So you’ve got your first acoustic or electric piano. Now what? Well, if you’re a beginner, then you should start learning to play the piano. And in this day and age, you may do so online from the comfort of your home!
With that said, there are numerous online piano courses and lessons available out there, which makes choosing the right course for your expectations and needs quite challenging. You could, of course, go through a few courses and pick the best one, but this route takes time and money.
To save you time and effort, we’ve researched online piano courses on our own and are ready to name the 5 best online piano lessons/courses/platforms. Our picks can meet the needs of beginners and more skilled pianists alike, so you are likely to find the right option on our roundup!
Best Online Piano Lessons
Pricing: $17.99/month, $119.88/year, $289.99 one-time for lifetime membership.
Free trial: No.
Piano support: MIDI pianos and keyboards.
Up first on our list is Playground Sessions, which is widely considered as the number 1 online piano learning platform. Featuring a wide gamut of piano lessons narrated by the likes of Grammy & Emmy winner Harry Connick, Jr. and Quincy Jones, Playground Sessions offers perhaps the easiest entry to the world of piano music.
Interestingly, Playground Sessions offers lessons for both complete newbies and more experienced pianists. The base Rookie Tour focuses on introducing you to basic notation and hand coordination, while more advanced lessons introduce you to chords, strategies on figuring out songs, as well as teach you how to read, write, and play musical patterns.
The lessons with Playground Sessions are mostly interactive and game-like, allowing for a more engaging learning experience.
In terms of pricing, Playground Sessions is one of the more pocket-friendly piano courses out there. It offers no free trials, but its monthly membership costs a mere $17.99, which is pretty cheap compared to some other options on our list.
And if you are willing to go deeper into your pocket to get an annual or even lifetime subscription, then you will be saving money in the long term. Notably, there also are family memberships available for 2-4 members. These are available only as annual and lifetime subscriptions, so they cost high upfront. But in the long run, they do allow you to save money.
Pricing: Free or Premium for €19.99 for 1 month, €13.99/month for 3 months, or €9.99/month for 12 months.
Free trial: Yes, 7 days.
Piano support: MIDI pianos and keyboards, acoustic pianos.
If you want a decent online piano learning platform for free, then check out Skoove. Although its best features are behind the Premium paywall, the free membership nonetheless gives you a good idea of what to expect from Skoove and decide whether it’s the right course for your money.
The free plan provides you with access to 25 piano lessons and unlimited learning time. And if you decide to purchase the Premium plan or give its 7-day trial a shot, you’ll have over 400 lessons to learn with, monthly updated songs and lessons, one-on-one support from music instructors, and more.
Like Playground Sessions, Skoove teaches you to play piano in a more interactive manner, providing you with real-time feedback on your performance. Likewise, Skoove offers lessons for beginners and more advanced pianists, although it lacks in classical music and music theory areas.
Interestingly, Skoove supports not only MIDI keyboards/pianos but also acoustic pianos. Skoove can recognize the sound of an acoustic piano via your microphone. Playground Sessions does not have such a feature and works only with MIDI keyboards or digital pianos.
Pricing: Free or Premium for $19/month or $120/year.
Free trial: No.
Piano support: MIDI pianos and keyboards, acoustic pianos.
Created in collaboration with Yamaha, Flowkey offers a few benefits for owners of Yamaha instruments. Until March 31, 2021, you will get three months of Flowkey Premium upon registering your Yamaha digital piano or keyboard.
Like Skoove, Flowkey has free and Premium options. The free plan provides access to 8 song tutorials and a few online piano courses to get you acquainted with the benefits of Flowkey. The Premium membership expands on these features vastly, providing you with access to over 1,500 songs and dozens of piano lessons.
Flowkey offers a few other interesting things to help you learn the piano as well. One of them is the loop feature that allows you to replay a specific section of the song to easily practice it. Apart from that, you can facilitate learning with the slow speed mode for every song, as well as improve your left- and right-hand playing separately.
Pricing: $105/3 months, $179/6 months, $279/12 months.
Free trial: No.
Piano support: No piano input tracking, but you may submit videos of yourself playing for Christie Peery to review.
Christie Peery’s piano lessons on ArtistWorks differ from the previous piano courses significantly. First up, while the previous 3 picks were dedicated piano learning platforms, Christie Peery’s lessons are simply an online course hosted on the music learning platform ArtistWorks.
This doesn’t change anything in terms of course quality – Christie Peery’s curriculum covers a wide range of skills from the very fundamentals like music notation to playing challenging piano compositions. And notably, Christie’s course is focused on classical music, which may be what some of our readers are looking for.
However, compared to the piano platforms reviewed so far, the interactivity won’t be as up there. Besides, this particular course isn’t designed to take input from your acoustic or electric piano. To let Christie evaluate your skills, you are required to record a video of yourself playing the lesson and submit the footage for review.
In the end, Christie Peery’s piano lessons on ArtistWorks perhaps aren’t as convenient and interactive as the likes of Skoove, Playground Sessions, or Flowkey, but you do get more direct interaction with the instructor, which can be invaluable in learning the piano.
Pricing: $79 one-time payment.
Free trial: No.
Piano support: No piano input tracking.
Piano For All is different from the previous 4 online piano courses in that it is offline-based. Apart from that, you are paying for it only once – no monthly or annual commitments.
Once you’ve made the $79 payment, you will be provided with 9 interactive e-books that cover everything from basics to playing challenging classics and even blues. Of course, the interactivity isn’t real-time like on Skoove, Flowkey, or Playground Sessions. However, the embedded videos in each of the e-books will make the learning process simpler for you.
All in all, Piano For All would be an excellent choice for those musicians who want to learn no matter where they are and regardless of the availability of internet connection. The latter is the key advantage of this course over others on our list.
Online Piano Learning VS Face-To-Face Learning
Now that we know what each of our best online piano lessons has to offer, let’s talk about the differences between online and face-to-face learning and which one you should go for.
There are 3 key differences between online and in-person learning – costs, feedback, and scheduling. Below, what’s try to understand exactly what these differences are all about.
For most people looking to learn the piano, costs are going to be the most important point between online and face-to-face learning.
We’ve roughly seen in our reviews how much online piano courses cost. Expect to pay something like $15-$30 per month, depending on the platform, its features, and whether you are paying annually or monthly. Annual memberships are usually cheaper.
Face-to-face piano teaching sessions are much more expensive – typically, it’s in the range of $40-$60 per hour. That’s about double of what you would typically pay for online lessons in a month! With this in mind, face-to-face piano learning certainly isn’t the best option if you are looking to save money.
However, there are some other benefits that may make in-person learning a more attractive option for you.
Next, we have feedback, and face-to-face learning is much better than online learning in this area.
You see, a mentor can provide you with real-time feedback on your piano playing skills. Not only that, but a mentor will be able to provide you with tips that are relevant to your weaknesses and strengths. Teaching you one-on-one, a piano mentor will have much more insight into your current skill level and what should be done to improve it.
On the other hand, online courses are most often designed for massive learning – that is, learning for thousands of students. Due to this, there’s no way for an online course to be tailored to the needs of each student – instead, piano course creators have to provide more general tips that will work for most people.
Apart from that, online mentors very often cannot provide personalized feedback to their students, meaning that you may have to figure out your mistakes and weaknesses on your own.
In the end, what this translates to is much lower learning speed with online courses. However, do remember that face-to-face teaching is much more expensive!
In terms of scheduling, with in-person learning, you will have to work with your teacher to make appointments for learning. Needless to say, this won’t always be convenient for your current schedule. Not only that, but piano mentors aren’t always willing to allow you to learn at your own pace, which is arguably a good thing because they will be pushing you to become better.
On the other hand, with online piano courses, it is you who decides when you should proceed with the learning. Depending on the business of your schedule, you can practice every day for, say, an hour or two, or you could complete an entire week’s worth of lessons in just a day. There is no need to make agreements with your mentor – you are the master of your time with online learning.
However, you don’t have someone stimulating and motivating you to be consistent with your lessons. With online learning, you may not do any practice for two weeks if you don’t feel like it and then catch up in a day or two.
True, many people will like this kind of freedom, but it’s very easy to start procrastinating and eventually abandon the learning altogether. Not only will you not achieve anything with such a mindset, but you will also be losing money if the courses are subscription-based.
Online vs face-to-face piano learning – which one to go for?
In the end, which style of learning would be the right one for you depends on the following things:
- Your budget. If you aren’t ready to pay $40-$60/hour for a face-to-face session, then online learning it is.
- Your schedule. If you have a busy schedule and want to have more freedom as to when to practice, again, online piano learning is for you.
- Your expectations. If you want a more personalized style of teaching and want to achieve results quicker, then face-to-face sessions would probably be better for you.
No matter what, because online piano sessions are so cheap, you could first try a month or two of online courses. Some platforms offer free trials as well, which you should take advantage of.
If you feel that you aren’t progressing as you were expecting after an introductory period, you may then try out face-to-face piano learning.
Things To Consider When Looking For An Online Piano Course
Now, if you’ve decided to give online piano learning a shot, read through the points below to know what to look for in the best online piano lessons.
First and foremost, check out the curriculum of the course and make sure that it has what you need. Keep in mind that some courses may be more advanced than others and require some previous experience. By checking the curriculum of the desired course, you will be able to ensure that your skills match the course’s expectations.
Check out the more advanced stuff provided by the course as well. It would be ideal if you enrolled in a course that will be able to not only teach you the basics but also help you develop more complex and advanced skills.
Next, check out how the online piano learning platform or course interacts with pianos. Some piano learning platforms can track music coming from the piano, which allows you to get playing tips and guidance in real-time.
As you could’ve seen from the reviews, many piano learning platforms can track input from your piano. This is usually done in two ways:
- Via your piano’s or keyboard’s MIDI interface.
Output coming from electronic pianos that support the MIDI protocol can be precisely tracked by the software to give you real-time feedback.
- Via a microphone.
Some online piano platforms are capable of capturing sounds produced by pianos. The accuracy of the tracking will depend on your mic and the software employed by the platform.
If you have a digital piano or electronic piano keyboard with MIDI output, then a learning platform that supports MIDI input would be ideal for accuracy and tracking quality. However, know that if the course supports mic input, a MIDI piano can work with it as well.
But if you have a non-MIDI piano or an acoustic piano, then your only option is microphone tracking.
Note that not all online piano courses track the sounds produced by your piano. This isn’t necessarily a downside, though without real-time feedback, learning can be more challenging. But unless there are specific reasons for you to choose a course without piano tracking, choose platforms like Skoove, Flowkey, or Playground Sessions since they will provide you with a more interactive learning experience.
You may find a handful of free online piano courses, but most are paid. Well, with that in mind, you should check out how exactly the fees are structured for the desired course.
Most online piano courses are based on monthly fees, which will be perfectly okay for some people. Aside from that, piano courses sometimes offer annual or even lifetime subscription options. Such plans are more costly upfront than monthly memberships, but they allow you to save money in the long run.
With monthly memberships, you may want to first try out only a month or two to see how the piano course goes for you. If it seems okay, then you may then purchase a longer membership or lifetime access to save money.
If you purchase a long-term plan from the get-go, you may end up wasting money since you won’t know what the course offers without first trying it. This is why it would be a good idea to try a couple of months first and then decide whether you should buy a long-term plan.
However, some courses may offer refunds if you don’t like them – with these piano courses, it should be safe to purchase an annual or lifetime subscription immediately since you will be able to get your money back if desired.
One-time lifetime payments
Some courses also offer you a one-time payment option for lifetime access. These are good if you are expecting to be learning for a long time – a large one-time upfront payment may cost less in the long run than paying for the same duration of time monthly or annually.
With that said, keep in mind that with monthly subscriptions, you will have access to any updates offered by the course. This isn’t always the case with one-time purchases – in some cases, you don’t get any updates and are stuck with whatever you’ve paid for. This isn’t necessarily bad, but it does imply some missed-out features.
Finally, check out which platforms the desired online piano course is available for. All piano online courses are available via a desktop browser, but some courses may also be available on iOS, Android, or other platforms via companion apps.
It would probably be nice if the desired course was available on your mobile devices. This would allow you to learn some things on the go. Besides, having a smartphone or tablet by you while playing sure is more convenient than having a laptop or desktop.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do online piano courses provide quality learning?
This depends on the course, but if you find the right one, you should be able to get tips and tricks relevant to your skill level and strengths & weaknesses. Of course, you probably won’t get the hang of the piano as quickly as you would with a mentor, but the costs of online learning are pretty low.
Online vs face-to-face piano lessons – what’s the difference?
Online lessons have the following benefits:
- You can learn the piano at your own pace.
- You can practice without leaving your home.
And here are the benefits of face-to-face learning:
- Real-time feedback from your mentor.
- Tips and advice tailored to your skills, weaknesses, and desires.
- Motivation from the mentor.
We’ve covered the differences between online and in-person piano learning above, so if you haven’t read our comparison, go through it for a more detailed explanation.
Can you practice online with an acoustic piano?
Yes. However, if you want real-time feedback on your performance and mistakes, you should look for a course that can track your music via your microphone. Not every piano learning platform has this feature.
You can do a lot with modern online piano courses. With a piano and a good course for your skill level, you can be sure that you will be able to become a strong pianist. It will take some time for you to find the right course and then make your way up the course, but if you’re serious about the piano, it’s worth it.
Be sure to follow our tips when trying to choose the best online piano lesson. And pay close attention to our top picks – perhaps that best piano course for your needs is among them!
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