Can piano be self-taught?

Among new piano students, a few tell during the first session that they have already started to learn by their own and then decided to “take it more seriously” and look for a piano tutor to help them, most commonly, the most challenging issue with the piano is acquiring a flawless technique. This is something that proved to be arduous for those who choose to be self-taught. So, the question remains.

Do we really need Piano teachers?

Under the experience of two acclaimed concert pianists, Lucas Debarge and Paul Lewis, the answer comes with a little introduction:

Both pianists started their training without any tutor. Regarding Paul Lewis, a British pianist lacked any musical activity in the house apart from listening to music on the radio. Still, despite this missing environment, he managed to explore classical music from an early age, through listening to records from a library near his house. 

We observe a striking similarity with Lucas Debarge, a French renowned concert pianist; he stated in an interview that he mainly approached the piano aurally at first. In particular, he would listen to music for an extended time and memorize the scores. Afterwards, he would reproduce on the piano what he heard.

So far, both pianists began from a similar starting point. Both arduously listened to lots of music and absorbed it uniquely.

But another striking coincidence between these two artists is the fact that both, at some point of their studies decided to go to a piano teacher to acquire to, in Lewis’ words “he had studied piano intensely and particularly learnt how to connect with the instrument and be relaxed while playing.”

Upon that last remark, we can conclude that even though a self-taught approach could be seen as a possibility, it is accurate and proven that at some point, the necessary technical aspects of every instrument should be provided by the reassuring hand of a tutor. 

LAO, as an association of musicians, we truly think that a teacher will be, indeed, needed at some point.

You can definitely start learning piano by yourself, however, in terms of technique, expression, understanding the pieces and music in general, are concepts only taught by professional Maestros. However, reading this article is interesting from the point of view of these two concert pianists.

Click on the link aforementioned to read it fully and get to know them.