Working in a piano store, I talk to people all the time who think that it will take years to learn a fun song on the piano. Wrong! You can learn a basic song in as little as an evening, although a more realistic expectation is probably a few weeks, depending how much you practice and the complexity of the piece. From there, you can work on more complicated pieces that are harder, but also more fun and build your technique. There are a ton of really good resources out there to help you learn piano, but I wanted to focus on a couple of my favorite FREE ways to learn piano IMMEDIATELY.
5. Hoffman Academy
There are a number of online instructors, but my personal favorite is Joseph Hoffman through HoffmanAcademy.com. Real nice instructor – he has video lessons that are between 5 and 15 minutes long that clearly explain an important educational topic. If you want to buy the supplementary materials, they’re inexpensive (like $19 for 20 lessons worth) and helpful. You can learn at your own pace, practicing between concepts. No online videos can replace a good teacher, but if you want to get started now, this is one of your best bets.
This iPad app is like “Guitar Hero” for piano. You can use it with any acoustic (“real”) or digital piano, without any wires. You can start by just playing one note, and it gets progressively more challenging; If you already play, you can jump in and play at an appropriate level. It teaches you how to read REAL music for REAL songs that you hear on the radio – There’s always a nice backing track that makes you sound really good. They have a constantly growing collection of fun, popular music that you’ll instantly recognize – songs from Angry Birds, Game of Thrones, Avicii, Katy Perry, etc. They also have entire method books, including Alfred, Music for Little Mozarts, Piano Pronto and more. It’s iPad only for the moment – they’re still working on an Android version. Get a free 1 month trial with coupon code: JTS1MFamilyPiano.
Edit: We later found FlowKey, a similar iPad app that has a different aesthetic, different catalog of songs (some free!), and different pricing model. We encourage you to check it out!
The International Music Score Library Project is like Wikipedia, except for sheet music that is out of copyright that you can download for free. It is the biggest collection of free sheet music that we know of and is great for classical, blues, and jazz classics. It’s not just for piano, either – they have representation of hundreds of popular and obscure instruments. You can search with multiple criteria – for example, method pieces that are intended to help you learn piano. I mean, if you want to give us $5 for a copy of the Hanon finger exercises you can, or you can download the pdf here.
I love Youtube, because it’s such a great way to encourage exploration and experimentation, with both new and experienced musicians. Like a song on the radio? Type it into Youtube’s search bar, follow by “how to play on piano” and I’ll bet you a nickel that someone has made a video that shows you how to play that song. It will likely be a simplified version, focused on the chorus and the melody, but it’s likely to be a relatively quick, easy, and fun way to play a song that your friends will recognize. If you’d like to focus more on learning solid technique, there are about 1.8 million results for the term “learn to play piano,” with many of the results from instructors that focus on building technique. If there’s a concept that confuses you, there are always more videos that may explain it from a different angle and give you deeper insight into how to play better. One good channel for beginners is from local teacher Laura Ackerman.
As an aside, if you use YouTube to learn piano, you’ll likely reach a plateau and that’s a great time to look into private lessons. A good teacher will:
- give you new areas of learning to explore
- correct any bad habits that you may have developed
- give you feedback for refining your technique and performance
- help keep you from getting bored or disengaged
- give you the opportunity to perform in a recital or other venue.
We see Youtube as a fun way to get started and a great compliment to lessons. If you’d like to talk to us about private lessons, feel free to email me at [email protected] or call us at 847-775-1988.
1. Free 10 Week Group Adult Course
One of the nice benefits of getting a piano from us is our Group Adult Class. Each week, you get an hour of instruction and personalized feedback here at the store from one of our qualified instructors, in a small group of other moms, uncles, grandads, and other adults. While we allow students aged 15+ to participate, the younger students need more one-on-one attention and a shorter lesson than a full 60 minutes. We offer this 10 week course 4 times per year and it’s a ton of fun. By the end of the first night, most students can play “The Saints Go Marching In” using both hands. Everyone bonds and at the end, there is a mini-recital for those that want to show off what they’ve learned. This class is FREE for up to 4 adults if you get your piano from us and it never expires. If you don’t, you can still participate, but tuition is $150 per person.
Need an Instrument to Practice on?
Speaking of getting a piano, here at Family Piano Co, we have a few really good options to choose from. If you can’t practice, you simply can’t progress, so we encourage you to get a good quality instrument to learn on.
Buy a Piano – We have a beautiful selection of new and used pianos, both uprights and grands, with a special focus on budget-friendly pianos for folks just starting off. The nice thing is that you get 100% trade-up with all acoustic (“real”) pianos. If, for example, you buy a piano for $968 from us, you can trade that in and we’ll guarantee to give you $968 towards any other piano on the floor (minus moving charges). Our skilled technicians and tuners have gone through each piano for 2-4 days, to make sure it’s perfect before it goes to your home. Each piano comes with a minimum of a 3 year warranty, so you can rest easy that your piano will never cost you more than expected or stop working well. Financing options are available. Browse pianos here.
Rent to Own a Piano – Our popular rental program is affordable and flexible. It starts at only $49 per month to get one of our quality instruments into your home, with 100% of your first 12 payments going to owning the instrument. There are no minimum number of months, no down payments, and no sales tax (until you purchase, of course!). More details here.
Buy a Digital – For a lot of families, a digital piano like a Casio Privia is a great option. In the last few years, the feel and sound of digital pianos has really improved, to the point where it’s a viable learning tool for many students and musicians. Each model has different features that we can explain to you, so you can pick the best possible option. We match prices from Amazon and other major online retailers, so you can get the best price, plus take it home same-day, get more hands on training from us, and support a local business.
Whenever you’re ready, we’d love to personally walk you through your options, answer you questions, and make sure you have an enjoyable, low-pressure, no haggle experience here.
Feel free to call us at 847-775-1988 or email me at [email protected]