With my first ever piano lesson rapidly approaching, I’m spending as much time learning pieces as best I can, so that I have a semblance of piano know-how to demonstrate to my teacher come July 27th.
For any other aspiring pianists out there, I can’t recommend YouTube enough if you want an intuitive, no-hassle introduction to learning technique and specific songs.
It can, however, be a frustrating search; lots of lessons mean well enough but usually make one of three critical errors:
- The camera is placed at such an obscure angle that it is impossible to work out what keys are being pressed. Sometimes, the camera has adopted that much of a 1970s Batman villain angle, the only reason you know it’s a piano lesson is because you can hear the familiar sound of tinkling ivories. This is particularly prevalent with female ‘tutors’ who seem far more concerned that the camera picks out their best side.
- Sound quality comparable to a 1930s grammar phone. Occasionally, it’s so tinny and devoid of any harmonics that every note sounds the same. This does not a good music lesson make.
- They don’t talk. I’ve found 9 minute videos where they just sit there and play the piece out slowly without muttering a word. This is about as intuitive as a teacher after nineteen double whiskeys.
In fact, many of them commit all three crimes above simultaenously making the learning process, well, fucking impossible.
Not to worry, though. I can recommend two fantastic examples of how well it can be done.
Lypur – I believe this young chap is a professional teacher but he is clearly an incredibly acomplished musician. He covers theory and technique very well and his teaching style is relaxed and inspiring.
Pianojohn113 – My absolute favourite for learning real, living, breathing songs. If you’re keen on taking up the piano, you can’t ignore The Beatles, Billy Joel and Elton John. This guy has all three covered and teaches them with no-frills aplomb.
Give YouTube a go. While it can’t be as intimate as a real one-to-one lesson, the ability to rewind your teacher, pause them and return a day later when you get frustrated is fantastic.