Best Online Piano Lessons of 2018

Billy Bommer ·
Audio & Travel Writer
Updated
We maintain strict editorial integrity when we evaluate products and services; however, Top Ten Reviews may earn money when you click on links.

We spent 60 hours taking online piano lessons to help you find the best product to advance your knowledge of the instrument and important tenets of music theory. Playground Sessions is the best software for most people because it has the best combination of traditional piano lessons, music theory lessons and popular song selections. Since software doesn’t offer the same level of accountability and reinforcement as face-to-face lessons, it’s important for an online lesson to immediately engage the student. Playground Sessions’ impressive song list and relatable teaching concepts are designed to immediately motivate students.

Best Overall
Playground Sessions
Playground Sessions has great lessons for novice and advanced players alike. This software uses a modern interface and impressive list of popular songs to keep you engaged.
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Best Overall
Playground Sessions
Best Value
Piano Marvel
Piano Marvel has lessons that are broken down into small and manageable segments. For less than $15 per month, you can learn piano method and technique at your own pace.
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Best for Young Adults
Flowkey
Flowkey has a user-friendly interface and will assess your talent level and suggest appropriate lessons. The song list has plenty of popular music titles, including film, TV and video game music.
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Product
Price
Overall Rating
Student Experience
Curriculum
Help and Support
Lowest Monthly Cost
Month-to-Month Cost
Annual Subscription
Motivation & Reinforcement
Real-Time Practice Tracking
Video Tutorials
Printable Music & Worksheets
Social Media Integration
Piano Teacher Tools
MIDI Compatible
Section Looping
Adjustable Tempo/Metronome
Educational Value
Technique
Modern Songs
Classic Songs
Multiple Styles
Multiple Levels
Skill Levels
Sight-Reading
Theory
Musical Notation
Song Requests
Play by Ear
Online Forums
FAQs
Email
Phone
$0.00 PlaygroundSessions
10 10 10 10
$9.99
$17.88
$149.99
A
A-
All Skill Levels
$0.00 Piano Marvel
9.6 10 10 6.3
$12
$15
$99
A-
A
All Skill Levels
-
$50.00 Piano With Willie
7.4 5.3 10 10
$36
$49
$348
B
-
-
-
-
A
All Skill Levels
-
$0.00
7.1 6.3 7.5 10
$19
$19
$120
B
-
-
-
-
B
All Skill Levels
-
-
$9.95 PianoKeyz
6.1 4.8 7.5 8.8
$9.95
$99
$229
B
-
-
-
-
-
B
All Skill Levels
-
-
-
$27.00 LearnPianoin30Days
5.9 3.5 8.8 8.8
$27
$27
-
B
-
-
-
-
-
-
B
All Skill Levels
-
-
$69.95 Amazon
5.6 4.5 6.5 8.8
$29.95
-
One Time Fee
C+
-
-
-
-
-
C+
All Skill Levels
-
-
-
-
$23.25 The Online Piano School
5.5 4.5 6 8.8
$35
$35
$240
B-
-
$
-
-
-
-
A-
-
-
All Skill Levels
-
-
-
$85.50
4.8 3.5 6.8 5
$15
$15
$149
B+
-
$
-
-
-
-
-
B
-
-
Beginner
-
-
-
$10.00
4.5 2.8 7.3 5
$9.99
$9.99
$59.95
C+
-
-
-
-
-
-
C-
All Skill Levels
-
-
-
-
-
Best Overall
Playground Sessions takes a unique approach to keep students interested. The curriculum is focused on getting you playing the instrument before you get bogged down in too much music theory.
That means you will be learning to play songs before you learn to read music. There are plenty of music theory lessons embedded in the lesson plans, but this software does a good job of directly associating those important tenets of music theory with a relatable song. An important feature of online piano software is its ability to accurately track your progress. Playground Sessions gives you an instant status report after each lesson with the percentage of right and wrong notes played. You receive points based on that status report and progress through the lesson plans when you reach the required points. This software also allows you to record your lessons. We found that being able to replay your lesson helps you find the shortcomings of your skill set and improve. There are three options for purchasing Playground Sessions: monthly subscription, annual subscription or lifetime membership. The one-time payment for lifetime membership allows you to move through the lessons at your own pace. In addition, multiple family members can learn piano on the same software platform.
Pros
  • You start playing songs in the first lesson.
  • Modern user interface
  • Impressive song list
Cons
  • Limited music theory lessons
  • There is an additional charge for some popular songs.
  • The software can’t use the microphone in your computer to track progress with an acoustic piano.
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Best Value
Piano Marvel gives you access to thousands of exercises and more than 1,500 songs for a monthly fee that is less than you would pay for one 30-minute face-to-face lesson. The lessons fall under two main categories – method and technique.
This software breaks the lessons into small and manageable chunks. You can use any MIDI-compatible keyboard to take the interactive piano lessons and track your progress through the lesson plan. This piano learning software does a good job of engaging students immediately with the first lesson. Once you go through the easy configuration process to ensure your keyboard is properly talking to your computer and the software, you will start playing right away. The lessons are set up like games, and you’ll be awarded trophies based on how accurately you navigate each lesson. Piano Marvel lets you share your progress and achievements on Facebook and Twitter, which can be an important motivational tool for young adults. The song library includes titles from all genres of music, including jazz, blues, classical, holiday, popular and rock ’n’ roll. A wide variety of songs can be downloaded for free, including video tutorials and sheet music, but most of them are classical selections.
Pros
  • Low-cost subscription options
  • MIDI compatible
  • Lessons are broken into small, manageable chunks
Cons
  • You can’t permanently purchase the software
  • No online user forum
  • No live-chat or face-to-face lesson support
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Best for Young Adults
Flowkey has a modern and easy-to-use interface that makes it easy to jump around and choose a lesson plan or song to learn. A quick assessment of your skill level at the beginning of the setup process is designed to give you a good starting point in the curriculum.
There are monthly and yearly subscription options, and as with most online piano software, you can try the software for free for 30 days to make sure the lesson content and song list is right for you. Flowkey’s free trial limits the number of songs and lessons you can use, but you have access to browse the full list of songs and lessons. This is the only online piano software we tested that can track your progress with a MIDI-capable keyboard and an acoustic piano. Flowkey can access the microphone on your tablet or laptop and use it to listen to your acoustic piano while you take lessons, giving real-time feedback on which notes you played wrong. That real-time tracking is also available if you use a keyboard with a MIDI connection or USB output. The easy-to-use software interface looks the same whether you use a computer or tablet. This was the easiest and most modern-looking software interface of all the products we tested. It will seem familiar to someone who uses mobile applications for learning or playing games.
Pros
  • Tracks your progress, even with an acoustic piano
  • User interface is easy to navigate
  • It has section looping
Cons
  • Limited number of music theory and sight-reading lessons
  • Fewer lesson plans than other options
  • Music is not printable
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Best for Adults
Piano With Willie is available for purchase on a monthly, quarterly or annual subscription basis. It isn’t the most cost-effective online piano course, but there are thousands of lessons that help you learn a variety of music genres, including jazz, blues, gospel, latin, funk, rock and classical.
There are also lessons on how to improvise and arrange music, which are rare topics for online piano courses. One-on-one Skype lessons are available for people who still want the personal attention normally associated with face-to-face piano instruction. We recommend this software more for adults than young children because of the lack of progress tracking. Piano With Willie works better with self-motivated individuals who complete practice lessons without being prompted by the software. However, it does track your progress within each lesson and displays a percentage of completion before you start the next lesson.
Pros
  • Genre specific lesson plans
Cons
  • Expensive
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Best for Classical Music
The Online Piano School with Christie Peery is the most comprehensive classical piano course on the web. There are hundreds of lessons for every experience level that you can take at your own pace using the ArtistWorks Video Exchange platform.
When you finish a section of lessons, submit a video and Christie personally reviews your video and gives you personalized feedback about how to improve. This service doesn’t offer lessons for other genres of music, but if you want to learn to play classical music, this is a great option. You can purchase a 3, 6 or 12-month subscription for less than what you’d pay for in-person lessons. The monthly price decreases with longer subscriptions, a 3-month subscription is $35 per month and the 12-month subscription is $23 per month. Before starting the lessons, purchase your own metronome, 88-key keyboard or piano and a video recording device to capture your practice sessions so you can submit them for feedback.
Pros
  • Personalized feedback
Cons
  • Only for classical music students
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Why Trust Us? 

We spent 60 hours taking online piano lessons to help you find the right product. Our testing staff has more than 20 years of experience as working musicians and have taken countless face-to-face lessons and online lessons for a variety of instruments. Luckily, the piano is not the primary instrument for any of our test staff, so we could effectively take beginning piano lessons, compare important features and make recommendations as novice piano players and advanced-level musicians.

We are also aware of the advantages and disadvantages of face-to-face instruction. Software instruction may not be the best option for everyone, but we found a few products that use the advantages of software learning, while providing the option to ask questions of a real human. As musicians, we were interested to see how long it would take to learn a beginner song on an unfamiliar instrument. Although we had a good amount of music theory knowledge before starting the lessons, it didn’t apply directly to a foreign instrument. Most of the products we tested gave us enough instruction to effectively play beginner songs in less than an hour.

How We Tested 

Our testing process for online piano lessons started with evaluating how easily each product can be purchased and downloaded. Once the software was downloaded on our testing computer, we looked for all available features and took note of how easy it was to switch between lessons and songs. After we were comfortable navigating the software, we started taking beginner lessons. We didn’t have the time to advance our piano knowledge from beginner to advanced-level lessons with each software, but we did skip ahead to more advanced lessons and song titles to make sure that purchasing monthly and lifetime subscriptions would be worth the investment. We also tested how easy it was to use a MIDI keyboard to track progress when the software allowed for that.

How Much Do Online Piano Lessons Cost? 

The online piano courses we reviewed require a monthly, semi-annual, annual, or lifetime subscription. Face-to-face lessons are better customized, but they are more expensive and require traveling to your teacher’s practice studio. An average cost for in-person lessons is around $20 per half-hour lesson, which can add up quickly if you take one lesson per week. Online lessons range from $10 to $50 per month depending on how long you subscribe and how comprehensive the lesson plan is. Even the most expensive online piano lessons are cheaper than face-to-face instruction, and you can take them at your own pace and in the comfort of your home. 

Important Features of Online Piano Learning Software
 
MIDI Compatibility
The best online piano software will allow you to use a MIDI-compatible keyboard to track your progress in real time while you take lessons. The software can identify the specific notes you missed so that you can go back and practice the areas that are giving you the most trouble. Any keyboard that has a MIDI output or USB port is MIDI-compatible.

Metronome & Adjustable Tempo
Learning the hardest parts of your favorite song can be easier if you slow down the song. The best software titles allow you to adjust the tempo to help you work through those rough patches. Using a metronome while you practice will improve your ability to play songs at the tempo they were written, and it will also help you keep the tempo consistent throughout the song.

Song Requests
Online piano software that allows you to request specific song titles adds value for someone who wants to buy a yearly or permanent subscription. Learning songs that are familiar and fun keeps you motivated.

Tools for Educators
Piano lesson software can be used by teachers who want to build a hybrid curriculum for students who have a hard time making it to face-to-face lessons. Lesson software that has tools for educators can allow teachers to track students’ progress remotely and recommend lessons and songs to keep them motivated.