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Learn Piano Online: Can You Really Do It On Your Own?

Updated on February 12, 2013

So you want to learn piano?

Perhaps you are one of the many millions of people that have always dreamed of being able to learn piano. Doesn’t it look thrilling to be able to make such lovely sounds, sitting down next to that beautiful piece of furniture, and letting your fingers roam freely on the whole length of the keyboard. But perhaps you are not so sure what you have to do to get there?

Well, you don’t absolutely need anything other than the instrument – if you are talented enough you will probably be able to find your way towards making some kind of pretty acceptable sounds come out of your instrument. But chances are that you will get there quicker and become more competent if you get some instruction.

Before the era of internet communication, there was only one next step when you realised you wanted to learn piano: finding a suitable piano teacher somewhere, hopefully reasonably close, and making an appointment to start lessons.

Learn piano online

Today it is far less obvious what steps you should take if you want to start to learn piano. The new communication technologies have opened up a whole range of new possibilities. You can learn from somebody from a totally different part of the world if you like. You can easily find a piano course without having to make appointments to meet a teacher: you can get all sorts of tips and help online. Just a few clicks away, there are millions of articles to read, pictures and videos about how to learn piano, finger-by-finger tutorials of specific songs or pieces et cetera. You might even share recordings or videos of your own playing and get feedback, either from a professional teacher or from like-minded amateurs.

So what do old-style, real world piano teachers think about this? And more importantly, how do you make the best use of all this available information? Do you still need to see a teacher at all, or can you find everything you need on the internet?

There might not be an easy answer to that question. It certainly depends on what your goals are, and on other factors like your natural talent. Like I said at the beginning of this article, if you only want to play a be able to play a few chords, or learn just a few of your favorite tunes, and you find that you can easily get a grip on some basic principles that work for you - then you might not need much instruction at all.

However, you might want to aim higher than that. The higher your aim, the more problems you will have to solve, and the more questions you will want to have answered. And you might find that many questions and problems concerning piano playing are not so easy to find an answer to online.

Seeing a piano teacher

Most of the time when you are learning things on the internet, there is no one there to respond to your particular needs. Your question and problems will more often than not be related to your specific circumstances: your hands, your fingers, your muscles, your body, your piano. If you actually go to see to an experienced teacher, he or she will have answers that are tailor-made for you. He or she will hopefully be able to give you an answer that takes account of what you need right now to make real progress.

Your real world teacher will have a plan for you, to learn things in the proper order. Of course you can learn one or two pieces just by imitating a YouTube tutorial. The trouble is that when you want to learn hundreds of pieces, everyone will be as slow to learn as the first one. Learning the principles behind the notes and developing your skills in a balanced way will mean that, in time, you will be able to learn much more quickly and solidly.

Many online piano courses will of course teach you the most important principles. An online teacher might even be able to listen to or watch samples of your playing and give you personal feedback, maybe even live instructions through a webcam. But cameras and microphones, even if they are first rate, will not be quite the same thing as being together in the same room. The help your teacher can give you by actually showing you over and over, touching and forming your hands for you, trying different solutions to find the one that works best for you, is essential if you want to really keep improving and developing your skills.

To sum up: if you want to learn piano and be serious about it, make sure you use all the possibilities of the internet, but remember to go and have real piano lessons with a real piano teacher as well.

Share your experiences

Have you learned to play piano on your own? If so, how did you go about it? Did you make any mistakes along the way that you would like to warn others about? Did you miss a live piano teacher at any point, and why? Do leave your comments and thoughts on this subject, whatever your experiences, and let's continue the discussion below!


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    • PianoTips profile image

      Louise Woodcock 2 years ago from Kent, UK

      A real live teacher is best but if you live out in the country or travel a lot, then online learning may be a good option.

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      Jane Zabala 4 years ago

      I just found this hub at the appropriate time. I bought a piano at and now its time to look for tutorials and helpful article like this one.

    • ronhi profile image

      ronhi 5 years ago from Kenya

      I was doing some research on a writing gig i have and i found this hub via Google. Awesome piece. Thanks for sharing the information. Enjoyed reading it. Voted up, useful

    • RNMSN profile image

      Barbara Bethard 6 years ago from Tucson, Az

      I really like you information on this...I have used the online instruction myself :) but think it helped me to have had that basic instruction from a teacher firt/even if it were long ago!