Is Playing the Piano Hard?

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Welcome to, I’m Robert Estrin. Is playing the piano hard? You see some people playing and they make it look effortless. For example, I have played the Chopin Ballade in G minor hundreds if not thousands of times. Is that hard to do? Well, I’ve done that so many times, I wouldn’t say it’s particularly hard. It does take concentration. But for the average person, is playing the piano hard?

Playing the piano is a very complex task.

There was an article in The New York Times Magazine years ago. It was an article not about the piano. It was about the human brain. In this article, they cited piano playing as the single most complex activity of the human brain. It involves motor coordination with the fingers. You have to coordinate the sound with the visual, and it encompasses long term and short term memory. It really is complex! So in a nutshell, yes, piano playing has a lot of elements that make it difficult. However, it really depends upon what you’re after in your piano playing.

Not all piano playing is equal.

Somebody who hasn’t ever even touched a piano, if they have some degree of exposure and an appreciation of music, and a modicum of talent, they might be able to sit down the first time and just play different black keys and make it sound reasonably good. So depending on what you want to achieve at the piano, it may not be that hard. Now, having said that, playing classical compositions, learning them and being able to play them faithfully and accurately with security, is very difficult. I won’t kid you.

Practicing is a very difficult process if you’re doing it right.

If practicing is easy, you’re probably not accomplishing that much. I always feel that practicing should be hard so performing is easy! Make your practicing intense. Every minute you should be absorbing some little detail. Keep your concentration by not overwhelming yourself with too much at a time. By doing this you can sustain a long, productive practice. It takes immense concentration and focus to do that. The harder practicing is, assuming it’s productive, the easier performing is. So is piano hard? Yeah, it’s hard! But if you practice well, you can make playing enjoyable and much easier than your practice. I think that should be the goal, don’t you?

I want to hear from you!

Do you think piano playing is hard? Do you think practicing is hard? What kind of enjoyment do you get out of the instrument? Let me know in the comments here at Living and on YouTube! Thanks again for joining me, Robert Estrin here at, Your Online Piano Resource.

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7 thoughts on “Is Playing the Piano Hard?”


  1. I recently had a dream in which I was playing a piece I had learned years ago but not played recently, and I would reach a place where I couldn’t go on. And then I would start improvising. I did this with several pieces. And I played specific notes in my dream, and they were a variety of different kinds of things, like arpeggios, bass accompaniment, melodies, all sorts of things. I think I have you to thank for inspiring this wonderful dream, because I have been exposed to so much of your improvising. Now my challenge is to translate what is in my head onto the keyboard in real time. And that’s a tough one.

      1. I can’t say it has happened to me often, but never did I improvise inmy sleep. I always dream in color, occasionally in a foreign language. I have art dreams. This is a dream in which I see up to 100 art objects, some of which I remember when I wake up, for a short time. I have gotten drawings out of those.

  2. In one sense, the piano is very easy: press any key, and you get about as good a note as anybody else ever gets. Compared with the clarinet, you need all ten fingers and your mouth to get a single note at a time melody line. And the violin — it takes a long long time to not sound absolutely dreadful. On the violin and trombone, you actually tune each note as you play it.

    So, a keyboard instrument is by far the easiest way to get a single note melody line. The thing is, nobody does that. Keyboards are able to play many notes at a time. If you want chords from most other instruments, you need an orchestra — or at least a band.

    What makes the piano hard is that it can do so very much.

    1. I’ve often said that in some respects pianos the easiest instrument of all. Just getting a sound out of a flute or an oboe can be a daunting task! But piano makes up for it with the complexity of the music.

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