Piano vs. Organ: The Differences and Which is Better for You

Piano vs. Organ: The Differences and Which is Better for You

The organ and the piano are two of the most popular keyboard instruments in classical music.

Although they may look similar, they have very different sounds and require slightly different playing techniques from the musician.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced musician, understanding the differences between these two instruments can help you decide which one is best for you.

In this article, we will take a closer look at both the piano and organ to compare their sound production, playing techniques, types of pianos and organs available, and ultimately which is the best choice for you.

By the end of the post, you can better understand each instrument’s strengths and weaknesses before deciding which is the better option for you.

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. Certain photos are courtesy of Canva.

My Musical Background

Before we dive into the differences between pianos and organs, I must give you my background in both instruments, so you know that I’m not simply googling and regurgitating information on the subject.

I started piano lessons at the age of 7 and continued through high school graduation. And my piano studies continued in college, where I pursued a bachelor of fine arts in music degree.

Before college, I had no exposure whatsoever to the organ. I never attended a church with an organ, nor did I ever consider learning to play the instrument.

On a whim, and thinking skills on the organ might come in handy at some point, I began studying with an organ teacher at the university. These lessons opened me up to a whole new world of musical possibilities.

During college and shortly after, I realized that the field of active organists was relatively small, so I began playing at various churches.

Although my full-time career has taken a completely different path since my initial college graduation in 2008, I regularly perform as a church organist at various local churches.

The piano was my first love, but the organ has grown on me through the years, and I love having the opportunity to serve others through my skills.

And I love learning and growing as both a pianist and an organist!

Now, let’s break down the differences between these fascinating instruments!

The Piano

Pianos can be divided into two basic categories: digital and acoustic pianos.

An acoustic piano’s sound comes from the mechanical action of felt hammers striking a string when piano keys are depressed.

The acoustic instrument has a soundboard, a large piece of wood within the piano, that contributes to the final sound made by the string.

One of the unique features of acoustic pianos is that every piano sounds slightly different. They are all genuinely different instruments in terms of the sound the individual piano produces.

Digital pianos are an electronic representation of the sound made by an acoustic piano.

This type of piano doesn’t have a soundboard, hammers, or strings. It is essentially an electronic representation of the real thing.

Types of Pianos

Pianos can be further categorized based on type.

Upright pianos have vertical sound-making components, meaning the piano has a taller instead of a more extended appearance.

Grand pianos have horizontal components.

Generally speaking, you can buy either acoustic or digital pianos as either an upright or a grand, but the digital version usually takes up less space.

And if you’re curious about other differences between an upright and a grand, check out my recent article Baby Grand vs. Upright Piano: Which is Right for You?

Piano Technique

Thanks to its popularity, you can find a vast range of music written for the piano and catering to every possible difficulty level.

You can find music geared towards kids or adults just starting out on the instrument to advanced players who have mastered some of the most challenging music imaginable.

One of the challenges in playing the piano is learning to prioritize certain parts of the music over others while playing everything simultaneously.

In other words, a competent pianist must learn to bring out the melody line.

Another challenge of piano technique is learning to communicate subtle emotions through expressive playing.

And a third challenge when it comes to basic piano skills is mastering excessively chordal or quick playing.

There are so many technical challenges facing piano players!

Aside from the basics of technique, pianists have a long performance tradition of memorization.

This can understandably be a massive struggle for many pianists and can exacerbate underlying performance anxiety.

The Organ

Organ music is most often heard in traditional styles of church music. Still, it can also be heard in various other settings and genres.

Classical music written for the instrument overlaps to a large extent with religious repertoire, and it can still be heard leading a church congregation to this day.

Although modern organs differ slightly in construction, it’s incredible that the instrument has been leading religious services for centuries!

It’s also fascinating to know that some of the most famous organ composers, including Johann Sebastian Bach, were church organists.

Types of Organs

This type of musical instrument can either be a pipe organ or an electronic one, capable of producing a huge range of sounds.

A pipe organ’s sound comes from air passing through pipes when the keys or pedals are depressed.

The size and shape of the metallic pipes determine the type of sound produced, and the combination of pipes creates a unique soundscape.

The church pipe organ is a very large, powerful instrument that takes up extensive space, which is part of the reason you won’t find one in private homes.

Electronic organs have different sound-producing mechanisms than pipe organs and are powered by electricity. This type of organ produces digital sounds through an electronic circuit and external speakers.

They also generally have a volume pedal allowing you to control the volume.

Due to their smaller size, electric organs are a popular choice for home use.

Depending on the type of organ, you may encounter vast differences in key resistance on organ keyboards. While a traditional pipe organ may have stiff keys, digital organs may have lighter ones.

Organ Technique

Organ music is often quite complex due to its polyphonic nature – meaning multiple musical lines can be heard simultaneously.

One of the key differences between the organ and the piano is the pedals.

While pianos have up to 3 pedals, organs have an entire keyboard of pedals, creating a unique type of mental gymnastics for players of this incredible instrument.

Organ players must learn to think in 3 different musical lines, and incorporating the pedal into my playing has been one of the most challenging aspects.

Like the piano, figuring out which musical line is most important can be challenging, especially when there’s so much going on at once.

Another challenge of mastering the organ is learning to adapt the sound to the specific piece of music you’re playing.

Some hymns or pieces require a softer reed sound, while others demand the loud blast of trumpets.

Learning to master the volume and all the different sounds of each unique instrument is challenging but one of my favorite aspects of the instrument.

Organ vs Piano: Which is Better for You?

Now that we’ve explored the differences between playing the piano and the organ let’s answer our original question – which one is right for you?

The short answer: it depends entirely on your personal tastes.

Consider the Piano if:

  • You want to play a huge range of styles, from jazz to pop to classical
  • Accompanying other instruments or choirs or being part of a string quartet is appealing to you
  • You aspire to play exceptionally fast or technically challenging repertoire
  • Playing music that requires a great deal of musical expression is appealing
  • You want to compose music
  • Playing your favorite songs by ear sounds like your idea of an afternoon well-spent

Consider the Organ if:

  • You’re looking for a unique and powerful sound that is often associated with traditional church music
  • You have mastered the basics of navigating a piano keyboard and are craving a new challenge
  • Leading a large congregation in worship is where you feel led
  • You love the versatility of sound inherent to the instrument
  • You’re interested in exploring the more classical repertoire dedicated to the instrument

Although I firmly believe anyone can enjoy learning to play either instrument, it’s helpful to have a solid foundation in piano before moving to the organ.

You don’t need to have mastered the piano, and it’s helpful if you don’t.

But it’s nice to at least know the names of the notes on the keyboard and how to read music before tackling the unique challenges of playing the organ.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter which instrument you choose as long as you enjoy making music!

You can even choose both and enjoy the variety that comes from learning each. Playing both instruments has improved my skills in each individually.

You might find yourself loving both the organ and the piano in no time! So pick one and start playing today! Happy playing!

If you loved this post, check out my other piano-inspired content!

Baby Grand vs. Upright Piano: Which is Right for You?

Baby Grand vs. Upright Piano: Which is Right for You?

The baby grand and the upright piano are two of the most popular types of pianos, both having distinct characteristics that can make them better suited for different kinds of players.

Whether you’re a professional or a beginner, it pays to know the differences between these two instruments to choose which is best for your needs.

In this blog post, we will discuss some key distinctions between a baby grand and an upright piano. We’ll cover their physical features, sound quality, cost considerations, and more so that you can make an informed decision about which type is right for you.

So let’s dive in!

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. Certain photos are courtesy of Canva.

What is a grand piano?

A grand piano is a type of piano in which the sound-making components (i.e., the grand piano action) lie horizontally to the ground rather than vertically.

Grand pianos come in several sizes, but this type of piano is generally seen in concert halls worldwide.

What is an upright piano?

An upright piano is a type of piano in which the sound-making components are positioned vertically to the ground.

Upright pianos are shorter and more compact than grand pianos, making them an ideal choice for smaller spaces.

Baby Grand Pianos

There are several reasons why professional pianists prefer a baby grand to an upright. One of the biggest involves sound.

Sound Quality

The size of the soundboard is larger in a baby grand piano than in an upright, which translates to a bigger and fuller sound.

The length of the strings is also longer in a baby grand, making for richer tones and more resonance.

This translates into greater flexibility for producing emotionally nuanced music by the pianist.

Physical Features

Although there is variability between grand piano brands, grand pianos come in 3 distinct sizes.

  • Baby grand: Less than 6′ in length
  • Grand: Between 6′ and 7′ in length
  • Concert grand: Larger than 7′ in length

Generally speaking, the longer the piano, the higher the quality of sound it produces with a broader dynamic range. It follows that the longer grand pianos have better sound than the shorter ones.

And one advantage of baby grand pianos is that they provide exceptional sound quality with less space requirement than concert grands.


Baby grand piano pricing depends on the following:

  • Brand
  • Size
  • Age
  • The overall quality and how well it has been maintained through the years

You can expect to pay between $5,000 and $15,000 for a high-quality, well-maintained baby grand piano.

Any acoustic piano will require routine tuning and maintenance.

Depending on the individual piano, they may also need periodic repairs and adjustments. Pianos should generally be tuned every 6-12 months.

And if the piano doesn’t come with a humidification system, consider installing one. These systems help minimize temperature and humidity fluctuations that can damage the piano over time.

When purchasing a small grand piano, it’s also essential to consider hiring a professional piano mover to deliver the instrument.

Baby grand pianos are bulky and awkward to move, so protect your investment by hiring a professional.

Additional Considerations

A baby grand piano is a financial investment for most people.

However, if you or your child is passionate about playing the piano, investing in a quality instrument is one of the best ways to help deepen the passion and improve skills.

Consider a baby grand piano if:

  • You/your child loves playing classical music
  • You/your child plan to pursue a music degree
  • You/your child plan to continue playing for at least the next three years
  • You have space in your home
  • You’re willing to continue investing in routine care and maintenance by a professional piano technician

A baby grand piano generally offers more in the way of musical expression than offered by an upright. And the sound can be purer and more harmonically diverse than an upright.

Grand pianos also tend to have a more responsive action than an upright.

But every piano is an individual. There can be considerable differences in touch and sound, even between pianos of the same size and brand.

This is one of the biggest reasons you (or your child) must try out different pianos before making a final decision.

And the further you are in your piano studies, the more critical it is that the piano match the touch and sound you envision in your mind.

Upright Pianos

Although baby grand pianos have much to offer pianists, upright pianos can also be a fantastic option.

Sound Quality

Due to the slightly different construction and shorter strings, the sound quality of most uprights isn’t entirely on par with baby grands.

But there can be vast differences in the sound quality of an upright depending upon the brand and physical features.

Physical Features

Similar to grand pianos, there are differences in piano height among upright pianos. The shortest vertical pianos are known as a “spinet piano.”

This piano model tends to be mass-produced and generally not of high-quality materials.

A large upright model has longer strings and, therefore, better sound.

Due to the nature of the playing mechanics, upright pianos tend not to hold up as well over time compared to grand pianos.

But if you need to fit a piano into a small room, sometimes an upright is the most logical option.


Upright pianos tend to be more readily affordable than a smaller grand piano. You can even find upright pianos listed for free on Craigslist.

Remember that due to differences in the quality of the materials and general wear and tear on upright instruments, they tend not to hold up as well over time.

Free pianos are generally of low quality and require a fair amount of maintenance to get them to good playing condition.

And in some instances, it may be better to consider a digital piano rather than an acoustic one if you are limited by budget.

Acoustic upright pianos also require regular tuning and maintenance, so remember to factor those costs into ownership.

All things considered, you can find upright pianos ranging from free at the low end to more than $10,000 at the high end of the price range.

Many acoustic pianos between 0 and $10,000 may be the perfect fit for your needs.

Additional Considerations

Although the upfront cost of an upright tends to be less than a baby grand, there are other reasons to consider this piano model as one that’s perfect for you.

Consider an upright piano if:

  • You/your child are still determining whether you’re ready to commit to playing the instrument.
  • You don’t have the space for a larger model.
  • You/your child isn’t serious about classical music but instead wants to play jazz, pop, or other genres not requiring exceptional instrument sound.
  • You’re looking for an acoustic sound at a budget price.

Regardless of whether you’re considering a baby grand or an upright, it’s always best to consult a qualified piano technician with questions on a piano’s age or value.

This is especially true if you’re considering buying a piano from someone else. It goes without saying that people tend to over-value their possessions, and this is especially true when it comes to pianos.

Consulting a piano technician upfront can save you time and money down the road.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should you buy a piano from Craigslist?

Buying anything online carries a certain degree of risk. That said, I purchased an upright from Craigslist in the past, and it worked perfectly for me.

Before buying an instrument, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I able to try the piano before buying it?
  • Do I trust the seller?
  • Do I feel comfortable assessing the piano’s quality and value by myself, or do I need to take someone knowledgeable with me?
  • Am I comfortable paying the advertised price without any guarantees of quality or function?
  • Do I have a plan for transporting the instrument home?

It may be worth considering the purchase if you can answer “yes” to the above questions.

But always do your homework, and you should never feel pressured into buying with which you’re not 100% comfortable.

Is it better to buy a new or used piano?

New pianos have the advantage of brand-new construction. With the proper care and attention, the piano will likely hold up well over time.

But used pianos have already been broken in, and you have more certainty about that piano’s final sound.

It can take several tunings before a piano settles, and with a used piano, you are guaranteed a fair assessment of how it will sound for years to come.

A used piano tends to be cheaper than a new piano, but this can vary between brands.

I prefer used pianos because I know exactly what I’m getting in terms of sound, but some people prefer new ones.

How do you know whether a piano is worth the asking price?

You can get a fair appraisal of a piano’s worth from a qualified piano technician.

Piano value generally depends on the instrument’s brand, age, and overall physical condition.

Should you tune a piano yourself?

Under no circumstances should you try to tune a piano yourself. Piano tuning is complicated and should only be done by knowledgeable, professional piano tuners.

Improperly tuning a piano can lead to damage to the instrument over time. Unless you are learning the art of piano tuning by practicing on a test instrument, leave the tuning to the professionals.

Are antique pianos valuable?

In some instances, being an antique adds value. Regarding pianos, “antique” means old and more prone to serious issues.

This is especially true for most baby grand and upright pianos.

When searching for your perfect piano, always take the word “antique” with a grain of salt.

And when in doubt, consult a knowledgeable piano professional about the piano’s true worth.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of the piano model you’re buying, every piano is unique.

There are slight variations in touch and sound between all pianos, but trying them out for yourself guarantees you will find one you love.

Although I tend to prefer grand over upright models, I’ve played uprights that have been absolutely lovely and grands that need a one-way ticket to the local dump.

Sometimes it all comes down to the previous work that’s been done on the piano and its overall quality.

When buying a piano, don’t be afraid to ask tough questions and do your research.

Buying an instrument can be a significant financial investment, so it’s essential to ensure you’re getting the best possible value for your money and have made the right decision for your situation.

Hiring a professional piano technician is almost always worth the cost, as they can honestly assess any instrument’s condition.

Good luck with your search!

And if you’re looking for more great piano-inspired content, check out the following posts:

How to Practice Piano with Modacity: The Ultimate Guide

How to Practice Piano with Modacity: The Ultimate Guide

Are you confused about how to practice the piano?

I was for longer than I’m comfortable admitting.

Sure, the concept of sitting down and playing through each practice item on your list sounds easy.

But does endlessly repeating something guarantee that you’ll eventually master it?

Or is there a better way to approach practice?

And just how much time should you set aside each day for practice sessions?

When it comes to practice, it can seem like there are more questions than answers.

But today’s post answers your burning practice questions. It also introduces you to a revolutionary deliberate practice tool that will revolutionize how you approach practicing the piano.

And it will help you prioritize quality over quantity when it comes to your practice routine.

If you’re ready to dive deep into the practice world, let’s start with an introduction to the Modacity app.

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.

What is Modacity?

Modacity is an app that was initially created by Marc Gelfo.

As a lifelong lover of music, Gelfo eventually became a professional French horn player performing with international symphonies, including the Hong Kong Philharmonic.

Aside from his work in classical music, Gelfo studied at Northwestern University, eventually earning a cognitive science degree and a computer science degree.

His passion for developing a tool to help himself practice more effectively and in line with how the human brain learns eventually led to the creation of Modacity.

My Experience with Modacity

I discovered Modacity several years ago after hearing Marc Gelfo on a podcast.

And I was immediately drawn to his message of how to be more intentional with practice.

Although I had already graduated with a baccalaureate degree in music by this point, my practice habits left something to be desired.

I wanted to be a goal-oriented musician but needed to figure out exactly how.

My primary learning method was endlessly repeating things until muscle memory took over, an approach I later learned was one of the most reliable ways to bring on a memory lapse.

The other practice sin I regularly committed was inconsistent practice.

Inspiration would strike, and I would practice for hours one day but then wouldn’t practice again for several days or weeks.

When I sat back down at the keyboard, I had forgotten everything I had worked on during the previous session.

I wanted to improve my piano skills but wasn’t sure how.

Changing my practice ways felt like a truly daunting challenge.

Until Modacity.

Structured Piano Practice

Modacity has several unique mastery features that have helped me improve how I approach piano practice, and it all starts with practice lists.

Practice Lists

The first step in being more deliberate with your practice involves creating a practice list.

You can create a separate practice list for each day of the week or create a list with a specific goal in mind.

I recommend you start by listing out each piece you’re currently playing.

  • Bagatelle in A Major
  • Waltz in A Minor
  • Prelude in C Minor

The next step is figuring out what specific thing(s) you’re trying to improve in each piece.

If you’re taking lessons, ask your teacher what specific items you need to improve. Examples may include:

  • Maintaining an even tempo throughout
  • Coordinating your hands together
  • Making a distinct change in dynamics
  • Note accuracy

And if you’re learning on your own, this is where the magic of Modacity comes in.

The app gives you suggestions from various categories, including

  • Notes
  • Rhythm
  • Emotion
  • Phrasing

You can then decide what specific practice item will improve your performance of the piece.

Once you’ve figured out your specific goals for each piece, you can separate them into different days of the week.

Organizing Your Practice Lists

Once you’ve created the practice lists, you can add each song from your practice repertoire.

And from there, add notes about areas where you seek improvement.

Another unique feature is the ability to add a timer to each practice item in the list.

This feature is a godsend if you, like me, spend too much time on one song, and your precious practice time suddenly slips away, leaving everything else incomplete.

When it’s time to practice, select the appropriate practice list. Click on the first song, and the timer will start counting down, alerting you when it’s time to switch songs.

Deliberate Practice

Another valuable feature of Modacity is the focus on deliberate practice over mindless repetitions.

Key components of deliberate practice include figuring out what you want to improve, trying something to fix it, and then listening back to see whether there was an improvement.

Deliberate practice is not repeating something 10,000 times and then calling it good.

Efficient practice requires thought and being intentional about improvement. It requires listening to yourself to see whether your goals were met.

Modacity supports mindful practice by giving you ideas about musical areas to explore improving upon.

And it also has a recording feature so you can record a measure or two or an entire sonata.

Regularly recording trains you to listen to your playing and helps you figure out whether your practice tactic achieved the result for which you were looking.

It’s also very motivating to go back through and listen to old recordings because you realize how far you’ve come!

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Modacity offer customer service?

I can tell you from personal experience that Modacity has exceptional customer service.

If you’re stuck during a practice session, hit the Ask Us button on the lower right-hand of the screen to chat with the team.

I’ve always gotten great responses from the team when I’ve run into issues. The Modacity team is passionate about the art of music practice and wants you to have a great experience with the app!

How long should I practice?

It’s different for everyone and depends on your goals and what else is going on in your life.

Generally speaking, it’s ideal to practice in shorter bursts of time more frequently in comparison to marathon sessions.

Modacity helps you stay on task with the timer feature. You can set a timer, and it will alert you when it’s time to move on.

If you’re trying to establish a daily practice routine, aim for 10 minutes a day.

As you practice more, you can gradually increase this time, but aiming for 10 minutes is a great way to start.

And it’s even better if you can fit several 10-minute sessions throughout the day.

Can I use the Modacity app with any instrument?

Absolutely! The app also features a drone generator and metronome.

Think of Modacity as the Swiss army knife of music practice. It has all the features to help you succeed in the practice room, regardless of your instrument.

Do I have to practice every day?

If you want to make progress, it’s best to practice daily.

And for optimal results, keep those sessions short. It will be easier to get yourself to sit down when you know you only have to do it for 10 minutes versus forcing yourself to play for 2 hours.

Modacity helps you stay motivated by sending you practice reminders and keeping track of your practice time.

The app also tallies up your consecutive days of practice, a feature that encourages you to keep returning to the keyboard day after day.

Is Modacity a practice journal?

You can think of Modacity as an electronic practice journal or even a music practice assistant.

Musicians of all backgrounds will appreciate the Modacity system for its focus on helping you make the most of your practice time.

It can also reduce your random combination of music practice apps by replacing your metronome app.

Modacity helps you cut down on the list of things floating around in your mind by sending you reminders to help you stick with a practice schedule.

All this without any pesky papercuts.

Are there other resources for learning about the art of practice?

My favorite practice resource comes from The Bulletproof Musician, a blog and podcast by Noa Kageyama.

Noa regularly features professional musicians with their best practice advice for mastering the art of practicing.

He also features various research studies to uncover the best way to approach more effective practice in a shorter amount of time.

His blog and podcast are a wealth of information on the art of practicing and performing, so the next time you’re looking for inspiration, check out The Bulletproof Musician.

The Modacity blog also offers information about practice techniques, including interleaving strategies and the link between neuroscience and effective practice.

If you want to learn more about practice, the Modacity blog is worth checking out.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re just starting out with the piano or are a seasoned professional, Modacity is the perfect practice partner!

This amazing app is designed to help you focus on deliberate practice so that you can make the most of your time in less time.

And it’s loaded with features that support this type of practice, including timers, recording capabilities, and performance analytics.

Thanks to its all-in-one design, you can delete all the other different apps you’re currently using to manage your practice needs.

If you’re looking for a practice partner to help you stay on track and achieve your most significant success as a musician, Modacity is definitely worth checking out!

Happy practicing!

And if you found this post helpful, check out my other piano-inspired content!

Playground Sessions Review: Waste of Time or Worth the Hype?

Playground Sessions Review: Waste of Time or Worth the Hype?

If you’re a music lover interested in learning the piano or an experienced player wanting to sharpen your skills, you might be considering an online piano learning platform.

And among the jungle of music learning websites and apps, you may have heard of Playground Sessions.

Developed by legendary producer Quincy Jones and renowned pianist David Sides, Playground Sessions is an online program that uses real-time feedback and interactive lessons to help people of all levels improve at playing the piano.

In this blog post, I will review Playground Sessions and provide an in-depth look at its features, benefits, drawbacks, and overall value.

So whether you’re just learning the piano or want to take your playing skills up a notch, read on to find out why Playground Sessions might be right for you!

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.

What is Playground Sessions?

Playground Sessions is an interactive online piano learning platform for desktop and Apple devices that helps people learn to play the piano.

It includes lessons, challenges, and exercises tailored to your level. It also has an extensive song library of over 2,000 songs that can be played with or without accompaniment.

Playground Sessions offers real-time feedback, which helps users improve their playing as they proceed through the lessons.

The platform also has a community of like-minded users to learn from and connect with via discussion boards and a Facebook group.

And if you don’t have a keyboard, you can bundle a keyboard with a membership.

It’s a great option if you have no idea what kind of keyboard to buy and don’t want to spend time researching different models!

How is Playground Sessions organized?

Playground Sessions is divided into 3 distinct sections.


The bootcamp section is where you’ll start. This section offers instruction at 3 levels: rookie, intermediate, and advanced.

If you’re brand new to the piano, start with the very first lesson in the rookie section. This video features Phil Anderson explaining the notes on the keyboard and how to find middle C, both concepts geared toward complete beginners.

The next several lessons allow you to practice playing along with the background track before diving into basic rhythms, time signatures, and the staff.

Each of the 3 bootcamp sections is broken down into separate lessons to allow you to learn and practice the material.

The rookie section includes over 90 lessons to help you learn and refine the basic concepts.

The intermediate and advanced sections continue expanding on the basic ideas introduced in the rookie section.

You’ll find over 60 lessons in the intermediate section, while the advanced section contains between 20 and 30 lessons.


The courses section includes focused piano learning topics.

One of the courses includes a collection of songs perfect for beginning piano learners. Another consists of the Hanon exercises.

Yet another course comprises advice on playing from Mike Garson, David Bowie’s pianist.

Many other courses are designed to help you improve basic skills, such as reading sheet music and playing with both hands together.

The courses section is also where you’ll find special challenges organized by levels. Challenges are a fun way to learn popular repertoire at an attainable level.

As a rookie, try The Entertainer or Fur Elise challenges and impress your friends with your keyboard prowess!


The third and final section comprises a vast library of songs under many different genres, including holiday, film music, pop, and Christian.

Songs are additionally organized by levels; most pieces are available at different difficulty levels.

Membership plans come with a certain number of songs per month. And if you want additional songs, you can purchase them separately.

Benefits of Playground Sessions

Song Selection

If you want to learn to play the piano but are completely repulsed by beginner songs such as “Hot Cross Buns” or “Merrily We Roll Along,” I have fantastic news for you!

Playground Sessions takes a pop music approach to teach you the basics.

You’ll be playing along with background tracks to hit songs by Lady Gaga, Beyonce, and Celine Dion from the very beginning of your studies.

Although most of the songs in the rookie section will only be recognizable by your friends and family with the accompanying backtrack, it provides very engaging piano practice!

Slow it Down … Or Speed it Up!

You can control the speed of all lesson materials within the bootcamp section.

You can slow down the backing track or play it at tempo with a simple button click.

Start each new lesson at a slow tempo and gradually increase it once you’ve got it under your fingers.

And you’ll know you have the lesson mastered when you can play the song at tempo with zero mistakes!

Jamming with Others

One of the hardest things to learn as a beginner is how to keep playing, even when you make a mistake.

As a beginner, it’s easy to get into the habit of stopping with each and every mistake.

But consistently stopping makes it challenging to learn to play something from beginning to end. And this habit makes it nearly impossible to play with others.

But one of the great things about Playground Sessions is that the songs all have a backing track, so you learn to keep playing no matter what happens.

You can slow the song down for practice at all 3 bootcamp levels, and I recommend starting out slowly and building up the tempo as you learn the song.

Piano Learning in a Video Game Format

One of the more gratifying features of Playground Sessions is its similarity to a video game.

When the app or desktop version is connected to a keyboard, you get immediate feedback on the accuracy of what you just played.

Take a minute or two to review the feedback and try again for a perfect score.

Although it’s fun to see your score, the ability to review what you played and make corrections is a crucial skill that can be difficult to master in other learning formats.

The program also keeps track of your total score and the amount of time you’ve spent in the app.

And it’s addicting to see your score, practice time increase, and overall piano skill level!

Note Map

If you need clarification about which notes you should be playing, click the button at the upper right-hand of the screen, and the virtual keyboard at the bottom of the screen will light up with the correct notes.

You can choose the right hand, left hand, or both hands.

This feature is helpful if you need help determining where on the keyboard you should be playing.

And you can even watch it through a couple of times and then try playing along.

Emphasis on Playing by Ear

One of the more impressive aspects of Playground Sessions is the early introduction to how to play a song simply by hearing it.

This is a valuable skill that helps all areas of musicianship. It’s helpful for sightreading and even for memorization.

Sometimes it’s a skill that gets bypassed in more traditional methods of learning the instrument because not all teachers have mastered or are comfortable teaching this skill.

Playing by ear is a skill that doesn’t come naturally to me, but I’ve recently been working hard to foster it.

And in fact, I was first introduced to one of the instructors in the course, David Sides, through his piano solo version of “Apologize” on my favorite Pandora station.

I fell in love with his piano solo and immediately began working on learning it by ear.

And I was very excited to watch David’s video tutorials on playing by ear in the rookie section because he uses “Apologize” as an example in his lessons.

Watching David’s ear training videos gave me insight into how he translates a song into the keyboard.

It also reassured me that I’m on the right path to improving my ear training skills!

How to Practice

Although Playground Sessions doesn’t specifically tell you HOW to practice, it divides each lesson into small sections.

It guides you through playing with each hand separately before putting your hands together.

And in some cases, the course has you work through only a few measures of a song at a time.

Breaking a piece into smaller parts is precisely how piano practice sessions should be approached.

At its core, piano practice is about learning to identify WHAT you need to improve and then figuring out HOW to improve it.

When you take piano lessons, the teacher guides this learning process. Eventually, the goal is for the student to learn how to manage this learning process independently.

And although Playground Sessions doesn’t specifically address these fundamental rules to practice, it does break each lesson into small and manageable sections.

This approach teaches you how to approach new songs by breaking them into smaller sections and mastering those skills before putting them together.

And if you’re interested in diving deeper into piano practice, check out my review of the best piano practice app!

Midi Keyboard Bundle

If you’re brand new to learning the piano, finding an instrument is intimidating.

Playground Sessions removes this barrier by offering a variety of keyboards at different price points, all less than $1,000.

It’s a great way to get started if you have no idea what to look for and don’t want to do much research.

The prices are also very reasonable, especially if you’re still determining whether you’ll want to stick with the piano.

Drawbacks of Playground Sessions

Lack of Instruction on Piano Technique

Correct technique is everything when playing advanced classical piano repertoire.

Incorrect body positioning, holding tension in your forearms, and poor posture can lead to musculoskeletal issues over time.

Although there is a brief discussion about technique at the very beginning of the rookie section, correct technique isn’t emphasized much during Playground Sessions.

If your goal in learning the instrument is to have fun and play a few songs to impress your friends, the lack of instruction on technique isn’t a dealbreaker.

And if you want to become a classical pianist, I recommend one-on-one lessons over learning online anyway.

Instructor Bait and Switch

Many of the Playground Sessions ads I’ve seen feature Harry Connick Jr. or Quincy Jones, but I have yet to encounter them in the lesson materials.

Most instruction in the course comes from Phil Anderson and David Sides rather than Connick or Jones.

In other words, if you hope to learn from Harry Connick Jr., you will be disappointed.

Despite the lack of Connick’s presence in the course, the videos are very high quality. Both Anderson and Sides are relatable and enjoyable to watch.

No Feedback for Acoustic Pianos

Maybe it’s my strong classical piano background, but I’m a diehard acoustic piano fan.

I love how acoustic pianos sound and how they feel to play. I’m fascinated by how they work and have even dabbled in learning how to tune and repair them.

Although I’ve warmed to keyboards and digital pianos over the last couple of years, acoustic is still my ultimate preference.

And this leads me to my biggest issue with Playground Sessions and other online learning programs: the lack of feedback with acoustic instruments.

I understand there’s no way to plug an acoustic in to get the perfect feedback. However, it’s still disappointing to be unable to take advantage of the highly-addictive points system.

And even if you have an acoustic piano, I wouldn’t discourage you from this learning platform because I have yet to find one that gives the same feedback given to digital instruments.

One way to get around this issue is to record yourself while playing. You can then play it back and compare it with the sheet music to determine your accuracy.

Although the program itself won’t track your score, you can learn the fundamental skills of listening and providing your own feedback.

Lack of Advanced Level Material

Playground Sessions is geared towards beginning and intermediate piano students.

Although there is a bootcamp section for advanced students, the material is intermediate level.

Even though there isn’t much explicitly geared toward advanced students, you can still find value in the material, especially if you have a classical background, because of its emphasis on listening and playing by ear.

This is especially true if you hope to play pop music.

But if you want to play advanced classical repertoire, Playground Sessions isn’t your best bet.

Check out this post for the all-time best course on learning classical piano!

Consider Playgrounds Sessions If You:

  • Want to learn to play the piano but don’t have the time to invest in weekly in-person lessons.
  • Love pop music and want to learn how to play your favorite songs.
  • Are interested in learning to play by ear.
  • Need to take learning the piano at your own pace and have previously excelled in online courses.
  • Eventually want to play with others or in a band.
  • Think you want to learn to play but aren’t sure and don’t want to make a huge investment until you know whether you’ll enjoy playing.

Skip Playground Sessions If You:

  • Want to learn classical piano and aren’t interested in learning pop or rock hits (check out this course instead).
  • Are an advanced player looking to further your skills in playing classical music.
  • Want to learn from Harry Connick Jr.
  • Need accountability from others to keep making progress in your learning.
  • Are looking for more of an in-depth course on reading sheet music.
  • Want to learn music theory.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Playground Sessions offer a free trial?

Yes. You can try it free for 14 days. And the best part is that you can sign up without providing your credit card!

Do you have to know anything about music to sign up for Playground Sessions?

No. The rookie bootcamp lessons begin by assuming you have no previous knowledge of how to play the instrument.

Does Playground Sessions work with an acoustic piano?

Although you can play any of the lessons with an acoustic piano, the program won’t be able to give you feedback on whether the notes are correct.

Playing with an acoustic piano removes the gaming features. However, playing along with the lessons is still entertaining, thanks to the fantastic song selection!

Can piano teachers use Playground Sessions with their students?

Yes! You can create a piano teacher account and track your student’s progress.

Is Playground Sessions geared toward kids or adults?

Although Playground Sessions can be used by kids, it’s designed for ages 12 and up.

You can certainly monitor your kids’ learning while they use the app, but your kids may need your help understanding the lessons.

And unless you also play the piano, it may be challenging for you to give them the help they need.

If you want your kids to learn to play the piano, get them into piano lessons. Find out how to find a great teacher by checking out this post.

Can you use Playground Sessions alongside piano lessons?

I highly recommend signing up for Playground Sessions even if you’re taking private piano lessons.

Playground Sessions is a great way to develop your ear and practice playing different types of songs than you’re likely to play in private lessons.

You can also play for your teacher and get the type of feedback you won’t get from the program. And as an added bonus, you can get feedback from your teacher on technique.

Final Thoughts

As someone who has played piano almost their entire life and as someone who has also given piano lessons, it’s one of the best online piano courses around.

The videos are high-quality, and the lesson materials are helpful. Although you won’t learn from Harry Connick Jr. himself, the instructors are fun and easy to listen to.

Their passion for the instrument is evident and shines through in the course.

Playground Sessions offers an easy-to-follow curriculum and exciting song selections with the added bonus of fun gaming elements.

Plus, it’s completely free to try out!

Give it a try, and let me know your thoughts!

And if you’re looking for more great piano-inspired content, check out the following posts:

15 Best Love Songs to Play on the Piano

15 Best Love Songs to Play on the Piano

Are you looking for a unique way to express your love this Valentine’s day? Or you may be searching for a wedding song that perfectly describes your love story.

Regardless of why you’re looking for piano love songs to play on the piano, today’s post will give you several great options across various genres.

Without further ado, let’s 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.

Can You Feel the Love Tonight – Elton John

Let’s start with one of the greatest love songs of all time (or at least those in the Disney franchise!): Elton John’s “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.”

This classic tune is perfect for playing on the piano if you want to make a romantic gesture. Its slow melody and simple chords make it a great song to learn on the instrument. And the vocal range is also versatile, making it a great option if you want to sing along.

I Will Always Love You – Whitney Houston

Easily one of the most romantic songs of all time, Whitney Houston’s remake of “I Will Always Love You” is perfect for those moments when you want to express your deepest love and commitment. Initially written by Dolly Parton, this song has been covered countless times by artists from all genres.

The piano version of this song is incredibly moving, as it allows you to focus on the heartfelt lyrics and melody. Plus, it’s a great way to show off your skills if you’re an intermediate player.

Come Away with Me – Norah Jones

Norah Jones’ “Come Away With Me” is an excellent choice if you’re looking for something a bit more subtle. The piano arrangement of this pop-jazz song expertly captures the essence of love in a relaxed and romantic way.

This track also has gorgeous chord changes and moments of harmonic complexity that will challenge even the most experienced pianists.

Clair de Lune – Claude Debussy

One of the most beautiful pieces of classical music, Claude Debussy’s “Clair de Lune” is perfect for showing your special someone how much they mean to you.

This piano piece’s dreamy, almost hypnotic quality will transport you and your partner to a romantic place. Clair de Lune works well as background music or as the processional for the wedding party during a wedding ceremony.

The complexity of this piano solo also provides some additional challenges for more advanced players. This piece can easily be considered the original classic wedding song!

My Heart Will Go On – Celine Dion

No list of romantic piano love songs would be complete without Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On.” This song is one of the most iconic love ballads of all time. It remains a favorite in both karaoke bars and wedding receptions.

The piano arrangement of this track is simple yet powerful, perfectly conveying the lyrics’ emotion. Plus, this song’s beautiful arrangements at all levels make it a great choice whether you’re a beginner or an advanced pianist.

The Story – Brandi Carlile

This gem of a love song is slightly off the mainstream path, but don’t let that fool you. This song is just as romantic and moving as any other love song.

The piano arrangement of this track is perfect for anyone looking for a unique love song to play for their special someone. This song allows any budding pianist to dial up or down the chord structure, creating a sense of peace or urgency.

It has unmatched harmonic interest and chord changes that keep your fingers busy while the soulful melody tugs at your heartstrings.

If you’re looking for something unique, don’t pass this one up!

What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong

This classic tune has been covered countless times by artists from all genres, and it’s just as beautiful when played on the piano.

The lyrics of this song are perfect for expressing your love for each other in the most profound way. It’s a sweet reminder that even in this chaotic world, the one thing that will remain constant is your love for each other.

All of Me – John Legend

John Legend’s “All of Me” is another one of those popular songs that’s perfect for playing on the piano. Legend wrote the Grammy Award-nominated pop song for his wife, which has been popularized as a wedding love song ever since.

The piano arrangement of this track includes many variations, so no matter your skill level, you can find one that suits your playing style. The slow tempo of this song makes it perfect for expressing love and appreciation in a meaningful way.

Perfect – Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” is one of the most romantic songs ever written. It was initially released as a single in 2017 and has since become popular for weddings and other special occasions.

This beautiful song is easily adapted to a stunning arrangement on the piano. Whether you’re playing this track at a wedding or just in the comfort of your own home, it’s sure to leave you and your loved one feeling connected and fulfilled.

To Make You Feel My Love – Garth Brooks

This sweet, sentimental song by country legend Garth Brooks is a timeless classic. Its simplicity adds to the aesthetic of this great love song.

And the chord progression is basic, so it’s the perfect song for anyone who wants to try accompanying themselves while singing. If you’re new to playing this piano, give this one a try!

Ave Maria – Franz Schubert

Although the song itself is not technically a love song, Ave Maria is one of the most popular processional songs for weddings. It’s a gorgeous piece whether played solo or with a vocalist.

This piece is perfect for intermediate to advanced pianists, as it has a lot of beauty and complexity. The song builds on an incredibly powerful harmonic foundation that will leave your guests in awe, especially when performed by a gifted vocalist.

There are many different arrangements for all levels of this piece. Advanced pianists may enjoy the Franz Liszt version.

Liebestraum #3 – Franz Liszt

And speaking of Liszt, this next one is one of the most famous classical pieces of all time. Liszt published a set of 3 works whose title translates to Dreams of Love in 1850.

The third piece in the work is the most famous of the set and was inspired by a poem about unconditional love.

Although Liszt has a reputation for composing challenging music, the original transcription for this piece can be managed by late intermediate-level pianists. The piece begins with a fairly sparse, simply left hand accompaniment and blossoms into sparkling right hand ornaments by partway through.

The entire song takes work to master, but it’s one of the most beautiful piano songs in the classical repertoire. It can easily be considered the original love theme of the romantic music genre.

And if you’re looking for a tutorial on this piece, check out this video by Dr. Josh Wright. He’s an outstanding piano teacher and mentor who offers a course on playing and performing classical piano music. You can learn more by reading my ProPractice review post.

Shape of You – Ed Sheeran

Try Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You for a fun, upbeat take on traditional love songs. This upbeat song will liven up any occasion, and it’s surprisingly easy for beginner pianists.

As with most pop songs, the harmonic pattern of this song is repetitive, allowing you to dress it up or down depending on the occasion. It’s an insanely fun piece that will have you and your love grinning ear to ear by the end!

Endless Love – Lionel Richie & Diana Ross

Try Endless Love by Lionel Richie and Diana Ross for an iconic love ballad. This classic track is sure to pull at your heartstrings with its enduring message of unconditional love.

The intro starts with a simple chord progression that’s easy enough for any beginner pianist to learn. And the rest of the song follows a basic pattern that is easy enough to play once you have the chords down.

Plus, if you’re feeling brave enough, there are lots of opportunities to create tasty harmonic variations that’ll show off your musicality. This song is sure to leave your partner completely smitten!

Strip it Down – Luke Bryan

This sultry country hit is guaranteed to spice up your night! The chord progression is straightforward, making it approachable for beginners and more advanced pianists.

The verses are very sparse, allowing a lot of room to add your own flavor. And the chorus is an excellent opportunity to really show off your chops!

Although Strip it Down is an unconventional choice, it’s one of my all-time favorite country hits!

Final Thoughts

No matter what you choose, playing one of these beautiful pieces on the piano is sure to bring a special feeling of love and appreciation from that special someone.

The next time you’re sharing an intimate moment with your significant other, why not make it extra special by adding the perfect piece of music? Whether that be Ed Sheeran, Garth Brooks, or Franz Schubert–the options are limitless! Just pick a piece that resonates with you and your love and trust me, if it’s heartfelt enough, you won’t be disappointed.

Who knows? Maybe one day you’ll even have “your song!”

If you love this post, check out my other piano-inspired content.

New to playing the piano? Join my 5-day getting started with the piano challenge! This email challenge helps you overcome the most common obstacles to getting started with the instrument.

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    Acoustic vs Digital Piano: Which One is Right for You?

    Acoustic vs Digital Piano: Which One is Right for You?

    As an aspiring pianist, you might be searching for the perfect piano. You need a piano that fits your goals, preferences, and budget.

    Whether you’re piano shopping or simply curious about the piano options out there, this post is for you!

    We’ll discuss the acoustic vs. digital piano options and why you might choose one over the other.

    And by the end of the post, you’ll better understand the different piano options available today.

    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.

    What is an acoustic piano?

    An acoustic piano is probably the type of instrument you think of when you think about a piano.

    It’s made of wood, with steel strings and felt-covered hammers that strike those strings to create sound.

    An acoustic instrument can come in all shapes and sizes, from small uprights to large grand pianos, but they all have the same basic design.

    The sound of an acoustic piano is unique and beautiful. It’s the classic sound of a real instrument without any digital processing.

    Upright vs. Grand

    When shopping for pianos, you can choose between an upright and a grand.

    An upright piano is what most people immediately think about when you say the word “piano.” They are smaller in size and take up less space.

    Grands are larger instruments that offer a fuller sound.

    Generally speaking, an acoustic grand piano is more expensive than an acoustic upright; however, the price often reflects the piano’s brand, age, and quality.

    Benefits of an Acoustic Piano

    The main benefit of an acoustic piano is that it’s a real instrument. It has a genuinely organic piano sound.

    An acoustic piano also offers better tactile feedback than a digital keyboard, giving you more control over dynamics and phrasing.

    And having more control over the sound leads to more extraordinary artistry and satisfaction with playing the instrument.

    Finally, a real piano is often used in concert halls and performance venues, so an acoustic instrument may be your best bet if you’re serious about playing or performing classical.

    Drawbacks of an Acoustic Piano

    The biggest drawback of an acoustic piano is the cost. Acoustic pianos can be expensive up-front.

    Acoustic pianos should ideally be tuned once to twice yearly. And because there are so many small, moving parts, they may need occasional repairs and regulation to maintain the best possible sound.

    Piano tuning and repair is an art form requiring years of training and practice. Regardless of what the internet says, don’t try to tune or repair your piano yourself.

    It’s always best to hire a professional piano technician to ensure your piano stays in excellent condition.

    Acoustic grand pianos are not easy to move and require a great deal of space, another drawback if you have a small living area. Even an upright traditional acoustic piano is very heavy and difficult to move.

    Finally, acoustic pianos are limited regarding sound capabilities, such as built-in speakers, internal sound samples, and MIDI capabilities.

    And if you live in an apartment or want a late night practice session after your kids go to bed, you can’t plug in a set of headphones and play to your heart’s content.

    Consider an Acoustic Piano if:

    • You love playing classical music.
    • Your living room has plenty of space.
    • You consider an authentic acoustic sound to be the most important thing.
    • You’re committed to learning the instrument.
    • You don’t mind keeping up with routine tuning and repairs.
    • You’re looking for an authentic playing experience.
    • You may be interested in upgrading at some point and want decent resale value.

    Generally speaking, if you’re interested in pursuing the performance of classical music, stick with an acoustic. And if your budget allows, opt for a grand over an upright.

    Remember that this doesn’t have to be your “forever” piano. Acoustic pianos generally hold resale value better than digital pianos, and you will likely be able to use your initial investment toward a higher-quality option in the future.

    What is a digital piano?

    A digital piano is an electronic instrument that mimics the look and feel of an acoustic piano.

    Digital pianos are usually smaller and lighter than acoustic pianos, and they come in both upright and grand models.

    The main difference between an acoustic and digital piano is that a good digital piano has sounds sampled from actual acoustic pianos. But the sound quality can vary dramatically from one digital instrument to the next.

    Some of the best digital pianos on the market sound similar to the real thing. They also often have additional features, such as MIDI capabilities, built-in rhythms, and accompaniment tracks.

    Digital Piano vs. Keyboard

    You may have heard the terms “digital piano” and “digital keyboard” used interchangeably, but they’re not quite the same.

    A digital piano is designed to mimic an acoustic piano in sound and playing experience. Digital pianos generally have 88 keys weighted to replicate an acoustic’s playing experience.

    A digital keyboard often has fewer than 88 keys, usually 61 or 76. Keys on a keyboard are generally not weighted.

    Although a digital piano is more portable than an acoustic one, they’re not designed to be moved from place to place or taken out to gigs.

    But you can easily take a keyboard with you wherever you go.

    Both digital pianos and keyboards generally come equipped with various alternate sound settings, but keyboards often have more options than digital pianos.

    Generally speaking, digital pianos are designed to be an electronic alternative to acoustic pianos, while keyboards are designed for portability and creativity in sound production.

    Benefits of a Digital Piano

    The most significant benefit of a digital piano is the price. Digital pianos usually cost less than acoustic ones and require minimal maintenance.

    Digital instruments are also easier to move around, as they don’t weigh nearly as much as a real acoustic piano.

    You can even find battery-powered digital pianos for use outdoors or in places where there may not be an electrical outlet nearby.

    Digital pianos also typically have many extra features that can be useful for musicians.

    Many digital instruments come with accompaniment tracks, built-in rhythms, a USB port, and various sounds sampled from different instruments.

    Digital pianos can also be connected to computers via MIDI cables to use sequencing software or virtual instrument plugins.

    And if you’re interested in using an app to learn piano, several different options, once connected, give feedback on your playing.

    Drawbacks of a Digital Piano

    The main drawback of a digital piano is the lack of touch sensitivity and tactile feedback.

    Digital instruments are often designed to be lightweight so that they can be moved easily. This also means that the keys have less resistance when you press them, which may not give you as much control over phrases or dynamics as an acoustic instrument.

    Another potential drawback is the sound quality may not be as good as an acoustic piano, although this varies from one make and model to another.

    Finally, some digital pianos come with pre-programmed rhythms and accompaniment tracks that can limit your creativity.

    If playing around with different sounds is essential, you may want a model with more advanced features.

    Overall, digital pianos offer many great benefits for those searching for an instrument, but understanding the pros and cons before deciding is essential.

    Consider a Digital Piano if:

    • Your living space has limited room.
    • You want to play electronic music and must be able to produce various sounds.
    • You’re still determining whether you will stick with the instrument for an extended period.
    • You want to practice with headphones.
    • You’re learning the instrument with an online course or program that works best with a digital instrument.
    • You want to avoid the hassle of routine tuning and maintenance.

    If you’re ready to explore digital pianos, check out my review of the best budget digital pianos for beginners.

    What is a hybrid piano?

    Several companies, including Yamaha, now also make hybrid pianos. As you may have guessed, the hybrid piano is a combination of features from both acoustic and digital pianos combined in one instrument.

    Hybrid pianos offer the sound an acoustic piano produces with a digital model’s convenient recording features.

    And if you want to practice at midnight while your family sleeps, plug in the headphones and play away without sacrificing the authentic acoustic sound.

    Although the hybrid piano offers the best of both worlds, they are relatively new and carry a higher price tag than some acoustic and digital pianos.

    Piano Shopping Tips

    Remember a few general rules when shopping for your first piano.

    Try Before You Buy

    Although online reviews and videos are helpful, trying the piano out for yourself is always best before making a purchase decision.

    Every piano has a slightly different feel. Some have a stiffer action, while others have a more bright tone.

    Although I grew up playing my grandmother’s acoustic upright, I fell in love with playing grand pianos while in college.

    Most of the Yamaha grand pianos I played in college had stiff actions and bright sounds. I became somewhat biased against the entire brand.

    Several years ago, when I could finally upgrade from my grandmother’s upright, I was shocked when I tried out the Yamaha grand that would eventually become mine.

    The action was perfect, as was the sound.

    And if I had stuck with my distaste for Yamahas, I never would have found my dream piano.

    Free Pianos are Everywhere

    You’ll likely encounter the “free” piano in your search for an instrument. Craigslist and newspaper ads often feature pianos that you need only haul away.

    Be cautious of these pianos. Many of these instruments need extensive regulation and repair to get back to a functional condition.

    Generally speaking, grand pianos hold up better over time than uprights, but even an “antique” grand can wear out over time.

    Pianos have been mass-produced in this country for nearly 50 years, meaning there are more junk pianos than good ones, especially if the piano is more than ten years old.

    Free pianos are an option; however, you’ll probably need to invest money to get it to a playable condition.

    And even then, there are no guarantees that it will be the piano it once was.

    Generally speaking, avoid any piano showing evidence of water damage, soundboard cracks, or uprights over 20 years old unless they’ve had proper care and maintenance.

    Consult an Expert

    If you feel overwhelmed by finding a piano, consider asking for help.

    Piano technicians are an excellent resource for helping you make an informed decision. In addition to tuning and repairing pianos, technicians often sell them or know of pianos for sale that may fit your buying criteria.

    Technicians can help with pricing and determining whether the piano needs work after purchase.

    If you’re taking piano lessons, consider asking your teacher for assistance with your piano search.

    Your piano teacher might be able to help you decide on the type of piano that would best suit your goals and playing style.

    Final Thoughts

    Finding a piano is a very personal decision. It doesn’t matter whether it’s acoustic or digital as long as it’s a piano you love.

    Take your time and learn as much as you can about pianos before making the purchase.

    Be sure to try out several instruments and talk to a technician before deciding on an instrument that best fits your needs.

    And with any luck, your work up-front will result in finding an instrument you love for years to come!

    If you’re brand new to playing piano, consider signing up for my email list. As a thank-you for signing up, you’ll get exclusive access to the 5-day getting started with the piano challenge.

    The challenge covers finding your optimal learning method, a list of teachers, and all the information you need to get started playing the piano.

    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.

      And if you loved this post, check out my other helpful piano-related content:

      References Used to Write this Post

      Can You Learn to Play Piano by Watching YouTube Videos?

      Can You Learn to Play Piano by Watching YouTube Videos?

      Whether it’s possible to learn to play piano by watching YouTube videos is a question my college piano professor would shudder to even think about.

      But it’s a fair question for anyone who struggles with traditional piano lessons.

      Carving out time every week to attend lessons is time-consuming. Not to mention the practice time required to avoid guilt or embarrassment due to not practicing at said lessons.

      Learning online, at your own pace, and for free seems like a fantastic alternative to traditional lessons.

      But is learning to play piano by watching YouTube videos possible?

      In this post, we’ll take a closer look at this very controversial question.

      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.

      What skills do you need to develop to learn piano?

      To answer the question of whether learning piano is possible by watching YouTube videos, let’s start by exploring the skills you need to develop to play the instrument.

      Note Identification

      Playing a song on the piano requires you to play specific notes in a particular order. And this means you have to know which keys to play.

      Whether you’re playing from sheet music or by ear, you need to be able to identify the notes on the keyboard in front of you.

      The great news is that you can learn note identification from YouTube videos. There are also apps and books to boost your skills in this area.

      YouTube is also the perfect medium to learn chord progressions and improvisational skills.


      Playing the piano has its risks. Proper technique is vital to avoid strains and other injuries from tension and repetitive motions.

      Although good technique at the keyboard is essential regardless of your level, it’s crucial for playing advanced classical repertoire.

      Luckily, there are many great YouTube videos out there that cover technique for beginner to advanced players.

      My favorite YouTube channel is from Dr. Josh Wright. He’s a wealth of information about playing pieces from the piano repertoire.

      Another great teacher of effective piano technique is Graham Fitch, a Pianist Magazine contributor. I’ve improved my technique by watching free YouTube videos from both instructors. I highly recommend their channels to anyone who wants pointers.

      Dr. Wright and Graham Fitch post helpful videos regardless of whether you’re at a beginner skill level or consider yourself an advanced pianist.

      Although many resources for piano technique are available online, the best way to learn this skill is by getting feedback from an experienced piano teacher.

      So, if you aspire to play classical piano, it may be best to seek a qualified instructor rather than attempt to teach yourself.

      But if you simply want to have fun at the keyboard by playing your favorite song, YouTube can be a great option! I love playing classical piano but have recently gotten interested in playing covers of different songs.

      And YouTube tutorials are a great resource for learning covers of country and pop music!

      Hand-Eye Coordination

      This next one is trickier. It’s not enough to know the notes. You must also play them in the correct order.

      It requires a fair amount of hand-eye coordination.

      Mastering this skill takes time and practice. It’s not necessarily something that can be learned from watching YouTube.

      But seeing videos of someone playing the song you’re learning can help you start to piece things together for yourself.

      Many budding pianists struggle when it comes to playing both hands together. And even advanced pianists sometimes have to practice a passage or two with the right hand first before adding the left hand.

      It may be time to invest in a few private piano lessons if you’re consistently struggling with getting your hands together and are feeling frustrated.

      Sometimes, it only takes a bit of patient guidance to get you back on track.


      There’s so much more personal growth to learning a musical instrument than you’d guess. Although playing the piano is rewarding, it’s also tricky sometimes.

      You will make mistakes and feel like giving up on piano playing sometimes.

      It’s completely normal to feel this way. But the important thing is to commit to never giving up.

      Commit to trying your best and being flexible about accomplishing your goals.

      If you’re struggling, play something more accessible. Take your learning backward to find a sense of accomplishment to help drive you forward.

      There’s a ton of phenomenal personal development content on YouTube. Whether you find inspiration from watching videos of your favorite pianist or from motivational videos, YouTube has it all!

      Effective Practice Habits

      When it comes to piano, talent only gets you so far. Solid practice habits bridge the gap between talent and goal accomplishment.

      And there are online videos devoted to this topic. I have also read several excellent books on the subject of effective practice.

      You can find them on Amazon if you’re interested in delving deeper.

      , ,

      And if you’re looking for more inspiration on developing the perfect practice routine, take advantage of my recent post on the topic.


      If your piano goals involve playing in front of other people, you will need a whole different set of skills for performance situations.

      It’s important to realize that everyone sometimes gets nervous when playing for others. But you can learn to cope with your nerves and still have a great time playing for others!

      YouTube has many great resources available when it comes to overcoming performance anxiety. It can also be a great place to practice playing for others in a non-threatening way.

      There is also at least one Facebook group I’m aware of that is dedicated to people with performance anxiety. It’s a positive, non-threatening environment to post videos of yourself to gain experience playing for others.

      And you can choose to either record yourself and post or go live in the group.

      Either way, you’ll get encouraging feedback from people who fully understand the stress of playing for others.

      Music Theory

      Some people love it, and some despise it, but learning the basics of music theory will help you progress faster in your piano studies.

      Playing a musical instrument is similar to learning another language. And similar to sentence structure, there are rules for how music is put together.

      For example, by learning key signatures, you won’t have to spend extra energy remembering to play a C# and F# for a piece written in the key of D.

      You’ll be able to see the piece is written in D and automatically know that any C or F needs to be raised by 1/2 step.

      Learning music theory can help you when you’re sight-reading and improvising. And it’s crucial if you want to learn to play music by ear.

      There are several helpful free videos on YouTube about music theory. You can also find books and apps to help you master this area.

      One of my favorite music theory online learning resources is SkillShare, a learning platform where you can also find classes on painting, photography, and personal development.

      Click the SkillShare link if you’re interested in trying it out for yourself.

      Can you learn to play piano by watching YouTube videos?

      Although it may not be a popular opinion among private teachers, learning to play the piano on YouTube is possible.

      YouTube offers a vast array of learning options for playing the piano.

      Although I grew up taking piano lessons every week, I wish YouTube had been around back then because it would have helped me have more fun with the instrument.

      Don’t get me wrong. I’ve(mostly) loved the instrument from day one. But a certain freedom comes from playing songs you hear on the radio.

      And nothing beats being able to pull up videos about any topic and feeling like you can understand something much deeper than you did before.

      Even after years of private lessons and a baccalaureate degree in music, I still have much to learn about playing the piano. And I absolutely love the wealth of information found on YouTube.

      Certain aspects of learning are easier than others. As noted above, technique can be trickier because assessing your own playing is challenging.

      You can undoubtedly watch videos of others, but getting feedback on your own technique comes best from a piano teacher.

      It’s possible to post videos of yourself and ask for feedback. Still, I’ve learned that advice from internet randos isn’t beneficial.

      And in some cases, feedback from internet randos can be utterly disheartening.

      Learning to play the piano has been such a blessing in my life that I want to encourage others interested in pursuing it.

      And YouTube can be a very economical option for learning to play the piano.

      What are the best YouTube channels for learning to play piano?

      Classical Music

      When it comes to playing classical music, I have two favorite channels. Both offer incredible free resources for aspiring classical pianists.

      The first is Dr. Josh Wright. I found his free information incredibly valuable and ultimately invested in his paid  ProPractice course.

      I continue to see huge benefits from this course and enjoy the Facebook group which accompanies the course. Dr. Wright is reasonably active in the group, and it’s a very positive and uplifting group.

      You can read more about my experience with the ProPractice course by clicking here.

      The second channel I’ve found helpful is Pianist Magazine. Many videos on the channel feature Graham Fitch, an active and accomplished concert pianist and teacher.

      Although I have yet to invest in Fitch’s programs, he has an active email list and various piano teaching programs.

      Resources for beginners, improvisation, having fun at the keyboard

      The next category is very broad, but it’s challenging to fit this channel into just one topic.

      Zach Evans is the man behind the Become a Piano Superhuman channel, offering a ton of value in free resources.

      He breaks things down in a way that’s easy to understand and is always very encouraging. And he might love the piano as much as I do! 😉

      More importantly, his mission is to encourage people to learn this beautiful instrument.

      His videos are entertaining, engaging, and highly actionable.

      If you’re just getting started with the instrument, start with Zach.

      Blues, Jazz, and More

      Another channel with a little bit of everything is Piano with Jonny.

      Although I’m not as familiar with Jonny as I am with the other three, he also offers a vast array of videos for all playing levels.

      Jonny does a bit more with jazz and blues than Zach, so if that’s your interest, he’s a great one to follow.

      Similar to the other pianists, Jonny offers his own paid programs.

      Frequently Asked Questions

      Do you need to have an actual piano to learn to play piano?

      Although I’m all for experimenting with different learning options, including free YouTube videos, I recommend investing in a piano.

      It’s easier to make consistent progress with a piano.

      I prefer acoustic pianos for their sound and touch. But sometimes, a digital piano is a more realistic option for beginners.

      Digital pianos are sometimes cheaper, and they are definitely more portable than many acoustic instruments.

      I recently wrote a review of several budget digital pianos perfect for beginning piano students.

      There are generally many cheap or free acoustic pianos for sale online. In many cases, these instruments need way more repair than they’re worth.

      Find a piano technician in your area if you prefer an acoustic piano. They generally know how to get the best bang for your buck while avoiding the real trainwreck pianos.

      And remember that older does NOT always mean better, especially when it comes to pianos!

      Do you have to practice every day?

      If you want consistent progress in your piano playing, devoting some time daily to practice is best.

      When I practice daily, I remember what I worked on the day before much better than when I skipped a day.

      Your sessions should be short to start with because your brain is processing so much at once.

      And it’s best to stop when you’re itching to keep playing because then you’ll want to keep at it the next day.

      Avoid playing to frustration because you won’t want to pick it up again tomorrow.

      Make practice a fun and stress-free part of your day, and you’ll soon see your progress skyrocket!

      Can you teach yourself to play the piano?

      With all the resources available online, teaching yourself the basics of the piano is possible.

      This is especially true if your goals are to have fun, learn a new skill, or impress your friends.

      But if your goals are to study classical music or pursue piano as a profession, include private lessons as part of your learning process.

      Online courses, apps, and YouTube videos can be fantastic supplemental learning modalities when you need to fill in the gaps.

      Are there benefits of learning to play the piano?

      Yes! Research shows improvements in fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination thanks to learning the piano.

      Playing the piano is a complex interaction between the brain and body, which promotes positive changes in the brain. These changes can fight brain aging, anxiety, and depression.

      And if you can play music with others, there are also positive social benefits.

      Plus, learning a musical instrument feels much more productive than watching Netflix.

      Is it too late to learn to play the piano?

      It’s always possible to learn a new skill! I know people in their 70s, 80s, and beyond who enjoy learning the instrument.

      Even if you had a bad learning experience when you were younger, there is always time to try a different way of learning.

      Final Thoughts

      Learning to play the piano can be incredibly rewarding. I’ve spoken with so many people who regret never learning to play.

      And with all the different ways to learn to play piano, don’t let one of those people be you!

      Consider a private teacher or online courses if you’re serious about learning.

      YouTube is full of excellent channels for beginners and beyond. There’s so much to learn, and many talented teachers share their knowledge on this incredible platform. So, start taking advantage of it all now!

      No matter your goals, I wish you the best of luck in your musical journey!

      And for piano tips, tricks, and inspiration, sign up for my email list. Motivational piano-inspired emails go out once a week, and I can’t wait to see the incredible progress you make by staying motivated!

      If you’re looking for more inspiration, make sure to check out my previous posts:

      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.

      5 Day Piano Challenge

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

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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.

        How to Set Realistic Piano Goals and Achieve Them

        How to Set Realistic Piano Goals and Achieve Them

        It’s no secret that learning to play the piano can be a daunting task. Many people start lessons with high aspirations but eventually give up because they need help to stay consistent with their practice routine.

        Or they get discouraged because they don’t make the kind of progress they’re hoping to make quickly. And other aspiring pianists get distracted by the promise of the newest piano program or app.

        I’ve been all those aspiring pianists at various times in my life. But since getting serious about wanting to progress at the keyboard, I’ve learned a ton about setting realistic goals.

        And I’ve been able to achieve some of my biggest goals.

        Since it’s almost time to think about setting a new year’s resolution, now is the perfect time to help you figure out how to set realistic piano goals! And since practice is tied into learning any skill, I will also touch on how you need to spend practice time.

        Lastly, I will cover a few of my favorite practice tools. And, with that, let’s get to it!

        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.

        Why don’t people accomplish their goals?

        If you want to achieve your goals, understanding your potential barriers is crucial. And there are a few very common things that can derail your progress.


        Your perception of time has a significant impact on goal attainment. If you don’t believe you have the time to work towards a goal, you won’t even try to make room for it in your schedule.

        And although it can seem as if you need huge chunks of time to achieve big goals, the truth is that 5 minutes here and there is sometimes all you need for massive progress.

        If you’re serious about making progress with your piano playing, you need to carve time out of your schedule to make it happen.


        Anyone can set a goal. But not everyone follows through with figuring out how to transform a dream into reality.

        And figuring out the “how” is often the trickiest part. But one of the best ways to get yourself unstuck from uncertainty is to find a mentor.

        The first step is finding someone who is in the spot where you want to be. That person can guide you and save you countless hours of struggling on your own.

        And in the case of learning to play the instrument, finding a piano teacher can mean the difference between success and failure.


        There’s nothing that derails goals faster than having a negative mindset. The way you talk to yourself matters!

        And your brain will find evidence to support whatever you believe about your abilities.

        Although I’m not suggesting that mindset erases hard work, it all starts with belief. And with stepping outside your comfort zone.

        Result vs. Progress

        Many people gauge their progress on how far they are from their goals. But discouragement often comes from looking ahead instead of behind.

        The more encouraging way to measure progress is to consider where you are now compared to where you started.

        Start looking for ways to enjoy the daily habits that will accomplish your goals, and life suddenly becomes more about the journey than the destination.


        Success takes WAY longer than you think it does. So many people make the mistake of giving up too soon.

        It takes YEARS to master the piano. Whether you love classical, jazz, or pop or aspire to play in your church’s band, it will take much longer than you think.

        But in most cases, the people who succeed are simply the people who never give up. They find their passion and stick with it, regardless of the obstacles.

        What are realistic piano goals?

        Now that we’ve explored potential barriers between you and your goals let’s discuss setting realistic piano goals.

        The most crucial factor is ensuring your goals are specific and achievable within a certain timeframe. It’s easy to want to jump from one level of playing to another overnight, but it rarely happens like that.

        So, instead of going from zero to one hundred overnight, try setting smaller goals and daily practice habits.

        For example, let’s say you’re struggling with playing hands together. Instead of making a goal of “playing the whole song hands together,” try something like this:

        Play the first line of Prelude in C Major with the right hand ten times without mistakes by Tuesday.

        Play the first line of Prelude in C Major with the left hand ten times without mistakes by Thursday.

        Play the first line of Prelude in C Major with hands together at 40 bpm by Saturday.

        Aim to break your goals into small steps. Your goals should be so tiny that you can accomplish them in a few days or weeks.

        Although making long-term goals is okay, breaking them into a bunch of very tiny steps is how you can make steady progress without becoming disheartened.

        What is the relationship between practice and piano goal setting?

        Although there are many people out there who believe talent is the key to success, it’s not.

        Hard work trumps talent every time.

        Learning to play the piano is a skill, much like learning to play a sport or getting better at writing. The only way you’ll get better at it is by practicing.

        And tying consistent practice into your overall goal setting is one of the best ways to make progress.

        Setting practice-related goals are also one of the best ways to prevent feeling like you need to make more progress.

        My suggestion is that instead of “learning the last movement of Beethoven’s moonlight sonata,” make a goal of “practicing 5 minutes a day.”

        Regardless of whether you’re an adult beginner or a concert pianist, you can accomplish the goal of practicing 5 minutes a day.

        5 minutes a day is measurable and attainable. And even if you don’t learn a Beethoven sonata, you can use that time to hone your technical skills, learn a new piece, or have fun playing the instrument.

        And by setting small, attainable habits, you’ll be well on your way to achieving any larger piano goal you set for yourself.

        How should you divide up your practice time?

        I always recommend starting with a short warm-up. This is the time to prepare your mind and body for what’s to come.

        Scales, arpeggios, 7th chords, and Czerny or Hanon exercises make great warm-up material. You could also play a song that you have previously mastered.

        Sight reading also makes good warm-up material.

        After warming up, I like to tackle my most mentally demanding tasks. And for me, that means memorization. I use this time to learn a new measure or phrase in anything I’m working on committing to memory.

        If memorization is easy for you, use this time to work on technically demanding tasks within a specific song or for metronome work.

        I generally have 3-4 pieces I’m working on at once, and I try to run through all my pieces during a practice session.

        And once I’ve gotten through all my practice “work,” I love unwinding by playing whatever I want. Sometimes this means playing a pop piano cover or working out a song by ear. It could also be playing a piece of music that’s fun to play.

        To recap:

        1. Warm-up
        2. Anything that is mentally draining/demanding
        3. Other things that need work
        4. Fun stuff!

        How long should your practice sessions be?

        Although the standard advice is 30 minutes daily, I take a more flexible approach.

        I aim for at least 5 minutes a day. And I exceed that goal on most days.

        But there are days when 5 minutes is plenty.

        Keeping flexibility in my goals leads to less guilt when I have a day here or there that isn’t very productive. The key to making progress is a regular practice routine.

        When starting a new practice goal, keep the amount of time you’ll practice each day small. And before long, you’ll be exceeding what you thought was possible!

        Are there tools to make your practice time more effective?

        Absolutely! My favorite tool is an app called Modacity.

        The app allows you to keep track of what you’re practicing. It gives you practice goal suggestions and lets you add personalized goals.

        One of my favorite features of the app is the ability to record yourself. You can record a short snippet or an entire piece.

        Recording yourself is the fastest way to improve, and I love how integrated recording is into this app.

        If you’d like to read my Modacity review, click here. And to try it for yourself, click here.

        Aside from the app, I wholeheartedly recommend a couple of books to improve your practice efficiency.

        The first is called Peak. This book unveils the secrets behind how the world’s best and, more importantly, how they achieved success.

        The second is also a book. It’s called The Musician’s Way and gives solid practice advice. It’s a fantastic resource to help troubleshoot practice challenges.

        The book also advises setting and achieving performance goals, so it’s a fantastic resource if you struggle with playing for other people!


        Final Thoughts

        Setting realistic piano goals and establishing a consistent practice routine are the keys to piano success.

        Start small, break up your practice time, and use tools like Modacity to help keep you accountable and improve more quickly.

        Good habits stack up over time, resulting in unbelievable progress in a relatively short period of time. And with a solid foundation in habit forming, you can progress in every area of your life.

        Playing a musical instrument has many incredible benefits for your brain and overall well-being.

        And have fun with it! Piano playing is meant to bring joy.

        If you loved this post, check out my other piano-inspired posts:

        The Best Christmas Piano Sheet Music to Celebrate the Season!

        The Best Christmas Piano Sheet Music to Celebrate the Season!

        Christmas is a time for celebration! What better way to get in the Christmas spirit than by playing seasonal pieces on the piano?

        We have entertaining holiday favorites for everyone! So get your holiday spirit started by checking out these lovely pieces today!

        Stay tuned for my top recommendations for Christmas sheet music for beginner, intermediate, and advanced pianists.

        This post may contain affiliate links. As affiliates of the Amazon associate program, Modacity, Dr. Josh Wright ProPractice, Musicnotes, 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.

        Christmas Sheet Music for Beginner Pianists

        Christmas Carols for Piano – Christina Levante

        This Christmas song collection includes 45 easy and popular piano pieces. It’s the perfect book for beginner pianists.

        It contains the very best Christmas songs written in an easy-to-follow format, ideal for beginner pianists.

        The melody lines in the right hand are straightforward; although there are occasional 16th notes, most notes are eighth, quarter, and half notes. And the left hand accompaniments are also very simple.

        The book takes it a step further and includes note names for every note in the book. Thanks to the note names, this is a great book to try if you’re brand new to the instrument.

        Purchasing the book also gives you access to recordings of each piece. This is an exceptional bonus because finding recordings of specific arrangements for other books online can be difficult. And being able to listen to the song helps you learn it on a deeper level.

        Here are just a few of the more popular songs in this book:

        • Silent Night
        • We Wish You a Merry Christmas
        • Jingle Bells
        • O Holy Night
        • Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

        This book is appropriate for either adult or children beginner pianists. Skip this collection if you are irritated or distracted by having written note names on your music.

        Easy Piano Songs: 40 Christmas Carols for Beginners – Thomas Johnson

        This next volume includes a variety of very familiar Christmas pieces. All songs come with and without written finger numbers.

        Specific selections also come with lyrics, so if you want to sing along, this may be an excellent volume for you!

        Song selections include:

        • In the Bleak Midwinter
        • Good King Wenceslas
        • God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
        • Auld Lang Syne
        • O Holy Night

        The downside of this volume is that it’s not spiral bound, and with over 150 pages, keeping it open while playing may be challenging. Despite this drawback, it might be a good option if you’re looking for songs with and without notes and lyrics.

        Christmas Sheet Music for Intermediate Pianists

        A Contemporary Christian Christmas – Lorie Line

        Known for her unique arrangements of familiar songs and hymns, Lorie Line has produced several Christmas books over the years.

        Her newest has been out for a year and features contemporary Christian songs from Amy Grant, Lauren Daigle, and Carrie Underwood.

        My favorite song from the book is “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” by Casting Crows. It’s a gorgeous rendition of one of the lesser-known Christmas carols.

        If you’re looking for Christmas arrangements of newer music, this is your album.

        Be aware that the difficulty of Lorie Line’s music books varies. In any given book, there are songs that lean more towards intermediate and others that require more technical prowess to perform.

        This book is no exception, and if you’re easily frustrated by a slightly more challenging repertoire, you may look elsewhere.

        Jazz Piano Christmas Carols Book – Alicja Urbanowicz

        If you’re looking for a jazzy interpretation of classic Christmas carols, this next one is right up your alley!

        This volume includes 12 traditional Christmas favorites with a hint of jazz. It is accessible for late beginner and early intermediate pianists. Several songs in this volume include:

        • Jingle Bells
        • Silent Night
        • What Child is This

        The volume also includes video tutorials, so it may be a great option if you’re a do-it-yourself piano player.

        Christmas Sheet Music for Advanced Pianists

        The Professional Pianist: Solos for Christmas – Dan Coates

        This collection of 50 Christmas songs runs the gamut of seasonal music. Selections include:

        • The First Noel
        • O Little Town of Bethlehem
        • Sleigh Ride
        • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
        • O Christmas Tree
        • Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
        • Winter Wonderland

        Thanks to the variety of songs included in this book, it would work well for a holiday party, Christmas Eve service, or other events where you need to play several solo piano pieces.

        It’s included in the advanced section because of the variety of song difficulties included in the volume.

        Although it’s intended to be used as a take-off-the-shelf tool for professional pianists, the book is relatively large and not spiral bound. Depending on the size of the book, playing from a traditionally bound book can be cumbersome, so you should keep that in mind when deciding whether to order this book.

        The arrangements of the songs in this book tend to be more traditional arrangements without the degree of artistic liberty taken by Lorie Line.

        In other words, this might be a good choice if you’re looking for traditional interpretations of the familiar Christmas favorites.

        Francesco Parrino Christmas singles

        If you’re looking for a more contemporary take on select Christmas favorites, check out Francesco Parrino.

        Francesco has many highly entertaining covers of songs, including “Let it Be,” “Bad Guy,” and “Listen to Your Heart.”

        Although he doesn’t have a book of song selections, you can purchase many of the songs he performs from Musicnotes or his website.

        Download Sheet Music at Musicnotes.com

        If you’ve never heard his covers, check out his piano performance of “Carol of the Bells.” It’s absolutely spellbinding!

        Although the difficulty of his songs varies, I would consider them to be advanced, so consider when deciding how much time you will need to perfect the piece.

        Final Thoughts

        I hope this post has given you inspiration and insight into the best Christmas piano sheet music for your level. From contemporary Christian to jazz and traditional arrangements, there’s something out there for every pianist!

        No matter what type of music you decide to play this holiday season, the important thing is that you enjoy it! Have fun!

        Do you have a favorite book of Christmas songs? Please share it by commenting below!

        And if you loved this post, check out a few of my other piano-related posts: