How to Teach Yourself Piano at Home

One of the most common questions we get asked is: can I learn to play piano by myself? The answer is, yes. While we believe the best way to learn piano is from an instructor, we also understand that some students prefer self-learning.

The piano is one of the most versatile instruments, and learning it will serve you well in other areas of life. If you’re truly committed to playing this instrument, use this learning guide to get started.

Step 1) Get Your Own Piano or Keyboard

You can’t learn how to teach yourself piano if you don’t have one! Even if there’s a public place where you have access to a piano, it’s far better if you have one in the privacy of your home. That means it’s time to make an investment.

Acoustic pianos typically range in price from $2,000 to $10,000 or more for some high-quality concert grand pianos. Obviously, as a beginner, you don’t need a grand piano, but you’ll at least want a quality instrument to practice on. Acoustic pianos are large and heavy, and require regular tuning to remain playable. Even though these aspects seem like downsides, nothing can truly replace the sound and feel of a real piano.

If the cost is an issue for you, however, a digital keyboard is a totally acceptable place to start. A full 88-key version starts at about $150. Remember, you’ll also need a keyboard stand, piano bench, and sustain pedal. The more features you want (UBS drive, sound effects, internal metronome, sample songs, etc.), the higher the investment will be. Most importantly, don’t be tempted by inexpensive, low-quality keyboards. Insist on weighted keys, which is the key to achieving different dynamics in the music you play.

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2) Start by Finding Middle C

So your keyboard is all set up and you’re excited to get going. If you have no musical background, you may feel overwhelmed by looking at all those keys – but don’t worry! A great place to start is by finding middle C.

Think of middle C as home base, the place where all beginner pieces work off of. To find middle C, sit down in front of your piano and position yourself at the center. The black keys are arranged in sets of two and three. Middle C is the white key just to the left of the grouping of two black keys near the middle of the keyboard. Place your right thumb on Middle C, pointer finger on the next white note (D), and your middle finger on the white note next to that (E). Using these three notes, you should be able to play Mary Had a Little Lamb by ear (start with E, D, C…).

RELATED: 5 Best Piano Books for Beginners

3) Learn to Read Music, Chord Progression, and Finger Exercises

Before you can expect to play more than Mary Had a Little Lamb, you need to pin down some good resources that explain how to teach yourself piano. The Internet is one of your best resources, but certainly not the only one. Here are some helpful resources to get you started:

Bonus Tip – Consider Combining Self Learning with Lessons

You may think you now know how to teach yourself piano, but just like a New Year’s resolution, you may only keep it up for a couple of weeks. Working with a private piano teacher can make a drastic difference in your motivation and the speed at which you progress. Your teacher can provide:

RELATED: 15 Piano Songs That Sound Hard, But Are Easy to Learn

If you find that learning how to teach yourself piano isn’t allowing you to progress as quickly as you’d like, try TakeLessons Live or find a piano teacher near you and commit to lessons. You might be surprised by how much you improve!

Need help learning Piano?

Try one of our most popular online Piano classes for free

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Learning how to read a lead sheet is essential for beginning pianists. This form of written music leaves more of the performance decisions up to the musician, allowing you to add your own unique artistry. In this online piano class, playing through three songs using lead sheets will give you the opportunity to practice your skills! You’ll also become more comfortable playing with your left hand.
Must Know Piano Chords and How To Play Them
These interactive piano classes will teach you the fundamentals of piano chords so you can start expanding your playing skills. You’ll begin with learning the major and minor chords, and then move on to playing major and minor chord inversions. An experienced instructor will explain what each of these are, and make them easy to understand! Finally, you’ll put it all together by learning how to play a song with major and minor chord inversions.
Piano for Beginners: An Intro to Reading Music & Finger Exercises
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Are you ready to take your music theory and piano playing skills to the next level? This online piano class will dive deeper into the various types of chords. You’ll discuss popular strategies to identify and play these chord types, as well as how to play chord progressions. Finally, you’ll learn some new techniques that will add liveliness to your playing!
Unlocked Secrets: Tips to Learn Piano Quickly
If you’ve always wanted to learn how to play the piano, this is the class for you! In this group piano class an expert instructor will cover the basics of making music, finding notes on the piano, and how to build habits that will make you a great pianist in no time!
Piano for Beginners: Intro to Piano Chords & Music Intervals
Are you ready to start learning chords on the piano? This group piano class will explore playing more than one note at a time and forming note patterns. You’ll learn about the various types of intervals and how to apply them your playing. Music theory is an essential part of piano for beginners, and this class will help it become second nature!
Piano for Beginners: Essential Piano Exercises to Practice
An essential part of learning the piano for beginners is understanding all the different elements of a song and being able to put them together. In this group piano class, an expert instructor will show you how to break down the written parts of a song such as the notes, rhythm, and fingerings. You’ll also learn a few piano exercises to help both of your hands work simultaneously. Get ready to feel more comfortable playing with both hands!