Is it difficult to switch from playing the guitar to the piano, and what needs to be prepared? The following article will give everyone an overview of the transition from playing the guitar to playing the piano.

One advantage of a person who has played another instrument before switching to the piano is knowledge of rhythm and basic music theory. Therefore, a guitarist’s advantage when switching to piano is that they will not have to familiarize themselves with rhythm or music theory; they can go straight to the type of piano they want to learn (solo or accompaniment).

>> See more about the similarities and differences between solo piano and piano accompaniment.

Someone switching from guitar accompaniment to piano accompaniment  will have quite a lot of advantages because of the similarities between guitar accompaniment and piano accompaniment, particularly the knowledge of chords since guitar and piano chords are similar (and the composition is the same). With guitar, a C chord comprises of C – E – G. On the piano, you simply need to know where the keys C – E – G are in order to form a C chord.

The main difference between playing guitar and piano is how both hands are used:

– With guitar, the left hand holds fret notes to form a chord while the right hand plucks or strums the strings. Normally the right hand will not be focused on as much as the left hand and is played instinctually after practice.

– With piano, you have to focus on both hands equally. You have to pay attention to both hands at the same time (whether both hands move together or one hand moves while the other one stays still). That is largely why mastering both hands is more difficult on the piano than guitar.

However, to make it easier to combine two hands in the piano, the same principle for the guitar can be applied. One of the two hands will be the hand that you care less about, which is usually the left hand. When playing the piano, many people will focus on their left hand more than their right, but those who play the piano well will focus more on their right hand rather than the left hand, with the left hand playing by habit and instinct.

To play the piano instinctually with your left hand, you need to get in the habit of not looking at your left hand too much while playing.

The left hand for piano is the background and follows a rule, which is to be steady and keep rhythm. Therefore, if you know the positions and rules of the left hand on the piano and control it enough to become instinct, then combining two hands when playing the piano will be extremely easy.

Practice is key. Left-hand fingering on the piano will take an average of about one to two weeks of practice, and two to four weeks to become a habit (practice thirty minutes to one-hour per day).

Thus, switching from guitar to piano accompaniment, you need to prepare as follows:

  1. Have a piano or organ to practice with (you can use the organ to practice in the beginning because the structures of the piano and organ keys are the same).
  2. Get familiar with the keyboard. Place your hands on the keyboard in a way that is comfortable; each finger should be placed on a key and relaxed. Practice moving your fingers on the keys and familiarize yourself with the keyboard.
  3. Review the music theory learned from the guitar (musical notes, chord symbols, rhythm & beat, note duration, time signatures).
  4. Locate the notes and chords on the keyboard. Practice moving two hands from one chord to another (for example, two hands play C chord and move to F chord)
  5. Try not to look at your hands and move your two hands to the positions you want by estimating with your senses.

After preparing yourself with these skills, it is time you found an instructor who is right for you to learn singing accompaniment and piano accompaniment.

Having understood the difference and the similarity between the guitar and piano, I will suggest to you an eight-week learning path for piano accompaniment for people switching from guitar to piano accompaniment:

Week one: Learn how to memorize keys on the piano, the position of each note on the keyboard, and review music theory for reading music sheet (time signatures, note duration, chord composition, etc.)

Week two and three: Familiarize yourself with simple accompaniment for pop-ballad, left-handed fingering, and how to play with both the left and right hand. Practice changing chords on two hands skillfully with basic accompaniment patterns.

Week four to eight: Applying accompaniment patterns on songs, learning new accompaniment patterns, and practicing alternating patterns. Practice adding intros and outros to songs as well as singing accompaniment.

Those who want to switch from guitar to solo piano  will require more skills (such as reading sheet music fluently) as well as longer practice time, so you can start from piano accompaniment (to build the instinct for the left hand when playing the piano), then switch to solo piano.

Please leave a comment below for me in case you have any questions, concerns, or difficulty when switching from playing the guitar to the piano.