If you want to learn how to play piano, chances are good that you've tried out a few different sites. And while it's entirely possible to learn how to play online, lessons can sometimes feel hard to keep up with. If you've ever tried following along with an instructor and got lost, you know all too well what it's like to feel like you can't keep up.
That's where Flowkey comes in. This innovative site to help you learn piano works for beginners, intermediate players, and returning players alike. The feature that really sets it apart, in our opinion, is flow mode. With this feature, the app listens to you play (whether it's via a MIDI keyboard or your device's microphone) and then waits for you to play each note before continuing.
Of course, this is just one of the many great features that set Flowkey apart.
Things to Consider Before Signing Up for an Online Piano Course
If you want to learn to play piano, the good news is that there's no shortage of learning options out there. However, every site offering piano lessons is a little different. Before you commit, it's a good idea to first think about what you want out of a course.
Piano & Keyboard
Features and Benefits
Now we'll get into the features that really make Flowkey stand out. While this platform isn't especially focused on reading sheet music or mastering music theory, it includes enough of these topics to get any player started.
What You Get for Free
Flowkey doesn't have an official free trial, but you do get some free access. The free access is fairly limited -- you can practice with the first few lessons from most courses, and you also have access to eight songs from the song library. It's more of a sampler than a free trial -- if you find you like the interface, you might consider getting a paid membership.
Lots of the press around Flowkey centers on its impressive song library, which we'll get to in a minute. However, we think the backbone of any site focusing on piano lessons is the lessons themselves. Flowkey includes several courses that can help you build a foundation. To help you make a selection, these courses are divided into a few different categories:
- 1Introduction to the Piano (8 Courses)
- 2Playing With Both Hands (7 Courses)
- 3Intermediate Piano Playing (6 Courses)
- 4Mastering Chords (5 Courses)
- 5Improvising With Chords (5 Courses)
- 6Music Reading Training (8 Courses)
- 7Playing Scales (10 Courses)
- 8Playing Scales II (12 Courses)
As you can see, Flowkey includes a number of courses that are great for those who are just starting to play the piano. While experienced players might enjoy some of the song tutorials in the song library as a way to expand their repertoire, it looks like much of the site is designed with beginning and intermediate players in mind. If you want to take a more in-depth look at Flowkey and what it has to offer, check out this helpful video review.
Song Library and Practice Modes
One of Flowkey's major selling points is its large song library. You get access to over 1500 songs, and you can search by both genre and difficulty level. One thing we especially like is the fact that, if you're looking to learn a longer classical piece, you have the option to study the piece one movement at a time.
Each song library tutorial has several features designed to make learning easier for you. To start, you get to see a video of someone playing the selected song on the piano. There's also an on-screen keyboard where the keys you need to press will light up. And lastly, you'll see the sheet music for the piece you're playing scroll.
You don't necessarily need to know how to read sheet music to learn songs on the piano, but we like that sheet music is incorporated nonetheless. If you take Flowkey's available courses on reading sheet music and also make sure you pay attention to the sheet music as far as the songs you learn to play, you can learn a good bit. (As we've mentioned, though, if you want a course that covers a lot of theory, you may want to look around for other courses.)
That said, plenty of sites for learning how to play piano include these features. We think that Flowkey really stands out because of its practicing features.
If you want to see what it's like to learn a song with Flowkey, check out this sample video tutorial on Pachelbel's Canon in D.
Cost and Membership Levels
We think that Flowkey is an effective way to learn piano. We mentioned earlier that the free version does get you a sense of what the site is like, but if you're serious about learning, you'll probably want to upgrade from the free version.
Luckily, this site offers a few different payment options. If you want to pay by the month with no commitment, the monthly plan is probably the best option. For $19.99 per month, you get full access to all courses and song tutorials, and you can cancel anytime.
If you want to save a bit over the monthly rate, you might prefer the annual plan. This plan is $119.88, which is billed upfront and gives you full access for a year.If you're really committed, the lifetime membership might be for you. With this one, you pay $329.99 one time and receive full access to the site forever. As a bonus, you'll get access to all future site upgrades, too. This might seem like a huge investment, but if you're very committed and see yourself using the site for a long time, it just might be the right choice. If you're still considering signing up, check out this video that offers some insight into membership.
Social Proof of the Course
Flowkey does offer a free trial of sorts -- you get to access a limited number of lessons and songs for free. However, if you're considering signing up for full membership, it might help to read some reviews by actual people who have used the site. Here are some Flowkey review snapshots we've found that we think may help you make a decision:
This snapshot comes from Piano Reviewer, and it focuses on some of the great features you can get with a free membership as well as when you upgrade. Flowkey sometimes gets a bad rap because some users don't realize that the site offers in-depth courses as well as song tutorials. However, to access most courses (and most of the songs), you'll need a paid membership.
This snapshot comes from Piano Dreamers, another review site that focuses on piano courses and piano-related products. This Flowkey review does well with bringing up some of the site's strengths as well as its limitations. For example, while the site does very well with teaching you piano pieces, it can't teach you proper technique, which is very important when you're new.
This last review snapshot comes from Instrumental Global. This reviewer found that the courses were thorough and logically organized, and they found the site to be very motivating, too.
All in all, we think Flowkey is a great site for those new to piano (or those looking to expand their repertoire). We like the in-depth lessons on essential skills and the impressive song library, and we also like that you can learn to play with or without reading sheet music. Flowkey's flow mode and the slow-motion feature can help you master even difficult pieces fairly quickly. While we think it's a good idea for beginners to make sure that their technique is correct (either from a piano teacher or an experienced friend who plays), we think that Flowkey has what many players need to build a strong foundation on the piano.