Today’s busy world demands the question Is It Possible To Learn Piano Online? The answer is a resounding ABSOLUTELY! In fact, that is the only way I teach private lessons now – ONLINE!
Technology has come a long way, and what was once thought to be a vastly inferior way to learn anything, has come in with a bang in the music world with innovative teaching methods and great product and tool inventions.
Options To Consider
Is it possible to learn piano online? Oh YEAH!
1. Paid Subscription To Prerecorded Lessons
There are many sites out there that will offer a subscription plan for prerecorded piano lessons.
- The advantage is that you can go at your own pace, stop and start at any point.
- As there is no prescribed date and time for your learning, it is entirely on your own schedule.
- Generally, it is quite cost-effective.
- Good introduction into piano.
- Totally private
- While this method might work well for something like watercolor painting, learning from prerecorded lessons pigeon holes you into whatever style of learning that the recorded lessons veer into. The lessons that I’ve examined go heavily into pops or jazz, which does NOT lean into reading notes on the staff. That’s going to be quite limiting in your piano playing progress unless pop/jazz is your only goal. Music has SO much to offer! My students explore classical, jazz, pops, rags, blues, show tunes, improv and music arranging, swing, and the great american songbook (think Ella Fitzgerald, Sinatra, Michael Buble etc.)
- Does not build useful piano technic and muscle development and control. The goal of prerecorded lessons is to get you playing right away in a very narrow lane with zero technic and muscle development.
- If you have unique challenges in learning (like short-term memory issues, difficulty in understanding precisely what is being asked of you, etc) or hand use (like arthritis, poor mobility etc), none of that will be addressed in prerecorded lessons. You also won’t be able to choose songs to learn, or pick a specific genre.
- No one available to answer your questions.
- As it is not customized, if you need extra materials or time to really develop a skill or knowledge, prerecorded can’t accommodate any of that
- If there is no teacher observing your playing, you will definitely develop wonky technic, hand positions and fingering issues. REALLY bad idea, as once developed, takes a ton of effort and instruction to UNLEARN.
- Very easy to abandon the effort and stop learning as you are completely at the mercy of your own self-discipline and motivation.
You can find subscription lessons via a google search, following your nose on youtube or searching learning subscription sites like Udemy and Skillshare.
2. Private Online Lessons
Most piano teachers today offer an online learning option for private lessons. This is the only way I teach nowadays. I did it sporadically until COVID hit, then jumped both feet into exclusive online teaching. Honestly, it is working like a charm! Granted, an adequate tech setup is necessary from the student side, but each student gets a customized lesson dedicated to their own learning style exactly what they would get if learning from me in person, in my studio. The benefits for students and myself are too great to go back to in-studio learning.
- Learn the RIGHT way right from the start with a teacher who knows what he/she is doing in all genres and skill levels.
- Customized instruction that will bring out your best the fastest way possible.
- Have all your questions answered instantly using a variety of learning options.
- Be corrected AS you play, so no bad habits develop and you can get help solving problems before they become BIG problems.
- Good teachers will customize the songs you learn according to your skill blanks so that you are having fun playing what you like, but still building new skills with each piece. You’ll discover music that you may never have been exposed to, and voila, your world just explodes with exciting new options.
- You’ll be given exercises and drills to build your toolbox and improve your hand and finger action. Remember, this is somewhat like sports: we’re using our body to get a result that we want. Physical training your body/hands/fingers is absolutely ESSENTIAL! No prerecorded lesson plan will include this. With private lessons, the teacher will observe you playing, jettison technical exercises that you obviously don’t need and give you the ones that you do.
- Observe demos from your teacher in real-time as he/she will help you copy her actions correctly.
- Accountability. If you have assignments to accomplish each week, it puts you on alert to fulfill them. Frankly, most people don’t continue with piano UNLESS they are going to weekly lessons and want and need that ‘report to the teacher’ moment.
- Motivation: most piano teachers know how to motivate you to keep going! Learning piano is a ‘long-haul’ effort. Despite what youtube wants to tell you, being a piano player just can’t be mastered in a couple of months! A private teacher will help you progress at your maximum rate and keep you going to the next level, the next level, the next level!
- You’ll learn to become a fluent music reader!
- Your teacher may offer you the opportunity to perform in an online recital with students near your own skill level and age. This can be the exact motivation you may need to reach your goals! The beauty of online recitals is that stage fright and anxiety is kept to a bare minimum and you can invite attendees from all over the world.
- Your lessons can continue even if you are traveling. All you need is the internet and a portable keyboard. Some of my students live in an RV and travel full time with their family (who work remotely from their RV).
- You’ll develop a relationship with your teacher that will last and become a valuable part of your life. Teachers care about their student’s success!
- In my online studio, I incorporate videos of performers, songs from Spotify, visual illustrations, music theory video games as a screen share option when needed. It makes for an enriched learning experience when you can pop over to watch a performer do your song or see it in it’s original form if from a movie. I love using historical context when teaching, like showing a clip from a movie from the 1940s when teaching swing jazz, or showing an early clip of the Beach Boys when teaching early rock and roll. So fun!
- Monthly or quarterly cost
- A good internet connection is needed. (Well, I do have a student in a third world country with terrible internet. We make it work, but it is less than ideal with glitches, dropped connections and poor sound quality). Your teacher will help you set up your home tech for the best possible experience. Plan on using a tablet or laptop for the online lesson! A smartphone IS possible, but less than ideal.
- A reserved day and time. Ya gotta stop your life and attend the lesson each week. Most teachers cannot reschedule your time from week to week, and you shouldn’t ask! You’re paying a professional for their time slot, much like any other professional.
- As lessons are progressive in nature, you’ll most likely have to purchase music as you get better and better that will challenge you to the next level. Fortunately, sheet music and books are relatively cheap and once you own them, you’ll play them for the rest of your life whenever you want!
- If you don’t practice your assignment each week, you will be wasting your money. Plan on practicing a minimum of 20 minutes four days a week. A better rate of learning would be 30 minutes five days a week. It is better to do a little bit each day than try and cram it all into one hour-long practice session! The goal is to build competence and skill, which comes with repetition, not a ‘slam-bam once’ effort. It’s just how humans learn best. That’s why kids attend school every day instead of once a month. Repetition goes deep into brain memory.
You can find local teachers who teach online by doing a google search, contacting local musicians and getting a referral, calling local colleges, or searching for professional music teaching organizations.
If you are interested in contacting me for lessons you can reach me via email at: [email protected] (please be aware that I don’t take kids younger than six, and you’ll be paying one month in advance for lessons)
3. Youtube videos
You can absolutely learn many things from youtube videos! What a great place to visit! Learning piano on youtube is really lacking though. Music and piano is such a broad, colorful subject and youtube is going to just touch on one tiny aspect. It’s like if you wanted to be a world traveler and the only place you ever got to visit was downtown Akron, Ohio. Not a bad place, but wow, how about the Grand Canyon? Paris? Rio? Canadian Rockies? Tailand? Youtube is quite limited.
- It’s free
- It’s available anytime
- Wildly limiting
- No technic building
- No interaction with a teacher
- No outside motivation to continue
If you have the desire to learn piano, you can explore and experiment via the internet in pre-recorded lessons you either pay for or find for free, or you can begin a concerted effort with private lessons online that will assist you in building maximum skills that will last a lifetime. If learning piano is what you’ve always wanted to do, then GO FOR IT! I tell my adult students who are undecided: “Well, the next year or two is going to pass by anyway, you may as well add in piano lessons to the mix and at the end of those years, you’ll be a great piano player”
Music is part of the best joy that life can offer. Never be intimidated by people who can play piano! One of my favorite quotes sums it up for me:
“Music is much too important to leave it entirely in the hands of professionals” -Robert Fulghum
You love music. You deserve the gift of playing the piano! Go get it!