Here is a simple answer:
If the piano is your #1 priority, you might only need 61 keys.
And we already told you 61 is the absolute minimum for a beginner, so you don’t need to count the additional 20 key “guessed” notes that come from the fact that you’re playing a new piece.
But the real question is: would 60 keys be enough for someone who wants to learn to play the piano?
Would 60 keys to the bar be all you need to learn to play well on the piano?
Do you need more keys to play well on the piano?
The answer: Of course not!
You need the right skills (or some combination of knowledge, patience and persistence) to get to the point where you can play on any instrument with any of your fingers, in any key without ever having thought about any chords, scales, key signatures or modes.
But just because you can play any instrument doesn’t mean you need to.
The key is what you play with.
If that’s a new instrument for you (I’d recommend acoustic, stringed or brass), and you play a few notes using your “regular” “standard” fingers and then add or subtract them using your thumb or two fingers, then you’re already doing way too much.
That just doesn’t work with the piano.
So make sure that you’re still making progress with your music theory.
And learn to make the most out of each piece of music the piano allows you to play.
For instance, you should practice on just two chords in one piece — one main chord and a minor.
This is to learn to play chords faster.
You can practice on only two chords — one root or one major — once you get a feel for the piano.
However, if you’re not going to master all of the keyboard’s keys, you’ll probably be too tired to practice for many hours in a row at a tempo you’re not used to.
Then that is exactly what you’re not getting for playing the piano:
The ability for a musician to play and create music that is fun and engaging.
As I have written before about music theory and playing the piano, there are many ways for you to learn it.
All of them can be good ways to learn to play a music instrument, including but not limited to.
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