Do you want to learn how to play the piano but don’t have a desire to or the opportunity to go to piano school, and you’re not so fond of learning apps either? There is another option.
How can you work on your piano skills at home but have a real sense of progress and structure?
Pianote is an online platform based on guided video lessons. It’s a well-designed, personal and efficient way to learn how to play the piano or improve your skills.
In this article, we will show you Pianote’s features and explain why we believe its method is a neat way of developing musical skills.
Pianote has just turned 5 years, so it’s still a young and growing platform.
It has many users and followers though, primarily due to its well-structured curriculum that connects the traditional and modern way of learning how to play the piano.
Pianote teaches you how to play the piano through guided video lessons. In each lesson, you will be coached by an educated pianist on how to play popular songs as well as some music theory.
So, you will not only learn which chords to play for a particular song but also how to play them. Accordingly, you will get valuable lessons in various piano techniques, ear training, chording, improvisation, and so on.
Its content makes Pianote suitable for both absolute beginners and more experienced piano players.
Moreover, some features make Pianote slightly stand out from other online learning platforms. We will come back to that in a moment.
How To Get Pianote
To access Pianote video lessons, you need to become a member by subscribing to their website. You can choose between a monthly ($29) and an annual subscription ($197).
By becoming a member, you will gain unlimited access to every lesson.
Apart from the ten free lessons that Pianote also offers, you can have a trial run by checking out the Pianote YouTube channel where you can get a glimpse at their teaching method and approach.
You should keep in mind that these YouTube tutorials are quite different from the experience you get if you become a member. For example, after you subscribe, you will get a practice plan so you will not get lost in all these videos.
You will also get progress-tracking, the possibility to attend weekly live lessons, and many other features described further in the article.
However, if you’re not happy with what you get, you can ask for your money back because of their 90-day guarantee.
To start your piano learning course, you only need a proper device (works both for computers and mobile phones), and a digital piano or a keyboard. Since you will not be getting instant feedback, you won’t be needing a USB or MIDI.
What Makes Pianote So Special?
Unlike many online learning formats, Pianote has a professional team of instructors to guide you through the learning process.
By watching someone play the piano while explaining what they’re doing and why you will understand the lecture better. We would argue that this method is much more rewarding than the experience you get by simply following instructions from an app.
Although learning from an app can be fun and efficient, having a real teacher on the screen will give you an element of human connection.
Another thing that will make you feel like you’re in piano school is the possibility to communicate with your instructors. After completing the lesson (you mark it ‘completed’ yourself), you are free to record yourself playing and ask for their feedback.
What makes Pianote different from similar courses that are based on video lessons, such as Piano in 21 Days, is the fact that you choose your own pace and content.
You don’t have to strictly follow the suggested itinerary. You can watch any video as many times as you want, access videos that focus on practicing only one technique, or simply learn how to play specific songs from the library suitable for your level.
On top of that, you will get the chance to attend online live lessons where you can post questions and talk to fellow students. This feature really got us to appreciate the platform.
One of the main instructors on Pianote is Lisa Witt. She perfected her piano skills through the Royal Conservatory of Music and has been teaching piano for 19 years now. Although she received classical piano training, she prefers popular songs and playing by ear, and that encouraged her to help to create the Pianote community.
In her video lectures, you can feel her sincere enthusiasm, dedication to music, and in-depth knowledge, which makes her an encouraging and trustworthy teacher.
The rest of Pianote’s teachers are no less skilled and inspiring; an artist and composer Kenny Werner has been teaching for 54 years (talking about some experience!).
A name that might ring a bell if you’re a music enthusiast is Jay Oliver. He is an American musician who worked with big names such as Celine Dion, The Eagles, Chick Corea, and Sheryl Crow, and yes, he is part of the Pianote team!
Other pianists you will come across in the videos are Sam Vesely, Cassi Falk, Jordan Leibel, Brett Ziegler, Jonathan Tobin, and Nate Bosch.
So, what exactly will you know after you finish the Pianote course?
At the very beginning, you choose a Learning Path (the ones from 2016 and 2019 are available) which consists of ten levels with 10 lessons each.
The first level, you’re already guessing, is called “Getting Started on The Piano“. It will teach you basic skills but by the end of the last lesson, you will already be playing your first song.
So although you will learn how to play the piano one step at a time, and with the necessary theoretical background, you will be able to make progress pretty fast. The curriculum is wisely structured to provide you with what is necessary to learn in order to achieve optimal results.
What is great about Pianote’s program is that you will learn how to read sheet music rather than just memorize the correct chords – that way, you will be able to get a printable or downloadable sheet of any song and successfully play it by yourself.
As you progress with your lessons, you will indulge in different musical styles, as well as learn about improvisational techniques.
You will learn how to write your own music too, and the Composition and Songwriting level is going to be available on Pianote anytime now.
After you’re done with your lessons and have mastered the so-called Pianote Method, you will have a strong foundation to move to keep enhancing your skills. Pianote itself offers extra lessons to develop more intricate skills, so it’s up to you how far you’re going to get.
No matter what you decide to do afterward, we encourage you not to stop. Keep practicing what you’ve learned, watch some video lessons again, and keep learning new songs on their Youtube channel.
With practice, it can only get easier and more enjoyable.
Live Lessons and Reviews
We already mentioned that Pianote offers an opportunity to attend weekly live sessions. This is indeed a great way to feel more included and add more structure to your learning.
During every live lesson, teachers usually take 20-40 minutes to teach a song from sheet music. You can also submit questions about it and get an immediate response from them.
When it comes to questions, there are live lessons dedicated specifically to students’ Q&A. Each lesson is archived so you can check first if you’re question has already been answered.
Another unique and useful feature of Pianote is student reviews. Basically, you can record yourself playing the piano and submit it to teachers along with a short introduction where you state what kind of advice you’re expecting.
This is a very important feature that we encourage you to take advantage of. It’s important to get an objective (and in this case professional) opinion of your playing.
It’s often hard to pinpoint your own weaknesses, so try not to be afraid or too shy to present yourself. After all, they’re teachers – they will gladly hear you out and help you. Moreover, constructive criticism is an inevitable step towards improvement.
Packs and Bootcamps
As they say on Pianote, The Foundation Learning Path is more like a semester course, and courses are short workshops. Other ways of diving into a specific topic are Packs and Bootcamps.
Packs focus on a certain technique and help you to improve it significantly. Some of the available packs are Faster Fingers, Sight-Reading Made Simple and 500 Songs in 500 days.
Bootcamps are similar but even more specific. With a targeted focus group, they will help you brush your technical piano skills.
In the Student Focus section, you can also find Quick tips. They are created to shortly describe to you elements of playing the piano that will bring more quality to your sound, such as how to portray emotion through your playing.
Before subscribing or buying an online learning course, you will probably want to know which songs does it contain.
Well, Pianote doesn’t have the richest song library. You can choose between no more than 80 songs at the moment.
On the other hand, we appreciate the fact that the choice is not limited only to pop songs.
Yes, you will come across a bunch of (well-selected) recent popular hits such as Taylor Swift’s “Cardigan”, but you can also learn some older classics like Gary Jules’ “Mad World” or Radiohead’s “Creep”, as well as real classical pieces from Beethoven, Handel, and Mozart.
There are also some TV delights available, such as the Game of Thrones theme song.
New songs are being regularly added, so the fact that there isn’t a lot to choose from should change in the future.
One of the things that Pianote is continually working on is building a strong community. In fact, creating a sense of belonging will most likely keep students engaged for a long time.
Some people start with their piano lessons and soon lose their consistency or interest. By keeping their members motivated and involved, the Piano team successfully strives to guide them until they reach their goals.
Pianote’s YouTube Channel has quite a number of followers. That comes as no surprise since they are publishing new content regularly. Whether it’s a new song tutorial or a technical practice, they’re trying to constantly update their material.
A convenient way of having the chance to connect with other members is the Pianote Forum. You can start a discussion by yourself or simply join the existing one and start exchanging experiences and opinions, or simply chat about music.
Instructors often also contribute to these chats or reply to comments on social media platforms and YouTube.
Although the chance to interact might sound like a usual practice, a lot of musical courses’ or apps’ creators aren’t so responsive, or you get a dry response from their support team. That said, we believe this a big plus for Pianote.
Which Keyboard To Buy?
If we got you excited about starting to play the piano but you don’t have an instrument waiting for you in the corner, there are many convenient and affordable options out there.
It’s easy to get lost among all these brands, especially if you’re someone who doesn’t have much experience in music. Even if you do, taking a lot at someone’s recommendation can indeed be helpful.
So, everyone has their own ideas about which keyboard is best to get, and it all comes down to your goals and budget.
Pianote’s instructor and an experienced pianist Lisa Witt has created her own short guide on buying the keyboard for beginners. In the video, she shows a variety of keyboards you might find suitable for you.
If you have a wish (well, who doesn’t) and a possibility to buy a well-sized piano, there are plenty of things to consider and research before you purchase it. You can take a look at our list of best piano brands of all time to get an idea of what every piano manufacturer strives to achieve.
In the end, we have a sum-up of Pianote’s pros and cons:
- Quality Content – Pianote’s curriculum will provide you with sufficient knowledge and skills to play the music you like, and it will not avoid musical theory while doing so.
Apart from coaching you in reading notes and playing numerous songs, it will help you to work on your overall musicality.
- Communication – Being able to reach your teachers and get valuable feedback and advice is a big benefit of Pianote. Not to mention that all teachers are highly skilled and inspiring.
Talking to other members on the forum can also be fun and engaging.
- Freedom To Choose – If you’re an intermediate player, being able to navigate through the platform on your own is important. You can choose a specific technique to work on and focus on delicate skills rather than strictly follow the course without being able to skip ahead.
- A Lot To Take In – At the beginning, seeing all these courses, packs, boot camps, and levels can be a bit confusing or overwhelming. For beginners, for example, it might be easier to have all the technical videos in one place. However, once you get a grip, scattered content and a variety of options won’t be a problem.
- Song Choice – Pianote’s song library is still growing. Currently, it contains less than 80 songs, and although they include different genres and are mostly well-selected, the choice of songs is actually not much different than in other online learning programs.
Although it’s great to play familiar songs, it would be nice to be surprised with a hidden gem from time to time.
Piano learning programs that are based on guided video lessons are becoming more and more popular.
One of the alternatives for Pianote is Piano in 21 days whose program focuses on teaching popular songs quickly and easily, without reading sheet music. It’s an excellent choice if you don’t want to deal with reading sheet music and just want to play for fun.
Flowkey is also a great option for learning how to play your favorite songs and delving into some music theory. This multi-learning piano learning app is convenient both for beginners and players with some experience.
However, Pianote combines guided video lessons and the freedom to choose what technique or a particular song you want to work on. It’s interesting, efficient, and easy to follow, and along with its fresh design, it stands out from other similar learning programs.
Pianote Review – Final Thoughts
It’s easy not to get noticed among so many popular e-learning platforms, but we suppose that was inevitable for Pianote since they blended the traditional and modern approach to piano lessons so well.
All in all, Pianote is a fresh and well-designed platform with quality content and an excellent team of instructors that can help you in developing your musical skills no matter what age or how experienced you are.
The opportunities it offers such as live lessons and the student forum are a great way to make you feel included and heard. If you become a member of Pianote, you will become a member of the community, and that differentiates Pianote from many other courses and apps.
When it comes to the content itself, with Pianote you will learn how to play the piano quickly and easily, yet have an option to work on more advanced techniques while developing your overall sense (and hopefully passion) for music.