There is no question that our lives become much easier when have instant access to the answer to all of our simple questions. We happen to be lucky enough to live in a time when information of all sorts is readily available on the internet – for free. It may be tempting to forego traditional piano lessons in favor of YouTube tutorials; but before you do so, let’s answer the question: “Is it a good idea to learn to play piano from YouTube?”
Have you already tried learning to play piano by watching video tutorials? If you have, then how did it feel for you? How many times did you have to stop and re-watch the specific spots that you couldn’t get the first time? Chances are that you had to do it a LOT!
Don’t feel embarrassed if you had to re-play things dozens of times. Everyone who learns piano has to do this. Repetition is a very important part of the learning process, and nobody learns anything on the first try.
The difference between learning piano on YouTube and learning with a piano teacher is that a teacher is able to provide instant feedback. You will still have to play things over and over, but your teacher will not be repeating the same instructions to you!
After dozens or even hundreds of times watching the tutorials you can still actually not get the piece right and this will most likely not be your fault.
Do you know the person who recorded the tutorial? Are they a good instructor? Did they make everything very clear? Maybe yes but maybe not.
Playing piano well, as well as any other musical instrument, requires you to be present mentally, emotionally, and physically. It’s certainly possible to grasp the mental aspects, such as note reading and basic music theory by watching a video.You can also rely on your own emotional perception of music to create your own playing style.
The physical aspect of playing piano is often what students struggle with when trying to learn piano on YouTube or other video methods. The way we use our fingers, hands, and, in fact, the entire body at the piano is not intuitive! It’s a skill that we acquire by learning from a professional.
YouTube piano tutorials may be able to touch upon these physical technique ideas, but to become good at this, it’s really necessary to have feedback from a piano teacher.
At Riverside Music Students we have worked with many wonderful enthusiastic students who tried learning from YouTube before taking proper lessons, and they all said “what a relief to play without my hands hurting!”
It’s entirely true: without knowing how to use your body in the right way it is all too easy to hurt yourself! And forget about playing anything remotely advanced because you won’t be able to get there with poor technique.
You might not think about this side of things, but fundamentally the purpose of most educational YouTube videos is to monetize them through advertisement. In order to do that the videos have to receive massive amounts of clicks. There’s obviously nothing wrong with this scenario but it does affect the way the content of the videos is presented. The focus becomes the attractiveness of the video and the host, a promise to learn things quickly and easily, and the selling of an idea that by watching the video you CAN learn something rather that you WILL learn it. The videos are also not personalized, and instead focus on a broad audience. As long as there will be thousands of clicks by aspiring music lovers, the ad revenue will come in. The YouTube instructors still get paid even if you learned nothing, and there is no system of accountability.
The goal of a real piano teacher like the ones at Riverside Music Studios in NYC is to actually teach you how to play a piece. It is *only you* who is in the focus of the learning process. And in the end, with nearly a 100% guarantee you WILL learn what you want to play. We can say that with a full 100% guarantee if you take piano lessons with one of the teachers at Riverside Music Studios though!