Student Experience & Tools
Help & Support
Learn Piano Online Review
Learn How To Play the Piano Online
The top performers in our review are Playground Sessions, the Gold Award winner; Piano Marvel, the Silver Award winner; and Piano With Willie, the Bronze Award winner. Here's more on choosing a service to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of our top 10 services.
Even if you’ve always wanted to learn how play piano, there are a lot of reasons you many never have taken lessons. Perhaps you don't want to drive to someone's house for in-person lessons, or you don't have a keyboard or piano. Maybe you think you don't have the time to learn, or perhaps piano lessons are too expensive. Online piano lessons, as an alternative to traditional lessons, could finally help you learn how to play piano. You don't need to leave the comfort of your own home, the equipment needed is minimal, and you learn on your own time.
With online piano lessons, you really only need a computer and an internet connection to start learning how to play piano because the services give you access to video tutorials, structured teaching methods and practice tools. The video tutorials help to visually demonstrate how to play the songs, as well as important playing concepts so you can have the necessary building blocks to progress in your playing. You practice and play when you want, often on your own, so you don't have to feel nervous about messing up in front of a teacher.
Many of these online services provide practice tools to hone your piano-playing skill set. These tools include practice exercises for your left and right hand and instructions to ensure that you are practicing the right way and not learning bad habits.
The best online piano lessons, such as Piano Marvel and Playground Sessions, are MIDI compatible, so you can plug a MIDI keyboard into your computer via USB. This compatibility means the software can track your progress, showing you the wrong notes that you played and how you have improved since your last practice session. A MIDI controller with 88-keys (the same number of keys as a piano) allows you to interact with your lessons, and it is an inexpensive alternative to a piano. You can purchase one for around $200. You can also purchase an inexpensive piano keyboard for around the same price, or even less, but you won't have the ability to interact with the lessons and track progress in quite the same way as you would with a MIDI controller.
The majority of these online piano tutorials charge monthly payments that vary anywhere from $10-$50 dollars a month. This is far less expensive than in-person lessons, which can be anywhere from $50-$100 per month, or even per lesson. Piano With Willie offers an option to buy an annual subscription to its online piano lessons. PlayPianoTODAY is the only online piano lesson software in our top 10 list that offers all the lessons on DVD for a one-time cost. This means you don't have to worry about reoccurring payments of any type.
Online Piano Lessons: What We Tested, What We Found
Learning piano in a way that caters to your needs will ultimately make your learning more successful. If you are a beginner, you are going to want to find a comprehensive curriculum that can teach you beginning methods and theory. For more advanced players, you might want software that helps you master a certain style of play or that sharpens your ability to sight-read or play by ear. We looked particularly for software that provides good foundations for beginning piano learners.
To assess all of the online piano lesson services, we had a handful of reviewers each test just one product or service in our lineup. This was done to avoid overlearning a concept. For example, if a reviewer learned how to find middle C from four different services, by the fourth product they tested, it would seem as if it were the best because middle C was found immediately, even though this concept was taught by three different products prior. Therefore, we used different reviewers for this process.
Each reviewer tracked all of the concepts taught in the first two lessons and described their overall experience with the online piano service. Reviewers that are more advanced players tested out some of the lessons that are for advanced players, and beginning players tested beginning lessons to provide a fair assessment of all the piano services. We tracked and converted these evaluations into a score to determine how well each program executes the piano curriculum. Part of our ranking is also based on whether the curriculum covered essential basics (like note values, note names, finger numbers, notes with a corresponding key, and treble and bass clefs) early in the lessons.
Our hands-on testing is designed to simulate typical, real-world experiences with learning piano online. For our tests, we purchased month-long trials from each company. The companies have no input on our testing methodology, and our rankings are not shared with them prior to publication.
What Else Is Included in Online Piano Lessons?
Video tutorials and lessons plans are great when you are learning to play piano on your own, but the accompaniment of backing tracks and a metronome can help you push yourself and make strides toward improvement.
Metronome & Adjustable Tempo
Piano Marvel, Playground Sessions and Flowkey allow you to adjust the tempo of your lessons so you can ease back or push yourself as needed. All three of these services also give you reports that track your progress from the start of your lessons, and these are the only ones we tested that provide these features.
If you’re interested in learning specific songs on the piano, look for software that lets you choose what songs to play. Among the services we tested, Piano Marvel, Playground Sessions, Flowkey, PianoKeyz and Online Pianist, allow you to request specific songs for lessons. When you are learning something that is familiar or a song that you enjoy, it makes learning piano that much more fun and easy.
Tools for Educators
These online piano lessons can also be helpful for teachers to aid their students in piano training. Piano Marvel and Playground Sessions both offer tools to help educators track student progress and leave constructive feedback.
Online Piano Lessons: Our Verdict and Recommendations
Playground Sessions is not only the least expensive program for online piano lessons in our lineup, but it's also the Gold Award winner. Playground Sessions provides modern music and top 40 hits so you can learn your favorite songs on the piano. It is also MIDI compatible, so you can track your progress if you use a MIDI keyboard. Playground Sessions has countless lessons and hours of video tutorials.
Piano Marvel is the Top Ten Reviews Silver Award winner because it has a comprehensive lesson curriculum that covers a wide variety of musical genres, as well as interactive practice tools that keep track of your progress. It is also one of the most inexpensive lesson plans available. It is far cheaper than the cost of in-person lessons, yet you have over 2,200 lesson plans available to you at any time.
Piano With Willie is our Top Ten Reviews Bronze Award winner. This online piano school features many hours of online video tutorials and live Skype training videos for premium members. These lessons provide a comprehensive curriculum that covers many musical genres and playing styles. Unlike with Playground Sessions and Piano Marvel, there are no tools to track your practice progress because the lessons are not MIDI compatible.