The Best Ways To Learn Piano: Recommended Apps, Books and Teaching Options

Many people have an aspiration to learn the piano, whether you perhaps played a little when you were younger and are looking to return, or this is your very first time learning, it can be a little overwhelming at first to know which learning tool is going to be right for you.

With so many learning tools, options and series out there, it’s hard to know which options might cover the genres and musical styles that you want to achieve. Today we wanted to break down some of the most common ways of learning, offer their pros and cons to help give you some insight, so you can make your own mind up on the best ways to immerse yourself in the world of learning the piano.

So without any delay, let’s dive in!

Piano learning apps

APPS:

The first, and perhaps fastest growing method of learning to play the piano is via apps such as Simply Piano, Chordana or Piano Academy.

All use their own methodologies to help make the learning experience fun, enjoyable, relevant and easy to follow and for the most part, we have seen a lot of success with them! Generally speaking, to make sure you’re playing the right notes, most use the in built microphone on your smart device, phone or tablet in order to understand how you are playing and offer advice on how to best improve to the next level.

As they are so interactive, these apps are fantastic for young learners, or those who perhaps just want to practice the basics for fun.


A few things to note with this however, if you play on an acoustic instrument, unless your acoustic piano is tuned regularly, they can be difficult to integrate with a learning app that detects sound a certain pitch as even though you may be playing the right notes, in the eyes of the device, the note will be incorrect. Being digital platforms, they of course also require power and some need connection to wifi in order to function properly. Some apps can be quite draining on your device’s battery, so it’s worth having a charger nearby!

We believe that learning apps can be a fantastic entry point to learning the absolute basics of piano, the notes, how to read basic music, chord progressions and navigating the keys; however, beware that without proper instruction, it can be easy for poor technique and habits to slip in. To learn more about our favourite apps on the market, read our guide here!

PROS:

  • Free to download (paid options available)
  • Easy to use
  • Great for learning the absolute basics
  • Exciting, particularly for young learners.

CONS:

  • Mostly suited to digital pianos
  • No attention to technique
  • Hidden paywalls or advertisements interrupt learning
floor of sheet music for piano

BOOKS: 

Essentially the classical version of learning! Who doesn’t love diving into a good book? There are literally countless numbers of piano books out there, everything from learning your favorite Disney songs, right up to the most intricate entries from Chopin or Beethoven. 

With so much out there, it’s easy to get lost in the sea of pages, however a great place to start with learning through books, especially if you, or your child is looking to undergo graded performances, is to use the actual syllabuses from the exam boards. For example ABRSM offer a number of resources for both practising piano and also preparing for exams.

For those who are also planning on learning with a teacher, these books are a great option as they will often correlate directly to your lessons, giving you a multitude of feedback and tips to continue to progress your playing.

PROS:

  • Personalised learning experience
  • No power requirements
  • (Relatively) low cost

CONS:

  • Easy for bad habits to sneak in without tuition
  • Page turning mid playing
  • Easy to lose/become damaged
Young boy with piano teacher

LEARNING WITH A TEACHER

We work incredibly closely with our teacher network and often have many customers come to us looking for a teacher. In our opinion, teachers have one enormous advantage over digital or book learning…Technique!

There’s a fantastic saying that “You can learn anything on YouTube” or on the internet. Which is 100% true, however what they often don’t account for is the subtle learning nuances that come with learning in a physical environment with a teacher. Not only is it a fantastic social experience, but also helps build a relationship that can last a lifetime. We often speak to teachers who have been teaching the same students for 10 or even 20 years!

That being said, we definitely wouldn’t recommend just picking the first teacher you find! It’s not uncommon to have to go through 3 or 4 different teachers before you find the right one for you. Each teacher has their own teaching style and personality, so it’s important to find one that makes you feel comfortable and unembarrassed to make mistakes (which trust us…you will if you’re just learning!)

A good piano teacher will not only help improve your technique but also listen to your goals and musical dreams. For example if you are passionate about jazz, they’ll tailor your lessons around jazz instead of classical music, so it’s important to speak to your teacher beforehand to see if they are suited to you!

piano teacher giving an online lesson

Many teachers also offer either a taster session or discounted rate on the first lesson to see if you are both compatible. We also wouldn’t underestimate the power of online tuition either here! Throughout the pandemic, many teachers have heavily invested in online lessons and many now teach almost exclusively online! If you’re more of a tech lover and would rather learn online, that is certainly now a potential option!

PROS: 

  • A real social experience, meet other students and parents
  • Teach proper technique
  • Online / flexible learning options
  • Personalised learning

CONS:

  • More expensive
  • Limited by location (unless they teach online)
  • Can be difficult to find the right teacher for you

So there you have it! Just a handful of our favourite ways to learn piano, so whether you are a complete beginner looking to get started, or are returning to the piano after a long time, we hope some of the options presented here will work for you and keep encouraging you to come back to your piano time and time again! If you’d like any help choosing your first piano, or are looking to upgrade your instrument, contact our team today!

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