Can You Learn Piano On Your Own?

You want to learn piano, but you are unsure about hiring a teacher. After all, there are plenty of resources online for free. It only takes time and some discipline, doesn’t it? Let’s compare both approaches and see what we can learn from it.


Self-learning is a basic skill, inherent in every human. It’s how we learn to walk, talk, etc. In fact, it is how we learn EVERYTHING. Yes, even when you have a teacher, YOU are the one doing the learning. So it is a must-have skill for everyone. The question here should be: is it enough?

Obviously it is for some things (like the mentioned walking and talking), but for more complex skills it can make the learning curve a bit more steep. Or a lot more steep (try learning Quantum Physics on your own…).

Music, although not rocket science, is a field that includes many parts that work together: your ears, your hands and feet, your vision (for reading a score or looking at your bandmates), your voice (for singers) etc. There is a continuous input and output of signals that need to be processed by your own, lonely brain.

This is the first thing that stops purely self-learners: Where to start from?

  • Should I learn to read?

  • Should I focus on technique?

  • On sound?

  • How do I put both hands together?

And then: How do I take all of this and make music that sounds (reasonably) good?

A lot of people think they could never play, because they see the whole picture, and can’t grasp how to do it at the same time. But that’s not how you learn something. You learn by doing one thing at a time.

Then, what is the thing that you should be learning right now? That’s when a teacher can help you

A Teacher’s Role

The first role of a good teacher is not to teach. Sounds strange? Teaching is important, but before they can teach you anything, they need to know where you are, and where you want to go. That’s the most important thing, to help you walk the path that takes from your actual playing level (be it a beginner, a professional or anything in between) to the level that you want to reach (becoming a professional, just playing for your own amusement, or an infinite number of other options).

Sometimes you won’t even know what your goals are, you don’t know anything about piano, so how could you know? A good teacher can help you with that as well. They know what it takes and can advise you.

Once you have your plan in place, the teacher is there to walk you through the steps at YOUR OWN pace, giving you feedback on the process, and telling you exactly what to practice, how to practice it, and why to do it. Basically, they take all of the guesswork from your end and they let you focus on playing and improving from day one.

So, can you learn on your own?

Absolutely, but keep in mind that it is a path that can lead to nowhere, and eventually to quitting because frustration. You are going to learn yourself anyways, so my advice is to hire a good teacher, and let them guide your self-learning journey in the correct path, to make sure that you reach your destination on time (or even early!). Check our list of qualified teachers and give yourself a fair chance to learn formally with a teacher. 

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