“I can do it all on my own. I don’t need a piano teacher. I don’t need nobody, man”. Apart from needing a grammar teacher, a person who talks like that sounds like a perfect candidate for online piano lessons. Sure! Why not? There’s so much information out there, much of it free. That person can practice at their own leisure without the pressure of weekly lessons, not to mention the cost. In the end, they will learn the select material that they want, based on the various websites that they choose to extract information from.
If only life were that simple. Here’s the flip side of the coin. Weekly traditional piano lessons do work well with the right teacher and at the right price. Live lessons are a tried and true way of learning. In fact, many would argue that weekly lessons are a sure way of avoiding laziness and apathy. There’s actually pressure to practice.
Another advantage from traditional piano lessons is that you are buying experience and expertise from a good teacher. This is certainly not always the case with website materials. Free online lessons often provide low quality material as a tease for a product that the website is trying to sell. Also, the material that you may eventually purchase may leave you with unanswered questions that a live teacher can usually answer on the spot.
So which route do you take? My feeling is that traditional lessons work well when supplemented with website material and online lessons. This way, you get expert advice hands on from an experienced teacher and you have additional material to explore online. An open minded teacher will definitely assist you in filtering worthy and non-worthy information that you may obtain from websites. In fact, many of my colleagues will actually recommend e-book supplements as references.
When searching for online piano lessons, make sure that you like the personality and feel of the website’s writer(s). The process of choosing a traditional teacher and an online teacher are very similar, in that you must have a nice chemistry with whom you are learning with in order to maximize your learning experience.
Here are some things that you should avoid when searching for a reliable online website to study piano. A site that gives minimal information before providing you with a sales pitch is probably not interested in what’s best for you. The best piano sites out there give you a lot of free and useful information. It may not be the most detailed information possible, but you should be able to learn quite a bit from the various articles and music examples that they provide. You should actually want to buy whatever products they are offering, based on the expectation that you will be receiving more of what you are already getting for free in addition to even more detailed lessons and quality information.
As a last piece of advice, piano lessons, whether traditional or online should have a fun aspect to them. My students accelerate at learning when they are having a blast playing music. Good teachers, like good piano websites, manage to inspire and should draw you into the wonderful world of piano technique and piano repertoire. No matter how advanced you are at your instrument, the task of playing for yourself and/or an audience, and the process of learning must always be something you look forward to. A sense of humour (both from the student and the teacher) doesn’t hurt either!
- PianoMaestro guides pianists through the music (gizmag.com)
- Piano Lesson: Fritz, Age 7, performs his composed piece, “FINDING GOLD” (Video) (arioso7.wordpress.com)
- Piano Adventures – Second Edition (susanparadis.wordpress.com)