The Best Ways to Learn Piano in 2023

The Best Ways to Learn Piano in 2023

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.

    The Best Unconventional Ways to Learn Piano

    The Best Unconventional Ways to Learn Piano

    Does the thought of attending piano lessons week after week bore you? Perhaps you took piano lessons as a kid and still have nightmares about scale drills and mind-numbing exercises. Or maybe you’d love to learn piano but don’t have time for regular lessons.

    If you fall into any of these categories, I’ve got exciting news! Gone are the days when you could only learn piano from the crotchety old teacher down the street. Thanks to technology and a little ingenuity, you can take charge of your own learning!

    Enter with me into a new era of apps, online programs, and an array of online resources, all accessible from any location with reliable WiFi.

    Stick with me as we explore a couple of unconventional ways to learn piano. And make sure to stay with me until the end for a special discount and bonus practice tools to ensure your piano journey gets off on the right foot!

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

    5 Day Piano Challenge

    Do you want to learn to play piano but have no idea where to start?

    Join the challenge and receive 5 days of actionable steps taking you from clueless to confident in your piano journey!

      We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.

      Do unconventional ways to learn piano actually work?

      Absolutely. With a few caveats.

      If you have aspirations to become a concert pianist, I highly recommend finding a piano teacher. It’s challenging to grasp the nuances of technique you will need to master to achieve this goal all on your own.

      And if you are a complete beginner, it can also be very helpful to find a piano teacher to guide you in the beginning stages of your learning.

      But I also understand trying to juggle a hobby with life. Ideal and realistic are often very different things.

      Learning from an app is often the most realistic option. Especially if it means the difference between getting started today or putting it off indefinitely.

      If you’re looking for a piano teacher, check out my Resource page for an array of online teachers accepting new students.

      Unconventional Ways to Learn Piano: Piano Marvel

      Looking for a program that teaches you the basics of the piano? Basics that will get you up and running on the keys quickly? Then Piano Marvel just might be for you.

      Designed by a piano teacher, Piano Marvel helps you master essential fundamentals like music theory, sight-reading, and ear training. And did I mention that it also teaches you HOW to practice?

      Let’s dive into specifics.

      As Addicting as Netflix

      Do you know that feeling when you’re bingeing your Netflix guilty pleasure, and the episode ends? That moment when you’re forced to choose between resolving the cliffhanger or cleaning the bathroom?

      How many times does the desire to scrub your nasty sink win over a plot twist?

      Almost never.

      What if I said that you could have a similar level of addiction to your piano learning?

      Like Netflix, Piano Marvel has mastered the art of keeping you motivated and engaged. Through various levels and trophies, acing the next concept becomes a no-brainer. At stake are bronze, silver, or gold trophies depending upon how skilled you become at the songs in each level.

      As Efficient as a Prius

      Travel back in time with me to your favorite high school or college class. Was it gym? Or maybe you loved band.

      What did strolling into that classroom feel like? Do you remember how time seemed to magically fly by? And yet somehow, you always seemed to walk out of that class having learned something new.

      Time sailed by, and you were a bit sad when the bell rang. Learning felt effortless. And your energy level at the end of the class felt higher than at the beginning.

      What if learning piano could feel as efficient as time spent in your favorite class?

      It can, thanks to Piano Marvel! The app chunks learning into small pieces, making each lesson easy to remember. There’s no wasted fluff material that you’ll never use again.

      Piano Marvel packs only the most relevant information into your learning. Efficiency at its best.

      As Motivating as Accomplishing Your Goals

      Sometimes it’s not a fear of failure that holds you back from goals but rather a fear of starting something and losing motivation halfway through. It’s happened to everyone at some point.

      You sign up for that shiny new course promising all the answers. And at first, you’re super excited. You put in the time and the work and feel the warmth of accomplishment.

      But at some point, your motivation starts to fade. You wake up one day and realize that it’s been months since you’ve even logged into that course.

      The sting of disappointment takes over, and your motivation sinks lower than ever. You’re now more hesitant than ever to set new goals.

      Motivation is counterintuitive. Many people believe that you must FEEL motivated to ACT.

      But the truth is actually the reverse. In most cases, you will only FEEL motivated AFTER you ACT.

      Action comes before feeling.

      And the more progress you make toward your goals, the higher your motivation.

      Piano Marvel helps you attain a series of small goals that fuel your motivation to keep learning. Through bite-sized lessons and incentives to continue your piano journey, learning to play the piano has never been more motivational.

      The Nuts and Bolts

      There are many apps designed to help you learn piano. But if you want a solid foundation in music theory, Piano Marvel is the best. It also guides you through chords, arpeggios, and scales. Once you learn the basics of theory, playing becomes more effortless. It also opens up a whole new world of improvisation and playing by ear.

      And if you connect your device to a MIDI keyboard, the program will give you feedback on note accuracy.

      Other apps and programs give feedback as you play. But Piano Marvel waits until you’re finished with the song to provide feedback. One huge advantage of this type of feedback is that it eliminates distractions while you play. Yet by giving timely feedback, you have an opportunity to correct mistakes in a more effective way.

      And did I mention that Piano Marvel comes with an extensive library of songs to learn? It even includes several popular lesson books, including Alfred’s premier and adult all-in-one books. Songs are graded by difficulty from 1 through 18, so you can gradually advance your skill level without the frustration of playing something too challenging.

      It’s yet another way that Piano Marvel’s system encourages consistent learning over flashy gimmicks.

      If you’re interested in trying it out for yourself, use promo code OGBB22 for $3 off the monthly fee. And at $12.99 a month, you really can’t go wrong! Click here to go to the Piano Marvel website.

      If you’re interested in learning more about music theory, check out this post!

      Unconventional Ways to Learn Piano: ProPractice

      And if you’re looking for more unconventional ways to learn piano, you need to hear about ProPractice! Also created by a piano teacher, ProPractice is a phenomenal resource for people who aspire to play classical piano.

      ProPractice was created by Dr. Josh Wright. It can successfully be used alongside traditional lessons or all on its own.

      The program is designed to be helpful for either complete beginners or people who have prior playing experience.

      My ProPractice Story

      As a music major grad, I have a massive bucket list of classical pieces I want to tackle eventually. But between working full-time and having a husband and 3 kids, I simply don’t have the time to make weekly lessons work.

      I discovered Dr. Josh Wright one day while listening to a podcast and started following his YouTube channel. And a few videos later, I was hooked on his teaching style and depth of knowledge.

      I began to see positive changes in my playing and how I thought about the instrument. And so I decided that if I had taken so much away from his free content, how much would I take from his paid course?

      I invested in ProPractice and have only seen improvements in my playing ever since!

      In fact, I was so impressed with the course that shortly after joining, I became an affiliate.

      The Nuts and Bolts

      ProPractice is currently set up on the Teachable app. You have the option to start at the beginning and work your way all the way through lessons. Or you can pick and choose which pieces you would like to learn.

      Dr. Wright started the course because he found students asking the same questions as they learned various pieces from the classical repertoire. He, therefore, decided to record video lessons to address common questions and problem areas for these pieces.

      The course is separated into beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. He further subdivides material into repertoire and technique.

      Dr. Wright is constantly adding new pieces to the course, so it will only continue to expand.

      As mentioned previously, the course is almost exclusively classical repertoire, so if that’s not your jam, you may want to explore other options. But it is designed to be used as a complete beginner, so whether you’ve never played a piano in your life or spend your free time expanding upon your repertoire, you will find value in the course.

      If you’re interested in checking it out for yourself, click the link here.

      Bonus Unconventional Ways to Learn Piano

      Aside from the two programs listed above, I have a couple more tools up my sleeve to skyrocket your piano playing!

      The Art of Practice

      One key component of learning any new skill is practice. Although we love to think that talent determines how proficient someone becomes at a skill, the truth of the matter is that quality practice wins over talent every time.

      And if you don’t believe me, check out this book! It’s a fascinating exploration of some of the world’s most “talented” people and how they became the best at what they do.

      Quality practice is key to making progress, but what does that actually mean? Is it mindless repetition? Or is it something else entirely?

      Wouldn’t it be great if there was an app that helped you understand how to effectively practice? Luckily for you, there is!

      It’s called Modacity, and I credit this app with my progress in piano playing over the past few years.

      The app helps you identify your trouble spots and generates ideas about fixing these areas. It also has a “day streak” practice counter. And there’s nothing more motivating than building on your practice streaks!

      If you’d like an in-depth review of the app, check out this recent post.

      And if you’re ready to give the app a try for yourself, click here to take advantage of 35% off the price of an annual subscription. With the discount, you’ll still pay less than the cost of a single higher-end piano lesson. It’s a valuable investment into your growth as a pianist and one of the best unconventional ways to learn piano!

      Find Music You Love

      Nothing motivates me to practice more than finding a piece I love.

      While listening to Pandora several years ago, I heard a song that I fell in love with. It was hauntingly beautiful, and I just HAD to get my hands on the sheet music.

      Unfortunately, I couldn’t find it on my usual go-to place, Amazon. So, I started looking around for other sources of sheet music.

      I stumbled upon Musicnotes and struck the jackpot! I found the exact arrangement of the piece I was looking for, but I found a treasure trove of just about any song at any level you could ever need.

      Due to its larger size, music is best viewed on an iPad. And as someone who regularly plays paid gigs, I’ll tell you that bringing an iPad is a lot more convenient than dragging a bunch of music books! Musicnotes has an app downloaded on my iPhone, so I can access my purchases any time and anywhere.

      One of the features I appreciate most about Musicnotes is the ability to mark up the music within the app. This feature allows me to interact with the music exactly the same way I would if it was a piece of paper in front of me.

      You also can print out the music if you prefer paper to electronic.

      But the best part of this app has to be the ability to instantly access anything you could ever want. It’s an incredible tool to add fun and variety to your playing!

      And in case you’re curious, here is the piece that led me to Musicnotes in the first place.

      Once Upon a December, arranged by Emile Pandolfi

      Click below to browse some of Musicnotes’ most popular downloads!

      Browse the Most-Popular Sheet Music Downloads

      It’s Your Turn to Try Unconventional Ways to Learn Piano

      And there you have it! I hope this post has inspired you to try a few unconventional ways to learn piano.

      In case you missed them, here are links to the various products mentioned in this post.

      Piano Marvel: Use promo code OGBB22 for $3 off the monthly fee. Find the website here.

      ProPractice: Find the website here.

      Musicnotes: Browse the Most-Popular Sheet Music Downloads

      Modacity: Click here to take advantage of 35% off the price of an annual subscription


      And for more piano inspiration, check out the following posts:

      If you found value in this post, please help me out by dropping a comment below or by sharing the post with your friends. I would sincerely appreciate your assistance in spreading the word about my mission! I’m working hard to bring you only the best products and services.

      Thank you so much for stopping by, and I wish you all the best in your piano journey!