Top Tools and Resources for Beginning Piano Players
Music is a universal language. For a lot of people, just listening to their favorite songs on a bad day can pull them away from a funk. Others have an easier time communicating their feelings through music, when they can’t find words for it themselves. These are just a few reasons why someone might want to pursue learning an instrument.
As it turns out, one of the best instruments to start with is the piano. Once you learn how to play the piano, picking up anything else is relatively easy, as the basic lessons teach fundamentals of music and structure.
VHere are some of the most helpful resources and tools you will need to get started on your musical venture!
All beginners need to learn the basics first, such as how to read sheet music, how to identify the piano keys by name and placement, chord progression, and fingering techniques. Often the best way to do this is with a good piano teacher. Take Lessons allows you to search for a piano teacher in your area or online, and shows you their rates as well as reviews. If you want to find yourself a piano teacher, Take Lessons is by far the best resource.
Best Metronome is just what the title would suggest – an online metronome that lets you change the beats per minute and hear what virtually any tempo is meant to sound like.
Transcribe! Is an app that aids you in hearing songs in different pitches and tempos. It does not actually do the transcription for you, but allows you to work it out on your own. The slow down feature helps you learn songs by hearing how they are played in slow motion.
Zebra Keys has a virtual piano that gives the names of each key and lets you play around with a small section of keyboard. It’s very helpful for a beginner.
Chords, Scale and Theory
This page has five lessons on music theory, including major chords, intervals, and the twelve keys of music. Music theory is crucial to understanding how composition works.
The chord chart at 8notes gives you the opportunity to pick the root of any chord and see how they are laid out over the keys, in different variations. Once you know what notes make up a chord, it is easy to pick out the chords while you play.
Another helpful tool for learning musical theory, this pair comes in app form. It takes you through the lessons step by step. Theory Lessons and Tenuto are both portable resources. Music Theory also offers online content, such as lessons, exercises, and tools to get you started.
This website focuses on video lessons, which can work very well for someone who works better in practice than theory. They do still focus on piano theory, but with plenty of visuals, to see the process.
Put together by a piano teacher in Australia, this is a helpful site with tips, theory, chords, and free lessons. This site has some great information on composing music.
This site helps you learn chords on the piano and also digs into the theory behind how they’re put together.
This free collection of 50+ printable music theory resources for beginners includes everything from note identification to scales to the circle of fifths. Fun designs make these sheets especially great for kids learning the piano.
Best Online Piano Courses
Pianoforall is the most popular and highly regarded online course out there. Here you will find a complete course on learning how to play the piano, and it uses innovative techniques to help you really learn the instrument rather than just playing notes on a page.
This page is specifically for learning jazz or blues piano. They offer categories such as improvisation, chord lessons, time feel, transcriptions, and rhythm and phrasing. It has a mix of explanations and videos.
This page is designed to take you through all the basics lesson by lesson, with plenty of keyboard visuals. It allows you to pick from your comfort level, having lessons in beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels.
This page is neatly organized into links in many different categories of lessons. It includes scales, cover lessons, modes, solos, articles, counting lessons, and piano theory. This particular resource is very well stocked, and a good place to go once you’ve got the basics.
This course is very useful because some people learn better by listening instead of reading notes. The course is four and a half hours long, with 59 lectures. However, this course is not meant for use with others that encourage sight reading.
Flowkey is a program that allows learning through interaction with the keyboard. They provide sheet music and leave room for correction, so you can learn a piece as you play it. It lets you slow down the piece if you need to, and loop sections that you may be struggling with.
This site features free lessons and tutorials for both beginners and experienced players who want to improve their playing. They also have many tutorials on how to play specific songs.
This site presents an innovative way to learn piano: by playing chords and using your ear rather than just reading music and learning theory.
Best Piano Books
This is the ultimate classic that gives you the techniques and dexterity to become a virtuoso pianist. Each exercise is designed to help build strength in the fingers and allow for better flow. Work your way through this book and you’ll be amazed at your skills.
The Piano Handbook has a variety of styles to learn from, not limited to just classical. It integrates the classical and contemporary styles of music to spice up the lessons and keep it interesting, and offers audio downloads to get a better understanding of the pieces.
It is recommended to use this book in hand with a piano instructor to get the most out of the lessons. The book contains written assignments as well as practice pages, exercises to help strengthen the fingers, and includes theory and technique.
This book focuses mainly on learning chords, chord progression, scales, and major and minor keys. It’s excellent for teaching structure and is one of a set of two books.
What better way to learn piano than by playing timeless classics by the Beatles? All of the sheets in this book are fairly simple arrangements, perfect for a beginner who wants to mix in some contemporary with their lessons.
For a base understanding of music, sometimes classical is the best place to start. This book contains more simple arrangements of famous classics such as Brahms’ Lullaby and Clair de Lune, and is recommended for students in their first level of study.
If you’re a Star Wars fan, these beginner arrangements are a great way to continue practicing while still having some fun with it. It includes numbers for help with fingering, and an easy to understand composition.
This is a great site to find any kind of sheet music you have in mind. They have a helpful drop down menu for different styles and artists, with a fairly broad range of music for all tastes. It does focus less on contemporary and recent music, however.
Sheet Music Plus has a wider range of music than 8notes, including Broadway songbooks and popular music of the times. They are not free but they are good quality and the arrangements range from beginner levels to more advanced.
Metronomes are crucial for keeping the beat, as often times a pianist loses the tempo in increments. This quartz metronome is simple but gets the job done, and includes an LED light for a visual in time with the beat.
A piano lamp is a very helpful tool to put on top of your piano. It spotlights the sheet music for better reading under low light.
If you have an electric keyboard or digital piano, headphones can be extremely useful for practicing in silence. Not only does this avoid the bother of neighbors and house mates, it also allows you to focus more on the music you are playing. These Sony MDR7506 headphones top our list of the best digital piano headphones.
Naturally, if you are going to be taking up the piano, you aren’t going to do it standing up! This piano bench takes up little space and can be adjusted to your needs.
Keeping a laptop at your piano can get very tedious, as there isn’t a lot of room for the device. Having an iPad or other tablet available is handy for digital sheet music, and also for using those courses we talked about earlier on.
If you know what kind of gear you want, but you aren’t sure what brands will offer you the best quality experience, luckily there are people for that!
Of course we have to include Acoustic Bridge on our resource page! We feature guides and reviews of digital pianos, as well as resources to help you improve your playing.
Leaning more toward the piano itself than the accessories, Piano Buyer is a guide kept up to date that helps to ensure you do not invest in an instrument you won’t like. After all, a piano is an expensive purchase.
For those who would like a direct review and opinions of pianos and the different lessons available, Tim Praskins out of Phoenix, Arizona writes up detailed reviews on anything he tries.
When it comes to learning an instrument, especially piano, there can be many questions that perhaps you were not even aware of until you got started. There are many different ways to learn. Some people do better learning how to read sight music, but others prefer to learn by ear, and no method is incorrect. With all of these resources and tools at your disposal, you will be a piano virtuoso in no time at all.