If you want to learn to play piano (and especially if you really want to learn to play popular songs), it's important to take the time to find the right learning site for you. In particular, for players who want to keep learning new songs, it's wise to find a site that regularly adds to its existing library of sheet music and song tutorials.
Luckily, there's a site that does just this. Pianokeyz is a lesson site that has a special focus on song tutorials but also can guide you through learning to play piano via extensive piano tutorials, too. The founder of the site, Ryan Jones, offers some free instruction on YouTube, but if you want an in-depth course, a membership to Ryan's site just might be the real deal.
Things to Consider Before Signing Up for an Online Piano Course
Many piano lesson sites offer some level of free content -- one sample is the Ryan Jones YouTube channel where the founder offers some sample video lessons for free. However, for serious learners, it's a great idea to become a member of a lesson site.
There are plenty of piano sites out there, and it's a good idea to ask yourself a few things before you sign up. Here are some questions you may want to ask first:
Piano & Keyboard
Features and Benefits
Now we'll get into some of the key features of this piano site. While this is, in many ways, a typical online piano program, it does have some standout features.
If you've spent any time on the piano side of YouTube while learning to play, you may well have seen some of the tutorials by pianist Ryan Jones, founder of this site. His YouTube channel is mostly dedicated to providing tutorials on how to play popular songs. Some of these tutorials even include sheet music. (Check out his video tutorial on how to play Pachelbel's Canon in D.)
While a subscription to the YouTube channel is free, players who want more content may want to get a paid subscription to this site. On the site, you'll have access to over 60 step-by-step video lessons divided into beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. The site also offers lessons in several different genres, so it's a great place to either choose a genre to specialize in or try out a few different genres.
You'll also get access to over 50 piano song tutorials. This is a major draw of the site, as many new piano players start learning just so they can play the songs they love. We also like that the site regularly updates both the lesson library and the song library -- according to the site itself, they usually add 10-20 lessons per month.
In terms of lesson features, we think that this site offers some useful options. Each video lesson features a high-quality mp4 video that shows your instructor playing the piano. You also get sheet music with each lesson. Ryan does well with incorporating music theory into even the early lessons.
However, we do think that the website is lacking in one key area: progress tracking. If you've been looking for quality online lessons for a while, you've probably seen that many piano sites have a MIDI connectivity feature. This feature lets you connect your keyboard and receive instant on-screen feedback that lets you see whether you've played a note correctly. Some sites, like Flowkey, even have practice modes that will wait for you to play the correct note before continuing to play the audio track.
This site also doesn't really seem to have a whole lot in terms of tracking your progress via a user dashboard or other means. Many sites we've found offer progress badges and other dashboard-based ways to track your progress and set goals. The lesson quality here is still decent, but we think progress-tracking features are an important part of any online learning experience.
Notably, this site also has an option to purchase DVDs. You can purchase tutorial bundles of popular songs, lesson DVDs, and even DVD/membership bundles (we'll cover this in more detail later).
Feedback and Community
In terms of feedback and support, we think that this site really stands out. Here are some of the help and support options we think are great:
Instructor support -- At any point, you can contact Ryan to ask a question. Many of the videos even have a convenient "ask a question" button that you can click if you need clarification or have another question.
Additionally, there's a section on the site forum where you can upload a video of yourself playing piano and ask Ryan for feedback. Ryan is active on the forum, and we like this laid-back approach to instructor critiques. And since every member has access to the forum, you can benefit from seeing Ryan's critiques of other players as well.
Lesson Requests -- If you have a favorite song you want to learn or would like to see a video of a given skill, there's a section of the site where you can send in a request. Ryan will take these into account when adding new lessons and tutorials to the website.
Forum -- Plenty of subscription lesson sites have a forum option, but often, these forums seem relatively empty. From what we can see, this site has a pretty active forum. Members can ask other players questions, and the forum is also a great place to find new friends, too.
Phone and Email support -- This website offers you both phone and email support options seven days a week. If you have a question or concern, this support setup means it can usually be resolved quickly.
If you want to learn a little more about this site's support options and how it compares to other piano sites, check out this brief video comparison of this piano site to some other popular sites for online piano lessons.
Memberships and Purchasing Options
Like many piano sites we've seen, this one has a 30-day money back guarantee. They also have what is essentially a free trial. For 99 cents, you can get full access to the site for 30 days.
Here's where it gets a little more complicated. After the trial ends, you'll be billed for a one year membership if you do not cancel. This website doesn't offer monthly memberships, and the annual membership is $297, which is significantly more expensive than many online lesson sites we've seen. The site instructor also says that you can purchase a lifetime membership, but you need to reach out to request a quote.
Whether you have a membership or not, you have the option to purchase DVDs from the site creator. You can purchase individual song tutorial DVDs, but you also can purchase collections of song tutorials. (One of the most popular song tutorials is the one for "All of Me" by John Legend -- you can view the abbreviated YouTube tutorial in this video.)For newer players, there's a Master the Piano six-DVD set. If you want to go all-in, you can purchase a bundle -- you get all DVDs plus a one-year membership for $249.
Social Proof of the Course
There are plenty of sites out there that can help you play popular songs on the piano. However, before you commit to a given site, it's a good idea to first see what other players have to say about it.
In order to help you decide whether or not this site is right for you, we've gathered some useful snapshots from reviews that we've found:
This review snapshot comes from Top Ten Reviews. These reviewers were largely impressed with the website, although they did acknowledge that there's no real way to track progress. And while the lessons are thorough, it's good to keep in mind that neither Ryan's YouTube channel nor the full site focuses much on reading sheet music.
This review snapshot comes from Review 2 Sound. Like most reviews we've found, this one largely thought that this was a worthwhile program. This reviewer points out that lessons are divided by ability level, which makes it easier for piano players of all abilities to find something useful.
This last snapshot comes from TrustPilot, which is a review site for customers to comment on a company's quality and business practices. For this reviewer, the annual membership was well worth it. They also felt that the site offers a good balance of regular lessons and song tutorials.
We think that, if you're looking for a piano site that has a regularly-updated library of songs to learn, this site just might be the right site for you. However, we do have a couple of points of hesitation you may want to consider.
Our biggest concern is that after the 99 cent trial, you will be billed the full cost of an annual subscription. This seems like somewhat sneaky billing -- it's easy to get hit with a bill for over $200 if you forget to cancel. Our other concern is progress tracking -- with no real way to track your progress (either via instant keyboard feedback or long-term tracking via a user dashboard), it can be tough to set and reach your piano goals.
You might decide that PianoKeyz is the best for you, but if you want an alternative, we recommend Flowkey. This is a piano site with MIDI connectivity, but it also can listen to you play an acoustic piano via your device microphone. Click here to check it out!