aNewDomain.net—If you think you’re going to learn piano from scratch using just an online system and some YouTube videos, think again. You’re about as likely to do that as you are to learn to speak Mandarin from a set of DVDs. You need the human student-teacher element. You need practice.
That said—and I’m speaking as a lifelong piano student and, now, occasional piano teacher—there are amazing YouTube videos out there that will jump-start a new student and add intriguing insights and inspiration for intermediate to advanced ones. Here’s a selection.
If all you’re doing is helping yourself—or a brand new piano student—get a handle on the very basics, this keyboard tutorial on finding notes will get you to Middle C on time. It’s part of a series from M0rgan Studios, called Basic Piano Notes, Keyboard Tutorial No. 1.
Every new student needs to practice scales. If you’re like I was, that’s the grind of it all. But knowing how scales are built is cool and makes scale practice more interesting. Check this video out. It’s from Learn to Play the Piano Lesson No. 2: How Scales Are Made, via ThePianoChordBook.
Source: The Piano Chord Book
It isn’t as slick, but I happen to be a big fan of an online piano teacher named Shawn who uses a whiteboard method to help teach specific songs to advanced beginners up to intermediate pianists. He has a great presentation. In the video below, he explains the rhyme and reason of how to play Monalisas and Mad Hatters, by Elton John. The name of the video shown below is, appropriately, The Best Piano Lesson You’ve NEVER Seen! from the WebPianoTeacher2 YouTube video channel.
At some point—and it is an absolute and unavoidable point if you want to get good at the piano—you’re going to have to swallow some music theory. Below is a terrific video to help you understand the basic concepts behind fourths and fifths—and also how sharps and flats work, aka the infamous Circle of Fifths. This is Major and Minor Piano Scales Explained, Octaves, 4ths, 5ths, Circle of Fifths from the Edhastie YouTube video channel.
There is no shortage of sites to help you delve deeply into theory. Hunt around if the video above doesn’t do it for you. Moving on, one of the biggest challenges for intermediate players who’ve taken lessons in one type of music, say classical, is learning how other genres work. Check out the Bill Evans Minor Jazz Chords Lesson from the FreeJazzLessons YouTube video channel.
Speaking of jazz, when a pianist masters Herbie Hancock riffs he or she knows she’s getting great. There’s a whole series of Hancock-signature lessons. Check out Jazz Piano Lesson No. 2: Herbie Hancock Diminished Line.
There are lots of sites for so-called master pianists. If you’re a master or aspire to be one, time to learn from a master—here’s pianist Kenny Werner and his video called A Master Class in Playing Jazz.
Learning Bach was always a major challenge for me. Exercises help. Pianist Cory Hall has posted a ton of videos on YouTube with exercises to help you more easily play Bach. Here’s SUPERCHARGE Your Piano Technique with the Tausig Exercises from Cory Hall.
Lots of aspiring pianists are really into Jordan Rudess, the superstar pianist of Dream Theater. Aside from traveling the world as a rockstar pianist, Jordan, a graduate of the Julliard School and also the maker of MorphWiz and a number of other cool music apps online, presents Keyboard Wizardry. Here’s Part 1.
Source: Ariel Moreira
The Jordan Rudess Technical Exercise, from Jordan’s own YouTube channel, is the money. Pianists and fans of every level will love this.
Spend some time online and, no matter what your level or the level of your students, you’ll find lots of free sites that will enhance your piano playing immediately. I stand by my original premise—that a computer or a site won’t teach you an instrument from scratch—but they sure can help. If you disagree, that’s cool. Here are the best 2013 Online Piano Lesson Reviews. But you’ve got to pay for these. You’re on your own with that.
Gina Smith is the New York Times best-selling author of Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak’s memoir, iWOZ: How I Invented the Personal Computer and Had Fun Doing It (W.W. Norton, 2005/2007/2012). With John C. Dvorak and Jerry Pournelle, she is editorial director at aNewDomain.net. Email her [email protected], check out her Google + stream here or follow her @ginasmith888, +gina and @ginasmith888, http://www.GINASMITH.com