Most people think of piano lessons as stuffy, expensive, time-consuming ordeals, that more often than not leave the student with less than acceptable piano playing skills. In the past, learning how to play an instrument such as the piano involved tracking down a nearby teacher, scheduling lessons according to their availability, and paying exorbitant hourly fees for the privilege to do so. In some cases, those who learn at a slower pace than others end up having to fork out even more cash for extra lessons to work on their problem areas. In other instances, the issue may be an incompetent teacher who doesn’t have the proper expertise to make the learning process less frustrating. However, taking advantage of the best online piano lessons can make this process much easier.
Fortunately, everything that you could ever want to know about playing the piano is available on the Internet-and in many cases for free. Without ever leaving your home it is possible to order a piano, have it delivered, learn how to play it and upload a performance for millions of others to see. While it isn’t recommended that you actually stay holed up in your house for the entire duration of this process, it’s nice to know that with today’s technology, acquiring and learning how to play a piano is easier than ever!
Obviously, you’ll need to make sure that you have a piano. Because there are so many different options available, making such a choice might seem overwhelming for the novice. The question that you’ll have to ask yourself at this point is whether you need to get an acoustic piano or an electric keyboard. While there are some general pros and cons between the two, the choice mostly depends on your aesthetic preferences, available space and financial constraints.
Acoustic pianos typically come in two shapes-the vertical upright type that you usually see pushed up against a wall, and the larger grand pianos that take up significantly more horizontal room. Acoustic pianos also tend to be extremely heavy, so if you plan on transporting your instrument often, be prepared to do some strenuous lifting. Despite their inconvenience, many musicians prefer the sound of an authentic wooden piano to the sampled imitations provided by their electric counterparts. There is also the issue of noise pollution in shared housing situations. While most traditional pianos are equipped with a pedal that can soften the sound, the instrument still might not be quiet enough for apartments or late-night practice sessions.
If you think that any of the issues related to owning and maintaining an acoustic piano might apply to you, you may want to look into purchasing an electric keyboard instead. These instruments come in virtually every size and price range, so it’s impossible to not find something that is right for you. The keyboards in the cheaper range typically have fewer features, and sometimes this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If your goal is simply to learn how to play the piano, then having a fancy pitch wheel and two-thousand different instruments at your disposal might be overkill for the time being.
There are also special keyboards dedicated to learning how to play the piano. These instruments have red diodes built into the keys that light up to show you where you are supposed to place your fingers. These keyboards work just like a normal instrument, so when you are not using the built-in lessons, you can use it to play other things. While the features of these keyboards might not make you a virtuoso, the included lessons make for a nice supplement to more extensive studies.
Once you’ve established your musical needs and hammered out your budget, it’s time to find a retailer. The best course of action is to shop for your piano or keyboard like you would any other item. Check popular retailers like Musicians Friend and Amazon for reviews on the most popular instruments, and narrow down your search to a few that are within your budget. Compare the prices of these instruments with other retailers to make sure that you’re getting the best deal. Using a product aggregator such as Google Shopping will make it easier to compare many prices at the same time. If you aren’t opposed to purchasing your instrument used, it is possible to find even better bargains in the Classifieds section on the website of your local newspaper or Craigslist. Of course, buying an instrument in this manner has its risks, as it is unlikely that your keyboard will come with a warranty, and there is also no guarantee that it will even work more than a day.
After you’ve chosen your piano or keyboard, it’s time to pay and have it shipped to your house. If you’re ordering an acoustic piano, you’ll want to make sure that it is being delivered by professionals, as they are pretty fragile pieces of machinery. Once it arrives, you’ll probably want to call in a piano technician to make sure that nothing was damaged along the way. This will also be a good time to make sure that the piano is in tune, as it’s likely to have been knocked around at least a little bit during transit.
If you ordered an electric keyboard, your instrument is already in tune. Insert the batteries or plug in the A/C adapter, switch on the power and you are ready to go-in most circumstances. If the item that you purchased is complex keyboard/computer hybrid, you may need to take a breather to read the instruction manual. If you have difficulty using high-tech devices, you may want to take this into consideration when making your purchase.
Learning to Play Your New Piano
Once you are comfortable and have all of your equipment in place, it’s finally time to learn how to play! If your lessons will primarily be accomplished by watching Internet video tutorials, you’ll want to make sure that your instrument is in a place accessible to your TV or computer monitor. With an electric keyboard, you’ll have more flexibility in this area, but if you are using an acoustic piano, it is probably best to just use a laptop. Having the ability to quickly pause, fast forward and rewind on the fly is also important. Sometimes you’ll need to go back and re-watch a certain part again and again to get it right. If you have a game console such as a PS3 or WiiU, you can easily do this with a tap of the controller.
Repositories like YouTube have countless scores of videos that will teach you how to play the piano for free. The quality of these videos vary from professional in-depth lessons to grainy amateur videos from people who are still learning to play as well-so you have to choose your piano mentors wisely. You can use information from the comments, views, ratings and number of subscribers to determine which videos and teachers are worth your time. Here are a few great examples:
Free Online Piano Lesson Examples
If you prefer to learn by reading, most online e-book retailers will have what you are looking for-complete with helpful reviews to keep you from purchasing a dud. There are e-books available for every skill level and style imaginable, so even if you do plan on learning mostly from videos, it might be smart to also add these to your regiment as well. There are also tons of websites dedicated to the subject, with all of the information written out and accompanied by diagrams that tell you where to place your fingers. Some of them also provide free PDF booklets that you can print out and use offline.
Even though you are learning how to play the piano without ever leaving your home, that does not mean that you you have to go at it alone. An enormous part of the learning process is getting feedback from other people. One method is to post videos of your progress on YouTube. Not only will you be able to get feedback and tips from other students of the piano, you’ll also have a memento of the whole process when you’re done. Additionally, other users will be able to watch your videos and learn along with you. Using a webcam, it is also possible to work with a live teacher remotely to get personalized feedback about your playing. This type of service generally isn’t free, but it’s available.
Even though there are many formats that you can use to learn how play the piano online, from websites, e-books to Internet videos-you shouldn’t limit yourself to just one method. By learning from multiple sources, you will often learn things that you wouldn’t learn from just one teacher or book. With so many free options for instruction available, it’s a good idea to try out as many as you can, to see which helps you learn more efficiently. Once you’ve found a method that suits you, practice at least three times a week, for an hour a day. Before you know it, you’ll finally know how to play the piano like a pro!