I'm a beginner looking for some direction, and I'm not sure where to start. I'm a retired airline pilot and therefore very pragmatic and linear in my thinking. In other words, I need steps by the numbers (a,b,c,...). I have a Yamaha PSR353. Should I start with learning scales, or pieces, or the Y.E.S. system, or something else? I have lots of free time.

Thanks for any help.

  • I have a degree in mathematics, a technology based job, and a penchant for logical, analytical thinking. I may be coming at music in a way similar to you, and I completely agree with Tim that a teacher is the way to go. You might like some learning systems (like the Suzuki method) so you might try sample lessons with teachers who use different codified systems. Commented Dec 4, 2016 at 19:23

2 Answers 2


The best right direction for a lot of people is a real live teacher. Now you have, possibly, both time and money (I hope!) this is one of the best moves you can make. As long as you can find a teacher who is sympathetic to your way of learning, and understands how you need to learn, it'll be a success. All the time, questions will crop up, and doing things via the internet often won't find you the answer that you need. A lot of internet stuff is good, very good. But there's also a lot of dross, and misinformation out there.

Finding that teacher is one of the biggest hurdles - ask in music shops, local schools, friends, anyone you know who plays. Depending on what style you'd like to emulate, you could try sites like ABRSM, with their exam systems, but also local teachers. Musicians' Union also has lists of teachers/performers. Good luck - enjoy the journey!


A lot depends on whether you want to read music or play by ear (i.e. sit at the piano and make stuff up). In my experience, most musicians are in one camp or the other but rarely both.

If you want to read, of course you have to learn how to, er, read. That is, recognize the notes and play them (without looking :)

Learn a few scales (C, G, F) and some triads (major and minor chords). Listen to pop songs and plunk along to get a sense of what's happening.

Mostly, have fun. It's not a job.

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