Are Online Piano Lessons Effective?

    💡 So you want to learn to play the piano online using your computer or an app on your iPad, iPhone or Android device?

    🤔 In 2022 we now have large array of options in terms of online lessons that help us learn to play the piano. So much so that it can be overwhelming to figure out where to even begin.

    🔧 We can also start to wonder if most online piano lessons are actually effective at teaching us how to play the piano.

    📜 This short post aims to answer those questions and hopefully steer you in the right direction to help you learn the piano.

    🐎 If you want to skip the details, you can jump right to my recommendations for best online lessons for piano.

    Can You Learn Piano Online?

    First off, it's normal to wonder if it's even possible to effectively learn the piano using online lessons.

    My short answer is that yes, it's quite possible to learn to play the piano online.

    There are a lot of advantages to learning piano online. We can learn at our own pace and on our own schedule, with lessons being available on demand whenever and wherever we want.

    Many online piano lessons and apps are also fun and interactive, making the process more engaging and less and less tedious.

    But are these lessons any effective compared to going to music school or getting lessons from a private music teacher?

    My personal opinion is that online piano lessons can indeed help us learn the piano.

    I think that one can probably reach a level of advanced intermediate piano player using nothing but online piano lessons and self-directed learning material.

    I do think however that passed that level, and in order to reach advanced levels of mastery on the piano, a teacher would most likely be necessary. But for most beginners it will be quite some time before one starts needing a one-on-one teacher to be able to master piano skills further.


    What Are the Best Online Piano Lessons?

    In no particular order, here are 9 of the top online piano lessons:

    Flowkey

    A popular option with over 1,500 songs to choose from.

    Some of the features include wait mode, slow motion and hand selection.

    Cost: $19/month or $120/year

    Compatibility: Desktop, iPad, Android, Acoustic Pianos

    Free option

    Skoove

    Another really great option, with many popular songs to choose from.

    Some of the features include hand video along with moving score, playing by hear and improvisation.

    Cost: $19.99/month or $119.99/year

    Compatibility: PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android, Acoustic Pianos

    Free option + free 7-day trial available

    Playground Sessions

    Co-created by Quincy Jones and featuring well-known teachers.

    Some of the features include video lessons, a large music library and music theory.

    Cost: $17.99/month, $119.88/year or $289.99 lifetime

    Compatibility: Windows, Mac, iPad, iPhone

    Yousician

    A large platform with lessons for piano, but also guitar, bass, ukulele and singing.

    Some of the features include a color-coded virtual piano and instant feedback.

    Cost: $19.99/month or $119.99/year

    Compatibility: iOS, Android, PC, Mac, Acoustic piano

    Free 7-day trial available

    Pianote

    Video lessons with support from real teachers.

    No interactive features, but a large video collection on theory and a music library of sheet music that can be played at slowed tempos or with looped sections.

    Cost: $29/month or $167/year

    Compatibility: iOS, Android, PC, Mac

    Piano Marvel

    Over 25,000 songs, with an emphasis on classical music.

    Some of the features include a wait mode, video lessons and an assessment of sight reading.

    Cost: $15.99/month or $110.99/year

    Compatibility: PC, Mac, iOS

    Free option

    Pianoforall

    A video library with step by step lessons and a focus on chords, improvisation and jazz.

    Cost: $79

    Compatibility: any device that can open videos

    Hoffman Academy

    Kid-friendly with practice plans and interactive games.

    Cost: $18/month, $179/year or $595 lifetime

    Compatibility: PC, Mac

    Free option

    Simply Piano

    A popular mobile app to learn from over 5,000 songs.

    Cost: $59.99/3 months or $119.99/year

    Compatibility: iOS, Android, Acoustic piano


    Best Free Piano Lessons

    If you're looking for free supplemental lessons, I recommend the following YouTube channels:


    Are Online Piano Lessons Any Good?

    A number of companies specialize in providing premium online piano lessons, and over the years they have really perfected what it means to offer a great overall learning experience. In fact, many schools now make use of these online resources to supplement their own curriculum.

    So yes, many online piano lessons are quite excellent, and getting better all the time. The level of competition is quite high for these lessons, so the offerings are consistently improving.

    Plus, more and more services are paying attention to how piano students really learn, so many of them are going away from just teaching how to play songs by memory, and instead focusing on teaching solid foundations coupled with some music theory, so that we can not only learn to play our favorite songs, but also learn to improvise.


    How Do Online Piano Lessons Work?

    For most online piano lessons, you'll simply create an account, then connect an digital piano or MIDI keyboard via a USB or MIDI connection, and then start going through the interactive lessons.

    Many apps and lessons even have an option to use an acoustic piano, where the device's microphone is used to detect the notes being played.

    Lessons are usually arranged by levels of proficiency, to make it easy to learn at a challenging pace while not being too overwhelmed at the same time.

    Some lessons show a virtual piano keyboard and highlight the notes to be played for a particular piece of music, in a way similar to what has been made popular by Guitar Hero.

    Other lessons provide online sheet music, where the notes are displayed on a staff, with correct or incorrect notes being highlighted as you play. This second option is great to also learn sight reading.

    You can also often set the speed, so that you can start learning by playing a piece of music slowly, and then gradually increase the tempo until you reach the original tempo for that particular piece of music.

    Many lessons also give you an option to play both hands at the same time, or select just one hand at a time.

    Finally, most also offer a video library to help your learn the basics.


    What is the Best Way to Learn Piano Online

    While online piano lessons are technically really good and engaging as well as getting better and better with time, it becomes really important to develop a routine and discipline around it.

    Without a teacher or outside of a school environment, it can be hard to keep up the self discipline necessary to continue making progress on the piano. There's a missing element of accountability or encouragement.

    My advice around that would be to commit to a certain amount of time per day for focussed practice and really try to stick to that routine. For example, committing to 30 minutes of practice 5 time per week.

    Another aspect that's lacking from online piano lessons is a teacher that can spot and correct bad habits. A partial remedy for that would be to film yourself playing occasionally and review it to see if you tend to fall into less than ideal postures.


    Equipment for Online Piano Lessons

    In order to learn the piano online, you'll need some kind of piano or midi keyboard. An actual piano is a good idea when possible, to get used to the tactile feel of the keys on a real piano.

    When using something like a MIDI keyboard, you'll probably want to select a keyboard with enough keys to allow you to play both hands at the same time. Something like a 61-key keyboard should work well, but if you want to be able to play just about any piece of music over time, you may want to get a full 88-key keyboard from the get go.

    A digital piano is great because it'll allow to plug into your device and connect to the online lesson directly. Otherwise, if you're using an acoustic piano, you'll want to make sure you use online lessons that can detect the notes being played using your device's microphone.

    And then lastly, you'll want to have a comfortable chair or bench that allows you to sit comfortably with upright posture, without arm rests getting in the way.


    How Much Do Online Piano Lessons Cost?

    The cost of online piano lessons is exceedingly low compared to the cost of private music lessons or the cost of tuition for a music program.

    Most popular piano lesson apps and lessons charge somewhere between $15 and $19 per month, with a lower cost when paying yearly, usually around $120 per year on average. The ~$120 per year for most paid lessons is a great investment in my opinion, especially if you stick to it. Most also offer a free trial, so you can try a few of the different lessons out there to see which one seems to fit your needs best before committing.

    You can also find a lot of piano lessons online for free on YouTube if you want to get going for free at first.


    Conclusion

    I hope this post was helpful in giving you the lowdown on how best to learn the piano online at your own pace.

    Now the ball is in your camp, there's really no substitute for consistent and intentional practice, so committing to a learning path and practice routine is really key to make great progress and eventually becoming a skilled piano player.

    Go forth and be magical! ✨🎹

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