Identifying your piano skill level can be challenging to do. With all the different books, classes, and methods out there you may be asking yourself, “What level of piano player am I?” And If you are not following a structured piano method, how would you even know where your skill sits in the pantheon of piano playing level? There are a few general terms used for classifying someone’s piano skill level: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Knowing your piano skill level is essential to make sure you are practicing correctly, enjoying, and growing at your craft!
What Level of Piano Player Am I?
There are many ways to gauge what your piano progress is. However, you might feel confused about what skill level you’re at because each level is a broad spectrum. If you want to get better at playing the piano, you should be sure of what skill level you are at, first. It is also important to remember that learning to play the piano is a journey, not a competition. If you’ve ever felt discouraged by your level of talent, check out our recent blog on Do You Need Natural Talent To Play Piano? Comparison is the thief of joy, and it can be an easy way to become discouraged with your journey. The best way to get better at your piano craft is by comparing your journey to your yesterday, last week, last month, or last year.
Early beginners are those who have been practicing piano for less than six months. If someone is at a beginner piano playing level, they may be limited in their reading abilities, not know any note names, and may have their keys labeled on the piano to find the notes easier.
The beginner student is someone who has played the piano for about six months. They know the notes of the musical alphabet and can find them on the keyboard comfortably. Although they may still have labels on the keys, they may be in the process of removing them. They become comfortable reading notes in treble clef with the right hand and are beginning to use the left hand for the bass clef notes. The beginner understands the different notes and can play/understand some essential dynamics and tempo notations. They may also be starting to learn some major and minor scales, chord shapes, and arpeggio patterns.
The intermediate skill level ground can be broad. The intermediate pianist is someone who has been playing piano for 6-18 months. They can read treble and bass clef comfortably, and they understand how to count rhythms. The intermediate is someone familiar with musical notation and can read more complicated parts with both hands. They should understand all 12 major and minor scales in parallel motion. By this stage, their piano technique is starting to blossom into their sound and personality. They are beginning to explore the harmonic and melodic minor scales and understand how the circle of fifths is used. They comfortably understand tempo markings and dynamics. If someone is a late intermediate pianist, they have been studying piano skills for about two years. They are active listeners to a wide range of music that they study and enjoy. Late intermediate players should understand more complex rhythms like triplets and sixteenth notes and can play four octaves of every major and minor scale in parallel and contrary motion at a fast tempo. These pianists are beginning to improvise or compose their original music. The late intermediate should be practicing some ear training skills. They may also even be transcribing music that they enjoy and notating it on sheet music.
An advanced pianist has been studying piano for three or more years. These pianists are familiar with many different types of piano styles and can comfortably read challenging music. They also have some experience performing and feel comfortable performing with other musicians or by themselves. Advanced pianists can perform all major and minor scales in parallel and contrary motion at a fast tempo and different intervals, including the 3rd and 6th. Improvisation and composition is a skill that most advanced piano players like to dabble in.
So, what level of piano player are you? Becoming a great piano player takes time and dedication, especially if you are learning an instrument as an adult. The best way to learn and to improve is by having a method for your learning! Come check us out at Miller Piano Specialists in Franklin, TN! If you have any questions about where to buy a piano for the best price, we are open! Our hours are Monday-Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm. We are happy to help you in person again, using all the guidelines we have been provided. We are here for you.