory, reading a score would be like trying to decipher hieroglyphics on a papyrus, understanding a language that is completely foreign to us, or cooking a recipe without having the necessary ingredients ( there are a few such examples … ).
Joking aside .. . Without knowledge of music theory and the notation system, it would simply be impossible to determine where each note is in a piece of music.
Learning to read is laborious, but it is the only way to understand the music notation system.
For this purpose, you will find many online courses in music , YouTube videos and podcasts in German, English and many other languages.
The currently most popular method – confirmed by many music teachers as meaningful – is, moreover, to learn directly while playing the piano.
In other words, you can quickly make progress by combining theory and practice.