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Anyone attending an Elton John concert will watch the artist at his piano, playing a set of his hit songs. He’s a well-known piano player, and the instrument defines his work. Despite this, John does not keep a piano in his home because he finds the instrument frustrating. He explained why he’d much rather be a musician like Jimi Hendrix.

Elton John wears a white floral suit and plays the piano.
Elton John | Ian Gavan/Getty Images for Harlequins

Elton John began playing piano as a child

John was drawn to music from an early age, teaching himself to play the piano before he turned five. According to John’s official website, “at the age of three he astonished his family by sitting at the piano and playing The Skater’s Waltz by ear.” 

He had an innate ability to pick up tunes after hearing them. His impressive piano skills earned him a spot in the youth program at the Royal Academy of Music in London when he was 11 years old. John took piano lessons at the school for the next four years until he decided to pursue music full time.

He doesn’t keep them in his home

Though he is one of the most famous piano players in the world, John does not keep the instrument in his home. He finds them frustrating because of the way they limit the artist.

“I don’t have one here,” he told Rolling Stone. “I have pianos in Windsor and Atlanta, but I don’t like pi­anos very much. They’re nine-foot, take up a lot of space, and I never play them. Being a piano player onstage is so frustrat­ing — that’s why I was so acrobatic in the early days. I learned from Little Richard, Fats Domino and Jerry Lee Lewis how to get some attention. Fats used to push the piano across the stage with his stomach.”

Though John employs elaborate costumes to stand out on stage, he wishes he could have been more dynamic in his performance. A different instrument would have allowed him to do this.

“I always wanted to be someone like Jimi Hendrix — you could do all sorts of things with a guitar,” he explained. “What can you do with a piano? You can decorate it, jump on it or lie underneath it.”

Elton John has a deep love for what he does

Despite his overall frustration with his instrument of choice, John loves what he does. Though he continues with his farewell tour in 2022, he’s demonstrated tremendous work ethic in his decades-long career.

“I have an unconditional love for what I do,” he said. “And since I got sober [in 1990], each show is a completely joyous occasion for me. Not that it wasn’t joyous in the past, but I can come offstage to my wonderful life, with David [Furnish] in my life, and balance.”


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He also explained that he never gets bored with his career. John wouldn’t mind teaming up with other driven musicians. He would be happy to play the piano with them.

“I never get bored. I’m a fidget,” he said. “Like Jack White. I love people like that. He’s always doing something. And Brandon Flowers and Elvis Costello and Dave Grohl. We should start a band. We’ll call ourselves the Fidg­ets. I’ll play keyboards.”