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:
Pianu - Online Piano Learning Program
PRO's & CON's of Pianu
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:
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:
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.
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:
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.