Best Ways To Learn To Play The Piano In 2021

Learning To Play Piano

Learning to play the piano in 2021 is completely different than learning to play the piano years ago. Today, we are going to be diving deep on the very best methods for learning to play the piano in today’s day and age.

If you’re reading this article, the chances are, you are looking to begin on a journey that could be one of the memorable experiences of your life; learning to play the piano.

In this article, we are going to do a full break down of the best ways to learn to play the piano in 2021.

One of the biggest things that you will near to learn to play the piano is to have the motivation and passion for it. If you have these 2 things, I assure you, you will be able to do it.

I have played the piano for nearly 25 years now & I also spent 5 years playing in a rock band touring the country. The one thing that got me to where I wanted to be was desire.

When you are done reading this article, you will have a great understanding of which learning method you will choose & you will also be provided with the information needed to choose which path you will take.

Technological Advances

Technology Changes The Way We Learn

In case you were curious to why I said there are an abundance of new ways to learn to play the piano, the main reason is because of technological advances.

When I began lessons in 1997, I didn’t have a choice on how I wanted to learn. There were basically two options: you either went into the phonebook and looked up a piano conservatory or you sought out piano instructors who work from their home or come to yours.

I also didn’t have any idea on which type of keyboard I should get as a beginner, so I ended up getting a very cheap Wal-Mart one.

The internet has made it far easier to grasp an understanding of what is needed before beginning any type of piano lessons.

While these are two great options still to this day, a lot has changed that has lead to many new ways.

For example, the internet has lead to making it far easier should you choose to learn to play the piano with an instructor. You can easily find piano lessons near you by doing a simple google search of, “piano lessons near me.”

This will bring up mostly local options in which you will be taking lessons in-person with an instructor.

In order to start learning to play the piano, you will need access to a piano of some sort. Let’s break down the best way to go about a keyboard before we get into the learning methods.

Which Instrument Should You Choose For Lessons?

acoustic and digital pianos
Acoustic upright piano & a digital upright piano
InstrumentPriceWeighted KeysOnline CoursesMaintenance/Tuning
Keyboard$NoSomeNo
Digital Piano$$YesYesNo
Acoustic Piano$$$YesSomeYes
While some keyboards can have weighted keys, I’m assuming a cheaper keyboard for this table.

When deciding between acoustic piano, a digital piano and a simple keyboard, the main thing that you want to consider is quality/price.

The good news is that digital pianos and keyboards have grown so much in the last 20 years. Most of this also have built-in metronomes as well.

Another thing to point out is that if you take piano lessons from an instructor, you will most likely be using their acoustic piano for lessons to develop finger strength.

With this being said, the answer to me is simple, the price difference between a very solid weighted keyboard with 88 keys and a keyboard isn’t much.

Because of this reason, I would suggest going with a digital piano that is on the cheaper end. Something like the Alesis Recital Pro would be perfect, & it also includes online lesson capability.

I’ve always looked at owning a piano as a reward for all of your time spent. I didn’t own a piano until nearly 6 years into my journey & it was nice knowing that if I practiced hard, I could play on a real acoustic piano.

The reality of the matter is that there isn’t much difference as long as your digital piano has weighted keys.

So now that you know which instrument to pick, let’s look at the best ways to learn the piano.

Best Ways To Learn Piano In 2021

Here are the current best ways to learn piano:

  • DIY approach in which you aren’t reliant on a teacher
  • Traditional in-person lessons
  • Online Piano Lessons/courses
  • Hybrid Lessons in which you combine two of the above

While it’s easy ask what the best way to learn to play piano is, it’s a bit harder to give you the answer. This is because the best way to learn to play the piano is entirely dependent on how you learn best.

Let’s take a look at each of these options below and what exactly they consist of.

Do It Yourself Approach

Teaching yourself the piano

Teaching yourself to play the piano has a ton of benefits that we will get to below. With this being said, it also does have it’s setbacks as well.

While it saves you a lot of money in the long run, you can also develop some bad habits from teaching yourself to play.

One of the major advantages for some when it comes to teaching themselves to play the piano is that you become your own boss. While this is great for some, for others it turns out to be the complete opposite.

So, how does one go about teaching themselves to play the piano? There are a few different options in which we will discuss below.

Following Standard Curriculum For Piano Books

Piano Adventures Series

The majority of piano instructors will most certainly have you follow some standard curriculum which is consists of picking a series of piano books & going through them.

The reason for this is that a series like the Alfred series is going to come with performance books, lesson books, and theory/scales books. These are going to challenge you as a student in different ways.

With A DIY approach, you would simply want to decide on a series of piano books & dive in. Below are a few solid options that I would definitely recommend checking out.

My first choice would be the Piano Adventures series. I have personally bought & studied from all of the following books over the years and I believe Piano Adventures and Alfred are the most dialed in books so far.

Alert: If you are going to go this route, make sure that you pick up a book on piano scales. Learning piano scales and the different key signatures will be vital in developing your piano skills.

It is important to follow the books in order and to remember to not skip ahead. By skipping ahead, you can miss some important lessons along the way.

Now that you have an understanding of what to do by following some curriculum, I would recommend the following for practice:

  • Work in the lesson books 20 minutes a day
  • Work in the performance books 20 minutes or more a day
  • Work in the scales books 10 minutes a day
  • Work in the music theory books 5 minutes a day

The above numbers are just meant to show you where your priorities should be. Make sure that you are keeping up with your lesson books and just going through the performance books. The lesson books really challenge you to grow as a pianist.

As far as purchasing the books, most of these books will be on the cheaper side of things.

One of the most important things that I recommend should you choose this approach is to be sure to use Youtube as much as you need it. A lot of questions you may have will likely be covered in a Youtube video or on a simple Google search. The internet is definitely your friend.

Youtube Tutorials & Learning By Ear

Youtube

Youtube has come a long way in the last 10 or so years. The reason why I have chosen to combine learning to play the piano by ear & youtube is that this is the very way I learned to do so over 10 years ago.

This method is rather simple, but effective: think of songs that you really enjoy, pull them up on Youtube, and begin to learn to play them.

Now, if you have limited experience playing the piano, this will not be the easiest feat. This is why I would recommend watching tutorials of whichever songs you would like to learn.

As you start to slowly learn how to play songs, I would recommend trying to learn these songs by listening to them & not watching tutorials.

The way I taught myself how to do this was by listening to the melody and learning that with my right hand. I would then figure out the key of the song & figure out the chords with my left hand.

This is pretty much the approach all pianists take even at the highest levels of playing by ear.

If you don’t choose this approach, I still recommend that you dabble with this as part of your musical journey. It is a very fun approach to music and it is also very rewarding.

Music Theory & Applying It To Playing The piano

DIY Music Theory

Should you choose to incorporate music theory into your learning, here’s a great resource I recommend below:

Music theory is often something that is not touched on as much as it should be during traditional lessons.

If you choose to learn the piano with this method, you will be grasping an understanding of exactly as well as why you are playing it.

With this being said, you will not be learning the technical side of things should you choose to only learn music theory. For example, learning music theory on its own won’t teach you how to position your hands or how to sit/play at the piano.

When it comes to my progressions as a pianist, learning music theory was one of the most important parts of my journey.

It gave me the tools to do the following:

  • Write my own music
  • Understand time signatures
  • Understand key signatures
  • Improvise
  • Understand pop music
  • Read music properly

Obviously, these are extremely important subjects when it comes to playing the piano. Music theory is often referred to as the “mathematics” of music. For some, it comes harder to understand, whereas others understand it quickly.

Now, when it comes to learning to play the piano, you will not need to learn everything about music theory, more so, just learn what you can apply quickly to the piano.

Music theory isn’t about technique, it is about learning why and how things are structured in music.

For example, in music theory, you can begin to learn how to write a melody & and also grow to understand why it is a successful melody to a certain point.

One of the main things to point out is that learning music theory is extremely cheap to do. In fact, you can find a lot of the information for free on Youtube or on the following websites:

For those of you looking to improve their music theory online, here are a couple of really great websites you do so at:

Playing By Ear (Pair This With Music Theory)

Below are some pros and cons of this method should you choose to only use this DIY method.

Pros
  • Cost Effective
  • Good for critical thinking
  • Helpful for all styles of music
  • Go at your own pace
  • No teacher required
Cons
  • No one to correct errors
  • Not learning to understand what you’re playing

Should you choose to learn this way, I recommend checking out this video above as it will help you grasp an understanding for playing by ear.

Learning to play the piano by ear is actually %100 percent possible. There are individuals gifted that have learned to play the piano at extremely high levels by developing their ears.

With this being said, you will essentially be only learning what you are able to hear. For example, you may be able to listen to songs or maybe chord progressions and replicate the, but without ever learning the music theory behind it, you won’t know how to describe it.

I highly recommend that anyone choosing to learn to play the piano the DIY way chooses to incorporate learning to play by ear. I think it is important that all musicians try and challenge themselves by developing their ear.

No matter how far you go on your journey to playing the piano, developing your ear and learning to play by ear will definitely a great tool to discover.

The method for playing by ear is as followed:

  • Listen to a song or chord progression
  • Begin to hum for a pitch
  • Find the notes on the keyboard
  • Play the notes

You will notice there is a lot of trial and error at first when learning to play by ear. This is normal and you will notice that you get better at it the more you do it.

Wrapping Up

Closing out this article I would like to point out that these are all of the main methods of learning to play the piano.

If you’re on a budget, perhaps you use Youtube as your main source and try out a 3 month deal with Flowkey at minimum price.

Should you have the budget, I would recommend trying a hybrid approach in which you try a teacher as well as use alternatives such as Youtube. When learning the piano, the more you can study and practice, the better you will get.


1 comment
  1. You say “ Let’s take a look at each of these options below” and then you cover only half of one option before the wrap up. Did some of this article get deleted?

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