Teach Yourself How to Play the Piano Online

Published: September 11, 2017 - 9:00am EDT

Hand playing keys on a piano

So you want to learn how to play the piano; the problem is that you don’t have the money to pay a teacher and/or the time to dedicate to structured weekly lessons. Or maybe you're just one of those do-it-yourself people. In any case, we wrote this guide to make your life easier. We've outlined the steps you need to take to start learning the piano online, as well as links to the best resources for teaching yourself. We’ve also got some tips that should help make the process smoother, as teaching yourself to play an instrument online can be very difficult. Read on if you want to become a piano pro – and do it all from the comfort of your own home!

5 steps to learning how to play the piano online

1. Get a piano or keyboard so you can actually practice playing.

If you’re going to start learning to play the piano from home, you'll need something to practice on. After all, it’s virtually impossible to learn how to play the piano online if you don’t have access to a piano or keyboard in your house! If you’re strapped for cash (which may be one of the reasons you're choosing to learn to play online), you can try buying a cheaper keyboard like this one.

Person playing a keyboard

At any rate, you need to be able to work on your craft as you learn, so not having a piano or keyboard is out of the question. Make sure you purchase one before you start learning, or at least order one and begin studying music theory until it arrives. Learning online is difficult enough without an instructor to assist you, so make sure you have a piano at home to work with.

2. Choose a teaching method that works for you based on your learning-style.

The main component of learning how to play any instrument online is choosing a learning method that works for you. You want to pick one that actually helps you learn, rather than just something you get bored of after only a couple of weeks. There are many different ways you can go about learning to play the piano online, and we’ve listed a few of them below:

An online music teacher, over video chat

There are many great websites that have experienced and qualified music teachers for hire. They'll teach you over live Internet video chat, but it will be similar to lessons where you meet your instructor in person. If you have a webcam, you can learn to play this way quite easily. This is one of the most effective methods to use, as it allows you to interact in real time with your instructor. This lets you quickly get answers to as many questions as you have, as well as get immediate feedback on your progress as you go.

If you’re looking for a great teacher, be sure to check out our article on the best online music teachers to find the perfect site for you.

An online theory-based music course

Picking up the piano solely from music theory takes a very particular kind of learner: one who doesn’t mind quite a bit of reading, and (in most cases) already has a basic understanding of music theory. It is quite possible to teach yourself to play the piano simply by studying the theory and then applying it to the instrument in practice. This method is quite difficult, however, and has quite a few disadvantages.

Music theory lesson example

The biggest downside of taking this approach is that you don’t have any kind of interaction with another person who actually knows how to play. This makes it much more difficult to learn concepts or get answers to any questions you might have. However, if you’re already a bit of a musician, this might be a much better way to learn the piano. You'll gain a more thorough understanding of the instrument – including how to play it – than most people will from a basic online course or play-along app.

If you need a place to start, our article on how to learn music theory online can give you some great recommendations for websites to begin learning on.

Online music tutorials

If you'd rather not hire an instructor, but still need a little more help than self-motivated reading on theory, then an online course might be the way to go. Many websites such as this one have online courses that you can work through at your own pace, but have many more visual and interactive components than a standard theory course. Typically, you can complete quizzes to help you check your progress, and you might even be able to contact the course creator if you need help.

A sound-detecting music-teaching app

Some music-teaching apps have amazing built-in sound-detection technology that works through your device's microphone. This allows them to listen to you as you play, and then give you feedback on your accuracy. Some of these apps, like Yousician, are free, and let you work through tutorials and track your progress. Typically, these apps only charge you to buy tutorials for premium lessons, often for popular songs that you may want to learn. These apps are great because you still get to take the learning into your own hands, but you have a lot of fun while doing it.

3. Complete online lessons or courses – and start with theory.

Once you’ve narrowed down methods to try for learning the piano, you need to actually go through the motions! We’d recommend starting with some online music theory courses first, so you can decide how committed you are to the process. Then, try out a few of your chosen methods before settling on the one that appeals to you most. Make sure you pick the method that is as enjoyable as it is effective; learning an instrument takes a lot of hard work, but it should also be a lot of fun!

4. Practice playing along with your lessons and get help when you need it.

Remember to practice on your piano or keyboard as you learn. Repetition is the key to successfully learning any instrument, and the piano is no exception. Once you’ve chosen the right method for learning the piano, you need to actually practice playing your instrument. Though understanding music theory is important, analyzing how well you actually play on your piano is the best way for you to track your progress. Being able to play a recognizable song will often be your first step towards improving your skills; the sooner you can recognize what you’re playing, the sooner you can start improving how you play it.

Person practicing playing piano

5. Repeat the process!

Keep practicing and working week by week; that is the only way you will learn to play an instrument. Many people spend their whole lives working toward mastering an instrument, as after they learn the basics, learning to play various songs can take years and years. However, with hard work and dedication to your study, you can learn many basic techniques and songs in only a few weeks. Don’t forget: the more you practice, and repeat the same scales and chords and songs over and over, the better you will get with time.

7 tips for learning the piano online

  1. Do something each day, no matter how small, to improve your progress.
  2. Set realistic goals, especially when you first start out, and try your hardest to meet them.
  3. Try to find an experienced musician or teacher – either in the real world or online – whom you can talk to if you have questions.
  4. Try a few different learning methods, and choose the one that is as effective as it is fun!
  5. When choosing your first few songs to learn, don’t start with complex songs; begin by learning simple songs like Mary Had a Little Lamb or Hot Cross Buns. Repeatedly performing these easy songs will help you master the basic skills you need to learn more complex songs later.
  6. Try performing in front of people. It will really help you gain confidence, as well as identify the skills you need to work on more.
  7. Watch other performers on YouTube (or other video-sharing websites). By watching what others are doing, you can learn to mimic their techniques and get inspired to try out new songs.

 

We hope this article helped you get some direction on the path to mastering the piano. Good luck with all of your musical goals, and be sure to check out the rest of our site. We have plenty more tutorials to help with your musical studies, as well as with sharing your talents with the rest of the Internet and world!

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