Piano Learning Methods
The best way to learn Piano
As part of our ‘Beginner’s Guide To Learning Piano’ series, this section will give you the tools to decide which method of learning is going to be best for you and your personal situation.
Main options for Piano Learning Methods
Humans learn in different ways. Some have photographic memories; some can speed read, while others can’t read at all. We are all different, and for this reason, there isn’t one ‘correct’ way of learning a musical instrument.
There are four main options available to you, each with their strengths and weaknesses:
- Traditional, face-to-face, one-to-one learning
- Traditional, face-to-face, group lessons
- Video Tutorials
Traditional, face-to-face, one-to-one lessons
If you think of piano lessons, your first image is probably something like this…
Having private, one-to-one lessons can be an incredible experience if you find the right teacher. There really is no substitution for absorbing all the knowledge of your teacher.
Our Founder, Robert Emery, was taught by Ruth Nye at the Royal College of Music. She really was one of the best teachers in the world, and the fact that Robert could soak up her experience in four years was a priceless gift.
There is a problem though:
Not every teacher has the experience of Ruth Nye.
In fact, the scary thing is that to become a music teacher, you don’t need any qualifications at all. Nothing. Zip. As a complete novice, you could be taking money from people and pass yourself off as an expert. And this, dear reader, is the biggest downside to a traditional teacher:
You need to find a really experienced teacher who you connect with. Who understands you and your needs. Who makes you laugh. Who you look forward to going to see every week. If you can find this person, you have then achieved something most people fail at. Being inspired by your teacher is the magic dust that will keep you learning for years to come.
Out of all the options on this page, this is the most expensive. But as usual with things in life, you tend to get what you pay for…
Traditional, face-to-face, Group lessons
Depending on where you live, you may be able to find group lessons. The ethos is similar to one-to-one sessions, but the cost is much lower as the teacher has to divide their time between all the pupils.
For orchestral instruments, such a violins, group lessons are quite a good idea to start with. The majority of professional violinists after all end up as one of many violins in an orchestra. Piano is slightly different though. It is very much a solo instrument.
How many times have you seen pianists playing together in a group? Thought not…
YouTube is of course the global superpower when it comes to video content. There is a massive amount on this platform for Piano Lessons and it’s impossible to review them all.
Like most mass appeal platforms, 95% of content is complete rubbish, with the other 5% free gold dust. Finding that 5% however is tricky!
One word of warning: If you want to learn classical piano, we would strongly recommend having a real life human teaching you, in the same room! The reason? Classical piano is faaaaarrrrr more complicated than the playing pop songs. However, if you’re pop-tastic, then YouTube is a great option.
If you don’t want to spend any money, and are happy to invest the time in searching for high quality content that inspires you, then there is no better place.
There are 100’s of paid piano courses online. Again, like YouTube it’s impossible to review them all. Suffice to say, the two most popular platforms are:
At the time of writing, Udemy has around 1 million students learning the Piano, and over 400 individual courses. With the average price of courses around £12/$15, it’s fairly cost effective to try a few and find the one for you.
Created in 2011, Playground Sessions is one of the most reputable piano learning platforms online. Their claim to fame? They have Quincy Jones and Harry Connick, JR as their two main teachers! With membership around $10 per month, it’s a premium platform compared to Udemy – but we think it’s worth it.
About the Author
If you’re looking for that one-to-one setup, but don’t want to trek around to a teachers house every week, then online lessons can work really well.
There are A LOT of companies out there that do lessons over Zoom, so you have to be ultra careful the quality is up to scratch. But the service we have found that has consistently great feedback is www.lessonwithyou.com. We like that they offer a half-hour lesson completely for free so you can try out the service and that they offer flexible scheduling with no contracts. They have teachers from Julliard, Berkeley, and Johns Hopkins – so the standard is high. Lastly, we LOVE that they don’t as for your credit card details for the trial lesson.
We learn best when the teaching is tailored to our personal needs. Apps are a hybrid between standard videos and a real life teacher. They adjust their teaching based upon your response on the app. For this reason, if you aren’t able to have face to face lessons, we would always advise dedicated apps over generic YouTube videos. There are many, many apps out there. The two we recommend are: