Most articles about the “best online piano lessons for adults” are written by affiliate marketers. They hope you’ll click on the links in their articles so they can make a commission.

This article is different. No affiliate links! Instead, in an organized, methodical way, I’ll break down the various factors that adult piano learners should consider when starting out. And since there’s no one best approach for every adult learner, the real question is:

What’s the best way for me as an adult to learn piano online?

What Are Online Piano Lessons, Exactly?

“Online piano lessons” now has a much broader meaning than it used to.

When piano teachers started teaching online in the early days of the Internet, “online piano lessons” were traditional 1:1 private synchronous (i.e. live) lessons with a professional teacher. The only difference from in-person piano lessons is they were conducted via Skype or similar videoconferencing applications.

Soon after, courtesy of YouTube, online videos skyrocketed in popularity, and it became possible – if not necessarily easy – to learn many piano fundamentals that way.

Then, online courses for teaching oneself piano (and just about everything else) began to materialize. The best online courses were (and are) multimedia versions of traditional adult piano methods, originally published as books. Some online self-study courses may offer the option of receiving asynchronous (not in real time) feedback from a teacher by submitting recordings of one’s playing.

Not long after, piano learning apps (software) began to appear. Most include videos and other standard features of online courses, but include feedback on one’s playing provided by the app.

To sum up, if “lessons” mean “something from which a person learns” and “online” means being connected to the Internet, “online piano lessons” includes:

  • Virtual (private or group) lessons with a teacher
  • Videos (YouTube)
  • Online courses
  • Apps and software

Some people who can’t imagine learning without technology may wonder:  “Could teaching myself piano using videos, online courses or apps actually be better than studying with a teacher?” The answer? It’s doubtful – especially for learning anything beyond the basics. Consider that for 95% of the piano’s 300-year history, human teachers have successfully transmitted their knowledge and skills to the next generation. (Each generation has even improved upon the skills of the previous generation!) That said, most modern teachers do incorporate useful technology into their lessons, whether in-person or online.

Choosing the Best Way for You to Learn Piano Online

The most important factors for choosing the best way for you to learn piano online are:

  • Your current playing skill
  • Your desired playing skill
  • Your desired skillsets
  • Your social learning style
  • Your motivation level
  • The cost

Your Current Playing Skill

If you’re a beginner or “rusty returner” (an adult who studied as a child or younger adult) just about any approach will be viable, at least for a while. To decide which, you’ll want to consider the other factors discussed below.

If you’re an intermediate or advanced player looking to brush up or take your skills to the next level, your best option will likely be 1:1 virtual synchronous (in real time) lessons with an outstanding teacher.

Your Desired Playing Skill

The next thing to consider is how good you’d like to get.

If you’re a beginner, and you’ll be content with learning the basics and some simple songs, an online course or app may be just the ticket.

If you want to develop intermediate to advanced playing skills, you’ll want the best instruction possible. But you’ll also want to factor in your current skill level. If you’re a beginner, you could try an online course, app, or virtual lessons. If you’re already an advanced beginner or intermediate player, you’ll likely be better off with 1:1 private online lessons.

Your Desired Skillsets

Learning piano doesn’t mean just playing. The best instruction will include learning about the “nuts and bolts” of music, aka music theory, in order to understand what you’re doing. It may also incorporate learning to create your own music by improvising, arranging or composing.

At Creative Keyboardist, we call this the Play Understand Create approach.

Tech-focused solutions (videos, online courses, apps) can help you learn the basics. They can also help you learn basic music theory. (To understand music theory deeply, you’ll almost certainly need 1:1 lessons with a piano school or teacher that offers advanced theory as part of its methodology.)

Yet tech solutions aren’t at all sufficient for acquiring creative skills. For these you’ll need an expert online creative piano teacher.

Your Social Learning Style

While it’s been proven that matching a learning approach to one’s learning style doesn’t actually improve learning, it’s nevertheless a fact that people have learning preferences.

When choosing between the approaches to learning piano online, the most important learning preference is your social learning style. Would you prefer the highly social experience of online private or group lessons with a teacher? Or would you prefer the less social experience of online self-study courses or apps, some of which might include the option of asynchronous feedback from a teacher?

Your Motivation Level

The intensity of your motivation to learn piano is a different issue from how well you want to play.

You might only want to learn the basics, but you’re very motivated to acquire those skills.

Or you want to be a monster player, but you’re not as motivated as you think you should be.

If you’re not highly motivated – but it doesn’t concern you – motivation isn’t an important factor.

But if you think boosting your motivation to study and practice piano would make it more likely you’ll achieve your goals, you should strongly consider the standard approach of taking weekly virtual piano lessons for adults. Why? For the same reason that many people join a gym. They hope that by paying a monthly membership fee, they’ll be more motivated to exercise regularly.

That said, a gym is an imperfect metaphor, because most gym memberships don’t include personal training. Private 1:1 piano lessons are personal training, and your teacher’s personal attention, (hopefully) systematic approach, and their belief in you and your musical potential, will likely do wonders for enhancing your motivation.

The Cost

If cost isn’t an issue, most adults will be better off with live 1:1 instruction (assuming a good teacher).

If you need a lower or moderate cost approach, try learning with videos, a self-learning course, or an app. Another, more effective, approach – yet typically cheaper than private instruction – is online group lessons for adults.

Free Assessment

You’re ready to take our free assessment, which will help you decide the best way for you to learn piano online. The assessment addresses:

  • Your social learning style
  • Your desired playing skill
  • The cost

Your assessment results may recommend working with apps or online courses, taking private or group synchronous lessons with one of our competitors, and/or studying with us.

If the results suggest more than one option, you can narrow your choices by also considering:

  • Your current playing skill
  • Your desired skillsets
  • Your motivation

What’s The Best Way For Me to Learn Piano Online?

How to Succeed at Learning Piano as an Adult

With time and practice, nearly any adult can learn to play piano proficiently, even outstandingly. Choosing the best online learning approach is a good first step. But ultimately, whether you achieve your musical objectives is very simple. All it really requires is:

  • Starting
  • Sticking with it.
  • Practicing regularly and smartly.

Here’s wishing you a successful and joy-filled musical journey!

Share this: