Are you looking to teach yourself piano? 

Maybe you’re an experienced hobbyist, but you’re unable to make in-person lessons work with your schedule or location.

In-person lessons are, without doubt, the best way to improve your playing. A good private piano teacher can supervise your playing, give you immediate feedback, and enhance your musical awareness much faster than  any other method. 

However, sometimes it's tricky to make private lessons work because of time constraints, finances, or the lack of teachers in your area. 

If this is you, look no further! 

Here, we’ll discuss the top 3 most-effective ways to teach yourself piano, with or without formal piano lessons.

#3 - YouTube

This may be obvious, but it’s not something to overlook.

Youtube has thousands of video lessons from some of the greatest pianists to have ever lived, covering a wide range of piano-related content.

You can find lectures from Juilliard professors, interviews with legends such as Martha Argerich and Vladimir Ashkenazy, and tutorials on performance, among other videos on popular topics for pianists.

And as a bonus, these are all free!

However, there is one large drawback to the whole YouTube approach:

Structure.

YouTube may have excellent free content, but you’re likely to have trouble navigating the dense search results to find the content you need at your level.

Also, you’re unlikely to find a lot of structured, step-by-step courses on certain pieces or important piano techniques. You’ll have to guide yourself through learning on YouTube without added resources like a private forum or downloadable workbooks. 

Still, YouTube videos are a good casual option when looking for a surface-level intro to a piece or a piano practice topic.

#2 - Books!

If you’re all about structure, then maybe going the book route is right for you.

There are lots of technique books from publishers like Alfred Music and Hal Leonard which cover a wide range of playing levels.

Here is a list of 3 books we recommend (in no particular order):

Bernstein takes a step-by-step, choreographic approach to developing your technique and infusing it with musical purpose.

Roskell provides a lengthy, comprehensive encyclopedia of healthy piano technique and how to use it. It’s a great tool to have by your side at the piano for reference.

Unlike the Roskell book, Fit 4 Piano is a shorter, more compact and kid-friendly guide to technique with lots of illustrations and simplified examples.

These are great options for those who want tailored instruction at a much lower cost.

However, the range of content in these books can be very limited, and often not at all engaging.

And, if you teach yourself piano through books, you won’t have the benefit of seeing a pianist show you exactly how to execute important skills. 

For this reason, we’ve decided to put course books in the number 2 spot.

#1 - Online masterclasses and courses

As we’ve seen, some of the biggest drawbacks of books and YouTube videos are lack of structure and just generally unengaging content.

For that reason, it can be hard to teach yourself piano using those methods alone, not to mention staying motivated along the way.

That’s especially true if you’re not taking real-world lessons! 

However, online masterclasses and courses can give you the benefits of both books and online videos.

That’s because you can see and hear a professional pianist demonstrate pieces you want to learn and important techniques, step-by-step.

The #1 online course platform to teach yourself piano online? tonebase!

With 500+ tutorials and structured courses, tonebase is the go-to learning platform for thousands of pianists around the world. In it, you’ll find all the inspiration and enrichment a developing pianist needs, as GRAMMY-winning artists and renowned teachers show you how to play classical masterworks.

Besides learning from top pianists, you’ll be able to participate in live forums, download scores and workbooks, and track your progress. 

For those reasons, tonebase is so much more than a book you'll have to flip through, or a series of un-organized YouTube videos. It's like a virtual school of music, taking you to the next level as a pianist — with or without a private teacher! 

To top that off, it costs only a small fraction of one lesson per month.

(That’s hundreds of hours of high-quality, curated content at very little cost.)

Ready to try it for free?

Click below to start your 14-day FREE trial and unlock everything inside tonebase. You’ll get complete access to 100s of premium piano lessons and courses, along with:

  • LIVE workshops with top artists and pedagogues every week 
  • The active tonebase Community where you can give and get feedback, and participate in skill-building Challenges and Two-Week Intensives
  • Hundreds of enriched workbooks, annotated scores and other digital resources to aid you in your learning

We hope to see you in the forums!

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"I don't regret for a minute having spent the money on the membership. There's something for every musician on tonebase – I recommend you give it a try."

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Dave McLellan

Concert & Chamber Musician

Join over 40,000 pianists improving every day with courses and lessons on tonebase.