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

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!
Easy Pop Piano Techniques
Want to be the next big pop sensation? In this class you’ll learn some basic pop piano tricks and techniques that will help you learn to play your favorite songs, and maybe even write your own songs too!
Performance Class: Play and Get Feedback
Ready to improve your performance skills on the piano? In this interactive, piano performance class, students will have the opportunity to play their piece for the class and get supportive, constructive feedback from an expert instructor. You’ll also be able to work on stage presence techniques and discuss song choice to improve your performance. A final performance will give you the opportunity to put everything you’ve learned into practice!
Expert Tips for Combining Melodies and Chords
Now that you’ve got melodies down, learn how to combine them with multiple different chords to create even more beautiful music! You’ll receive expert tips on how to do just that in this fun piano class. Your instructor will teach you how to read chord charts and lead sheets as you start with simple melodies and chords. You’ll also cover improvisation!
Simple Techniques to Start Playing Piano
Finally learn the basic skills you need to be able to sit down at the piano and start playing. In this class for beginners, your expert instructor will teach you simple techniques and exercises to start getting more comfortable playing piano right away. Learn alongside other beginner-level piano students and get live, instant feedback from a professional piano instructor in this fun, interactive group class!
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!
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!
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!