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I've been playing piano for three years. I can play stuff like Clair De Lune, and Moonlight Sonata Mvt 1. I really want to learn Moonlight sonata mvt 3, and 2. I'm not sure if lessons are necessary for me any more. But I'm still not sure. I feel like I learn more efficiently with a teacher, and a teacher would catch more mistakes that I would not on my own.

If I did not provide enough information with this, ask me anything and I will answer it to the best of my ability. Thank you, and have a nice day!

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    I think a better phrasing might be “can I still benefit from lessons?” If that’s what you mean, the answer is definitely yes. – Todd Wilcox Sep 27 at 15:31
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    The answer is: yes. Always. At any and any level of experience, you can (and should) always find someone better than you to help you further along. – jjmusicnotes Sep 27 at 17:22
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    If you want to perform the finale of the c# minor sonata, then you definitely need lessons. – Kilian Foth Sep 28 at 6:28
  • My piano lessons lasted until I reached university, and I started when I was in Grade 1. Four years of piano lessons isn't long enough. – Dekkadeci Sep 28 at 11:01
  • I've been playing guitar for fifty years. I would still benefit from lessons. . – PeterJ Sep 29 at 13:06
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You'll be hard put to find a professional classical musician that doesn't employ the services of a teacher or coach occasionally or regularly. That doesn't mean that they are worse musicians than their teachers. It just means that the focus of a separate person and a separate session and external task and evaluation and oversight cannot really be provided by the musician themselves while playing.

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I've never played Clair de Lune, but I have messed around with and played the Moonlight Sonata. Moonlight Mvt 3 is probably the hardest piece I have performed; it is significantly harder than the first movement, and, based on a recording of Clair de Lune, its probably a little harder than that too.

If your end goal of piano is just to play the entire Moonlight Sonata, as your question seems to imply, you could probably figure out the last two movements on your own. However, if you have the time and resources available to continue formal study with a teacher, I highly encourage sticking with it since it will always be beneficial to have a second person giving feedback and critique. I highly doubt you have learned all that your teacher has to teach you in only 3 years, especially if this is your primary instrument.

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The answer to "Should I continue taking music lessons?" cannot be answered unless you answer the question "What are your goals?"

If the only goal you have and anticipate having is to play Moonlight Sonata, you're at a level where you'll be able to figure it out without too much difficulty on your own. Lessons would help but are not necessary. Whether they're worthwhile would relate more to your ability to pay and find the time than what you'd learn in them.

If your goal is to learn Moonlight Sonata and then continue on to learning other increasingly difficult pieces and advance your skills as much as possible, then you should continue to take lessons. You're nowhere near learning as much about music and piano playing as there is to know and as you mention, a good teacher can make your progress much faster and smoother. If you want to be the best musician possible, then you'll need to make greater sacrifices in terms of money and time spent on music than if you simmply want to learn a single piece.

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If you have to ask the question, you more than likely do need a teacher. As long as the teacher is a good one, any player will benefit from their input.

Professional footballers rely heavily on coaches, even though they are seemingly at the top of their game. And it's the same in all walks of life. Experience needs to be shared and handed on. Right now, you don't really have much of that experience, to be fair.

There are so many different facets to music, and playing an instrument is only part of the story. Of course, it depends on what level you aspire to. If you've got as far as you think is o.k., then don't waste anyone's time or money. If you have the desire to become a really good player, and get pushed to play stuff you wouldn't normally consider, and have an experienced expert to help with that goal - get yourself a teacher.

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After four years of playing (or three - which is it?) you can’t remotely have reached a professional level, nor is it likely that you have realised your full potential. In other words, if you were to take lessons, you could still learn a lot. On the other hand, with so few years of experience I don’t think you will be able to improve substantially on your own.

I expect you already knew that (if not, the previous paragraph already answers your question) and clearly, it is possible to have a fulfilling life without piano lessons. That begs the question, what do you mean by “needing” piano lessons?

I assume you have a goal in mind, for which you may or may not need further lessons. The other answers sort of assume your goal would be to play the whole Moonlight sonata. I haven’t heard you play so it is impossible to say for sure, but from what you wrote I would find it highly unlikely you could play the third movement at a reasonable level without help of a teacher (even with I think you would still need to practice some other repertoire first). However, if you have a different goal in mind, we can’t answer your question without knowing what it is.

Is your goal to fulfil your pianistic potential or to keep improving? Continue with lessons. Is there a specific skill or piece you want to learn? Continue and tell your teacher. Are you having fun at the level you have already reached without desiring to improve at all? No point in continuing with the lessons without motivation. Anything else? Tell us and I or someone else can make a recommendation.

It is impossible to answer whether your “need” piano lessons (besides the useless answer “no, since you can survive without”) without you telling us your goal. However, in the end I think it’s irrelevant: it comes down to this: do you enjoy having piano lessons? If so, continue! After three or four years you are only at the beginning of the journey. If not, don’t; I don’t see any reason to continue with a hobby you don’t like doing.

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Yes, if you're on the classical path and you aspire to 'harder' pieces, you need a teacher. Maybe not a weekly lesson if you can motivate yourself without, but regular consultations.

If your aim is to play in a rock band and you can play what you need to play, maybe not.

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As others asked, why are you asking if lessons are still necessary? Has your instructor said they can no longer help you, encouraging more advanced lessons? Or you think you don't need them? I'm doubting neither of those, as it's only been 3-4 years you've been playing and state you would benefit from further instruction. I ask which option is pushing you to possibly stop, as I have seen both: my first piano instructor informed a church friend it was somewhat silly to continue lessons, as she was not advancing at all & felt guilty about payment, when no progress was being made. Shortly after, she felt she was unable to help me further & recommended lessons with a local private university.

Is mvt 3 your only further musical goal? If so, further instruction may not be necessary but I would expect learning such an advanced piece would take substantially longer on your own, especially given the limited time you have been playing. I actually used the 3rd mvt as a college audition piece & it is quite fun! :-)

HOWEVER, I strongly encourage you to continue lessons. I never learned theory; I don't know the names of keys by accidentals, (other than F or C, of course!), know the difference between a IV and V chord, at least not by technical name, and other than knowing accidentals should add to 7 and swap to the opposite # or b for transposition, I don't know technical stuff. I pick up things/teach myself if I feel I need to know, but I do still regret what I did: dropped my double major in college to only biology and we cut down lessons to just accompanist duties & financial aide at school. I always said "I don't need a piece of paper on the wall to say I can play!" I was and still am correct, you don't need a fancy certificate in a frame. But it sure as heck would/does help. :-)

Sorry, to digress. But I would highly recommend to continue.

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Many universities offer a doctorate in piano performance. Even before starting such a course of lessons, most students will already have had rather more than four years of lessons.

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