Hide/show table of contents
Introduction - How to learn piano by yourself header image

Teach yourself piano: Introduction

What is it that prevents you from being good at playing the piano? Age? Not being able to afford lessons? Lack of good books and resources?

Actually, there are only two things that really matter:

  1. Knowing what to practise and in what order.
  2. A strong desire to be able to play the piano.

The desire to learn is something you will have to provide yourself. But this guide provides the rest. I didn’t even mention learning theoretical concepts about the piano, because there is a wealth of that online. That’s the easiest thing to find. There are lots of really good video series online that will teach you the basics. But what’s not so easy to find is an overview of everything you need to learn and in what order. And more importantly, practise material that will make you confident with each new step.

The main problem with existing video series is that they teach you the concepts of music, but they don’t always offer any practise plan or tell you what to practise. Playing the piano is 10% knowing concepts and 90% practising the right things the right way.

When you’re completely new to the piano, the most difficult thing is knowing what to practise. There are a lot of video series that teach you the fundamentals and the absolute basics. But where are you supposed to go from there? This guide fills that gap.

This guide covers all the steps you need to go through to learn how to play the piano. It follows the same progression that a lot of personal piano teachers would follow if you took lessons.

Learning piano with this guide is as close to taking lessons as you will get without having to pay for lessons.

What we will be covering

  • Everything that any introductory piano course will teach you
  • What to practise and practise techniques
  • How to practise to accelerate your progress
  • When to practise each topic
  • I have included lots of practise material
  • Demystifying lots of concepts so that you can be confident playing the piano
  • How to perform despite nerves kicking in
  • A clear learning path. You will always know what to do next

Why this guide?

If you follow this guide step by step, you will learn absolutely everything you need to understand about how to play the piano. You will also learn things in the right order, which is important.

The best way to learn the piano by yourself is to use a hybrid of text, illustrations and videos. That’s exactly what you will get with this guide. The table of contents at the left side of the screen makes it super convenient to come back to this guide when you quickly need to look something up.

As you go through the contents of this guide you will notice that I am linking to a lot of videos instead of explaining concepts from scratch myself. This is not laziness. It’s because those videos explain concepts better than I can explain myself in writing. In fact, the video creators have done such a great job explaining the concepts that even seasoned teachers can take some advice from them. That’s why I have included them – because I highly recommend them. And in those cases where I haven’t found a good video, I have made one myself.

This guide is regularly updated and improved so that it’s always relevant.

I have been teaching over 70 different students how to learn music from scratch. I have followed their progress, so I know what works and what doesn’t work. I can confidently say that you can follow this guide from the beginning to the end, knowing that you will be doing things right.

At the end of this guide, I have listed the best youtube channels that I know of and trust. They have a lot of interesting videos and fun exercises for you to use.

What will I be able to play after completing this guide?

Here is a video that demonstrates what kind of music you will be able to play after having completed this guide:

You will be able to:

  • Use chord charts to accompany other people singing or playing other instruments.

  • Pick up a piece of music or chord chart for most pop songs out there and be able to play an instrumental version of it without too much time preparing it.

  • Be able to read basic sheet music and understand how to learn simple classical pieces.

  • Do some basic jazz improvisation

  • Play your favourite pop songs

Instead of just being taught individual songs or tricks, this guide teaches you how to become independent on the instrument. This means that you will develop the skills you need to be able to play the type of music you’re interested in.

Who is this guide for?

This guide is designed for driven people who can motivate themselves.

I’m not going to lie, if you seriously want to learn how to play the piano well, nothing is better than having a piano teacher. But even though learning an instrument is hard without a teacher, if you’re driven and persistent, you can totally do it.


People who go through the challenge of learning how to play the piano by themselves have a lot of questions. Let’s go through the most burning ones.

How long will it take to teach yourself piano?

Learning how to play the piano by yourself can take a bit longer than if you took lessons with a teacher. Exactly how long it takes depends on how much time you dedicate to this every day. But let me give you a very rough estimate. If you’re consistent and spend 30 minutes every day on the piano you will get a solid understanding of all the basics that you will ever need in maybe 3-5 months. Getting comfortable with this will take a few more months. But think about it – the muscles in your fingers will have to adapt to a whole new way of moving. But once you have been through this, the reward is amazing. 30 minutes a day for a few months of your life is nothing in the grand scheme of things. And this is all the time you need to gain an amazing and desirable skill.

What are the prerequisites?

This guide starts from the very beginning and is for absolute beginners. You don’t need to know anything about music or the piano before starting this. The only thing you need is an interest in music and a willingness to learn. When learning yourself without a teacher, your own drive is your most important tool.

How much do I have to practise?

The most important thing is that you practise consistently. 10 minutes a day is far better than two hours once a week. When you sleep, your brain works, improves and builds on what you have done the previous day. That’s how we improve a skill. If you go a day without doing any piano practise, you’re not giving your brain anything to process when you sleep. And that’s a day wasted – at least from the perspective of getting better at the piano. If you can practise a bit every day, that’s perfect. These practise sessions don’t have to be long. The longer the better, but 20-30 minutes of focused practise per day will give you a good amount of progress.