So I've been playing flute for 6 years and oboe for 3 years, I know both bass and treble clef, I know what all the keys on a piano are (middle c ect.), and I know how to read sheet music. I've even tried playing stuff on piano with both hands and succeeding with not much practice. Does this mean I need to take piano lessons? I'm afraid of developing bad habits (such as finger positions) and do not want have to break them.

What do you think is the best course of action (piano lessons or not) for me in this situation?

  • 2
    Take lessons. You've said why.
    – Laurence
    Mar 13, 2015 at 3:00
  • What are your objectives? Mar 13, 2015 at 14:47

3 Answers 3


Chances are you took lessons on oboe and flute. Assuming you did, and the teachers were good, you would have appreciated their input. If not, you'll never know!

Included in lots of the answers on this site is the phrase 'get yourself a teacher!'. And not always written by teachers!!

Your worry about picking up bad habits will be allayed by having a teacher. Your progress will be far more rapid and thorough. A teacher, especially one whom you pay, will concentrate the mind and encourage that practice that might be a lot less forthcoming when there's no teacher to answer to. When a thorny question crops up, instead of searching the internet, or asking this site, a teacher will be able to explain, in your terms, the solution.

There are far more reasons than these, and since you have a head start, the progress should be good. Of course, you would probably progress without a teacher, but inevitably it will be at a much, much slower rate. And that teacher will have loads of resources at your level. Do you?


Your preeducation will mean that you can work with a teacher much more effectively since you'll be focusing mostly on piano playing mechanics rather than general music. After a few lessons, you might be able to cut down the frequency and still get frequent enough input to make a decisive difference.

So in effect, you get quite better value out of a (good) piano teacher than if you were without previous musical training.


You do not need to take piano lessons. There is a very common misconception that not taking instrument lessons will lead you to develop bad technique. Developing bad technique without a teacher is quite possible and does happen to a lot of people, but there is plenty of written material as well as video material that deals with proper technique.

You have played flute and oboe for several years now, so you're a musician which will certainly help in picking up the piano quicker, since you can read music. If you are very afraid of developing 'bad' technique then go get a teacher, but if you're an adept learner then it is more than possible to learn piano properly by yourself without a teacher.

  • 1
    if you live long enough...!
    – Tim
    Mar 13, 2015 at 13:19
  • 1
    That's a very elitist way of thinking.
    – MrTheBard
    Mar 13, 2015 at 16:41
  • 2
    Written material is thoroughly insufficient for learning playing technique. Videos can be good, but you have to be cautious. Anecdotally, every YouTube video I've seen regarding technique has been a bad player spouting garbage. You also need to be recording yourself, have the ability to assess your playing, and to do so honestly -- few do.
    – user28
    Mar 13, 2015 at 19:22
  • 1
    @Tim just curious, what is your definition of musician? I get paid to perform playing guitar, harmonica and singing and I can play some songs on piano. I play by ear. I can read tab for guitar but can't sight read notation for piano. I know I am a professional entertainer and music is my medium. I also write lyrics and compose melodies (that makes me a composer and a song writer/lyricist) But maybe I am not actually a musician? Mar 16, 2015 at 4:36
  • 1
    I'm trying to define the term properly. It is a term bandied about and I'm attempting to come up with something. Is a painter an artist? Is someone who can cartwheel a gymnast? It's pretty subjective, true, but probably involves more than being able to play a few songs.Being knowledgeable about music?Not sure.I know lots of people who play beautifully, but admit they haven't a clue what it is they're doing.Able to play only 1 instrument?If I can phrase a question that's not just about opinions,I'll post it.Does just being able to play from dots/tab make a musician? It's an interesting thought.
    – Tim
    Mar 16, 2015 at 12:53

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