I've read all over this site that, despite being a family man with children, a job, and being around 40 years old, I am not hopeless in learning the piano. So, I've started by myself.

I know I should get a teacher, I understand and believe it's the best choice, but it is at the moment, impractical.

The book I have been suggested is "Beyer Op. 101", but comments have pointed out that it is a very old one, and things have moved on. The fact is, I don't have a clue on how fast and when I should move from an exercise to another.

Is there something like an "average progress plan" for a student, with a possible timeline, and objectives?

Of course I am also open to other books, I am, as I said, totally new to music.

Thanks for any suggestions!

  • I am not at all sure about Beyer 101 being a de facto standard, and I suspect it is now regarded as very dated. A more serious problem is that many exercises in that work are intended to be played as 3-handed pieces, with the teacher playing 2 parts. With no teacher, it is going to be impossible to use the book as intended.
    – Old John
    Jun 27, 2016 at 14:56
  • That is what I've been told, I am new to this, and I believed it, since it has pages "for the teacher", and many more "for the student", with instructions. As I said, right now I cannot get a teacher.
    – senseiwa
    Jun 27, 2016 at 15:50
  • pianoeducation.org/pnomethd.html lists several books for adult beginners, with a short review of each. "Beyer" may have been a de-facto standard at one time, in one country (possibly Germany?) but it was written more than 150 years ago, and both piano technique and teaching methods have moved on since then.
    – user19146
    Jun 27, 2016 at 22:11
  • Thanks @alephzero, I have edited the question now. I suspected Beyer was "old school" but I didn't realize how much!
    – senseiwa
    Jun 28, 2016 at 8:23
  • Please read the posts in the Related sidebar to the right. None completely cover this, but you'll get some useful information.
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Jun 28, 2016 at 10:23

2 Answers 2


There are various organizations in music that lay out what students should learn at different stages. The one I've heard of most of is ABRSM(http://us.abrsm.org/en/our-exams/piano/piano-grade-1/). It tests at 8 different levels, with the highest being a competent pianist, ready to enter a good college music program. If you look at their requirements at different levels, it will give you an idea of a reasonable order of things to learn.

You will not find a good timeline because there is just too much variety in students abilities, practice time and effort, and quality of instruction. What takes an exceptional student a month or two could take a year or more for a slow student. That said, a year (give or take several months) at each ABRSM level would be reasonable progress.


I am not pretending that what I will write is the answer (especially since answer is already given and accepted) but I just couldn't hold myself... I am a family man with children, a job, and being 52 years old, considering myself not hopeless in learning the piano and I started half year ago... So in some sense I am in the same boat with you...

senseiwa, from the bottom of my heart I suggest you to get a teacher. If it is impractical for you to take regular lessons then at least find someone who can see (yes - see, not just hear) your playing from time to time. The reason for that is not just it is "best choice". The reason is that not having anyone experienced to watch you (again, at least occasionally) is very bad choice. As @MischaArefiev commented here "Learning piano without a competent teacher results in bad habits, and having bad habits is worse than having no habits". I can find for you literally thousands citation repeating the same. And additionally I want to share with you my very little experience - I already was in situations when I was happily playing some pieces during a week being sure I am doing it right until my teacher caught me at next lesson with numerous mistakes (in technique, in rhythm, in many other aspects) and "rolling back" those bad habits I developed just in a week was much harder than learning a piece from zero...

  • Thanks @mvidelgauz I absolutely agree with your suggestions. I wish I had someone I know that knows how to play piano, but I don't. At least for one or two years I won't be able to do something about it. Thanks for your point, though, I appreciate the fact that there are family men around with the same insane wish that I have!
    – senseiwa
    Jul 10, 2016 at 19:26
  • Good luck @senseiwa. And just in case you didn't meet this site yet I highly recommend pianoworld forums and especially Adult Beginners Forum
    – mvidelgauz
    Jul 10, 2016 at 19:40

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