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An online springboard for learning piano:

As a keen self-taught pianist I’m always excited to find innovative new web sites or apps that try to help you learn piano. I’ve written previously about OnlinePianist, which recently launched a more slick and powerful version of their interactive tutorial app.

Another richly rewarding site is I must confess that at first my web developer brain saw the SEO-friendly domain name and site content, lots of mention of free material and free sheet music, and Google Ads embedded here and there and was a little suspicious… There are so many junk sites out there just trying to drive traffic and earn advertising revenue (especially in the area of guitar tab and sheet music) that the jaded skeptic in me suspected this might just be another of those.

I was pleasantly surprised though to discover that there’s valuable content here. Though the category links in the sidebar may give the impression the site is a treasure trove of free sheet music in fact it’s more of a ‘jumping off point’, with most of the sheet music pages linking out to online stores to purchase the actual downloads. There is however a lot of guidance and information provided, along with useful links to other resources (including the superb free book Fundamentals of Piano Practice).

I enjoyed taking the “Piano IQ Quiz”, learning a little something about Percy Mayfield and Grieg along the way. Hopefully more interactive elements will be added in future!

Not only does the site have a lot to offer, but it turns out (more…)

A new way to learn to play the latest songs on piano

This week I was introduced to a fantastic new website for learning songs on the piano, by a blog post over at Music Matters. It’s called and the idea is to teach you songs visually by showing the keyboard fingering on screen while a MIDI version of the song plays.

Now the graphics and sound quality may be a little ’90s, but put aside any snooty reactions – because there’s real value here. The focus is on pop music, songs that are in the charts at the moment (which, sadly, makes me realise once again how little I pay attention to chart music!) But I managed to find some Nirvana, and some Green Day. Check out this example video of Green Day’s “When September Ends” for a glimpse of what the site’s all about:

An example song tutorial at Green Day's 'When September Ends'

Learn by seeing, learn by doing

As you’ll see from the video, the arrangement (marked “Intermediate” difficulty) is fairly simple, but clearly recognisable. The options to adjust tempo and isolate each hand’s part make it easy to dissect any tricky sections and break down learning into manageable chunks.

Every student learns differently, but I’d say there are two main camps of instrumentalist: