Are you looking to expand your musical skills and take up the piano as a second instrument? If you already play another instrument, you may be able to skip some of the beginner stages of learning piano. But what skills from your current instrument can you transfer to the piano? And how can you make the most of your existing knowledge to fast-track your piano learning journey?

Key Takeaways:

  • Understand the common themes and skills between your current instrument and the piano.
  • Identify the gaps in your knowledge and use your existing skills to shape your piano-learning journey.
  • Building on your existing skills can help you progress more quickly on the piano.
  • While some skills may transfer, there are also piano-specific skills that you will need to develop.
  • Balancing multiple instruments requires careful planning and dedicated practice time.

Building on Existing Skills

If you already play an instrument, such as the guitar or a wind instrument, you already have a foundation that can help you learn the piano more quickly. By leveraging your existing skills, you can build a strong musical connection with the piano.

For example, if you already have experience reading sheet music and coordinating your hands to play complex chords and rhythms, you have a significant advantage. These skills can be transferred to the piano, allowing you to progress faster and explore a wider range of musical possibilities.

However, it’s important to note that even if you have experience with another instrument, it’s still essential to learn the basics of playing the piano. This includes understanding proper posture, hand positions, and keys. By mastering these fundamental techniques, you’ll be able to play the piano with precision and ease.

Learning to read music on the piano can open up a whole new world of musical expression. While there may be similarities between reading music for different instruments, exploring the piano’s unique characteristics and nuances will expand your repertoire and artistic capabilities.

“Playing the piano offered me a fresh perspective on music. Even though I played the guitar for years, learning the piano improved my understanding of harmony and allowed me to experiment with new melodies.” – Emily, guitar player and piano enthusiast

To effectively apply your existing skills to the piano, it can be helpful to identify common themes between your current instrument and the piano. By comparing and contrasting the two, you can gain insights into how to adapt your techniques and musical knowledge to the piano. This process of finding connections will accelerate your learning and give you a head start in mastering the instrument.

Exploring Similarities and Differences

  • Understanding music notation
  • Coordinating hands
  • Playing chords
  • Keyboard layout
  • Piano-specific techniques (pedaling, finger independence)
Wind Instrument
  • Reading music
  • Breath control
  • Keyboard navigation
  • Hand coordination

By recognizing similarities and differences and applying your existing instrument skills, you can streamline your piano learning journey. Building on your foundation while embracing the piano’s unique qualities will lead to a well-rounded musical experience and foster continuous growth as a musician.

Developing Piano-Specific Skills

When learning piano as a second instrument, it’s important to recognize that while some skills may transfer from your current instrument, there are also piano-specific skills that you’ll need to develop. These skills will help you become proficient in playing the piano and enhance your overall musical abilities.

An essential technique on the piano is pedaling, which greatly impacts the sound and resonance of your playing. Coordinating your feet with your hands to use the pedals effectively takes practice and precision.

Hand-eye coordination is crucial when playing the piano, as it involves simultaneously playing different notes with two hands. This skill requires practice to develop the necessary coordination and syncopation between your hands.

Dynamic expression is another vital skill to cultivate. Having the ability to play with varying levels of volume adds depth and emotion to your playing. Mastering dynamics allows you to bring life and authenticity to your piano performances.

Improving finger strength and dexterity is paramount for intermediate piano skills. Regular exercises that focus on finger independence and strength will enable you to play more complex and challenging pieces with ease.

Sight-reading ability is another crucial skill to develop as a pianist. The ability to read and interpret sheet music in real-time allows you to learn and play new pieces quickly and accurately.

Understanding fingering techniques is essential for efficient and fluid piano playing. Proper fingering helps to execute passages smoothly and minimizes the risk of strain or injury.

To summarize, developing piano-specific skills is a fundamental part of learning the piano as a second instrument. It involves mastering pedaling techniques, improving hand-eye coordination, cultivating dynamic expression, enhancing finger strength and dexterity, honing sight-reading ability, and understanding proper fingering techniques.

piano lessons

Theory and Composition

As you progress in your piano journey, exploring music theory and composition can greatly enhance your creativity and allow you to compose your own music. By understanding chords, voicing, and modes, you can unlock new possibilities for your playing and express yourself more fully on the piano.

While standard piano lessons may not cover these topics in depth, there are plenty of resources available to help you delve deeper into music theory. Whether you prefer online piano tutorials, books, or partnering with a piano instructor, you can find the guidance and tools you need to develop a thorough understanding of theory.

With a solid foundation in music theory, you can create captivating melodies, innovative chord progressions, and harmonies that bring your piano playing to life. The ability to compose your own music opens up a world of creative expression and allows you to tailor your playing to your unique style.

“Music theory is the language of musicians. It is like learning grammar when you want to write a novel. Understanding the rules allows you to break them and create something truly extraordinary.”

– Dr. Jennifer Lee, Music Professor

Piano Composition Tips:

  • Experiment with various chord progressions and inversions to create interesting harmonic textures.
  • Explore different scales and modes to add color and flavor to your compositions.
  • Pay attention to the flow and structure of your piece, considering elements such as rhythm, dynamics, and phrasing.
  • Study the works of renowned composers to gain inspiration and learn from their techniques.
  • Don’t be afraid to break the rules and let your creativity guide you in unique directions.

By combining your growing piano skills, knowledge of music theory, and your own unique musical voice, you can create captivating compositions that showcase your talent and individuality.

piano composition

Common ChordsSymbolNotes
MajorIDo, Mi, Sol
MinorviLa, Do, Mi
DiminishedviioSi, Re, Fa
Dominant 7thV7Sol, Si, Re, Fa
Major 7thIM7Do, Mi, Sol, Si

Balancing Multiple Instruments

If you already play one instrument and want to add the piano as a second instrument, it is important to find a balance between practicing both instruments. By incorporating piano lessons into your musical journey, you can broaden your skills and enhance your overall understanding of music.

When starting to learn the piano as a second instrument, it is beneficial to have achieved a basic proficiency in your first instrument. This foundation will help you grasp the fundamentals of music theory and transfer some of your existing knowledge to the piano.

Creating a practice schedule that allows dedicated time for each instrument is crucial. By setting aside specific time slots for piano practice, you ensure that you are consistently working on improving your skills. Additionally, it is essential to take breaks between practice sessions to avoid mental and physical fatigue.

Avoid bouncing between instruments during practice sessions, as this can hinder your progress and make it challenging to focus effectively. Instead, dedicate focused blocks of time to each instrument, giving your full attention to the specific skills and techniques required.

“Learning multiple instruments simultaneously can enhance your overall understanding of music and benefit your skills in playing as part of a group, such as an orchestra or band.”

Learning multiple instruments can provide valuable insights into different musical perspectives and styles. It can also improve your ability to collaborate with other musicians in various settings, whether it be a classical ensemble or a jazz band.

Here is a table showcasing some key considerations when balancing multiple instruments:

Tips for Balancing Multiple Instruments

1Create a practice schedule
2Set clear goals for each instrument
3Take breaks between practice sessions
4Avoid bouncing between instruments
5Seek guidance from a piano instructor

A piano instructor can provide personalized guidance and help you create a practice routine that accommodates both instruments. They can also offer valuable insights and techniques specific to the piano, further enhancing your understanding and skill development.

By maintaining a balanced approach to practicing multiple instruments, you can progress steadily and enjoy the unique benefits that each instrument brings to your musical journey.


Learning to play piano as a second instrument can be a fulfilling and enjoyable experience. Whether you’re a beginner or have prior musical experience, there are various piano lessons and online tutorials available for adults. By tapping into your existing skills and understanding piano-specific techniques, you can make significant progress in your piano journey.

However, it’s important to strike a balance if you’re learning multiple instruments. Careful planning and dedicated practice time are necessary to ensure steady progress in both. Remember to focus on developing the fundamental skills required for piano, such as finger strength, coordination, and reading music. These skills will pave the way to becoming an intermediate piano player.

As you embark on your piano-learning journey, there are abundant resources and guidance available. Take advantage of online tutorials, seek the expertise of a piano instructor, and explore beginner piano lessons tailored to adults. With the right tools and commitment, you can expand your musical abilities and enjoy the rewards of playing the piano as a second instrument.


Can I skip beginner piano lessons if I already play another instrument?

If you already have experience playing another instrument, you may be able to skip some beginner stages of learning piano. However, it is still important to learn the basics of playing the piano, such as posture, hand positions, and keys.

What skills from my current instrument can transfer to the piano?

Skills such as reading music, coordinating hands for complex chords and rhythms, and understanding music theory can transfer to the piano. These skills can provide a strong foundation to build upon.

What piano-specific skills do I need to develop?

Piano-specific skills include pedaling technique, hand-eye coordination for playing with two hands simultaneously, dynamic expression, finger strength and dexterity, sight-reading ability, and understanding fingering techniques.

Can learning piano as a second instrument enhance my creativity?

Yes, as you progress in your piano journey, you can dive deeper into music theory and composition. Understanding chords, voicing, and modes can enhance your creativity and allow you to compose your own music.

How can I balance learning multiple instruments?

It is important to find a balance between practicing both instruments. Start learning the new instrument only after achieving a basic proficiency in the first instrument. Schedule dedicated practice time for each instrument and avoid bouncing between them.

Is it possible to learn piano as a second instrument?

Yes, learning to play piano as a second instrument is possible. By utilizing your existing skills and understanding piano-specific techniques, you can make progress quickly and embark on a rewarding piano-learning journey.

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