Best Way to Learn Piano Today

If you’ve found this article it’s probably because either you want to start learning piano or there’s a member of your family, like your child, who has expressed an interest.

Another reason you’ve come across this guide may be because you don’t know where to start for lessons on piano. That’s where we come in. After you read through this in-depth guide you will know the best ways to start learning piano as well as all the options available to you. You can choose the right path that suits your learning style, budget and time goals too.

New Ways of Learning

If you wanted to learn piano in years gone by you would look up piano teachers in the local area, book lessons or even take recommendations from friends. Once you choose a teacher you would go to their studio and have scheduled piano lessons.

Nowadays there are so many more choices than the conventional piano lessons. Online piano lessons are the new thing and they save you time without needing to travel to lessons all the time.

Online courses, live lessons and even mobile apps all can help you through the learning process of playing piano. It’s more convenient to learn this instrument than ever before.

Developments in modern technology has so many great advantages, providing you with fun and interactive ways to learn the piano that may appeal to children more than conventional music theory lessons. If you don’t understand a small part of the lesson, you don’t have to wait a week to be able to go back over it, putting you fully in control of your learning.

Despite there being a lot of advantages of learning to play like this, there are of course disadvantages too. Doing courses over your phone or online means there’s no one there to correct your technique, posture or skills. Learning the piano in a remote way may also mean there’s not as much artistic expression in your music.

The choice of the best way to learn the piano is always up to you. So the question shouldn’t only be what’s the best course for learning piano but also what is the best way to learn piano for me.

Choosing Your Learning Path

The best option for your learning pathway to mastering the piano won’t be the same as anyone elses. There are a few choices and each one has its own pros and cons. We are here to give you a range of choices that feature both traditional and technological ways of learning.

  • DIY Methods – This is where you learn to play by ear, study music theory on your own and follow the curriculum by yourself.
  • Traditional Methods – Taking lessons with a teacher.
  • Technological Methods – Enrolling in online courses, using apps and following tutorials.
  • Mixing Methods – Taking traditional lessons but doing them online.

We’ll discuss each of these learning methods in more detail below.

DIY Methods

There are a few different DIY methods you can do so that you don’t have to pay for piano lessons. To be able to learn the piano by yourself you will need some strong determination and motivation.

Following the Curriculum

The most reliable and best approach to learning piano using DIY methods is to follow the piano curriculum that teachers would traditionally use in lessons. There are different piano books you can get that will take you through everything from music theory to grades. By following the standard curriculum you will get the most comprehensive learning experience even if you are doing it yourself, and the books all come at a reasonable price.

Most of the curriculum books you can find online will provide you with helpful and thorough walkthroughs of how to play the piano. Because you are learning by yourself you will have to be super motivated and if there’s something you don’t understand then try to find an explanation from another source such as online tutorials.

Studying Music Theory

If you don’t want to go all in and follow the piano curriculum then you may to just focus on music theory instead. This method means you focus solely on the structure and written elements of sheets music so you are able to play them on the piano. Things like key signatures, notations, descriptive words and chord structures are all part of this learning.

In order to play piano this way, you will need to have some sort of basic knowledge of music already. This is because applying the theories to actually playing can be tricky unless you have the skills to do so.

Learn By Ear

Learning how to play the piano by ear is only for the most experimental amongst you. It’s probably the most affordable way to do it because there’s no teachers, books or resources involved. But because you are learning to play by ear has the huge disadvantage of receiving no help or assistance in improving your skills.

When you want to play the piano by ear you have to listen to pieces of music very carefully over and over again in order to learn to play them. It’s very much a trial and error way of learning where you work out the notes as you go along. You will have to imagine each note in your mind first and then experiment on the piano to see if you can match the sounds being played.

If you want to take an even more basic approach to learning in this way you can also just experiment on the keyboard and see what sounds come out. Just keep playing until you like the way something sounds and build on it from there.

Pros and Cons of DIY Methods


  • Very affordable and in most cases free
  • Can be fully flexible to what you want to learn
  • You learn at your own pace
  • There’s little to no commitment needed
  • You don’t need to travel anywhere


  • There’s no feedback so you won’t know if you’re making mistakes
  • There’s no interaction with a teacher
  • There’s no one to motivate you to continue learning and practicing

Traditional Methods

Going along the traditional route means you will learn how to play from a professional teacher who provides you with piano lessons. Taking piano lessons takes more money and time than other methods but there’s a lot more accountability and help along the way. It all depends on what you’re goal is if you want to be able to play well or not.

Taking Lessons

So how do you go about getting lessons? For the best teachers out there you should take a look at the Music Teachers National Association. They can find you the best local certified teachers within a 20 mile radius from your home. There are also online forums and resources where you can read teachers bios and find local lessons in your area.

There are definite advantages to taking lessons if you want to learn the piano. They will follow one of the standard curriculums but then adapt the way it is taught to suit your needs. You can follow your own pace of learning and there’s always someone there to help support, motivate and teach you the skills you need to know in order to play.

As well as independent teachers being available to teach you the piano, there are also music schools and education centers that offer you lessons too. Centers like this will more than likely follow the standard curriculums. They give you a skilled teacher to work with who can personalize your learning process to suit your pace and skill level.

The edge that a music school or center has over a private teacher is that there are more resources available to the student. There are more performance opportunities for one, so if playing in front of people is something you enjoy then you can benefit from this. There are also opportunities for group learning sessions where you can join up with other pianists. This is great if you benefit from group learning but still need that individualized lesson to help you learn properly.

It’s important to be aware the music education centers tend to be costlier than your standard piano teacher. You also won’t be able to cherry-pick the person who is teaching you – they are chosen for you. Some centers will screen their teachers for their qualifications before they are given a job. Others don’t and will hire students that have little to no music skills to teach their students.

Pros and Cons of Lessons


  • You get personalized feedback about your playing
  • The curriculum will be adapted to your learning style and progress
  • You have the ability to ask any question you want and get answers straight away
  • Having a teacher gives you more motivation to practice
  • Teachers demonstrate the proper ways to play as well as help you read sheet music


  • They can cost upwards of $30 for a half-hour session
  • You will more than likely have the same lesson slot every week, meaning the schedule isn’t flexible
  • Depending on where you live there may only be a limited choice of teacher’s in your area
  • It can be hard to find a teacher if you want to play music other than classical piano

Technological Methods

Because we live in the modern world where every piece of knowledge we could ever want is at our fingertips, it’s no surprise that you can learn piano online using technological methods. Internet and software are what you will be using if you want to learn in this way.

Going the technological route means you will have a more engaging learning experience than going the traditional or DIY route. You still need to have a lot of motivation to continue with your practice but the tools you have to use may inspire you to carry on.

Online Courses

Online education for any subject you could imagine is the new big thing. There’s no need to attend lessons now because of online learning. Instead, we can log on from the comfort of our own home and learn how to play piano at our own pace.

There are so many online courses to choose from that you may feel a little overwhelmed at first. Make sure to read some reviews before you jump in and pay for anything. Usually, you will make a one time payment and then receive e-books, audio files, lessons and email support to guide you through the process. It will also depend on the course you choose on how much you will be taught. Some just include the basics, but if you want to learn to play like the pros then you will have to take a more intense course.

If you are using a digital keyboard and are a visual and audible learner then this method may be the perfect way to learn for you. It also won’t cost you as much as the traditional method would.

Watching Online Tutorials and Videos

YouTube is full of tutorials and videos you can watch in order to play the piano. The teaching quality of these videos will range massively and most of them won’t focus on sight reading but more on the playing aspect of online piano lessons. As well as free video resources there are also other places online that offer videos for a small fee so that you can learn how to play in a more structured way.

Before you decide to enroll on a course that gives you online tutorials you should evaluate the video previews that they provide you. Find out as much information as you can on the website to make sure that any option you are considering will suit your learning goals and style.

Each online resource will tend to focus on a specific part of learning to play piano. They range from the keyboard basics all the way up to playing popular music. If they’re available you should also take a look at any other online piano students reviews to see if they had a positive experience with the platform.

Using Apps

Using an app to teach you the piano will incorporate videos and tutorials into a learning method but with a more unique twist. Apps are developed to teach you piano by harnessing the power of your computer so that the technology you have allows you to download resources straight to your phone. Some popular online piano apps include FlowKey, Piano Marvel and Skoove.

With each app (apart from a few variations) you will be taught the basics. At the end, you will be able to play a range of popular tunes. Most of these apps won’t give you a fully comprehensive understanding of music theory so you won’t learn things like sight reading sheet music or any sort of theory.

However, there is a reason why these apps are so popular when you want to play piano. First of all, they’re available right at your fingertips on your phone, making them a lot more accessible than computer courses or in-person lessons. When you play using an app the phone or tablet will be able to hear you and give you interactive and constructive feedback to help improve your playing. This is something online video courses can’t provide for you.

Pros and Cons of Technological Methods


  • Affordable
  • You can watch the lessons over and over again
  • There’s full flexibility to what time you practice, where you practice etc.
  • You can learn the songs you love, not just classical music
  • There’s a lot of options so you’re not only limited to one style
  • There’s not much commitment needed


  • No personalized feedback is given so mistakes aren’t corrected
  • You may not be able to get instant answers if you have a question about anything
  • There’s no motivation so it’s easy to get distracted

Mixing Methods

Mixing the methods is becoming so popular because it takes all of the advantages of some of the approaches such as having a piano teacher but then adds in the benefits of technology.

Taking Lessons Online

Online webchat and video calls have opened up a whole new world of learning and being taught to play the piano. Skype and other video chat platforms means that students can learn to become a pianist online and enjoy live lessons with their teachers from the comfort of their own home. This offers you all of the benefits of going out to piano lessons without needing to travel.

In order to do lessons for piano online, you will need an internet connection, a webcam and your piano. There are plenty of online piano teachers out there which you can find on websites like Preply and Piano Teachers Connect.

Finding someone to teach you online piano lessons is quite exciting because you don’t have the geographical limits of having to find someone in your area. There may be someone on the other side of the country or even someone in a different part of the world.

You can expect to pay a bit more for the privilege of an online teacher, with the average amount being $34 for a 30-minute lesson. Overall you will find the online option will work best for you if you enjoy the mentorship of a teacher and want to learn how to play piano in a more constructive and comprehensive way.

Pros and Cons of Mixing Methods


  • No geographical issues when you want to find a teacher
  • No need to travel to your lessons
  • You can record your lessons to watch back every day when you practice
  • You will be playing your own instrument rather than someone else’s


  • The teacher isn’t there physically so can’t help adjust your position, posture, finger placement, etc, during your piano playing
  • Technical issues such as loss of internet or broken computers can cause problems
  • There are upfront costs of needing to get equipment
  • Sound quality can be affected if you have a poor internet connection

How Long Does It Take to Learn?

It all depends on how much you want to learn for how long it will take. If you only want to learn something basic like a few simple songs then you won’t need to practice for more than a week or two. However, to really master the piano it can take decades of playing to become competent.

Chances are if you are wanting to learn the piano then you want to aim for somewhere in between these two extremes. If classical music isn’t your style and you’d rather play popular tunes then you can do it in weeks or months.

The main thing that will speed up the learning process when it comes to piano is to practice every day you can. Practice truly does make perfect and just choosing one of the methods above alone won’t work unless you’re practicing every day.


What is the best method to learn piano?

To date the most effective method for learning piano is to take the traditional route. This is by learning to read and play notes in each of each properly as opposed to learning by ear or using different names for the notes.

How can I learn to play piano by myself?

You can use books or even online lessons and tutorials on YouTube to teach yourself piano at home.

Is piano hard to learn?

Most pianists would say that the instrument is easy to learn but very difficult to master. Anyone can learn to play a few basic chords and melodies and this won’t take long. Playing expert piano songs is difficult and will take a lot of practice to get right.

What is the best piano app for beginners?

Simply Piano by JoyTunes is probably the best piano app to use if you are just starting your journey to learn piano.


Isn’t it brilliant that there are so many different ways you can learn to play the piano today? It’s time to assess which option you think is the best for you to suit your own goals, finances, resources and interests. If you need to then use a combination of methods that we’ve mentioned above. Happy playing!

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