Here on Piano Dreamers, I’ve taken an in-depth look into several of the best online piano courses out there. While these online methods are a fraction of the price of traditional in-person lessons, they still require a financial commitment that may put off first-time pianists on a budget.
That’s why I’ve put together this list of free piano resources that will send beginner pianists off on their piano journey without making them dig into their pockets.
When compared to paid methods, whether online or in-person, free lessons do have their drawbacks. These include less structure, lack of teacher support, and fewer available options.
I selected the resources on this list because they manage to avoid some of these shortfallings, but we have to keep in mind that a $0 price tag necessitates a bit of compromise on our part.
Nonetheless, whether you’re looking for a main learning method or something to supplement the weaker areas of your current piano course, these free piano resources are worth looking into. Here we go!
YouTube is a great place to start for free piano lessons, but make sure that you don’t fall into the trap of learning how to play songs through imitation without actually developing any real musical skills or knowledge.
Channels like the two below deliver solid piano know-how in short video lessons.
Creative Piano Academy
This channel by Josef Sykora has over 100 video lessons, starting with content for beginners and moving into intermediate techniques as well. The videos are organized into playlists with names like “New Here? Check These Out First” and “Left Hand Piano – Videos to Improve Your Left Hand”.
The playlists provide a bit of structure so that students aren’t at a loss about where to start and what to be practicing.
The video lessons have a high production value, with overhead keyboard views, displayed staff, and highlighted keys just like in many paid online methods. Josef has a clear, enjoyable way of teaching, and the comments are overwhelmingly positive.
The lesson topics are many and varied, including pedaling, rhythm exercises, adding emotion, finger exercises, and scales. However, the overall focus is on chords and improvisation with the intent of playing popular music.
Josef teaches tips and tricks for chording, creating melodic patterns, harmonizing, and more. Unlike other chord-focused courses I’ve seen where it’s assumed that you’ll want to accompany yourself while singing the melody, all the song examples are piano-only.
In addition to the video lessons, Josef has created free guide sheets to go along with some of the lessons, such as a rhythm exercise sheet and a beginner finger exercise sheet. Creative Piano Academy also offers paid courses with more structured lessons and “practice routes”.
This channel’s target audience appears to be adults and teenagers interested in playing popular music.
What’s done right: Wide variety of interesting lessons, clear instruction, and examples that are a joy to listen to and play. The lessons are designed to get students playing right away.
What’s missing: While notes are always shown on the staff during the lessons, reading music is not a focus of Creative Piano Academy, nor is theory. Also, though playlists offer some structure, there is no clear lesson or level progression.
Piano Lessons on the Web
Piano Lessons on the Web is a YouTube channel dedicated to teaching beginner pianists useful strategies and exercises for learning how to play the piano, as well as pieces and music theory.
The lessons are taught by Tim, who does a good job of explaining concepts in an easy-to-follow manner.
This channel is comprehensive, with hundreds of videos covering topics from posture, rhythms, and finger dexterity to troubleshooting, pop chords, and ear training.
The earliest beginner lessons are arranged into playlists in order to help students progress logically, and Tim goes the second step of dividing the playlists into three levels. However, after this stage, the lessons have not been organized into any sort of order other than the order in which they were posted.
Unlike Creative Piano Academy, the lessons focus heavily on reading music, theory, and technique. They don’t get you playing within the first few videos, but they do make sure that you develop a solid foundation in theory and will be able to learn pieces from sheet music.
This is perhaps why Piano Lessons on the Web has fewer lessons that teach a specific song — it’s expected that you’ll be playing pieces from external sheet music.
If you’re a fan of classical music or have the goal of learning how to read music, this channel is a good place for you to start. It is best suited to adults and teenagers.
What’s done right: The lessons are detailed and strong on theory, reading music, and technique.
What’s missing: There are not many lessons on chords or improvisation, and you’ll need to look for additional sheet music.
For those who prefer reading their lessons to watching them, these websites present a solid option. Web pages also lend themselves better to a structured lesson plan than YouTube channels, so there is no guesswork in what to practice next.
This award-winning website has been offering free online piano lessons since 1994. It has starter, intermediate, and advanced studies, with 9-13 lessons each.
The lessons are text-based, with images and audio files to demonstrate the concepts on the piano. The starter and intermediate sections deal almost entirely with theory, reading music, and technique rather than teaching pieces, but students should be able to apply concepts learned in the lessons to external music.
PianoNanny takes a “learn first, then play” approach that doesn’t get students playing their first song until lesson 8, but it is certainly comprehensive.
The advanced studies veer away from reading sheet music into jazz and improvisation. Students learn about chord progressions, improv patterns, the blues scale, and other jazzy concepts.
This makes PianoNanny a well-rounded course suited both to those that wish to learn how to read music and those interested in improvisation and chording.
PianoNanny is best for adult and teenage learners, as the format is heavy on information and light on more fun features like songs and visuals.
What’s done right: PianoNanny digs in deep on theory and makes sure that students get a good education on reading music as well as improvisation.
What’s missing: Students don’t actually touch the piano until nearly the end of the beginner section, and will definitely need to source pieces elsewhere.
Zebra Keys is an old-school site that provides 50 beginner piano lessons free of charge. The lessons are divided into four levels: preparation, beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Each level is further divided into lessons on songs, chords, music theory, improvisation, and technique.
The lessons are text-based and accompanied by animations that demonstrate the concepts, including hands playing chords/scales or key parts in songs.
*Make sure Flash is enabled in your browser to be able to see all the illustrations.
This lesson plan starts out with the piano basics but doesn’t take long to start putting them into practice with simple songs. By the end of the advanced section, students will know how to play the blues scale and advanced chords. More lessons on concepts like modulation and transposition are coming soon, according to the website.
Two additional Zebra Keys features are a sheet music library with 35 beginner and advanced pieces in the public domain, and ear training and note-naming exercises.
Zebra Keys also has a YouTube channel with video lessons that correspond to the lessons on the website, as well as many song and scale tutorials.
One misgiving I have about this program is that it seems to provide a surface-level understanding of concepts. For example, it teaches how to play certain advanced chords, but not in which scenarios they would be used. For this reason, I see Zebra Keys as a once-over-lightly piano resource.
Zebra Keys recommends their program for learners ages 13 and up, though also say that a parent could use the lessons as an aid to teach their children how to play the piano. Students who are interested in a quick intro to reading music, chording, and improvisation are best for this course.
What’s done right: The lessons are well-rounded and logically structured, and it’s nice to have a free source for sheet music.
What’s missing: The lessons are not particularly in-depth, especially those on music notation, and the website could be sleeker and more user-friendly.
Free Piano Apps
There are plenty of free piano apps for both iOS and Android, but most of them make use of an on-screen piano, and teach little, if anything, in the way of theory and practical piano skills. Apps such as these are best thought of as games — they’re fun but don’t actually translate to real-life musical knowledge.
Another common type of free piano apps are those associated with programs like Flowkey, Simply Piano, and Skoove, which are free at first but require payment to access most content.
I was not able to find a free app that could be used as a main piano course, but that’s not to say that there are no piano apps that are both free and useful.
Below are some great piano apps that cover just one or two aspects of learning to play the piano. These apps are fantastic supplements to other learning methods, whether those be in-person lessons, paid online courses, or free online lessons.
Music Tutor is sight reading gamified, helping you to painlessly develop your speed and accuracy in reading music.
Using either your midi-connected keyboard or the on-screen keyboard, you race against the clock to identify notes on the staff.
The app keeps track of your times and accuracy so that you can monitor your progress.
Music Tutor is available for iOS and Android.
This ear-training app is designed to help you develop your aural skills and sense of rhythm.
It includes interval identifying exercises, rhythm clapping and imitation, solfege exercises, and chord and scale identification. The app listens to you via your device’s microphone and keeps track of areas that need more practice.
Ear training is an important aspect of developing musicality that is often overlooked by online methods, so it’s great to have a supplementary resource that addresses it.
Those interested in improvisation in particular should give this app a try.
Perfect Ear can be downloaded on both iOS and Android devices.
A Budget-Friendly First Step
By now you know that there are some great free piano resources out there for those on a budget.
It will likely take a bit of trial-and-error to figure out which free resource is the one for you, or more likely, which few resources are the magic combo that will cover all your bases.
As always, it’s important to figure out what your piano goals are before committing to any one course so that you can be sure that a method is going to take you where you want to go.
You may end up deciding that you need a more structured, all-inclusive piano method to really make progress, whether that means an online course or in-person lessons.
But should you go with an alternate main piano course or not, I recommend taking the time to check out the resources on this list — you can’t beat the price!
About the Author – Giselle Sproule
Giselle has been playing the piano for nearly her whole life. She has her grade 10 piano certificate from the Royal Conservatory of Music and a bachelor’s degree in English.
Giselle has worked as a piano teacher, but she is currently a freelance writer and editor. You can usually find her at home in Calgary or on a travel adventure with her mandolin.
How can I learn piano completely free? ›
- Piano Lessons.
- Piano Nanny.
- 2.1 1) Pianote – Best App For Learning Piano.
- 2.2 2) Simply Piano (iOS +Android)
- 2.3 3) Online Pianist – Best App For Learning New Songs.
- 2.4 4) Flowkey – Great All Around App.
- 2.5 5) Piano Maestro – Ages 4+ – Best Piano App For Kids.
For example, if you are a beginner and your goal is to become proficient at reading music and playing simple repertoire like Amazing Grace, Au Claire de la Lune, or Jingle Bells, then most piano students can get there in 4 to 12 piano lessons. This is the equivalent of 1 to 3 months of piano lessons.Are there any completely free piano apps? ›
Another common type of free piano apps are those associated with programs like Flowkey, Simply Piano, and Skoove, which are free at first but require payment to access most content.Can I learn piano all by myself? ›
Yes! While we believe the best way to learn piano is from an expert instructor, we're also in full support of students who prefer self-learning. Piano's one of the most versatile instruments, so learning how to teach yourself is a skill that will serve you in other areas of life.What is the best free app for learning piano? ›
1. Flowkey. Flowkey is the best piano-learning app, with hundreds of tunes, interactive lessons, and video lectures. It provides step-by-step tutorials and instruction on numerous aspects of skill, from learning chords to music and improvisation, and is focused on everyone from novices to experienced musicians.How long should you practice piano a day? ›
Pianists should practice between 30 minutes to 4 hours per day. Beginners will benefit most from shorter practice sessions while advanced pianists will be more accustomed to longer days. Each practice session can be split into segments to help avoid physical and mental fatigue.How long should a beginner practice piano each day? ›
Teenage and adult beginners should practice at least 30 minutes a day, six days a week. Once you have developed a proper working methodology, a practice regiment of 45 minutes to an hour five to seven days a week should be considered mandatory.How long does it realistically take to learn piano? ›
If you want to be a professional classical performer, you're looking at a minimum of 10 to 15 years of concentrated study with a master teacher, and hours of practice every day. Most people who want to learn piano to play for their own enjoyment can get great results within three to five years of study and practice.Is Simply Piano really free? ›
Is Simply Piano Really Free? Simply Piano does have one free course (“Piano Basics”), and after you've completed it, you will be prompted to pay for a subscription before you can access more advanced material. Furthermore, before you purchase the paid version of the app, you can experiment with a free seven day trial.
Is Flowkey completely free? ›
You can download the flowkey app for free and immediately gain free access to selected songs and course content. For full access to all songs and course content, you will need to purchase a flowkey Premium subscription. You can access flowkey Premium content on all your devices.Is Simply Piano full free? ›
As for subscription options, Simply Piano offers a 7-day free trial so you can try it before you buy it. After that, it is $149.99 per year, $89.99 for six months, or $59.99 for three months.Is it hard to learn piano at an older age? ›
It's a proven fact that adults have successfully learned to play the piano to a very proficient standard even when starting at an older age! In fact, playing an instrument has plenty of benefits for adults, whether they're in their 20s or are enjoying their retirement.Is it OK to learn piano on a keyboard? ›
Yes, learning piano on a keyboard is possible. The layout of keys is identical on both instruments. The songs you learn to play on a piano will transfer directly to a keyboard, and vice versa, with little adjustment needed for small differences in the width of the keys or the amount of pressure needed to play them.Can I learn piano in 2 months? ›
If you can already play songs hands together it'll take you about 4 months to get good at playing piano by ear. If you're a complete beginner and you've never played a song hands together before, it'll take you about 6 months because you'll need to learn some other skills first.Can a 60 year old learn to play the piano? ›
People can start piano at 60, at 70, at 80, even later. Your brain can still form new connections at any age. You can always learn new skills. For those who begin piano later in life, learning the piano may take a little more patience.What is the easiest instrument to learn? ›
- HARMONICA. One of the easiest instruments you can take up, which is also very popular in a variety of styles, is the harmonica. ...
- GUITAR. ...
- UKULELE. ...
- KEYBOARD. ...
Overall, the guitar is easier to learn than the piano. If you consider the layout, learning songs, the ability to self-teach and a few other things, it is an easier instrument. However, it's the easiest on average for everyone. This means for people of all ages.Can you really learn piano with an app? ›
Yes, technically, you can learn piano with an app. Modern piano apps will teach you how to read notes in both treble and bass clefs, play those notes on the keys of the piano, use good hand position, play chords, and so forth.What is the hardest thing to play on piano? ›
'La Campanella', which translates as 'little bell', comes from a larger work – the Grandes études de Paganini – and is famous for being one of the most difficult pieces ever written for piano. The piece's technical demands include enormous jumps for the right hand played at an uncomfortably speedy tempo.
What is the most important thing to learn in piano? ›
- Notes. Knowing the map of the piano (every white note). ...
- Scales. Major and Minor. ...
- Fingering. ...
- Reading sheet music. ...
- Learn songs.
Major scales are the most common and useful to learn first on piano, followed by the natural, harmonic and melodic minors. Start with C Major as it has no sharps or flats, then G D, A and E major before starting the minors. Next, learn some pentatonic, blues and chromatic scales plus the modes.How much should I spend on a piano as a beginner? ›
The answer to “how much should I spend on my first piano?” is not definite. However, pianos that are ranged from Rs 10,000 and upwards are considered ideal for beginners.What is the most important piano skill? ›
Your first few lessons should focus on the following:
- How to sit.
- How to use your hands.
- How to practice correctly.
- Music notation.
However, doing so can have some serious consequences. Results of too much practice can manifest in depression, burn out, and physical injury. In fact, overuse injuries are not only prevalent among professional musicians, they can occur from too much practice.What should I practice on piano everyday? ›
- Practise for 1-2 hours per day. ...
- 10 minutes - warm-up. ...
- 20 minutes - scales and arpeggios. ...
- 20 minutes - your pieces. ...
- 10 minutes - sight-reading. ...
- 10 minutes - aural & viva voce (optional)
The best time of day to practice the piano is usually first thing in the morning. The brain has had a fresh start and you are ready and invigorated. There aren't as many distractions and things to pull you away from the piano, and your brain can focus.Can you learn piano in a year? ›
It's absolutely true! Most students start piano lessons with no musical experience whatsoever, but by the end of one year they're playing music in all 12 major and minor keys! They can read notes and are using their ear to re-create music they've heard as well as creating their own music.Is it hard to practice piano? ›
The piano is one of the most difficult and rewarding instruments to learn; not only do you have to learn to read notes and translate them to the keys, but you have to do it with both hands at the same time. You'll also have to learn to play with correct technique or you could face injuries in the future.How good is piano after 1 year? ›
One year. You can expect to reach beginner level after around a year. This would correlate roughly to Grade 1 or 2 level (ABRSM.) Expect to play very basic pieces and have a reasonable grasp of learning from sheet music, playing basic one-octave scales, etc.
Why is it so hard to play piano with both hands? ›
And for the beginning piano player trying to coordinate the left and right hand together, the feeling might be pretty similar. Our hands and feet have a tendency to mirror the same movements, so the act of distinguishing two separate motions can confuse your brain.How can I teach myself piano self taught? ›
- Get A Piano/Find Yourself a Keyboard. ...
- Get Familiar with Your Instrument. ...
- Train Your Arms and Hands with Proper Positioning. ...
- Know Your Notes. ...
- Familiarize Yourself with Sharps and Flats. ...
- Set A Practice Goal. ...
- Start Practicing. ...
- Practice Your Fingers.
If you want to be a professional classical performer, you're looking at a minimum of 10 to 15 years of concentrated study with a master teacher, and hours of practice every day. Most people who want to learn piano to play for their own enjoyment can get great results within three to five years of study and practice.Is piano very difficult to learn? ›
The piano is one of the most difficult and rewarding instruments to learn; not only do you have to learn to read notes and translate them to the keys, but you have to do it with both hands at the same time. You'll also have to learn to play with correct technique or you could face injuries in the future.What is the quickest way to learn piano? ›
So as contradictory as it sounds, the fastest way to learn piano, and arguably the best way, is to practice slowly. Remember the mantra “slow is the way to go” for better practice and ultimately, faster learning.What should I practice first as a beginner in piano? ›
Beginning piano players should learn to do all the major and minor scales. You can warm up your fingers and, at the same time, learn a new scale every day! You should start with the C scale. Once you have this down, learn all the other scales.How many hours should a beginner play piano? ›
Teenage and adult beginners should practice at least 30 minutes a day, six days a week. Once you have developed a proper working methodology, a practice regiment of 45 minutes to an hour five to seven days a week should be considered mandatory.Should you look at the keys when playing piano? ›
This is when a piano player is sight reading. While sight reading, a pianist doesn't have much time to look down at their hands. They need to keep their eyes on the upcoming notes. An occasional glance at the keyboard when their hands change position is the only time they should look away from the sheet music.Is piano harder or guitar? ›
Overall, the guitar is easier to learn than the piano. If you consider the layout, learning songs, the ability to self-teach and a few other things, it is an easier instrument. However, it's the easiest on average for everyone.How long should I learn piano a day? ›
Most piano teachers recommend practicing anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours daily. To facilitate this, consider making a schedule for when you'll play and for how long.
What is the hardest thing about piano? ›
- Paying attention at hand posture while playing (I often curve the hands instead of playing more at the front). ...
- Sight-Reading. ...
- Not looking at the keyboard. ...
- Coordinating hands. ...
- Playing piano/pianissimo with the left hand.
Expert – 5-6 years: Can play almost anything, but complicated songs might need years of practice to master them. Professional – Above 10 years: The years of practice mold you into a respected piano player, and your concerts are well-received.