Pianu – A New Way To Play Piano – Review of Online Course

Have you ever heard a popular song and wished you knew how to play it? Plenty of new piano players feel this way, and it's no wonder that there are so many sites out there that focus on learning to play songs.

One of these sites is Pianu, a bright website with an intuitive user interface. This site has a real focus on making learning piano fun -- you'll learn songs you love and earn badges as you progress.

Things to Consider Before Signing Up for an Online Piano Course

More and more people are taking piano lessons on the internet. And while it's generally a good thing to have so many options for lessons available, the wide selection can sometimes get overwhelming.

In order to help yourself find the right online piano course, it's a good idea to ask yourself a few things. Here are some things to ask yourself before choosing which piano lessons are right for you:

  • How motivated are you? Learning piano or another instrument on your own takes a certain amount of motivation, and some new players can become discouraged easily. Luckily, some sites (including this one) have a built-in system where you can earn progress badges to help you stay motivated.
  • What's your focus? Lots of people want to learn to play songs they love on the piano, and this site has a special focus on learning songs. If you have a specific genre you want to focus on, though, you might prefer a more specialized learning system.
  • What's your budget? Lots of players learn piano online because of the significant cost savings over private lessons. However, some courses are more expensive. In almost every case, though, you can find something that fits your budget.
  • What kind of instrument compatibility do you need? On just about every site for piano lessons, you can learn using an acoustic piano or a keyboard. Some sites like this one let you connect a keyboard to your computer, which can give you instant feedback. This isn't a must, but it can be helpful in the early stages of learning piano.
  • What about instructor consultations? Some online lesson sites try to bridge the divide between online and in-person lessons by offering individual consultations with your instructor. Some sites include this option with your membership fee, and some of them require an additional payment. This is by no means an absolutely necessary part of learning online, but it can prove to be very helpful.

Type

Course

Price

Piano

Pianu

Pianu - Online Piano Learning Program

PRO's & CON's of Pianu

In our review, we'll take you through all the key features of the site in order to help you decide whether it's the right site to help you learn to play the piano. But before we jump into specifics, let's look at some pros and cons:

Pros

  • Badges and other incentives make it easy to learn and stay motivated
  • You can practice with an on-screen keyboard or a connected MIDI keyboard
  • You get access to a huge piano sheet music library and the regularly-updated song tutorial library
  • It's a great value -- instruction quality is great and the course is very affordable

Cons

  • While you can learn on the on-screen keyboard, learning this way doesn't translate very well to playing on an actual piano or keyboard
  • If you want to play piano at a high level or really dive into theory, this might not be the best course for you

Features and Benefits

Now we'll start looking into the specifics of the site. We think it's an intelligently-designed program that makes a real effort to make learning piano fun.

Overall Lesson Structure

Before we dig into the structure of these lessons, it's important to note that this site probably isn't a great choice for the experienced piano player looking to improve. However, if you're new to the piano, it provides a great introduction.

Most of your time on the site will probably be focused on learning to play songs, but the site does a great job of taking you through important elements of the theory. The lessons (20 in total) are divided into different levels, each of which asks you to do some exercises and learn a few songs:

Academy: Fundamentals

This level is for the brand-new piano player, and it will help you get acquainted with your piano or keyboard. The Academy level has a section where you learn to play with the left hand, a section where you learn to play with the right hand, and a section that teaches you to play with both hands. We like that each section has you practice with a song. You're playing melodies right away, which can be really motivating when you're just starting out.

The Academy level also has one lesson to start you out: you'll learn the names of the keys on the piano. Once you've gotten past this level, you can move onto the Pro level, where you'll learn more songs and more key concepts.

And while this course doesn't focus on speaking, it's also worth noting that Roger teaches speakers and actors, too. Here are some of the people he's worked with:

Pro

This level makes up much of the learning you'll do on the site. It's divided into six levels.

Level 1: Setting the Stage

In this level, you'll learn about the treble clef and major chords. It's an introduction to the beginnings of reading sheet music, and you'll also master the skill of crossing the thumbs. You'll choose three piano songs to practice, and you'll also work on the one-octave scale.

Level 2: Taking Off the Gloves

This section helps you learn about minor chords and the bass clef (another must-have for reading sheet music for piano). You'll practice three songs and continue mastering one-octave scales.

Level 3: Getting in the Groove

This section will help you get more comfortable with playing rhythms. You'll work with blues and jazz chords, and you'll continue to play piano scales. Just like with the other levels, you get to choose three scales to practice. This section's lessons focus on note lengths and dominant chords, and you'll get to start working with two-octave scales.

Level 4: Wowing the Crowd

This level builds on the previous one by teaching you how to expand on your rhythm playing -- you'll work with arpeggios, syncopations, and meter, and you'll start getting into suspended chords. This section has three lessons: rests, dots, and ties; meter; and the suspended chord. Like always, you'll choose three piano songs that include these elements.

Level 5: Bringing Down the House

In this section, you'll finally get to play the black keys on the piano. You'll get into accidentals and key signatures, and you also will learn three new scales. You also get to choose three songs that will let you practice these skills.

Level 6: Ducking Bouquets

This section brings together a lot of what you learn in the previous sections, and it's designed to help you learn how to really get comfortable playing chords. lessons will focus on chord inversions and connecting chords, and you'll learn three new scales. You also get to choose three songs to practice.

As you can see, these lessons can help those new to piano reach a solid foundation. If you want to see what a piano song tutorial is like, check out this video on how to play "Hello" by Adele.

Gamified Learning

One thing we've seen a lot of in music apps is gamified learning. Gamified learning simply means that you get some elements of gaming as you learn (here's a cool video explaining how gaming elements can make it easier and more fun to learn piano and other instruments)

This site incorporates gamified learning in a few ways. One is with their song lessons. In a song tutorial, you'll see the notes you need to play light up on the screen (somewhat like Guitar Hero and similar games). This informative video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IV4wm-puf0M shows you how it works.

Another element of gamified learning for piano that you get with this site is learning badges. Each time you complete a lesson, you get a badge. These are colorful online tokens that you'll see displayed on your dashboard. It can be easy to sometimes get discouraged when learning piano, especially as a beginner. However, the badges can give you a sense of accomplishment as you go along. When you complete all of the lessons, you'll earn the Piano Master badge.

Membership Levels and Pricing

This is one of the most affordable learning sites that we've found. We like that all users, even those without paid memberships, can access the ever-growing song library for free. Each song contains sheet music and an onscreen keyboard that shows you which keys to play.

The song library has something for everyone -- you can play themes from popular TV shows, staples of classical music, and songs by famous pop artists. You can also sort the list by genre, and there are plenty of options:

  • Chords
  • Classical
  • Electronic
  • Pop
  • Folk
  • Funk
  • Gospel
  • Hip Hop
  • Jazz
  • Kids
  • Rap
  • R&B
  • Rock
  • Soul
  • Themes

You also can sort by difficulty level, which makes the song library a great tool for piano learners of any level.

If you want the guided training that you get with the Academy and Pro levels, you'll need a membership to the site. We like the fact that the site offers many different membership levels:

  • Monthly -- This option costs $14 each month.
  • Three Months -- This option costs $35 and gives you access for three months (it costs $11.66 per month).
  • Six Months -- This option costs $56 upfront, but you only end up paying $9.33 per month. It's the most popular option on the site.
  • Annual -- This option costs $100 at once, which comes to $8.33 per month.
  • Lifetime -- This option offers the greatest value. For a one-time payment of $275, you get lifetime access to the site.

Each of these options comes with 24/7 customer support, which we think is great. It's also a plus that the site offers several affordable piano and keyboard options for sale. If you're just getting started, the site is a one-stop-shop to learn to play. If you still aren't sure whether this is the site for you, check out this user's experience.

Social Proof of the Course

If you spent any time looking at sites that will help you learn to play the piano, you may have become somewhat overwhelmed by the sheer number of available options. One thing that can help you make an informed decision is looking at reviews written by people who have used the same site. We scoured the internet looking for useful reviews. Here are some that we found:

Pianu Review 01

This review comes from Pro Musician Hub. The reviewer is someone who has tried multiple different piano lesson sites. They found that the overarching structure of the site was good for them, and they also appreciated the intuitive user interface -- something that we think is very important.

Pianu Review 02

This review snapshot comes from Thrive Piano. This reviewer also commented on the site's bright, easily-navigable interface. They also liked the fact that the site updates its song library weekly and lets you upload MIDI files for piano songs you want to learn.

Pianu Review 03

This last snapshot is from IGN. This reviewer touches on the gamified learning that the site uses, and they make a good point -- the badges and other incentives provide motivation, which can be extremely helpful. It's easy to lose motivation in an online course, especially if you've just started on the piano, but we think this site will keep you motivated.

In Conclusion

Choosing the right online piano lessons can be very tough, but taking the time to choose the right course for you is important. We think that Pianu is well worth your consideration -- we like the gamified learning aspect and the focus on learning songs. Of course, it isn't for everyone. If you want to play at a very high level, a more in-depth course might be ideal. And while we like the fact that you can start out with an on-screen keyboard, we think that learning with a MIDI keyboard will help you get the most out of your learning. But if you're looking for a website that makes learning piano fun, we think Pianu just might be the option for you.

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