The Best Ways to Learn Piano in 2023

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Learning to play piano as an adult has never been easier than it is today in 2023!

Gone are the days when the one teacher in town offered only classical piano lessons, and if you didn’t like it, you didn’t learn to play.

Thanks to technology, you can learn any style of music from any teacher, regardless of where you live.

And suppose you’re more of an independent learner or have a busy work schedule. In that case, there are several great self-paced learning options, two of which are included in this post.

Learning to play the piano has the power to boost your mood and improve your brain function. And it’s one of the most fun skills to learn!

So, what are you waiting for?

If you are ready to take the plunge into the world of music and start playing the piano, here are some tips on how to get started.

This post may contain affiliate links. As affiliates of the Amazon associate program, Modacity, Dr. Josh Wright ProPractice, Musicnotes, Playground Sessions, and Piano Marvel, I may receive a commission at no extra cost if you purchase through a link. Please see my full disclosure for further information and privacy policy. I take no credit for the images appearing on this page. All photos are courtesy of Canva.

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    Overview of Piano Learning Options for Adult Students

    Whether you’re looking for a course, program, or private piano lessons, there are plenty of options from which to choose. It’s essential to consider your desired learning style and goals when deciding what kind of lessons best fit your needs.

    Here is an overview of the different types of piano learning options available for adult students in 2023:

    1. Private piano lessons: A private instructor is a classic approach to learning the piano. You can find teachers who offer in-person and online piano lessons. Private in-person or online lessons provide one-on-one guidance from an experienced teacher. They can be tailored to meet your individual needs.

    2. Group piano classes: Many piano teachers offer group classes. These classes provide a fun, social learning environment that can help you stay motivated and engaged in the learning process.

    3. Online piano courses: You can also find an online course for any level of player, from beginner to advanced. Many of these programs come with video lessons, downloadable PDFs, and audio recordings so you can practice at your own pace and in your own time.

    4. Piano apps: Mobile apps are becoming increasingly popular for piano learning. These apps often include features such as interactive games and tutorials to help you learn quickly and easily.

    5. YouTube lessons: If you prefer a more self-directed approach, there is an abundance of great free lessons available online. YouTube is an excellent resource for learning the basics of piano technique and offers helpful tutorials on specific pieces.

    No matter your learning style or preferences, there is an option to help you learn the piano as an adult in 2023. With all these choices, now is definitely the best time to start mastering this new skill and enjoying all the benefits that come with it!

    Private Piano Lessons

    Private piano lessons provide structure, accountability, and personalized guidance from an experienced teacher.

    A great piano teacher can tailor their instruction to your individual needs and goals, which is especially helpful for adult learners with limited free time or special interests such as jazz, classical, or gospel.

    Plus, having someone else assess your progress with the musical instrument is a great way to stay focused and motivated.

    Consider private piano lessons if:

    1. You are an absolute beginner with no idea where to start when learning to play the piano.
    2. Your goals involve becoming a concert pianist and someday performing at Carnegie Hall.
    3. The thought of navigating an online piano course on your own is overwhelming.
    4. You need accountability from a teacher to make progress.
    5. You’re looking for a solid foundation in piano technique.

    Skip private lessons if:

    1. Your work schedule is erratic, and consistent practice time is limited.
    2. You prefer a self-paced learning approach.
    3. Your foundation in the piano is already strong, but you’re returning to the instrument after many years.
    4. You’d prefer not to play in front of anyone.
    5. Your piano goals involve learning to read lead sheets, play pop songs by ear, or learn improvisation.

    The above lists are incomplete, and you may have other reasons why studying with or without a teacher is the best option for you.

    If you still need to decide whether you need a piano teacher, check out my previous post on whether it’s possible to learn piano without a teacher.

    And if you’re ready to delve into private piano lessons, check out my resource page listing online teachers with openings for new students.

    Group Piano Classes

    Group piano classes are the best way to learn with other musicians, stay motivated, and get feedback from an experienced teacher.

    These classes are also more affordable than private lessons, so they can be a great option for adult beginners on a budget.

    Consider group classes if:

    1. You love learning new things in a group setting.
    2. You need guidance from a teacher, but you can’t commit to regular private lessons as a busy adult.
    3. You’re looking for connections with others who share your interest in the musical instrument.
    4. You are motivated by having an audience, and you don’t mind playing in front of others.
    5. You’re looking for something fun and affordable to do in your spare time.

    Skip group classes if:

    1. Learning a new skill in front of others feels intimidating
    2. You’re easily discouraged by the progress of other people around you.
    3. You find group settings to be a little bit distracting.
    4. You’re looking for one-on-one mentorship.
    5. You’d love to play classical pieces and want a solid foundation in piano technique.

    Although some teachers offer group piano lessons online, you may find one who provides this learning option right in your town.

    Either way, group piano lessons offer an outstanding way to connect with others who are also interested in learning the instrument!

    And when it comes time for the yearly studio recital, you’ll already be used to playing in front of other people and will feel less intimidated when your solo rolls around!

    Online Piano Courses

    Online piano courses offer an affordable and convenient way to learn the instrument at your own pace.

    These courses involve video lessons, tutorials, and written materials and sometimes even offer progress-tracking tools.

    Consider online piano courses if:

    1. You’re comfortable learning independently and have strong self-discipline.
    2. You need a flexible approach to fit into your busy life.
    3. You’re looking for an affordable way to get piano instruction without paying for private lessons.
    4. You already have a solid foundation in playing the piano.
    5. You’re searching for tutorials on specifically classical music.

    Skip online piano courses if:

    1. You need the structure of live classes or private lessons to stay motivated.
    2. You have difficulty understanding and executing new skills from video lessons.
    3. Your unique piano goals aren’t well-suited to the individual program.
    4. You want direct and individualized feedback on your skills.
    5. You’re not sure which genre of music you want to play.

    In short, online piano courses are an accessible and affordable way to learn the instrument if you don’t want or need private lessons.

    Although I studied with a private music teacher through high school and college, I wanted to continue my musical journey after graduation.

    Unfortunately, my busy schedule wasn’t conducive to regular private lessons. After some searching, I found Dr. Josh Wright’s ProPractice program, which was a perfect fit!

    I adore classical music and am always working on expanding my repertoire. Dr. Wright’s course covers various popular classical piano pieces at the beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels.

    If you’re interested in this course, read my complete review of ProPractice.

    And if you’d like to learn more about Dr. Josh Wright, check out his YouTube channel. He’s an exceptional pianist and a great teacher!

    Piano Apps

    Sometimes, a few helpful apps are all you need to get started in learning to become a piano player. Plenty of free and low-cost apps available for iOS and Android devices can teach you the basics of playing the instrument.

    Consider using piano apps if:

    1. You’re just starting with piano and aren’t sure you can commit to regular music lessons.
    2. You need to balance learning piano with a busy life.
    3. You feel motivated by being able to track your progress.
    4. The thought of learning from method books bores you, and you want to have fun learning songs you recognize.
    5. You’re nervous about playing in front of anyone.

    Skip piano apps if:

    1. You need the guidance of a teacher to stay focused and motivated.
    2. You already have some experience with piano and want more advanced instruction.
    3. You feel uncomfortable learning from an app or online course.
    4. You’re interested in playing pieces from the classical repertoire vs. learning to play your favorite songs.
    5. You want individualized feedback on your playing.

    Piano apps are a great way to learn piano basics and get comfortable with the instrument without making a long-term commitment.

    Although piano apps typically provide less detail than an online course or one-on-one instruction, they are great for getting your toes wet. And some apps do a great job of teaching music theory as well.

    One of the most famous piano learning apps out there right now is Playground Sessions. Click the link if you’re interested in checking it out.

    YouTube Lessons

    If you’re an auditory learner, YouTube might be the best option for you to start learning piano. Many video lessons are available on YouTube from talented and experienced teachers.

    Consider YouTube video tutorials if:

    1. You’re looking for free instruction.
    2. You want to learn to play your favorite pop songs by ear instead of reading sheet music.
    3. There are specific songs or techniques you want to master.
    4. You already have a solid foundation in playing piano but want to supplement your learning.
    5. You take private lessons, but your teacher doesn’t cover pop songs or how to play by ear.

    Skip YouTube video tutorials if:

    1. You want more comprehensive instruction on an instrument or genre.
    2. You need guidance from a qualified teacher to develop specific skills.
    3. You want individual feedback and help with technique.
    4. You prefer guided coursework as opposed to teaching yourself.
    5. You struggle with independent learning.

    YouTube tutorials are excellent for supplementing your existing playing. For example, suppose you already have a solid foundation in classical piano and want to learn jazz or pop music. In that case, YouTube can give you the basics to get started.

    However, private lessons may be better if you need beginner instruction or comprehensive feedback on your playing.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Do you need to have a piano to learn the instrument?

    Yes. Although some apps offer an electronic keyboard, having a piano is the best way to make consistent progress.

    Is an acoustic piano better than a digital one?

    Not necessarily. Digital pianos are often smaller and more mobile, making them a better investment if you have a small space or are wondering whether you will continue playing the instrument.

    And a high-quality digital piano often has a better sound than many low-quality acoustic ones. If you’re interested in checking out digital pianos in a budget price range, check out my review of several options.

    How much do you need to practice?

    It depends on your goals. Small, daily practice sessions are better than longer sessions that are sporadic.

    When starting, aim for 10-15 minutes of daily, uninterrupted practice. And if you’re looking for accountability, check out this review of the best practice app for meeting your practice goals!

    What’s the best way to structure a practice session?

    Start with a short warm-up. Tackle tasks that take the most brain power next. Follow up with anything else you’re working on, and end with something you love to play!

    And for an in-depth guide on practice strategies, check out my recent post about how to set up the perfect piano practice routine!

    Can you teach yourself to play the piano?

    Yes! It’s possible to teach yourself to play the piano. I wouldn’t recommend this approach if you’re serious about playing from the classical repertoire. Still, if you want to learn a new skill and have fun, you don’t need a teacher.

    Check out this post if you want more information on learning piano without a teacher.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning piano as an adult has unique challenges but can also be incredibly rewarding. Anyone can enjoy the instrument with the right approach and practice techniques!

    Remember that you can combine any of the above options to create an even more solid approach to learning the instrument. And by tailoring the options that fit best into your learning goals, you’ll become an even more efficient learner.

    So why wait any longer to learn? Start today, and you’ll be playing your favorite songs in no time!

    If you’re looking for inspiration and learning resources, join my email list for motivational posts delivered to your inbox.

    And if you’re looking for more great content, check out a few of my past posts.

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