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.

TakeLessons Live is an online learning subscription with unlimited piano classes in small group settings taught by an expert pianist. Sign up for a free 30-day trial. 

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

Basic Piano Melodies for Beginners
Playing piano melodies might seem hard at first, but this class will make them a breeze! Your expert instructor will start at the basics of reading music and melodies. You will then cover more challenging areas such as playing with two hands and changing positions. Not to worry, though - these concepts will be broken down and made easy to understand so you can master them in no time!
Piano for Beginners: Rhythm Exercises & Understanding Time Signatures
Reading and counting rhythms can be challenging for beginners, but this group piano class will make them a breeze! An expert instructor will lead you through rhythm exercises so you’re able to apply a knowledge of music theory to your playing. A discussion of time signatures will also help improve your technique. Soon these skills will become second nature!
How to Practice Piano: Essential Piano Exercises for Beginners
In this live piano class for beginners, learn how to improve your piano playing skills through mastering effective practice techniques. Taught by an expert piano instructor, you will have the chance to ask questions, get direct feedback, and have fun with other students in class. From deconstructing complicated passages to working on memorization techniques, you will continually improve your piano playing skills with this class.
Easy Tricks for Reading and Playing Sheet Music
Reading sheet music can be a difficult task for many new musicians. This online class will make it a little easier by teaching you the fundamentals of reading music as well as how to read in stages. Looking for patterns will allow you to break down the music and make it easier to digest. Soon you’ll be reading lead sheets and playing sheet music much more easily!
Piano for Beginners: Essential Exercises for Learning Chord Inversions
It’s time to kick your chord playing skills up a notch. In this group piano class, you’ll learn a simple way to build and recognize chord inversions. An inversion is exactly what it sounds like: rearrange a chord and flip it on its head. You’ll apply these inversions with some fun exercises and a song for extra practice in this interactive piano class for beginners!
Piano for Beginners: How to Play Piano Chords
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!
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: How to Read a Lead Sheet of Music
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.