Techology and online Music lessons

How Has Technology Changed Music Lessons? [Infographic]

Over the past several years, online music lessons have substantially grown in popularity. And it’s no wonder — it’s an option that is convenient and often priced lower than in-person lessons. Plus, you can choose an instructor from practically anywhere!

Advances in technology have made the success of online music lessons possible, but that’s not the only way that technology has changed the way we learn music. New innovations provide fun and creative ways to enhance the learning experience for today’s student. You can find the best online piano lessons, for instance, and then supplement those with apps, games, and YouTube tutorials.

Here are some fascinating facts about how we learn, teach, and promote music online.

Technology and Music Lessons Infographic - Online music lessons

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Teaching Music Online – Additional Resources

Interested in teaching online? These days, you’ve got several options for video platforms to use, allowing you to instantly connect with your student, send files, and record lessons. Learn more about teaching online with TakeLessons here.

Learning Music Online – Additional Resources

Whether you’re looking for the best online piano lessons via Skype, pre-recorded YouTube drum tutorials, or chord charts for guitar and bass, there are so many resources available for students!

Learn Guitar 

Learn Piano

Learn Violin

Learn Drums

Whether or not you take (or teach) lessons online, there are many ways you can use current technology to enhance and supplement the learning experience. If you’re a teacher and need a place to start, online forums are great for sharing ideas with other instructors. The possibilities are endless! And once you start looking, it’s amazing what you can find out there!

Special thanks to online piano teacher Crystal B. for her help with this article! 

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15 More Easy Pop Songs on Piano

15 MORE Easy Pop Songs for Piano | Piano Tutorials

15 More Easy Pop Songs on Piano

You’ve already learned how to play 5 easy pop songs on the piano, but the fun doesn’t stop there! Here, teacher Liz T. walks you through 15 more easy pop songs to play on piano…


Did you know that some of today’s most popular music can be easily played on the piano or keyboard? As a piano player, you may come across an event where playing popular songs is a good idea; it could be at a birthday party, nursing home, wedding, or another public event where people can enjoy your performance!

Everyone loves hearing popular songs from the radio performed live – I know I do! Lots of people also love singing and clapping along to their favorite songs. As a piano player, it’s important to be able to play many different genres, artists, keys, and moods.

Let’s check out a diverse and fun selection of easy pop songs to play on piano!

1. “Fallin'” by Alicia Keys

Neo-Soul/R&B Ballad

“Fallin'” was the debut song from Alicia Keys back in 2001. The song became a success not only because of its beautiful, repeating R&B melodic line, but also because Alicia Keys was the writer, singer, and instrumentalist on the recording (which is not common in pop music). The lyrics are very meaningful, and piano-wise, the song challenges your jazz/R&B/pop playing, as well as blues improvising.

Here’s how to play “Fallin'” on the piano:

2. “Superman” by Five for Fighting

Mid-tempo Ballad

This early millennium song has a driving melody and powerful chorus. The lyrics are strong and they tell a story. It has also been featured on many popular TV shows and movies as the theme song or ending credits. It’s a great song for a coffeehouse or a singer/songwriter night.

Here’s how to play “Superman” on the piano:

Key of C

It may sound absurd, but don’t be naïve
Amin7 F
Even heroes have the right to bleed
I may be disturbed, but won’t you concede even
Even heroes have the right to dream
And it’s not easy to be me

Note: Watch for the major and minor changes in this song within the A chord. It’s good practice going back and forth.

3. “Drops of Jupiter” by Train

Uptempo, Piano Rock/Pop

This Grammy award-winner is a great song to bang out on the piano! You should really let loose and feel the melodies, rhythm, and lyrics, especially after the first verse and each time the chorus hits thereafter. I also encourage you to perform this song with a band, if possible, or re-arrange the song with drums and strings by using computer software.

Here’s how to play “Drop of Jupiter” on the piano:

Key of C

So tell me, did you sail across the sun
Did you make it to the Milky way to see
The lights all faded, and that Heaven is overrated
Tell me, did you fall for a shooting star
One without a permanent scar
And did you miss me while you were looking for yourself

Note: These are pretty simple chords; notice the dominant 5th motion: G to D, F-C, C-G.

4. “Bubbly” by Colbie Caillat

Uplifting, Laidback

This warm and cozy song, transcripted from the guitar, is a wonderfully easy pop song to play on piano. The chords and rhythm flow very naturally along with the voice.

Here’s how to play “Bubbly” on the piano:

5. “When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars

Romantic Piano Ballad

This is a gorgeous song to display your deepest emotions. It’s one of the few songs that truly sounds incredible with just piano alone. It does not need a full band or any other instruments, because the vocals and piano are powerful enough.

Here’s how to play “When I Was Your Man” on the piano:

Key of G

That I should have bought you flowers 
And held your hand, should’ve given you all my hours
When I had the chance
Take you to every party, cause all you wanted to do was dance
Am D7 F
Now my baby’s dancing
Fmin C F C G/B
But she’s dancing with another man

Note: G/B means you play a G chord in the right hand over a B root in the left hand.

6. “Love Me Like You Do” by Ellie Goulding

Pop, Love EDM Track

It’s also fun to take brand new pop songs from the charts and make them just for piano alone, as an acoustic version. I encourage you to make this EDM song sound more like your own — try performing a cover of it and put it on YouTube!

Here’s how to play “Love Me Like You Do” on the piano:

Key of G#

G# Cm
So love me like you do, love me like you do
Fm C#
Love me like you do, love me like you do
A#m Fm D#
Touch me like you do, touch me like you do

Note: The great thing about this song is that all four choruses have the same chords!

7. “Take Me to Church” by Hozier

Pop, Blues Ballad

This piano song is easy to play because it has very simple chords. The vocal melodic line makes the song sound very mysterious. It’s also a great song for practicing those minor chords and scales. It won song of the year at the 2014 Grammys!

Here’s how to play “Take Me to Church” on the piano:

Key of Am

Downbeat: G5 F#5

F#5 F5 Em
Take me to church, I’ll worship like a dog
At the shrine of your lies, I’ll tell you my sins
So you can sharpen your knife
Am Em A5 G5
Offer me that deathless death, good God let me give you my life

Note: Because this is mostly a guitar song, there are many power chords, like F5 for example, which means you play just the root and 5th of the chord.

8. “Elastic Heart” by Sia

Passionate Pop EDM

From the soundtrack of “Hunger Games: Catching Fire”, “Elastic Heart” is a pop song from Australian artist Sia. It’s groovy, especially dominant in the chorus, and it translates well on the piano. I encourage you to really groove in this song and try to be “in the moment,” because it’s very powerful!

Key of C

Well I’ve got thick skin, and an elastic heart
Em D
But your blade it might be too sharp
I’m like a rubber band until you pull too hard
Em D
But I may snap when I move close
C G D Em D
But you won’t see me move no more
C G D Em D
Cause I’ve got an elastic heart

9. “Dark Horse” by Katy Perry

Pop/Rap and Pop/Hip-Hop

Have fun with this one and explore how rap and piano can play along with each other! Their respective rhythms complement each other well. It also has a really fun intro that doubles as a fast exercise for your fingers!

Here’s how to play “Dark Horse” on piano:

10. “Counting Stars” by One Republic

Bright, Uptempo Pop

This feel-good song will have everyone singing, clapping, and dancing along! It’s a great song to show off your piano and vocal skills, as you can add in fun embellishments and improvisation!

Here’s how to play “Counting Stars” on piano:

Key of Am

Am C
Lately I’ve been, I’ve been losing sleep
Dreaming about the things that we could be
Am C
But baby I’ve been, I’ve been praying hard
Said no more counting dollars, we’ll be counting stars

11. “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran

Easy Listening Ballad

This is a very soft easy listening piece. It’s perfect to play on a rainy day or lazy afternoon. Challenge yourself and try re-harmonizing the chords, or do different inversions to make the song sound a bit more dramatic.

Here’s how to play “Thinking Out Loud” on the piano:

Key of C

D D/F# G A D D/F#
So honey now, take me into your loving arms
Kiss me under the light
D D/F# G A
Of a thousand stars, place your hand
D D/F# G A
On my beating heart, I’m thinking out loud
Bm A G D/F# Em A7 D
Maybe we found love right where we are

12. “Clarity” by Zedd

Vocal EDM Song

This is a great song to play on the digital keyboard; try exploring with synthesizers and different effects. This is an EDM-driven song, but its core is on the piano. A fun idea is to use different keyboard settings played with the left and the right hand.

Here’s how to play “Clarity” on the piano:

13. “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift

Upbeat, Funky Pop

This is a fun, upbeat song with a funky beat. Don’t be afraid of the syncopation and the tempo changes. It’s a great song to practice your rhythm chops while having fun!

Here’s how to play “Shake It Off” on the piano:

14. “How to Save a Life” by The Fray

Rock-Pop Ballad

This 2005 hit predominantly features piano; it’s mostly a rock song, but the piano is undoubtedly the highlight. The piano does a good job of making the song sound full. The song’s lyrics convey a strong message of key values and lessons in life.

Here’s how to play “How to Save a Life” on the piano:

Key of A#

C D Em
Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
G D/F#
Somewhere along the bitterness
C D Em
And I would have stayed up with you all night
G D/F# G
Had I known how to save a life

15. “Let It Go” by Idina Menzel

Musical Theater/Movie Soundtrack, Power Ballad

From the popular movie “Frozen,” you can play this song two ways — in a Broadway/movie soundtrack style, or in a rock ballad style as Demi Lovato covered. Both ways sound outstanding on the piano. This song has many diverse elements, including softer verses, driven choruses, and a climatic bridge. This is the #1 most-requested song for piano players today.

Here’s how to play “Let It Go” on the piano:

I hope these tutorials and chords help you learn to play these easy pop songs on the piano! These are great to add to your repertoire, and I suggest compiling a notebook of all your favorite piano pop songs to play. If you need more guidance in preparing and learning pop songs such as these, I suggest scheduling a piano lesson with a teacher near you. Have fun playing!

LizTPost Author: Liz T.
Liz T. teaches singing, acting, and music lessons online. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music with a B.M in Vocal performance and currently performs/teaches all styles of music including Musical Theater, Classical, Jazz, Rock, Pop, R&B, and Country. Learn more about Liz here!

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how to practice piano at home

Does Your Piano Practice Space Have These 11 Things?

how to practice piano at home

Here on the TakeLessons Blog, we’ve discussed general piano practice tips, and well as how to structure and plan out your practice time. But if you don’t have your practice space set up just right, you still could be costing yourself valuable time and energy.

Fortunately, we received a sneak peak of an eBook designed to help you set up your space for success, so you can practice piano at home efficiently and comfortably. We’re excited to check out the eBook, written by Allysia over at, and we wanted to share the excerpt below with you in the meantime! 

Continue reading to check it out…


If I had a dollar for every time a student told me, “I didn’t practice because my piano is stuffed away in a dark, cold basement,” I wouldn’t be rich, but I’d be able to buy something really nice.

If your piano is hard to get to (like in a basement), or at the center of the action (in a living room where your five other family members are always hanging out and watching TV), it’s going to be really hard to set up a regular practice schedule. If your basement creeps you out, why would you want to go there every day to practice piano? If your family is yelling at you to be quiet, are you really going to have an enjoyable session?

Do everything you can to put your piano in a nice, quiet area that you feel comfortable in. My piano is in a sunny side room (where I teach), but if you live in a dwelling with a lot of other people, having a keyboard in your bedroom is a great idea too.

The following image outlines what I consider to be the ideal piano practice space, with all the necessary tools to succeed.

piano practice space

1. Piano

This is fairly obvious – you’ll have a hard time practicing without a piano or keyboard. Nothing fancy is required here, but do try to get something with weighted keys, as it helps develop your finger strength. A full-length (88 keys) keyboard isn’t necessary in the beginning, but will be after about a year, so keep that in mind.

2. Piano bench

Please, for the love of everything that is good, use a bench and not a chair. Chairs are usually too low and promote poor posture. If the chair has arms, they’ll be in the way of your own arms. Benches aren’t that expensive and you can even get adjustable ones if you’re feeling fancy.

3. Music stand

All pianos and most keyboards come with a built-in music stand, but not all do. If your keyboard doesn’t have a stand, you’ll have to get creative. You can buy a music stand (the kind you used in band) and put it behind your keyboard – I used that set-up for years.

4. Notebook + pen and pencil

I keep a notebook with all my practice goals on my piano in an organizer tray. If your piano doesn’t have the space for something like that, just make sure you keep it close at hand – you’ll be using it regularly. I like having a pen to write in my notebook, and a pencil to make marks directly on the music.

5. Metronome

If you have an electric keyboard, read through the manual – most have a metronome function. If it can emphasize certain beats (like the first beat of a measure), then great! Otherwise, being able to tap a specific tempo is all it needs to do. You can buy manual metronomes, the kind that go back and forth like a clock (I grew up with one of those), or electric ones. There are even metronome websites if you want to use your phone or tablet (be careful though, it shouldn’t be a huge pain to load up to use, or else you won’t want to use it).

6. Good lighting

If your practice room isn’t very bright, get a lamp, because the last thing you want to do is get a headache squinting at music, or worse, hurt your back hunching forward. I’m a big fan of lamps – they’re pretty and add ambiance.

7. Good temperature

Cold is bad. Cold tenses up your body and your fingers, so not only will it be harder to play, it’ll be more strenuous too. This is reason #731 not to have your piano stuffed in a basement, unless you’re one of the rare few with a warm basement. Plus, in creating an inviting space to play, most of us don’t feel ‘invited’ if we have to bundle on the layers just to practice.

8. Accessibility

Reason #732 not to put your piano in a basement. A flight of stairs might not seem like a big deal, but when you’re lounging on the couch in front of the TV, it really will. If your piano is near or a part of your living space, you’ll be a lot more likely to sit down and play. Trust me. Make it as easy as possible to get to your piano.

9. Cozy and inviting

If your space has good lighting, it’s at a good temperature, and it’s easy to get to, you’re 80% of the way there. I have a music organizer on my piano that keeps things from getting cluttered, a lamp that looks nice, a flowering plant, and an ornamental bongo just because. My piano space looks like somewhere I want to hang out and spend time.

10. Clock

Make sure there’s a clock nearby so you can keep track of your practice time. I usually set time estimates for how long I practice (10 minutes of warm-up, 15 minutes of technique, etc), so a clock is invaluable for staying organized and focused.

11. Bulletin board (and other wall accessories)

Optional but awesome. Most pianos are staring into a big blank wall – not very exciting. A bulletin board at your practice space can go a long way to make it awesome – you can put up pictures, inspirational posts, your goals, anything you want. Or you could put up a white board and write your weekly practice plans on that. Or you could put some art on the wall.

The Bottom Line

To sum up, your practice space should be inviting. If you play piano to relax, make it a space that relaxes you. If you’re planning on spending three or four hours of your week there (or more), do what you can to make it nice.

Readers, what tips have you found effective as you practice piano at home? What other items do you keep nearby? Let us know in the comments!

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9 More Benefits of Piano Lessons

9 MORE Amazing Benefits of Piano Lessons

9 More Benefits of Piano Lessons

We’ve discussed the benefits of playing the piano on the blog before, but there’s always more to learn! It seems like every time we turn around, a new study has emerged that proves just how important music is to our brains, our emotions, and even our social behavior.

Our friends at recently pulled together a great round-up — complete with videos and stats — with some of the most interesting benefits of piano lessons and music in general. Below are a few we think are worth repeating!

Taking Music Lessons Improves Brain Plasticity.

What’s more is that the benefits of learning to play an instrument persist long after a child stops taking lessons. Numerous longitudinal studies indicate that taking music lessons as a child increases brain plasticity, and can help men and women — get this — resist the effects [of aging] and cognitive decline! Yes, learning to play piano actually keeps you young at heart, or more specifically, young up top. None of that “live fast, die young” nonsense. We say “learn piano, live long and prosper,” yo.

Playing Improvisational Piano Pieces Makes You More Creative.

Put on the spot? Wishing you had the ability to think on your feet? Want to be more spontaneous? Well fear not, because evidence based on research shows that the brain regions involved in creative playing, known in scientific circles as the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (what a mouthful!), are active when a pianist plays an improvisational piece. This brain region has been linked to suppression of stereotypical responses and instead generates more improvised actions. To put it in layman terms, this means playing whatever comes to mind on a piano may in fact help you be creative in other aspects of your life, as it triggers the part of our brains that leads to those “Eureka!” moments.

Those are just two of the interesting facts OnlinePianist rounded up… continue reading the rest of the article here!

Bonus: Check out the OnlinePianist app for Apple and Android

Readers, what benefits of piano lessons have you discovered first-hand? Share your story in the comments! 

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50 Best Blues Piano Songs

50 Best Blues Piano Songs (+ Steps to Play the Blues!)

50 Best Blues Piano Songs

Curious about blues piano artists and songs? This genre is a ton of fun to play, and a great way to diverge from the classical piano you might be used to playing. Read on for our favorite famous blues piano songs for beginners to check out, as well as some tips to help you play the blues!

50 Best Blues Piano Songs

1) Boogie Woogie Stomp — Albert Ammons

2) Rock Little Baby — Cecil Gant
3) Steppin’ Out — Memphis Slim
4) The Snow Is Falling — Ray Charles
5) Heavy Heart Blues — Champion Jack Dupree
6) Jambalaya — Fats Domino
7) Travelin’ Blues — Charles Brown
8) Hey Bartender — Floyd Dixon
9) Mardi Gras in New Orleans — Professor Longhair

10) Tanqueray — Johnnie Johnson

11) Blueberry Hill — Fats Domino
12) CC Boogie — Katie Webster
13) T’Aint Nobody’s Business If I Do — Otis Spann
14) Boxcar Boogie — Dr. John
15) Got My Mojo Working — Pinetop Perkins
16) 1-2-3-4…Fire! — Jimmy Yancey
17) Yancey Special — Tuts Washington
18) Two Fisted Mama — Katie Webster
19) Kindhearted Woman Blues – Robert Lockwood Jr.

20) Early in the Morning — Booker T. Laury

21) Fess Up — Dr. John
22) Snaps Drinking Woman — Champion Jack Dupree
23) Skeet’s California Sunshine — Floyd Dixon
24) Bald Head — Professor Longhair
25) I’ve Got My Fingers Crossed — Piano Red
26) Cow Cow Blues — Cow Cow Davenport
27) Forty Four Blues Theme — Eurreal ‘Little Brother’ Montgomery
28) Honey Dripper Blues — Roosevelt Sykes
29) Soon This Morning — Charlie Spand

30) Pine Top’s Boogie Woogie — Clarence “Pine Top” Smith

31) Must Have Been the Devil — Otis Spann
32) Almost Lost My Mind/Empty Arms — Ivory Joe Hunter
33) 44 Blues — Roosevelt Sykes
34) Walking the Blues — Champion Jack Dupree
35) Pigalle Love — Memphis Slim
36) Call My Job — Detroit Junior
37) Leavin’ Your Town — Sunnyland Slim
38) Ain’t It a Shame — Leroy Carr
39) In The Beginning — Willie Tee

40) Hound Dog — James Booker

41) Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen — Charles Brown
42) Early In The Morning — Booker T. Laury
43) Dollar Bill Boogie — Big Joe Duskin
44) Cruel Hearted Woman — Thunder Smith
45) San Francisco Can Be Such A Lonely Town — Omar Sharriff
46) Cold Chills — Herny Gray
47) On The Spot Boogie — Charlie Musselwhite
48) Hesitation Blues — James P. Johnson
49) You’re My Man — Victoria Spivey

50) Harlem Parlor Blues — Sammy Price

How to Play the Blues

Ready to play the blues? offers some great tips in their article on learning blues piano. Here are some of the steps they recommend:

The easiest way to learn blues piano is to learn the LEFT HAND rhythms LONG before you learn all the fancy licks in the RIGHT HAND.

Become familiar with the piano keyboard, musical alphabet, notes, scales, and finger warm-ups.

Become familiar with the pentatonic and blues scales. Gain knowledge of repeating blues phrases.

Buy a blues licks book to learn about blues sounds while playing the piano.

Listen to famous recordings of blues music and blues styles, like rock and jazz music. Listen to Ray Charles, Dave Brubeck, and Roosevelt Sykes. This will help you to internalize blues music and rhythms.

After becoming familiar with the basics of piano blues seek out other musicians to play blues, jazz, and boogie-woogie. It is all about playing with feeling and soul. Learn to jam with others playing blues to help you become more proficient at playing the piano.

Continue reading the article here.

So there you have it — a blues piano songs list to get you started on your musical exploration, and then the steps you need to get started with playing the style!

Readers, what are your favorite blues songs to play? Let us know in the comments! 

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Intro to Classical Piano Music

Intro to Classical Piano Music Styles [Infographic]

Intro to Classical Piano Music

Curious about the history of classical piano music? Take a journey through history and learn about the four distinct musical periods in this lesson from Brooklyn, NY music teacher Julie P...


Musical styles are always shifting and developing. Throughout history, as musicians and famous piano composers experimented with sounds and instrument design, the music world expanded and more possibilities became evident.

Early musicians started with simple melodies, sung in unison. But slowly, composers started adding other parts, the instruments we know today were developed, and people around the world shared their ideas with each other.

Within the classical piano music genre, there are four main time periods we refer to in order to categorize musical development throughout history. Those four time periods are:

  • Baroque
  • Classical
  • Romantic 
  • Modern

The transitions between these eras are not clear-cut, and often composers at the end of one era were already writing music with characteristics of the next era. Likewise, some composers were slow to accept change and wrote pieces at the beginning of one era that sound like music from the previous time period.

While it can be difficult to classify some composers and pieces into a single time period, the four time periods are very helpful to know. They show the trends in music over time and help us understand the thought process of musicians as they were developing new ideas.

In this article (and infographic!), you’ll get an introduction to piano music in the four musical time periods. There is, of course, much more to be said about classical piano music than can fit below, but the key information will give you an idea of each time period. Take a listen to the pieces highlighted to hear how piano music changed throughout history.

Baroque — 1600-1750

Baroque Composers to Know

  • Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Georg Philipp Telemann
  • George Frideric Handel
  • Domenico Scarlatti
  • Francois Couperin

Popular Baroque Pieces to Check Out

  • J.S. Bach – The Well Tempered Clavier

  • G.F. Handel – Fugue No. 1 in G Minor

Classical — 1750-1825

Classical Composers to Know

  • Joseph Haydn
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  • Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Franz Schubert
  • Muzio Clementi

Popular Classical Piano Songs to Check Out

  • Clementi – Sonata in C Major, Op. 36 No. 1

  • Beethoven – Appasionata Sonata

Romantic — 1825-1900

Romantic Composers to Know

  • Johannes Brahms
  • Peter Illyich Tchaikovsky
  • Frederic Chopin
  • Robert Schumann
  • Claude Debussy

Romantic Piano Pieces to Check Out

  • Chopin – Nocturn Op. 9 No. 2

  • Brahms – Rhapsody Op. 79 No. 2

Modern — 1900-present

Modern Composers to Know

  • Arnold Schoenberg
  • Igor Stravinsky
  • Charles Ives
  • Aaron Copland
  • Sergei Prokofiev

Modern Piano Music to Know

  • Copland – The Young Pioneers

  • Stravinsky Piano Sonata

Got it? Here’s a helpful infographic, if you’re more of a visual learner!

Intro to Classical Piano Music - Baroque, Romantic

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JuliePPost Author: Julie P.
Julie P. teaches flute, clarinet, music theory, and saxophone lessons in Brooklyn, NY. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Ithaca College and her Masters in Music Performance from New Jersey City University. Learn more about Julie here!

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15 Ways to Celebrate National Piano Month

15 Fun Ways to Celebrate National Piano Month

15 Ways to Celebrate National Piano Month


Love all things piano? Whether you dabble on the keys in your spare time, spend hours on the bench practicing to become the next virtuoso, teach piano for a living, or simply enjoy listening to Beethoven’s best, we can all agree — the piano is an amazing instrument!

From jazz hits to classical, heavy metal covers to even rap and hip-hop that sample piano, there are practically no limits to what you can explore on the piano.

So now it’s time to celebrate, with September 1st marking the start of National Piano Month, a holiday started in 1991 by the National Piano Foundation. Ready to celebrate with us? Here are some ideas…

  1. Learn about the history of the piano, in this comprehensive series from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  2. Check out different types of pianos, in this interactive online museum.
  3. Get creative with these kid-friendly craft ideas for your piano room.
  4. Try something new in your practice routine with these fun ways to practice scales.
  5. Join the piano community in laughing at these 15 struggles piano players know all too well!
  6. Having trouble with a tough piece? Try this fun piano exercise to get back on track.
  7. Spend some time learning a musical genre you may not be super familiar with —  for example, get familiar with ragtime!
  8. Challenge yourself to improve your music-reading speed.
  9. Learn a new song with these 8 awesome YouTube piano tutorials.
  10. Test your knowledge of modern-day songs that borrow from classical pieces (even Dave Matthews and Weezer!).
  11. Check out our infographic to find out if your child is ready to begin piano lessons!
  12. Step outside your comfort zone and spice up your piano practice with something new.
  13. Consider getting involved in a piano competition.
  14. Master those big piano leaps with these helpful tips.
  15. And parents, make sure you celebrate National Piano Month along with your kids! Check out our tips to support your young, aspiring musician.

Readers, how are YOU celebrating National Piano Month? Let us know in the comments! 

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12 Addictive Apps Every Musician Needs - top music apps

12 Addictive Apps Every Musician Needs (2015 Update)

12 Addictive Apps Every Musician Needs - top music apps

Since the invention of the app store, aspiring and experienced musicians have been finding inspiration, practicing their skills, and immersing themselves in their craft — all with the help of some of the top music apps!

There are so many noteworthy apps that can benefit all musicians, from guitarists to singers and songwriters. Whether you are looking for something educational or creative, this list will benefit your collection of apps. And best of all, they are all fun to work with… and pretty addictive, we might add!

Here are our picks for top music apps…

12 Addictive Apps Musicians Will Love (2015 Update)Songwriter’s Pad

Songwriter’s Pad is the ultimate songwriter’s tool. It contains powerful idea-generating tools to inspire creation while making lyric-writing easier than ever. Everything you need to write music is packed into this one application. Finally, an app to defeat writer’s block once and for all!

Download: iOSAndroid


12 Addictive Apps Musicians Will Love (2015 Update)Songsterr Tabs & Chords

Songsterr Tabs & Chords was featured in the Wall Street Journal as, “one of the best apps for learning to play music.” With a huge catalog of 500,000 accurate tabs and chords, all musicians can learn something with this app. Most songs have tabs for individual instruments too, including the guitar, bass, drums, and vocals.

Download: iOS, Android


12 Addictive Apps Musicians Will Love (2015 Update)GarageBand

Do you need a full recording studio on the go? If so, this is the app for you. GarageBand turns your phone into a collection of instruments, including piano, organ, guitar, and drums. Guitarists can even plug their electric guitar in and play through classic amps and stompbox effects!

Download: iOS


12 Addictive Apps Musicians Will Love (2015 Update)My Note Games

This is a fun music game that teaches music theory and instrument mastery, including lessons for saxophone, piano, guitar, recorder, trumpet, violin, viola, and cello, plus vocals and whistling. The app actually listens to you playing your instrument, checking your tone, pitch, and accuracy.

Download: iOS


12 Addictive Apps Musicians Will Love (2015 Update)Beatwave

With Beatwave, you can make unique music just by tapping on your screen! No musical skills are required, and you can create songs anywhere from your phone. In minutes, you can make complex songs with multiple layers of instruments and sounds — and then share them on social media!

Download: iOS


12 Addictive Apps Musicians Will Love (2015 Update)Ear Trainer

Ear Trainer is an educational application designed for beginner to advanced musicians, music students, and anyone interested in improving one’s musical ear. There are more than 260 individual exercises covering intervals, chords, scales, relative pitch, and melody.

Download: iOS


12 Addictive Apps Musicians Will Love (2015 Update)Sing! Karaoke by Smule

Are you ready to take karaoke to the next level? With Sing! Karaoke by Smule, you can sing your favorite karaoke songs and show them off to the world. Record yourself, add audio effects, and share with the app’s global community!

Download: iOS, Android


12 Addictive Apps Musicians Will Love (2015 Update)Polyphonic!

Polyphonic! is a simple interface app for creating your own complex layers of music, even without any prior musical ability. Each square represents a different sound and each color represents a unique group of sounds. This app is perfect for anyone interested in music creation.

Download: iOS


12 Addictive Apps Musicians Will Love (2015 Update)Hum

Hum makes note-taking and audio recording of song ideas easier than ever! Every aspiring songwriter needs this tool in his or her arsenal. Hum keeps your lyrics and song ideas organized and sortable so you never lose anything again.

Download: iOS


12 Addictive Apps Musicians Will Love (2015 Update)Lyrics Pro

With this app, you get access to the lyrics of millions of tracks, straight from your phone. You can search by artist, song name, or the lyrics themselves. It also has a cool auto-loading feature that delivers the lyrics to any song that is currently playing!

Download: iOS


12 Addictive Apps Musicians Will Love (2015 Update)Figure

You now have the ability to create awesome music in minutes! Simply open Figure and start by creating a beat, then share it with your friends. Whether you are new to music production or are a seasoned veteran, this app is super fun to use. All musicians can use it to improve their rhythm and expand creativity.

Download: iOS


12 Addictive Apps Musicians Will Love (2015 Update)SongPop

Do you know everything about music? Test yourself against friends with SongPop. As you play, you’ll listen to song clips from thousands of original artists in more than 300 genres, and the idea is to guess the artist or song faster than your friends.

Download: iOS, Android


Readers, what top music apps are missing from this list? Let us know in the comments!

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What's the Best App for Learning Piano

Free & Low-Cost Piano Apps for the iPad – Reviewed!

What's the Best App for Learning Piano

Why limit your piano practice? Using apps to help you practice, as well as within your piano lessons, can be a ton of fun! Here are teacher Sabrina P.‘s recommendations for the best piano apps for iPad and iPhone…


There are SO many piano apps for iPad, iPhone, and all other models of tablets and smartphones — some claim they will help motivate your kids to practice, others say that they help your little ones learn how to read sheet music. Some you pay for, while many are free. They all claim to be the app for you!

So how do you know which ones to download?

Below I’ve pulled together my list of the best piano apps, all of which I use personally or use in my private lessons. They are reviewed based on my personal opinion and experience with them. I’ve also rated them against each other, meaning the apps marked as 10/10 are better than every other app out there.



PianoMaestro (Apple) (FREE)

This is the BEST piano teaching/motivating app on the planet. The minute you turn it on, you’ll notice it’s not just one of those many scrolling piano note apps.

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Here are a few of the wonderful features:

  • Unique to the app is its MusicSense Engine. Basically, sit in front of your piano and it recognizes the notes you play. I was blown away by how well it works!
  • Kids can use this app to learn how to read rhythms – one of the hardest skills to teach – quickly and simply. Most of the songs have music in the background that you play along with, and all you have to do is play the note when it reaches the laser line.
  • If a song is too hard you can hit the “learn” option, which is a great way to show kids exactly how to practice piano. It breaks the song up into small parts, and each part must be played two or three times before moving on.
  • There are more than 5,000 songs and exercises, and they’re always adding more!
  • There are several different genres to choose from, including pop & rock, musicals, classical, and TV and game themes!




Piano Dust Buster (Apple) (FREE)

If you want to expose your little ones to piano, this is the app for you. It’s designed exclusively to teach piano to toddlers and kids not quite ready for lessons. Unlike Piano Maestro (which focuses on learning to read sheet music), Piano Dust Buster introduces piano letters to kids.

The premise: help Granny dust off her piano! To play, you need to whack dust shapes to the beat and plays with many genres of music. It’s really great for exposing kids to classical music!

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Tenuto (Apple) ($3.99)

Tenuto is a type of flashcard app. Yes, you do have to pay for it, but honestly if you bought music flashcards, you would spend at least this much. Plus, it’s much cooler on an iPad!

Tenuto teaches users how to find the different letters on the keyboard, as well as recognizing notes on the staff. It also has an ear training section, but I don’t recommend it because it’s a little difficult to use.

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goodEar (Apple) ($0.99/$3.99)

goodEar is a really fun piano app for iPad, particularly for helping with ear training. There are four versions of the app – chords, melody, scales, and intervals. You can buy them separately (each costs $0.99), or you can buy goodEar Pro, which includes all four for $3.99. However, unless you already have a pretty good ear and just want to test how good your ear really is, I really don’t think the Pro version is practical. Instead, just choose the lesson that you’d like to focus on.

goodEar Melody is the version my students like the best because it’s the easiest to understand and play. Once you turn on the app, it’s pretty straightforward – it’s basically like “Simon Says” for piano. You can change how many tones you want to play in a run and what kind of intervals to choose from. I usually start my students with the settings in the screenshot below.

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Piano Notes Pro (Apple)($2.99)

This is exclusively a sight reading app. The look of the app is very clean and you can even personalize the background screen to the color of your choice!

To begin, choose how high and low on the staff you want to play, which staff you want to read, and if you want the notes to be random, ascending, or descending. Then, all you have to do is play the key that is shown on the staff.

This app has many great features that take students a while to get through, but if you want to keeping going you can also purchase an upgrade pack for an additional $0.99, which adds major scales, broken chords, and multi-pattern notes.

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Rhythm Lab (Apple) ($2.99)

I really like this app for teaching rhythm. It starts very easy but can get really difficult! There are 20 levels, which all have at least 10 lessons. One cool feature of this piano app is that you can practice playing rhythm patterns from famous composers like Bach, Joplin, and Mozart.

As you play the game, you’ll see valued notes (quarter, half, whole, etc.) and you have to play them along with a metronome. You can listen to the rhythm first if you need a reference. After you have completed a rhythm, swipe to the left and the next task will appear.

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Here’s a tip when using this app: after you press play, you will hear a specific number of clicks first; this corresponds with the top number of the time signature. For example, if the time signature is 2/4, you will hear two clicks, then you have to start playing the written rhythm on the third click. That is the only confusing part of the app.

I do have two complaints about this app, which is why I’ve given it a lower rating: I don’t like the way it looks – it’s just a bit messy for my taste. You also cannot have multiple accounts.




Piano 3D (Apple) (FREE + any in-app purchases)

The way this app works is pretty cool — it’s a concert grand piano that you can scroll around and look at from all different angles to see how an acoustic grand really works — plus, you can play on the keys!

Users can also access a pretty good-sized list of modern and classical music. When you select a song, it will switch back to the piano and you can watch the song play on the keys.

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Piano 3D is a cool way to learn a song by ear (instead of reading sheet music). You can pause the song, play the song note-by-note, and pick the hand you want to see and hear. You can also connect your keyboard to the app and record songs right into the app.

I like to use this app to expose kids to classical music. They can see how hard some pieces are, and this can motivate kids to practice. They also see that music can be far more vast and interesting than the pieces they’re playing in method books!

The downside of the app is that songs are pretty expensive. I waited until there was a sale on the app to buy a lifetime subscription, which was $20. They do, however, offer a few songs for free, or you can buy short-term access to all the songs in weekly and monthly subscriptions.




Scribd (Apple, Android, Microsoft, Internet) (FREE)

Many of you might know Scribd as a reading app, not unlike Kindle or iBooks, but with Scribd you can also find a lot of free sheet music for piano! However, it can be a bit challenging to find the right piece from the app if you don’t know a few tips.

For instance, if I wanted to find “Beauty and the Beast” sheet music, I recommend including search words like “piano,” “easy,” and “sheet music” after the title. The first results to show up will always be books, so you have to scroll down to the “Documents” section. There you will find relevant sheet music that people have posted.

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Overall, this app is a great way to get your kids playing pieces they want to play, which will make practice more enjoyable for you and them!




GarageBand (Apple) (FREE – $4.99)

You’ve probably heard of GarageBand for your computer, but the portable version is really useful as well, especially if you have a budding songwriter on your hands! You can record piano with tons of different synthesizer sounds and play other instruments like guitar, drums, and other stringed instruments. Little ones especially like being able play on other instruments, as this helps them become well-rounded musicians.

Just so you know, if you buy a brand new iPad, Apple throws in a few apps for free, and GarageBand is one of them. If you have a previous model, you’ll have to buy it, but I believe it’s worth it!

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With this list of apps, we’ve covered everything you’ll need to start learning piano — music reading, rhythms, intervals, note recognition, sight reading, and so on. A lot of these apps are just for learning the basics, but there are many more apps that may be more helpful for different situations and goals. In my experience, the apps above are the most useful in almost all situations. Hopefully you’ll find some of these useful for yourself or your piano students. Happy learning!

Post Author: Sabrina P.
Sabrina P. teaches piano and is classically trained with over 14 years of playing experience. She especially enjoys Modern Japanese classical music (anime and video game music). Some of her influences include Bach, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, Strauss, and Tchaikovsky.  Learn more about Sabrina here!

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Tips from Teachers How to Get Ready for a Piano Recital

How to Get Ready for Your First Piano Recital [Infographic]

Tips from Teachers How to Get Ready for a Piano Recital

A good piano performance takes plenty of patience, practice, and persistence. And your first piano recital can be nerve-wracking, on top of that! Here, music teacher Liz T. shows you exactly how to prepare…


If you’re new to playing piano, your first piano recital is a wonderful opportunity to showcase what you’ve learned in front of family and friends! However, performing can be nerve-wracking for kids and adults alike. Here is a suggested timeline to help you perform at your best!

Prep Before the Recital

3 Months Before

  • Start planning your repertoire (the songs you’ll be performing) with your teacher. Having your songs picked out at least three to four months before your recital gives you plenty of time to practice.

2 Months Before

  • In your lessons, work with your teacher on improving your rhythm, as well as mastering the melody and chords.
  • In between lessons, practice your pieces! Work on the left and right hand separately, then practice with both hands together.
  • Don’t overwhelm yourself trying to learn entire songs in one sitting. Break it down: work on 16 measures at a time, or one page at a time.

1 Month Before

  • This is the most crucial time before the recital, so make sure you’re not slacking off!
  • If you feel prepared, try challenging yourself by memorizing your piano pieces.
  • Try recording yourself playing, so you can identify areas you still need to work on.
  • Listen to professional recordings of your pieces.

Week Before

  • Make sure you know the logistics of the recital: What time should you arrive? How should you dress? Will the recital be indoors or outdoors?
  • Put on a mock recital in front of your friends and family.

Day of the Recital

  • Get a good night’s rest and eat a well-balanced meal.
  • Bring extra copies of your music, as well as snacks and water.
  • Wear comfortable shoes.
  • Make sure you warm up! Run through some scales and arpeggios, stretch your muscles, and keep your hands warm and loose.
  • Breathe! It’s normal to get stage fright, but imagine your performance going well, and stay positive.

Additional Tips for Your First Piano Recital

  • Besides bringing extra copies of your music, I recommend having a picture of your music saved on your smartphone (as you never know what can happen).
  • I also recommend either laminating your music onto a small board or putting it into a three-ring notebook. This way, you won’t have pages blowing away and falling down.

Got it? Here’s a handy infographic to print out and post where you can see it!

Piano Recital Timeline - How to Get Ready for Your First Piano Recital

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I wish you all the best with your upcoming piano recital. If you would like to map out an action plan for how to excel at your next recital, schedule a piano lesson today and get started!

LizTPost Author: Liz T.
Liz T. teaches singing, acting, and music lessons in Brooklyn, NY, as well as online. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music with a B.M in Vocal performance and currently performs/teaches all styles of music including Musical Theater, Classical, Jazz, Rock, Pop, R&B, and Country. Learn more about Liz here!

Photo by bnilsen

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