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The 4 best online piano lesson apps and platforms in 2024

Learning to play the piano online has never been more popular, but with no shortage of online piano courses, choosing the right one is important.

To make your choice easier, I decided to find and review the best online piano lesson platforms and learning apps available in 2024.

Quick recommendations

After testing nine of the most popular platforms, I believe Piano Marvel offers the best online piano lessons to date.

It’s not without some playful charm, but I admit, it’s less fun-focused than some other platforms. However, if you are okay with a slightly more serious approach to learning, it will take you very far.

If you want engaging video content from some of the best musicians in the world, Pianote is the way to go.

While I still have reservations about such a video-heavy approach, the quality of content keeps improving, and what Pianote has released so far in 2024 has blown me away.

I know from experience that explaining simple concepts to young kids can be more difficult than teaching advanced lessons to adults. The Hoffman Academy makes music fun and approachable, making it the perfect platform for younger kids with a passion for creativity.

Contents

Use these jump links to navigate to the desired section of the review.

Why you should trust me

James Nugent, writer at Higher Hz

I’m a professional pianist, composer, and producer with over two decades of experience in the music industry.

Over the past 20 years, I’ve taken various positions in music education, whether working as a private tutor, teaching group workshops, or writing online lessons and tutorials.

Even as an experienced educator, I will always consider myself a student with a constant desire to learn, adapt, and improve.

As a musician, it’s vital that you never allow yourself to think there’s nothing more to learn, and my passion for learning helps me understand and assess the pros and cons of different teaching methods.

In a more practical sense, I’ve experienced music education from every angle, which allows me to consider how I’d have reacted to these platforms as a beginner, how my past students would respond, and, of course, what I gain from them now at my current level.

It’s essential to experience every lesson properly before making any judgment, and that’s why I completed every lesson/course that I discuss in this article, like a student approaching each topic for the first time.

How I chose and tested

Before adding any platforms to the list, I joined each and every one of them. More importantly, I spent time playing through lessons and courses in every skill level these platforms offer. I chose the best platforms based on my personal experience as a member without taking any shortcuts.

I formed my opinions only after extensive use and participation in every area of any given platform/app (including live streams, blogs, forums, and everything else on offer).

Now that you know I put the time in, here’s a little about what I look for in the main judging categories.

  • Interface. I want to see a user-friendly interface that provides the same or similar experience across all compatible devices. A good interface should be easy to navigate for all target students; if it isn’t, I’ll let you know.
  • Lesson interface. I focus only on what students see during a lesson. First, I look for clarity: I want clear notation/instructions and no unnecessary distractions. Second, I look for additional features and instant feedback where applicable and assess functionality and accuracy.
  • Teaching method. In short, I identify the learning process, which could be as simple as – Look, Listen, Repeat. However, I am also looking for appropriate content delivery. For example, if a video lesson is aimed at kids eight to ten years old, I expect the teacher to be appropriately engaging and make it fun. Students of different levels and ages need different types of motivation, and a good platform/app will deliver that.
  • Courses and content. I ensure the content matches the advertised difficulty level. I also identify any particular lessons that are exceptionally well-crafted.
  • Progression path. After establishing the start and end destination, whether beginner to intermediate or beginner to advanced, I make sure the platform/app takes you there in a sensible way. I look for a well-structured lesson plan that doesn’t take shortcuts or expect you to run before you walk.
  • Value for money. I want to see high-quality content and be confident that students will develop the skills to justify the fee.

Here are my top four recommendations for the best online piano lessons:

Best overall: Piano Marvel

Piano Marvel is a remarkable online resource for students of all ages and experience levels. It might be the only platform with something to offer professionals, whether as a teaching or practice aid.

The only slight criticism is that it might be too grown-up for some younger students, but it will take serious learners as far as they want to go; it offers the best online piano lessons money can buy.

Piano Marvel learning app during the test
Testing the Piano Marvel app | Image: James Nugent, Higher Hz

Piano Marvel offers over 1,200 lessons and over 26,000 songs across the most popular genres. The vast content includes video lessons, PDF books, and printable sheet music.

The platform delivers a sensible progression path, and a strong focus on ear training and sight-reading puts it ahead of the competition.

The interface is clean and professional, albeit not as instantly engaging as something like Pianote. During my time with Piano Marvel, I found that any lack of playful charm was more than compensated by beautiful efficiency.

The professional image of Piano Marvel software will likely be more engaging for adults, but if younger students stick with it, they will see incredible results.

The Music Library is huge, but the most impressive thing is the quality of the arrangements. I often find myself frustrated by platforms that provide clunky, clumsy arrangements with no sense of expression, not Piano Marvel.

As soon as I played through a few lessons, I found it hard to believe that Piano Marvel is one of the cheaper memberships on the market. It’s incredible.

Read my full Piano Marvel review to find out more about the platform.

What I like

  • Well thought-out lessons.
  • Sensible progression path.
  • High-quality arrangements.
  • Efficient, easy-to-use interface.
  • Great value for money.

What I don’t like

  • Might be too professional for kids.
Piano Marvel: Get started

Most well-rounded: Playground Sessions

Playground Sessions is the most well-rounded platform because it delivers high-quality, professional content but maintains enough playful charm to appeal to younger kids.

I noticed that it doesn’t cover the advanced level as well as I’d like immediately, which is why I consider Piano Marvel the best for all levels. Still, it does have the best average blend of all essential elements.

I found it hard to fault after extensive use, which isn’t surprising considering it comes from the creative mind of Quincy Jones.

Playground Sessions app during the test
Testing the Playground Sessions app | Image: James Nugent, Higher Hz

Playground Sessions has a clear and direct progression path. If I place it side-by-side with something like Pianoforall, which lacks clarity, it becomes obvious just how valuable that structure is.

While it lacks some advanced content, I found most available content to be impeccable.

You can’t use an acoustic piano, which might be an issue for some, but in practice, I recommend using a MIDI keyboard anyway.

Another key selling point of Playground Sessions is that it features some iconic teachers, like Harry Connick Jr.

The interface is extremely user-friendly, making it suitable for students of any age. It also provides accurate, instant feedback, and I know from experience that many platforms still need to be improved in that department.

You can participate in the forum to connect with other students, and overall, I found it to be a very positive and encouraging community.

The song collection is diverse, featuring material from popular genres, including pop, rock, jazz, and classical.

Playground Sessions offers exceptional value for money, especially if you subscribe to an annual plan.

Read my full Playground Sessions review to find out more about the platform.

What I like

  • Clear progression path.
  • Best instant feedback.
  • Iconic teachers.
  • Gamified learning.

What I don’t like

  • You can’t use an acoustic piano.
Playground Sessions: Get started

Best for kids: Hoffman Academy

Hoffman Academy is the best piano lesson platform for kids, and there isn’t a close second place. Everything from the imagery and language to the functionality and lesson delivery is tailored for kids.

Joseph Hoffman is a piano lesson rockstar, and his delivery is a massive part of why Hoffman Academy is so successful.

Note: I’ve rated Hoffman Academy higher than Playground Sessions yet placed it lower on my list. I did this because Playground Sessions is better overall, but Hoffman Academy is almost perfect in its niche.

Hoffman Academy piano lesson platform during the test
Testing the Hoffman Academy app | Image: James Nugent, Higher Hz

Hoffman Academy has something to offer everyone, but it’s primarily aimed at younger kids. One of the things I love most is that it encourages parents to get involved in their children’s musical journey.

Along with fantastic video lessons (over 300), the platform features many interactive games that keep kids entertained while learning. It also has a very supportive community that can be a helpful resource for parents.

The interface uses a lot of cartoon imagery, but it does so while delivering a professional-level service. It’s straightforward enough for kids to use by themselves and offers printables that will serve as trophies and look great on the fridge.

The song selection includes traditional tunes, nursery rhymes, pop songs, cartoon and game themes, and more.

There are better platforms for older students, even teenagers, but it’s the best for younger kids. I know first-hand how difficult it is to find the right balance of fun and learning when teaching kids, and Joseph Hoffman does it better than I ever did.

Read my full Hoffman Academy review to find out more about the platform.

What I like

  • Perfect for kids.
  • Outstanding content.
  • Interactive games.
  • Supportive community.

What I don’t like

  • Some elements might feel too childish for older kids.
Hoffman Academy: Get started

Best video-based: Pianote

I love so many things about Pianote! I love the enthusiastic lesson delivery, the live streams, the community, the design, and the list goes on.

The one thing I don’t like is that it doesn’t offer interactive lessons, but it’s the best video-based platform I’ve ever tried, and it’s always getting better.

Pianote learning app during the test
Testing the Pianote app | Image: James Nugent, Higher Hz

Pianote is a video-based piano lesson platform with a thriving online community. Unlike most other platforms, Pianote streams regular live events where users can communicate directly with teachers.

My experience of live events left me feeling like Pianote had the most encouraging community of students you could ask for, and that’s valuable.

I like the approach that Pianote takes to teaching. It’s a modern approach that aims to build a healthy balance of music theory and practical skills you don’t always learn from books or traditional lessons.

While studying with Pianote, I felt inspired by the teachers who know how to motivate their students.

Pianote boasts a considerable song library with some of the best arrangements I’ve encountered. Although I wish Pianote offered some interactive content with instant feedback, video-based content has some benefits, such as an easier transition between desktop and mobile devices.

The Pianote interface resembles YouTube in many ways, and the user experience is the same whether on a desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

Speaking of YouTube, the Pianote channel publishes some excellent content and everything from the guest musicians to the production level has improved in 2024.

I’ve really enjoyed some of the newer videos with world-class pianists like Jordan Rudess and Justin Stanton; students can learn so much from listening to them play and speak.

If you want to learn at your own pace and engage regularly with other students, Pianote is worth every penny.

Read my full Pianote review to find out more about the platform.

What I like

  • Enthusiastic lesson delivery.
  • Great song arrangements.
  • Awesome teachers.
  • Consistent user experience.

What I don’t like

  • No interactive lessons.
Pianote: Get started

Honorable mentions

The platforms below might not have made it into my top picks, but they all have something to offer the right student.

I spent just as much time studying with the platforms below as I did with my favorites, and during that time, I found many positives that make them well worth checking out.

Remember, the best platform depends on the student, too, so consider the honorable mentions before making your decision.

  • Flowkey. Flowkey could easily have been a top pick if not for a few needless flaws that I found a little irritating. Despite its shortcomings, Flowkey does many things exceptionally well, and with a few improvements, it could be fighting for a top spot.
  • Yousician Piano. I had very high hopes for Yousician, and despite not meeting them, it’s a pretty solid choice that offers a wide range of content. It might be ideal for aspiring hobbyist musicians because you can learn up to five instruments from one account.
  • Simply Piano. Like Flowkey, Simply Piano has some irritating quirks and flaws that prevent me from ranking it among the best. However, it has enormous potential, and I’m hopeful that some tweaks to the platform will make all the difference, so it’s one to keep an eye on.
  • Skoove. Skoove is among the most popular first choices for beginners because you often get lengthy free trials with keyboard/MIDI controller purchases. The platform should prioritize lessons for beginners rather than try to be an all-rounder because it does the beginner level very well.
  • Pianoforall. I found Pianoforall to be extremely dated with no real sense of direction, which sounds awful, I know. But when you consider the price, it does have value. Pianoforall has some very useful content, although I’d only recommend it to more experienced players who have the knowledge and patience to find it.

Recent updates

  • May 10, 2024: I’ve added a Quick recommendations section and moved some platforms to the Honorable mentions. Piano Marvel is still my top pick.
  • May 9, 2024: I’ve updated the article structure to the latest standard and improved the text for accuracy and better readability.
  • May 8, 2024: I’ve added an Honorable mentions section and explained the picking criteria and testing methodology in more detail.
  • March 31, 2024: I’ve made some minor improvements; no changes in recommendations.
  • September 22, 2023: I’veĀ put togetherĀ a complete list of online piano lesson platforms, ranking them from best to worst.
  • June 10, 2022: I started discovering the most popular piano learning platforms available online and worked out the testing methodology.

Final thoughts

It’s important to remember that opinions are subjective, and what’s good for one person might not be good for the next.

Any information I present as factual is 100% accurate, but personal connection is a vital factor in how any student responds to a lesson.

So, my advice is to consider every platform carefully, read the full reviews, and make sure you choose the best fit.

Happy learning!

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