Today, it is possible to rely entirely on online platforms to learn how to play musical instruments. It is actually one of the easiest ways to learn.
Piano learning has become increasingly popular in this industry. As the field keeps advancing, more and more applications have been created to meet the growing demand. There are a lot of applications now that are compatible with various devices, including mobile phones.
This article shall focus on the top 7 applications to get piano lessons.
Flowkey is a multi-platform piano learning app that helps you learn and add pieces to your repertoire. Flowkey is available as an app for tablets or as an online software for PC. It offers a free one-month trial if you want to try it out before paying for a subscription. The free trial, however, comes with access to the full list of lessons and songs.
The software uses the built-in computer microphone to listen to your playing if you are using an acoustic piano. It is also MIDI-compatible allowing you to use a MIDI keyboard to play along as the software tracks your input and gives you instant feedback. Tracking is more efficient when using a MIDI keyboard than the built-in microphone but both inputs work just well.
The interface is easy to navigate and looks the same on both tablet and PC. It has four sections; Browse, Search, My Songs and, Courses. All the section tabs are in the main menu and there are no other confusing menus to look for.
The software lets you jump back and forth through song lists without losing track of where you left off a lesson. Flowkey keeps track of your progress so you can choose where to start based on your skills. The lessons begin with basic concepts like hand positioning then transition progressively to more complicated concepts.
The song list is well defined including choices from pop, classical, film & TV, Christmas, video game, jazz, rock and more. Once you have selected your song, you can now play it with different options. You can start with right-hand playing then left hand playing before trying playing with both hands. This feature comes in handy especially if your hands have different speeds.
The play modes feature lets you change the speed of the song you are playing. The fast mode increases the speed by 25% of the original play while the slow mode reduces the speed by 50%. This helps you play at your own pace. You can also highlight a specific part of a song to practice it repeatedly.
The listen to a preview feature allows you to sample a song before deciding on it. This feature helps beginners get a sample of how the piece should sound. If you like the song, you can save it for later use or click “learn the song” to begin immediately.
Prices and plans
Flowkey Premium gives you:
- Access to all 500+ songs
- Access to all course content
- Full access on all your devices
How much does that cost exactly
- 1-month plan – $19.99/month
- 3-months plan – $12.99/month
- 1-year plan – $9.99/month
- Lifetime plan – $299.99 one-time pay
- Large variety of songs
- Well-designed and intuitive user interface
- Different playing modes
- Fun way to learn new songs while tracking your progress
- Practice one hand at a time.
- Split-screen for a video of someone playing the song
- Informational videos and piano techniques are better referred from a piano teacher
- It does not teach you about composition
- Tracking via inbuilt microphone is not very reliable
- No built-in metronome within the software.
Melodics is a video game-like app founded in 2015 in New Zealand by Sam Gribben, the current CEO. It has since then launched over 500 keyboard lessons that work with existing MIDI controllers to help turn bedroom producers into skilled instrumentalists.
Melodics’ aim is to combine detailed, musically-specific lessons with real-time on-screen feedback to help pad drummers develop and perfect their skills. All the tutorials are producer-focused covering lessons that are primarily relevant to electronic musicians. The lessons are graded from levels 1- 16 starting with simple concepts going up to complex concepts.
The software gives you a free one-month trial that comes with 60 free lessons. According to Sam Gribben, the software aims to help musicians in three ways: learning how to play a particular piece of music, help to build a habit around practice, and making practice more effective.
The software’s method of gamification techniques makes it interesting and feel like playing a game but building your skills as well. Achievements and combo streaks for hitting enough correct notes in a row by this feature keeps you motivated to keep playing.
The application works with MIDI keyboards and pads which makes it realistic even with its game-like theme. It reads your key inputs and gives you instant feedback as well as points at the end of each playing session.
A big plus to the features of Melodics is the incorporation of artists to the platform to create more content for the app. This gives fans a different way to interact with the artists and their music by actually learning how to play it.
The software doesn’t let people create and monetize their content on the platform. This is, however, seeming to be a new feature in the interest of several investors and stakeholders. The application might feature composition, harmony, and melody in collaboration with other platforms with time.
Pricing and plans
- Melodics’ standard pricing is $29.99 per month and $122.9 per year (18% discount)
- For their education partners, the platform prices are determined by the number of licenses
- Up to 10 licenses cost $25.49 per month and $104.92 per year while 10 or more licenses cost $22.49 monthly and $74.94 annually. These costs are per license.
- Easy to use interface
- Really great design
- Amazing and diverse productions
- 3 styles in 1 product: finger drumming, drums and keys
- It lacks several features that are available in some of its competitors
Playground Sessions is a music-learning technology company founded in 2010 by Chris Vance and later co-created with Quincy Jones on board. The online piano learning platform has its headquarters based in New York City. It combines interactive expert videos with learning science and artificial intelligence to help teach people how to play the piano.
The software’s video lessons were developed to emulate the educational style of Rosetta Stone but with interactive technology and gamification techniques. It uses a MIDI keyboard, video demonstrations, and software like interactive sheet music that gives feedback on how well you match every note. It also allows you to play with others around the world with social features included in the software.
Playground sessions has an extensive song library with all of your favorite songs. This is what differentiates it from other piano learning apps out there. The library has most of the new songs unlike some platforms like Piano Marvel which majors in classical songs.
The Bootcamp is the feature that gives you all the video assistance you require in learning to play the piano. The 100+ tutorials and video lessons are sorted by level of difficulty to give you all the fundamentals sequentially. This does not restrict you from watching the videos as they are arranged. You can download any video you want to learn from and watch at any level.
The dashboard section keeps track of your progress. The gamification techniques applied by this software are much better because the points you earn within the dashboard can be used to purchase new songs. The dashboard is also where you can get feedback and scores based on your performance. It gathers all the information on your progress on the platform.
Another key feature found in the platform is the online shop that lets you purchase popular songs you are familiar with. This lets you have something to compare your performance with and enhance your mastery in playing the piano. The platform has publishing rights with many companies which enables them to bring all the songs they have rights to one shop in the application.
Pricing and plans
- 12 months plan costs $9.99 per month
- 3-months plan – $14.99 per month
- Songs on their online shop cost $5.99 which might seem expensive for a single. This, however, includes interactive tutorials and drills related to the song.
- Non-members purchase individual songs but don’t get features like scoring, leaderboards, and social sharing.
- Heavy emphasis on playing music to learn, as well as learning to play popular songs
- You start playing songs in the first lesson.
- Modern user interface
- Impressive song list
- It takes a lot of lessons before you start to learn any theory.
- Popular songs require an additional fee.
- Poor note recognition with an acoustic piano.
Pianu was created by Matt Curney with original design by Jacob Anderson, who wanted to make the joy of learning piano accessible to everyone. The online platform works on a website or as an app. Also, Pianu turns whatever device you are using into a keyboard for piano lessons- whether a qwerty keyboard or the touchscreen of your phone or tablet. A MIDI keyboard is however recommended to get the best out of the software.
The most intriguing feature in the platform is its huge song directory. Pianu has songs ranging from beginner to advanced levels. The directory is always growing and just like that of Playground Sessions, the library has new popular songs added all the time. Also, the directory is free and you can play any song you like.
The website monetizes its services through Pianu Academy. This is a paid service that gets you a detailed lesson plan with interactive lessons. The lessons are step by step starting with basic concepts that advance progressively to more complex concepts. The feature also lets you learn skills like reading sheet music, playing chords, learning meter and more. You can choose a full package or a single feature like learning sheet music. You can also get the first lesson for free.
Another eye-catching feature offered by Pianu is the ability to let you connect a real keyboard to your computer. Despite turning your computer keyboard to a piano keyboard, the platform offers you the tools to use a real keyboard with the application. They also provide a keyboard directory that gives you tips to connect your keyboard.
The membership costs $8 per month and a $60 annual subscription.
- It is cheap
- The interface is simple to navigate
- There is a wide range of exercises
- It has an aesthetic and informative UI
- Huge collection of sheet music on the platform.
- Translating the computer keyboard patterns on a real keyboard is hard.
- You won’t learn to play the piano very well without a real keyboard.
Piano Marvel is a great online piano learning platform mainly due to its unique way of teaching. The platform lets you break down learning piano into simple manageable segments for easier and better understanding. You can get the lessons from an application or via the Piano Marvel website. The beauty of it all is having to play in the first lesson and go on to know more in theory later.
The platform also tracks your progress via MIDI-compatibility. You plug in your MIDI controller, configure it and start taking your lessons right away. Your progress is tracked and you are given scores according to your performance. Also, you have a virtual trophy cabinet that gives you bronze, silver or gold from your score.
Learning sessions in Piano Marvel are broken into 20 lessons with a video tutorial above each lesson to summarize the skills you are supposed to be learning in the lesson. The first lessons include skills on how to combine notes, read whole notes, half notes, and quarter notes. You then progress to finger numbering and other notes on the keyboard. As you progress, you get to learn more classic songs and other beginner songs.
One of the newest features in the platform is the Standard Assessment of Sight Reading (SASR). This feature scores and tracks your skills in sight-reading sheet music. This score is compared to that of other users and you can see your progress and where you stand on the leaderboard. This feature is a big plus to the focus on multiple facets of learning including a major focus on ear- and sight-reading.
The music library offers a wide variety of songs for you to learn with that you can download for free. However, most of the free songs in the library are classical songs that include video tutorials and sheet music. You can get other popular songs in the library but you have to pay for them.
Pricing and plans
The monthly subscription costs $15.99 per month or $12.99 using affiliate links and promotion codes.
You can also pay $9.99 per month in an annual subscription.
- Low-cost subscription options.
- MIDI compatibility
- The lessons are broken down into small, manageable segments.
- The software is only leased for use
- It does not offer online user forum
- No live-chat or face-to-face lesson support.
Chosen as one of the best iPhone apps in 2015, Simply Piano is a fun and fast way to learn how to play the piano. The app monetizes your key input in a keyboard from your iPhone or iPad and gives feedback instantly as you play. The application has been a fan-favorite with the constant updates they have been sending.
The course modules feature is the most notable update in the application. This feature divides the Simply Piano app into different courses suiting different tastes and levels. The courses offered include pop chords, essentials, blues among others with famous hits. The best part about this feature is the constant addition of courses into the app so you will almost always get a new course when you check-in.
Another cool feature introduced in the newest release is the 3D touch capabilities of the application. This turns your iPhone or iPad into a real instrument. The feature lets you play using your touch screen device with the 3D touch keyboard as well as other touch capabilities. This way, you can play from your device anytime and anywhere.
Simply Piano now has a universal app available for both iPhones and iPads. Your progress on the app is synced with iCloud making it convenient and safe to switch between different devices without worry of losing your progress whatsoever. It also now has an Android phone and tablet application.
The application also has a new feature that lets you purchase your keyboard right from the app. The application has tools that recognize whatever you are playing on the keyboard and gives instant feedback letting you feel the real keys as you play. The addition of a purchase button in the application makes it easier to get your first keyboard.
Like most other piano learning applications, Simply Piano lets you learn the basics step-by-step from reading sheet music to playing with both hands. You can slow down the music in the library to learn how to play at your own pace. You can also create personalized 5-minutes workouts to ensure you progress fast and always succeed.
Prices and plans
- 3 months recurring subscription for $59.99
- 6 months recurring subscription for $89.99
- Annual recurring subscription for $119.99
- It is very fast
- It gives you real-time feedback
- The prices are very high
Founded in 2010, Yousician is considered the fastest-growing music education company in the world. It was founded by Chris Thur and Mikko Kapainen. The headquarters are based in Helsinki, Finland with a team of hardcore audio engineers, music educators, software developers, game designers, and visual artists.
Currently, the platform provides piano, guitar, bass, ukulele and voice lessons. The application recognizes chords and notes when you play them on a real instrument by utilizing the inbuilt microphone of the device you are using.
Piano lessons were first introduced in 2015. The syllabus for piano playing is divided into three categories; Pop, Classical, and Knowledge. These categories are sequentially arranged in levels and preferences.
The platform has a Guided Lessons feature that gives you a personalized lesson plan to help you arrange your sessions. The feature takes you through a 3-stage musical journey; warm-up, learn and explore. In the warm-up stage, you play songs that are one or two levels below your current stage. In the learning stage, you play songs that are in your current stage while the explore stage introduces new songs.
Yousician also has an auto function feature in the practice mode. This feature automatically adjusts the tempo of the application depending on your playing. After you have finished playing a song, it restarts with the tempo increased by 5%.
Another key feature on the platform is the song score feature which gives you scores based on your playing. The song score is displayed on the song summary screen and can also be in combined form. This is an addition of all the best scores you have gotten from all previous songs. With this scoring feature, you are always motivated to keep playing and earning more.
The platform includes dozens of cool features including a song search engine, tutorial videos, favorites, and song collections, progress reset, left-hand option among others.
Prices and plans
- Yousician offers a free trial but only has 15 lessons per day
- A monthly subscription costs $19.99 per month while an annual subscription costs $119.99 per year to learn one instrument.
- To learn all the instruments, you pay for a $29.99 monthly subscription or $179.99 yearly subscription.
- Instant feedback on your overall performance for every song
- It is available on both PC and mobile devices
- You can upload and practice your songs
- It has game longevity with vast material to work with
- It is quite repetitive
- You have to pay extra for popular songs
Online platforms are a great option to learn how to play the piano. Even though they are still not as good as human instructors, they are cheap and straightforward and very easy to get started with.
If you want to become a true master of the piano, the best way to achieve this goal is to combine a human tutor with the strengths of your chosen online platform.