Why Learn the Piano? What Piano Aspirations?

What is the purpose of a Piano course?


  • The great diversity of piano lessons
  • Piano lessons: objectives that vary according to level
  • Piano lessons: a pleasure or a job?
  • Learning harmony or improvisation with piano lessons?

If you take piano lessons, it's to learn the piano. A priori, the objectives of a piano lesson are not problematic and are clearly defined. In reality, however, these objectives can vary considerably from one person to another. A beginner will not have the same objectives as a confirmed pianist for example. Some want to learn music theory and composition, others simply want to play their favourite piece. We could multiply these examples.

In a logic of synthesis (non-exhaustive), here are the main objectives that can be pursued by choosing piano lessons.

What are the objectives of a piano lesson?

Avant de répondre à cette question et pour planter le décor, il est important de rappeler qu’il existe plusieurs types de cours de piano. On peut, grosso modo, distinguer deux types de cours de piano : les cours de piano en privé et

Piano lessons in semi-private or small groups.

The objectives pursued by these two types of piano lessons are different. See for more information our article on private VS semi-private lessons


The great diversity of piano lessons - The conservatory or music school.

Piano lessons in an institution first: Whether you take piano lessons in a music school or a conservatory, institutional piano lessons have common points that distinguish them from private lessons. At a conservatory or music school, you generally follow a study program.

This program varies according to the age of the students and their level. There is sometimes a "school" side, especially at the conservatory: courses with several subjects (music theory, piano proper, writing, possibly, etc.), auditions, exams, diplomas, etc.

Learning the piano in a music school or in a traditional conservatory allows you to acquire a global vision of music and its instrument. Sometimes to the detriment of the playful character of the piano.

Apolline, an art school based in Lausanne, is quite the opposite, and it goes even further. One of our fundamental values, freedom, frees us from any rigid course structure. There is no exam, there is no solfège taught in addition to the instrument (see our article on music theory). Nevertheless, the school provides a clear and defined structure, with a momentum of study desired by the teachers themselves, who are at the heart of the school's teaching process. The quality of teaching is as close as possible to the needs, desires and artistic talents of each student. 

Whether you wish to learn the piano with passionate pianists, without necessarily spreading yourself too thinly over different subjects, or whether you wish to learn to play in a group, learn both solfeggio and piano technique and be introduced to particular musical styles, or if you prefer a more flexible learning style, Apolline will be able to offer you the tailor-made course that suits you best.

Piano lessons: objectives that vary according to level

It is also important to insist on this point: the objectives pursued by the piano lessons are intimately linked to your level.

If you are a complete beginner, learning rhythm, reading a score, finger agility or independence of both hands will be the primary objectives. Solfeggio also comes, but sparingly (see our article on music theory).

The positioning of hands and body to play the piano is also important.

On the other hand, if you are already well experienced, piano lessons can have two distinct but sometimes complementary objectives:

Consolidate your practical and theoretical bases (solfège). It is often said that the piano is like riding a bicycle: you never forget it. This is partly true, but sometimes it is good to consolidate what you know if you want to resume studying or practicing the piano. If you learned to play as a child or teenager and then stopped before you wanted to start again, it can be very relevant to take several piano lessons to review everything. This will allow you to bring back to life everything you have learned in the past and thus save time. The teacher will be able to advise you on how to optimize the resumption of piano learning.

To deepen certain techniques or knowledge. You wish to play faster, to gain in fluidity, to play more complex pieces, to learn to improvise, in short to progress? You will need piano lessons. It will be much easier and more efficient than working alone in your corner risking to take bad habits.

Piano lessons: a pleasure or a job?

Objectives specific to each one!

There are several ways to approach learning the piano according to the objectives you set yourself.

There are those who want to be able to play transcriptions of hits in front of their friends and those who dream of learning to play Beethoven's Appassionata sonata; there are those who are fascinated by improvisation and want to learn to improvise like Michel Petrucciani and, on the other hand, those who simply want to be able to play the piano to relax after a hard day's work; there are the creative people who would like to learn to compose and those who want to build up a small repertoire of pieces to set the mood in the evenings.

In short, everyone has a different goal in learning the piano.

The objective of the piano course will vary according to the desires, the project and the ambitions of the student. In the final analysis, it is the student who determines the objectives of the piano lesson.

This difference in objectives will help to shape the method of learning the piano: the amount of work to be done, the time to be devoted to exercises and practice will vary according to the objectives set.

See our article on playing an instrument for fun.

Learning harmony or improvisation with piano lessons?

Some, by taking piano lessons, also aim at learning musical harmony.

This is far from being the case for the majority of people. Most are not at all interested in harmony and music theory in general, which they know as little about as music theory.

But others want to discover the secret of music:

  • What is a dial tone?
  • What is the relationship between them?
  • What are the main chords in a scale?
  • Why does one chord sound good and another is unbearable to the ear?
  • What are consonant and dissonant chords? 
  • Why learn to play the piano?
  • What are the rules for linking chords?
  • How to learn improvisation?

We could go on like this for a long time.

The answer to these questions, moreover, is necessary for those who plan to compose or improvise. Incidentally, composing and improvising, historically, are two inseparable activities.

Contrary to popular belief, it wasn't only in jazz that musicians put improvisation at the heart of piano playing. The so-called classical musicians were above all great improvisers.

The essential thing is to be well aware of this: the majority of piano lessons are mainly devoted to learning piano technique.

And also solfeggio, it is true, but solfeggio is mostly only used to enable the reading of scores. Read our article on music theory here.

Find out more about the physical technique of the piano.