The future of music

Can Piano Be Self-Taught?

September 4, 2023
Can Piano Be Self-Taught?

The journey of learning the piano has traditionally been associated with in-person lessons, music schools, and structured curriculums.

But in today’s digital age, many aspiring pianists are asking: Can piano be self-taught?

This article delves into the feasibility of teaching yourself piano, evaluating the pros and cons, and available resources, and offering actionable tips for those who wish to embark on this self-guided musical adventure.

Can Piano Be Self-Taught?

Yes, piano can be self-taught through a combination of resources like books, online tutorials, apps, and practice exercises. The key to successful self-teaching lies in consistent practice, structured learning, and periodic self-evaluation. However, while self-teaching provides flexibility and can be cost-effective, it may lack the personalized feedback and tailored instruction that come with traditional lessons. To address this, consider incorporating occasional in-person or online lessons with an instructor for targeted guidance.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Self-Taught Piano

Here are some pros & cons of self-taught piano.

Advantages of Self-Taught Piano

  1. Flexibility: Self-teaching allows you to set your own schedule and pace, accommodating your lifestyle and availability.
  2. Cost-Effectiveness: You can often save money by using free or lower-cost online resources, as opposed to paying for regular lessons.
  3. Personalized Curriculum: You can tailor your learning path to focus on genres, techniques, or pieces that interest you the most.
  4. Self-Paced Learning: You can spend as much time as you need on specific techniques or pieces, allowing for a more personalized learning experience.
  5. Resource Variety: There’s an abundance of resources available online, from video tutorials and apps to sheet music and forums.

Disadvantages of Self-Taught Piano

  1. Lack of Feedback: Without an instructor, you might develop bad habits or miss out on useful techniques that you weren’t aware of.
  2. Accountability: The lack of a structured environment or external deadlines can make it easy to slack off or not practice as consistently.
  3. Potential for Plateaus: Without expert guidance, you might find it challenging to progress past certain skill levels or overcome specific challenges.
  4. Limited Social Interaction: Traditional lessons often offer opportunities for ensemble playing or performances, which you might miss out on when self-teaching.
  5. Quality of Resources: While there’s a wealth of resources available, the quality can be inconsistent, requiring you to vet each one to ensure it meets your learning needs.

Self-teaching the piano comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages, and it’s crucial to weigh these factors to determine if this learning route is suitable for you.

With discipline, quality resources, and perhaps occasional professional guidance, self-teaching can be a rewarding way to learn piano.

Self-Taught Piano vs Online Lessons

Let’s compare the effectiveness of self-taught piano versus that of online piano lessons.

Self-Taught Piano


  1. Cost-Effective: Generally free or less expensive, especially if using freely available materials.
  2. Flexibility: Complete freedom to set your own schedule and pace, and to choose what you want to learn.
  3. Personalized Curriculum: You can tailor your learning experience to focus exclusively on what interests you, without following a set syllabus.
  4. Resource Variety: You can select from a wide range of materials like books, YouTube videos, and sheet music.


  1. Lack of Feedback: You’re on your own, which makes it easier to develop bad habits or miss key nuances.
  2. Accountability: Self-discipline is essential because there’s no one to ensure you’re practicing or correcting mistakes.
  3. Potential for Plateaus: You might find it challenging to push past certain levels or identify and overcome weaknesses.

Online Piano Lessons


  1. Structured Learning: Online lessons usually offer a structured curriculum, often designed by professionals, to guide you step-by-step.
  2. Flexibility: You can usually access lessons at any time, providing some level of schedule flexibility.
  3. Quality of Instruction: Lessons are often crafted and vetted by professionals, ensuring you’re getting accurate and effective instruction.
  4. Interactivity: Some platforms offer interactive features or even real-time feedback, making the learning process more dynamic.


  1. Cost: Quality online courses usually come with a price tag, which can add up over time.
  2. Limited Personalization: While some courses offer different paths or levels, you’re generally following a predetermined curriculum.
  3. Technical Requirements: You’ll need a reliable internet connection and sometimes specific software or hardware to participate.
  4. Less Tailored Feedback: While better than self-taught scenarios, the feedback in online lessons can still be less personalized than one-on-one, in-person instruction.

Both self-taught piano and online lessons have their merits and drawbacks.

Self-taught piano gives you a lot of freedom but lacks structured feedback, while online lessons offer more structured learning but can be costly and less personalized.

The choice between the two will depend on your personal needs, discipline level, and goals.

Many people find a blended approach—using online lessons for structure and self-teaching for additional practice and exploration—to be the most effective way to learn.

Can Piano Be Self-Taught? – Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the journey of self-teaching the piano is entirely possible and offers a range of benefits, including flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and a personalized learning experience.

However, it’s crucial to acknowledge the challenges that come with this approach, such as the lack of structured feedback and the potential for hitting skill plateaus.

A balanced strategy that combines self-teaching with occasional professional guidance can be an effective way to harness the best of both worlds.

Whether you’re a complete novice or looking to refresh your skills, self-teaching the piano can be a rewarding and enriching experience if approached with dedication and mindfulness.


Can I really learn piano by myself?

Yes, you can learn piano by yourself using a variety of resources such as books, online tutorials, and apps. The key to successful self-teaching is consistent practice, a structured approach to learning, and periodic self-evaluation. However, occasional professional guidance can enhance your learning experience by providing personalized feedback.

Can you teach yourself piano?

Yes, you can teach yourself piano using resources like books, online courses, and apps that offer structured lessons and exercises. Success in self-teaching depends largely on your dedication to consistent practice and self-evaluation. While you can achieve a lot on your own, occasional professional guidance can offer valuable feedback and help you refine your skills.

How long does it take to self-teach piano?

The time it takes to self-teach piano varies widely depending on factors like your prior musical experience, the complexity of the pieces you’re learning, and how consistently you practice. For basic proficiency, it could take anywhere from a few months to a couple of years of regular, focused practice. Keep in mind that mastering the piano is a long-term commitment that can take many years, whether you are self-taught or taking formal lessons.

Is self-taught piano hard?

Self-taught piano can be challenging due to the lack of structured guidance and immediate feedback, which could lead to the development of bad habits or techniques. However, with disciplined practice, quality resources, and a structured approach to learning, many people successfully teach themselves to play. The difficulty level will vary depending on your dedication and the complexity of the music you wish to learn.

Can you teach your own child piano?

Yes, you can teach your own child piano, especially if you have some musical background or are willing to learn alongside them. Using a structured curriculum or online resources can help guide your teaching and keep the learning process engaging for your child. However, for more advanced techniques and a well-rounded musical education, supplementing with professional lessons can be beneficial.

Is it hard to teach yourself piano?

Teaching yourself piano can be challenging due to the absence of direct feedback and structured guidance, making it easy to develop bad habits. However, the difficulty is largely dependent on your commitment to regular practice, the use of quality learning resources, and your goals in terms of the complexity of the pieces you wish to master. With disciplined practice and a structured approach, it is feasible to achieve a reasonable level of proficiency.

You may also like: Best online piano lessons & how to play piano

Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

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