Just the phrase ‘piano lessons’ makes many people think of young students playing boring classical music, while being viewed critically by a demanding or out-of-touch teacher. Many highly accomplished adults put anyone who can play the piano on a pedestal – partly because they cannot imagine themselves making it through those piano lessons. Maybe they have even tried, and found that they simply became too bored and could not see it through. It is often suggested that adults cannot learn to play instruments as easily as children can; also, adults with families feel pressure to save time and money for others, so lessons for themselves are out of the question. Essentially, the message is: If you are an adult, it is too late. It turns out that this is not true. Online piano lessons for adults break all of the traditional barriers to adult music education. They are not like traditional lessons; most people find them quite engaging. Many lessons are available for free or for very manageable prices. They get you to your goals quickly, and you can study what you want/need to study on your own timetable.
Online Piano Lessons Are Different from Traditional Lessons
The biggest difference between most online piano lessons and traditional lessons is that online lessons are usually prerecorded and not directed at you as an individual. This could sound like a negative, and for some, there is a pitfall – no one is watching you, so there is no accountability. However, if you are self-motivated (the fact that you are seeking online piano lessons for adults means you probably are), then this is probably a good feature; you do not have to feel nervous, embarrassed, or apologetic about your attempts to play something on the piano. You can just focus on paying attention and learning. You can re-watch and rewind as much as you need. If you really already know something, you can skip or fast-forward – there is no reason to be bored.
Another tremendously helpful feature of online piano lessons is that they tend to be more holistic – they connect piano technique to music theory and artistic expression more consistently. With traditional lessons, it is easy to forget why you are even taking lessons and to question where you are going with it. Most online teachers seem to be attacking this problem; they generally combine theory, technique, and stylistic elements – rather than drilling specific facts or exercises in isolation.
Many online lessons or courses are directed at making you a certain kind of musician, too. For example, if you really want to play jazz or compose, there are courses directed at getting you to these goals, and you can really see yourself progressing in rewarding ways – rather than merely hoping that somehow you will get good enough if you just keep going.
Different Approaches You Can Take
Online piano lessons for adults give you, the student, more power. However, while you do not have to accept a one-size-fits-all approach, there are some things you should keep in mind as you are progressing.
First, while some people may love the idea of sidestepping classical music, this might come back to bite you later; there is so much to be learned from it, and as it turns out, even pop music uses a lot of the same musical tactics as classical. (Note that, colloquially, classical refers to any music up to the modern era – including Baroque, Classical, and Romantic periods of music, so it is not really a homogeneous category.)
Second, music theory is not just extraneous information that goes along with piano playing; it helps you understand what you are doing and will really help you if you ever decide to compose, sing, or play another instrument. Fortunately, most online lessons seem to make this very clear.
Lastly, while it is ideal to choose courses that coincide with your ultimate piano-playing goals, realize that different music skills tend to be mutually supportive: many jazz or ragtime pianists are quite proficient in classical; many great pianists can also be great guitarists or singers; many of the greatest pop artists started with religious music; etc. The more advanced you become, the more opportunities for creative crossover you will find.
Finding the Right Online Lessons or Courses for You
A simple internet search will show you plenty of online piano lesson sites, many of which offer copious free video and/or visual material. If you peruse these options and see lessons that feel right, then go ahead and enjoy; this is a great way to get started. Realize that more advanced material or online personalized training is typically not free, but learning in this way is still considerably cheaper than taking traditional piano lessons all the way.
Also, if you have covered the basics, you likely have a better understanding of what advanced material and personalized help you really need, so you can get the most out of what you pay for. Free or low-cost online options allow you to experiment with different piano playing styles and genres as you figure out where you want to go. Maybe you started out just wanting to accomplish what you could not when you were a child trying to take lessons, but after mastering some traditional classical pieces, you realize jazz or pop music composition is really your calling. You can easily find online teachers and courses that will bring you rapid progress in your target area.
An excellent source of online piano lessons for adults is Udemy. The site offers online courses in a wide variety of subject areas. Udemy’s courses are taught by people who are not necessarily teachers or professors by trade but are enthusiastic about teaching from their experience in a certain field. For this reason, Udemy’s courses tend to be more practical and real-world directed. As with other online learning platforms, Udemy gives lifetime access to any course you purchase, and it has an app that allows you to play your lessons on almost any device.
If you are an absolute beginner, look at Introduction to Piano and Music for the Very Beginner taught by Timothy Wurm. This course can take you from knowing nothing about the piano to being able to play basic melodies within a matter of weeks. The course covers the very basics of fingering technique and sight-reading while providing plenty of easy and familiar melodies with which to practice.
For a larger course that can take you from beginner to intermediate, look into Pianoforall – Incredible New Way to Learn Piano & Keyboard taught by Robin Hall. This course requires less than half an hour of daily practice but quickly gets you playing fun stuff – works by popular artists such as Billy Joel and Elton John – as well as rock n’ roll, jazz, and classical. Also, no matter what sort of pianist you hope to become, this course has you covered: there is improvisation, playing technique, understanding of different styles, development of your musical ear, and more.
A lot of people would love to be a singer-songwriter, and if you are one of them, look into ‘Piano for Singer/Songwriters: Write Songs and Perform Live!’ This is taught by Musicians Inspired, a music education website created by an experienced musician who has taught students in New York and Los Angeles. The course is suitable for anyone who is a beginner at modern piano playing; while it is beginner level, it is probably not ideal for someone who has no music experience at all.
This course cuts to the core of what you need to know to accompany yourself on the piano while singing; you also learn the basics of how to improvise and how to alter a song to fit your voice, too. At the end of the course, you will be able to develop and perform covers of your favorite songs, and this puts you on the path to writing your own music. Realize that the people you recognize as the greatest artists probably started by imitating the artists that they admired.
Music Opens up a Whole New World
Obviously, piano skills and keyboard skills overlap, so piano lessons prepare you for more than you might think. Perhaps you will decide to take up an older keyboard instrument, such as the harpsichord, or more likely, you will go the modern way – mastering the electric keyboard. The keyboard can imitate countless instruments and sounds and be used in almost all musical contexts, including pop music performances.
Even if you are not sure that the piano is the instrument for you, piano lessons are an excellent first step into music. Piano playing covers the entire stylistic and theoretical spectrum of Western music, so it is an excellent way to prepare to play other instruments or to sing. It is absolutely essential if you have any thoughts of composing or arranging.
(Arranging means creating another version of someone else’s composition – possibly a version for different instruments or voices from those of the original performance.) The possibilities are endless. Whether your piano playing goals are simple or world-changing, online lessons quickly turn aspirations into reality.