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6 Tips to Learn to Play the Piano like Ryan Gosling from La La Land

La La Land piano

The musical La La Land winning six Oscars. Including Justin Hurwitz’ brilliant La La Land score. 6 Tips to Learn to Play the Piano like Ryan Gosling.

Damien Chazelle’s musical La La Land won six Oscars which includes him being the youngest person to receive the Best Director award, Emma Stone as Best Actress, and not to be missed, Justin Hurwitz for La La Land’s dazzling piano score.

There is no Oscar category for Extra Skill Achievements of actors yet. Otherwise, Ryan Gosling would most definitely also had won an award. Following La La Land’s motto ‘Here’s To The Fools Who Dream’ Mr. Gosling achieved incredible piano skills for his role in La La Land in an extraordinary short term.

The actor as a piano newbie spent only three months learning to play the instrument. He putted in two hours a day in front of the piano, six days a week.

A celebrity role model like Ryan Gosling can boost our motivation and lend us a hand to proceed with our own piano learning project. While his impressive performance might inspire us to finally start learning to play, it is unlikely that most of us will have that amount of time available to dedicate to learning.

In our Skoove Mythbusters article we learned, there are no excuses to not start to play the piano. To help us stick to our new year’s resolutions, we put together a list of 6 useful tips how to learn to play the piano as quickly and efficiently as possible while bringing a high level of joy and reward …

1) 15 minutes a day

It is difficult to discipline yourself into practicing the piano, especially if you are just starting out. However, it is important that you schedule some practice time into your busy daily routine. You can start with as little as 15 minutes on every second day. That will inevitably turn into longer periods of time, as you begin to get in the flow of playing and start to have fun. By allocating small chucks of time to practicing, you will associate piano learning with fun, as opposed to a chore.

2) Bite-size goals

As you learn to play an instrument, you should set yourself realistic goals. Don’t just sit down to aimlessly play the same set of chords, as that won’t help you progress overall. Instead, pick a piece of music you love and resolve to learn it within a month. Practice until you get the piece right. It is also helpful to sub-divide this goal into smaller targets to be hit every week. Learning the first four lines in week one, the first page in week two and so on. Once you’ve achieved your first goal, move onto the next challenge.

3) Practice your patience

Learning to play any musical instrument is, while very exciting, also challenging. It takes time for your brain and muscles to connect with each other, syncing the playing with music reading, so prepare yourself for some trial and error. While Gosling’s performance in ‘La La Land’ might seem flawless, it is guaranteed that he had to be very patient during the first few lessons as he made his way through the basics. Interestingly, researchers at Brown University found that sleeping between practices sped up the learning process. So if you’re getting frustrated, just take a nap.

More information about practice and sleep here.

4) Slowing down

Instead of rushing through practice to get yourself to the end of the piece, try playing slowly to avoid making any mistakes. Your brain (and fingers) will remember mistakes much faster if you have a frustrated ‘argh’ outburst, leading you to repeating them in the future. Instead, practice slowly and feed your brain the correct and positive information – you will become a pro in no time.

5) See the finishing line

Many athletes are taught this technique before an important sporting event. Their coach asks them to visualise themselves completing the race, crossing the finishing line and imagining how it would feel to win. The same logic can be applied to piano learning. Imagine yourself playing the piece flawlessly, hitting all the right notes, with the perfect rhythm, hear the actual piece in your mind. You will be surprised at how quickly your practicing improves and how you will be able to perform in front of an audience, once you use this technique.


6) Find a guru

As important as all of the above, finding a good teacher is essential to learning the piano to a high standard. Even contemporary greats such as John Legend and now Ryan Gosling had teachers to get them on their way. While private tuition can be expensive and difficult to fit around a busy work/life schedule, you can subscribe to platforms like Skoove and learn piano with an app. Skoove will help you learn from the comforts of your home by simply sitting down in front of a keyboard and switching on your computer.


If you like to dig in deeper into the art of playing the piano, check out our article on the playing technique in Justin Hurwitz’s La La Land composition Mia & Sebastian’s Theme here.


Skoove is an entertaining and individualised way to learn the piano online. Traditionally, learning the piano can seem daunting for novices: learning sheet music, as well as buying and housing a piano. Skoove works across leading web browsers and offers a set of intuitive and responsive courses in contemporary and classical music.

Simply sign up, let the wirelss audio detection connect your keyboard or piano to your laptop and get playing, while Skoove guides you through from beginner to Bach and Bill Evans.

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