Elisa has been an online writer for over four years. I am a self-taught musician who's articles focus on teaching beginners the basics.
Learning Piano for Beginners
The piano is a versatile musical instrument and is probably one of the most widely played around the world. The piano is basically a keyboard instrument where the black and white keys represent different notes with different intervals. The way the notes go is head right to go higher, head left to go lower.
Learning how to play the piano is not a difficult feat as long as you are determined. The instrument itself is designed to make playing the notes easier. Piano lessons can be learned from a piano teacher in your community or from online lessons. Some adult beginners who have little free time might choose online lessons because it can be done anytime, anywhere
So, here are a few great websites to learn piano online. The best part is they offer the lessons for free.
Zebra Keys offers free online piano lessons, starting from beginner's level to the more advanced. One great thing about these lessons is that each one has its own video or flash animation to make every lesson fun and easy.
The lessons on the website are designed for teenage to adult learners. Parents who want to teach their children a bit of piano can benefit from Zebra Keys. The lessons are very clear and easy to follow. The virtual piano also helps with learning the songs directly on the site. Another feature that is very helpful is the Note Trainer tool. It assists learners to understand various elements of music.
Piano Nanny is perhaps one of the most comprehensive sites for learning piano. The free lessons are very detailed and professionally written by the experts. It feels like actually learning from a real-life piano teacher.
The lessons consist of three different difficulty levels, including Starter Studies, Intermediate Studies, and Advanced Studies. With the Starter Studies having 13 lessons, Intermediate 11 lessons, and Advanced 10 lessons, Piano Nanny is very thorough in teaching piano for the online community.
Online Piano Teacher and Composer
If you are a fun-loving person (or a video game addict) and need a fun way to learn piano, Plern Piano is a great choice to keep in your arsenal. This might not be the perfect site for absolute beginners, though. It is more suited for music students who want to learn new songs and for composers who want to create original pieces. You can import MIDI files to learn to play the songs online or edit your own compositions on the site.
About this site, think "Guitar Hero" but for piano.
Teaching Music to Young Children
A Few Tricks Up Your Sleeves
To tell you the truth, I have heard about this method a long time ago. Check out Yamaha Junior Music Course. But recently I thought to use it to teach my niece a simple piano piece, as an experiment. Basically, the method is to teach by imitation. That's not actually new. But for young children, the learning process has to be fun. Meaning, you might need to pick up some children's songs video CDs or download the video from Youtube.
For example, take "Mary Had a Little Lamb". First, show the children a music video of Mary Had a Little Lamb, preferably in the key of C major. Trust me, C major is the easiest to play on the piano. Then, sing the song with the children until they have a good grasp of the pitch and intonation.
Second, play the song on the piano and ask them to sing along. Young children might master the lyric singing really fast. After lyric singing, we can introduce solfege singing or singing the notes. This stage can be difficult because do-re-mi-fa-so may not mean anything to them. Dividing the song into three parts can help. Part one is "mi-re-do-re-mi-mi-mi", part two "re-re-re-mi-so-so", and part three "re-re-mi-re-do". Part one is sung twice in the exact same way, so it can be taught only once. Initially, teach them part one first, because that means they'd have mastered 50% of the song. You can sing alternately with the children. They sing part one twice, you sing the rest. Then, teach them one part at a time until they understand how to sing the whole song.
Third, after the children are able to sing the entire notes of Mary Had a Little Lamb, you can teach them how to play the right hand (or the melody). RH stage is also easier if you divide the song like the above method. Teach them one part at a time how to play the right hand, while singing along. The singing is important. It will help them to play the melody.
You could stop here if you thought playing the melody alone is enough for young children. If not, then continue to stage four.
Fourth, the left hand. Your children have to master the right hand first. Then ask them to play the right hand, while you play the left hand (team-playing). Make it simple, please. Just the bassline is enough. Mary Had a Little Lamb can be accompanied by single notes C and G as bass. Their hearing will get used to it. Teach them the left hand in two parts (the first four bars and the rest). They might be able to play it with just a few demonstrations. Then you can team-play with them again with you playing the right hand and them the left hand.
The fifth and final stage is having both hands playing. Show them how to play the song with both hands, SLOWLY... Repeat a couple of times. Then ask them to try it. Don't be discouraged if they don't play perfectly on first go. Encourage them to practice again while you sing along with them. It will be fun to learn music if you have loved ones paying attention and praising every effort you make.
"Mary Had a Little Lamb" Piano Sheet Music - A Simplified Version
The first version is very easy to learn for absolute beginner. After mastering the first one, try the second one with more notes for your left hand.
This Old Man - Easy Piano Sheet Music
One of the well-known children's songs. Unfortunately, I don't remember most of the words. So no lyrics this time.
Buzz, Buzz, Buzz - Level: Grade 1
"Buzz, Buzz, Buzz" is a popular children song which I also don't know the lyrics. It's a simplified piece in C major.
Shabby's Stupid Song
This is what happened when a beginner keyboardist tried their hands on song writing and playing without expert guidance.
Easy "Jingle Bells" Sheet Music
In the spirit of Christmas, I would like to share our beloved Christmas song, "Jingle Bells".
This is an easy version for beginner pianists.
Have You Learned Piano?
Malu Couttolenc on February 22, 2013:
Wow never thought you could learn to play piano online, thank you for writing this page :)
WriterJanis2 on October 25, 2012:
This is an excellent resource. Will show this to my son.
akunsquidoku on July 28, 2012:
Judy Filarecki from SW Arizona and Northern New York on July 17, 2012:
I'm self taught, but mainly just for my own entertainment. Maybe I should look at some of your resources when I'm not busy painting or playing tennis. I just need a few more hours int he day.