Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2014

Degree Type



Biological Sciences

Director of Thesis

Milind Kuncher

First Reader

Katia Gasperi


I’ve had a strong desire to learn how to play a piano ever since my first music class in elementary school. I asked my parents if I could receive piano lessons. They saw how extremely excited I was and they agreed to seek out a piano instructor for me. Unfortunately, my parents soon realized that they simply could not afford the fees. I brought up the topic a few more times, but to no avail. In middle school, I joined the band to play the clarinet. Although my hopes of playing the piano were put on hold, I grasped this opportunity to pursue my interest in music. Along with mastering how to play the clarinet, I achieved my main goal of learning how to read music. I gained valuable background knowledge that would have taken me much longer to understand on my own. Most importantly, my band experience taught me the importance of practice. It was time to take my dream off hold and expand my musical horizon. With a college student budget, I knew I would have to rely on a self-teach method. I knew it would be a difficult, time consuming, and even frustrating process. Well, I was definitely right about all of that. If you have an incredible amount of time to invest in this, it’s a spectacular idea! If you’re balancing college courses, a job, research, and extracurricular activities, it will be much tougher. Either way, it’s not impossible if you really want to learn how to play without opening your wallet. Following me through this guide will only be beneficial to you if you already know the basics of reading sheet music. If you do not know how to read sheet music, I recommend that you take a music class that will teach you (if you can afford it) or teach yourself. There are many online materials and books available that can help you. Don’t be intimidated – it’s similar to learning a new language. It takes patience, but it will become second nature in time. Before you begin, you will set a goal. You can revise the goal and make it stronger as you go along, but make sure you don’t lose sight of why you started reading this guide in the first place. Then, I will take you through a series of general steps I followed to learn how to play the piano. But remember, even though I knew how to read music, I had never received any piano lessons so I am not an expert. I gathered information from online sources and tested out what worked best for me. I created steps that I thought would be helpful in order to teach myself how to play the piano. I revised these steps as I went along and you are welcome to modify them to your liking as long as you follow certain key rules that I mention. Four months have passed since I started learning how to play on a keyboard. I knew I wasn’t going to become a master pianist in such a short time. My goal for this project was to create a foundation for myself from which I could expand on by learning the fundamentals of piano playing. Even after presenting my progress, I will continue to play the piano in hopes of improving my skills through new goals. This thesis project has allowed me the opportunity to test out my dream. Starting something is always the biggest hurdle to overcome. Once you set a target goal and begin, everything will fall into place.