Best Online Piano Lessons (2020) – Best Apps & Courses
Learning how to play the piano online is a lot easier these days. Once you find the best online piano lessons for you with a charismatic instructor, your skills and drive to learn will increase on a daily basis.
Top 3 - Online Piano Lessons
$39 (one time)
Beginner friendly, variety of lessons
$9.99 / month
8 free lessons at sign-up
$17.99 / month
Learn from award-winning musicians
Preview a few lessons
Besides the obvious time advantages, learning piano online can also help you specialize in specific genres of music. If you’re not a particular fan of classical music, your choices of traditional piano teachers are far more limited. Most of them will convince you that it’s critical to build a classical piano foundation, complete with all the theory.
The problem here is that it might take you years to feel comfortable enough to venture off to other music. You might be better off with some really good piano lessons online. You will probably appreciate this modern approach to teaching music. And if not? You won’t be out of an unreasonable amount of money.
7 Best Online Piano Lessons - Reviews
Check out some of the best websites and platforms for learning to play the piano or keyboard from scratch. Soon enough you’ll be able to start writing your own music.
Table of Contents
- 7 Best Online Piano Lessons - Reviews
- Advantages of Learning Piano Online
- Why You Should Opt for Paid Online Piano Lessons
1. Piano For All - $39 (One Time)
Piano for All is an extremely popular piano lessons platform with over 250,000 students. It offers a vast amount of course material in the form of ebooks, audio, and video files.
This platform is all about the lifetime membership for a rather affordable one-time price of $39. You can start learning at your own pace without feeling the pressure of your subscription expiring soon.
If you prefer to access the materials offline, you can simply download it from the website or even order it in the form of DVDs. The same material found online is available on DVD. Future updates will be available for free as downloadables.
The focus on music theory is limited. The lessons and tutorials on Piano for All are best-suited to help students develop dexterity, hand-eye coordination, read sheet music and tabs, learn chords, and so on.
It takes the traditional self-taught methods and expands on them with clear examples, popular songs, and easy to follow instructions. If you’re a complete beginner, you may benefit more from Piano for All than anything else.
If you have some former piano training, then the teaching method may seem a bit too different. And yet, the playthrough guides still cover some very advanced songs. You can still get a good workout in, and you’ll have well-produced videos to practice along with for quite some time.
The user control over the videos is not the best. All audio and video files are actually embedded into the ebooks. This means that you don’t get to slow down the video or things like that.
2. Flowkey - $9.99/mo
When the Flowkey app came out, it was quickly understood that it’s designed for today’s self-taught piano and keyboard players. Although the lessons and guides are devised by accomplished pianists and music teachers, the information offered doesn’t get too complex over time.
Flowkey takes beginners from the very basics of the piano as an instrument to playing easy four-chord songs, to improvising in pop music. What’s also very nice is that the first eight lessons are free when you sign up.
Those should lay down a good foundation for you, at least enough that you can later decide if the piano is an instrument worth pursuing. If you do decide to journey on, you can go with either of the three premium subscription plans or the lifetime membership.
As a premium account holder, you get access to a vast library of over 500 songs. More course content becomes available and expands on what you’ve already learned at the beginner level. You can also use your Flowkey account on multiple devices at the same time.
One thing to note is that the courses don’t cover highly advanced techniques or music theory. While not technically advanced, some of the songs that are available with playthrough guides may take a lot of time to master. There’s enough content even for advanced players, who may need to change up their practice routines.
Remember that Flowkey is an app. There’s little to talk about in terms of production value. The software essentially follows along with your playing and displays real-time feedback based on what notes you hit and how you hit them. It’s pretty much all you need as you progress through each song.
The Flowkey app has several features designed to help beginners with practice. It lets you adjust the speed of the song, so you can learn it slowly at first and then finally play it at normal speed when you're up to speed.
It also lets you separately practice playing the piano with your left and right hand, just like you would in front of a teacher to improve your playing. In addition, Flowkey offers countless popular songs of varying genres and playing difficulties. So you're unlikely to be bored even when you become an intermediate or advanced player.
3. Playground Sessions - $17.99/mo
Playground Sessions is one of the best-structured learning websites when it comes to studying the piano and keyboard. The lessons featured on the website cover everything from the basics like hand coordination and notation to advanced music theory.
You can start things off as a beginner with the rookie lessons, continue with the intermediate bootcamp, and move on to really hone your skills with the advanced bootcamp.
There are several other courses which focus on teaching you rhythm, keyboard-specific skills, advanced notation and theory, and playing by ear. Of course, there are also many song tutorials with step-by-step playthrough guides. Regardless of membership status, you can study five songs for free each month.
The website also offers multiple payment plans. You can sample the available courses with a monthly membership or register for a full year. If you’re serious about learning the piano and you like the direct approach of the instructors, you can even buy a lifetime membership.
This would give you access to any upcoming content such as new course materials, guides, song tutorials, and more.
All in all, Playground Sessions is a very serious platform. The teaching style is reminiscent of what you might experience if you’re a student at a conservatory. At the same time, it’s less strict and the explanations are always useful and detailed.
At the end of the day, you can learn at your own pace by watching videos and going through the materials as many times as you need to, and practicing when you have the time. There’s no real rush, especially if you opt for the lifetime membership.
4. ArtistWorks - $23.25/mo
ArtistWorks is a reputable learning platform which caters to many string and key instruments. When it comes to learning the piano, the courses are split into three categories: classical piano, jazz piano, and popular piano. The latter focuses more on pop, rock, soloing techniques, and more.
Each of the available instructors has his or her own teaching style. But, regardless of your chosen area of expertise, the lessons will be entertaining and easy to follow. The production value of each ArtistWorks video is superb. Not only is everything uploaded in HD but there are also slow motion and looping features in the online player.
This way you can really take your time and practice difficult techniques at your own pace. What also sets ArtistWorks apart from other learning platforms is that the courses do go very in-depth with music theory at later stages. If you want to master the instrument or write songs in music notes, not just to play a few popular songs, this is one of the best places to do so.
Another feature that makes ArtistWorks a unique experience is the concept of video sharing. Depending on your membership status, you can upload a number of videos of you playing music. Those videos can be seen by other members but they’ll also receive feedback from the instructor. Therefore, you don’t have to wait ages to get pointers or corrections.
The community is also helpful. After all, there are only three piano instructors for thousands of students. But you can always ask other community members for help. Exchanging ideas and tips is at the core of what makes ArtistWorks such a successful platform. And, this extends to all other instrument sections too.
Keep in mind that becoming a member on ArtistWorks gives you access to the entire learning platform. If you want to practice and learn two instruments at the same time, you can do just that.
5. Learn Piano in 30 Days - $27/mo
This website has a good selection of modern songs for all difficulty levels. The main focus of the courses is to lay a strong foundation for new players and teach them how to eventually play by ear. There’s also a bit of discussion around music theory, basic and advanced notation, and genre-specific techniques.
There’s a 14-day free trial that you can take advantage of. By dipping your toes in the water you’ll get a better idea of which subscription plan is best-suited for you. There are two plans offered: monthly and annual subscription.
Most of the time. you’ll spend watching videos and playing along on your own instrument. But, the website also offers a list of tools that you can use to track and get feedback on your technique.
When it comes to video quality, the website doesn’t disappoint. The videos are short, fast-loading, and quite good. Multiple camera angles are available so that you can observe the hand movements, overtop views, and the instructor.
However, one thing worth noting is that the first couple of lessons are not amazing. The video quality is average. At least the more complex and important lessons are shot in higher definition.
6. Piano Couture - Free
Piano Couture is a YouTube channel with over 100,000 subscribers. As with almost anything else on the video sharing platform, the tutorials available on the channel are free to watch for as many times as you want.
Coen Modder will be your virtual instructor. He has a fun and engaging style of teaching and a real affinity for recording playthroughs for hit songs that many people would be interested in learning.
There are a few tutorials for beginner, intermediate, and advanced players. There’s also a playlist dedicated to hacking the piano. In that section, you can get a quick piano 101 on very useful techniques. Why are they useful? – Because many of them aren’t taught until after months or years of studying the piano the traditional way.
Piano Couture also has a few classic songs recorded for interested viewers. Almost every video on the channel features helpful diagrams and overlays.
If you’re just looking to learn some tricks and basic fundamentals, Piano Couture is a great place to start. It’s free and the production quality of the videos is good. At the very least, you’ll get a good introduction to the instrument before you move on to a more advanced learning platform.
It’s important to remember that Coen Modder also offers a paid course and an ebook in which he expands on what he has to offer. You can find them by following the links on the Piano Couture channel.
7. Andrew Furmanczyk - Free
Andrew Furmanczyk created the Furmanczyk Academy of Music on YouTube in order to help people learn the piano in a friendly environment and regardless of their previous experience. Whether you’re a complete novice or an experienced player, there’s something of value on the channel for you.
As an instructor, Andrew is very enthusiastic and knowledgeable. The lessons are categorized by technique, skill level, popularity, collaboration, genre, and more. The production quality is good overall but there are some older uploads which are average in quality.
The upside is that no information is lost. Every video lesson ever uploaded is still on the channel, so you can take things slow or at your own speed.
However, there might be a slight learning curve if you decide to follow Andrew on YouTube and take his piano lessons. As enthusiastic as he is when teaching music theory and chords, he isn’t the best as simplifying what’s complicated about playing the piano.
Although there is plenty of material dedicated to total beginners, having some prior experience with the piano or knowledge of music theory is recommended.
Advantages of Learning Piano Online
For those who can’t balance your work life, social life, and family life well enough to take private lessons with a tutor, learning to play a musical instrument online is the logical alternative. That is, if you want to keep learning.
The cost factor may come into play as well. In the long run, paying for online lessons is far cheaper than learning from a private tutor.
In lieu of a high hourly rate that’s commensurate with the prestige of the teacher, you pay a relatively tiny fee for online lessons. And you could pay by the month, year, or a lump-sum payment for a lifetime of learning material. The reason behind this is simple.
Piano teachers in the virtual world can take on thousands of students at a time. Therefore, they can afford lower rates overall. They also don’t have to worry about organizing recitals to showcase the talents of their students, partly for the benefits of the students and partly to cement their own prestige.
There’s also the aspect of having more visual aids and clear camera angles for hand positioning. Of course, you can do that better by observing an expert piano player in person, but you can do that close enough online.
Why You Should Opt for Paid Online Piano Lessons
There’s nothing wrong with going over some free trial lessons or watching a couple of YouTube playlists to get an idea of what playing the piano will demand from you. But at some point, you have to take a step back and ask yourself.
Are you really getting all the information you need to take it to the next level? Do you feel like an intermediate player but you can’t really play your favorite songs yet with the same feeling that they command?
You’ll rarely see advanced students teaching piano lessons online. Unfortunately, this is something that you may run into when you decide to respond to an ad in the paper.
Paid websites make it a point to either hire or collaborate with accomplished musicians with verifiable credentials and accolades.
Prominent pianists also come up with their own lesson plans, technique tutorials, and music theory concepts that they want to share on personal pages. In exchange for a fee, of course.
This means that your chances of studying with an accomplished piano teacher are higher if you go online than if you go the route of private lessons.
And there’s one more aspect to consider. Many paid piano lesson websites also have more than one instructor working on the content. This means that you may get to pick the brains of experts in different fields, study different techniques, and learn genre-specific theory and improvisation from the best in the business.
This is when compared to learning on your own. Extra motivation can come in many forms. Learning piano on a paid website from an instructor is a lot like going to the gym instead of working out at home.
An instructor gives you motivation and feedback and pushes you to do more and do it better. On many paid websites, the piano instructors can give individual feedback. You might also be able to arrange for some one-on-one sessions.
With that being said, if you have a hard time sticking to your learning schedule, an instructor can listen to your issues or time constraints and recommend a different schedule. Some instructors may even assign homework or specific practice exercises for you to tackle before moving on to the next course.
Paid learning platforms will always have well-structured curriculums and large video libraries. Unlike free websites, paid websites often feature a combination of short and full-length videos. Tutorials for song playthroughs are often broken down into multiple sections.
This allows you to practice specific portions of a song on a loop until you get them right. The ability to customize your learning experience is important and emphasized on many platforms. Sometimes it’s just an option that helps you while other times it may just be a marketing hook.
Either way, for people that have little musical inclination or those that are in the later stages in life, customized learning plans and schedules can be most helpful.
Another thing that’s different on paid piano lessons platforms is having access to vast libraries of popular songs. Free YouTube channels or teaching platforms don’t always risk copyright infringement and may not upload playthroughs and covers of your favorite pop songs.
But, when a website or teaching app asks for your money, you can bet that they offer most of your favorite hits. Either on demand or via song rotations. This makes it a lot easier to practice by ear and learn piano while also learning the songs of your favorite artists or composers.
Learn to Play with the Best of Them
If you’ve followed this far, it probably means that you’ve already picked your ideal website/platform to learn from. All of the above recommended sites have their own strong suits. Every aspiring piano player should be able to find at least one suitable site.
Apps are great to learn with if you aren’t into music theory and complex notations. A combination of written courses and video playthroughs is better if you really want to learn piano skills.