In this Pianote review, we will go over the pros, cons, and features of this online piano learning experience.
After reviewing tons of top alternatives for online methods of learning the piano, we’ve gained plenty of exposure to qualify us as an authority for these types of programs.
The basis of our research is performed through evaluating the pros and cons of each program, measuring them against one another to determine which ones are worth your time, and which simply follow the cookie-cutter method.
In this review, we will discuss the various features that this program offers. You will learn how to use the program, what it’s best for, what it does, and why it’s a good choice.
Read on to learn more about this online experience and decide whether it’s the right option for you.
Pianote is the self-proclaimed “ultimate online piano lessons experience.” This virtual piano teacher uses its web-based platform to deliver hundreds of step-by-step lessons for beginners and intermediate students alike.
Unlike some websites that leave you all on your own to watch videos and learn, Pianote offers video reviews, practice plans, and real teachers that provide you with live lessons. Optimized for both desktop and mobile, the site is easy to maneuver and is the ideal platform for anyone frustrated with trying to learn the piano the traditional way.
Some of the key features this site offers include:
- Live Lessons
- Song Selection
- Technique/Skill Improvement
- Scales and Chords
The above are just a few of the features that Pianote has to offer. It’s also worth mentioning that Pianote operates entirely online, so you don’t have to download or install complex software like you would with some alternatives.
Overall, Pianote is an excellent resource for anyone looking to learn the piano. While it’s still a fairly new site that launched in recent years, it’s pretty well-developed so far. We expect that this site will only grow in terms of features, teachers, songs, and more.
Main Features of Pianote
It’s our goal to give you an insider’s look at Pianote and what it has to offer before you spend your hard-earned money. Below we have highlighted some of the key features for you. Read through to learn more about Pianote and why we love it.
Subscription & Guarantees
One of the goals of Pianote is to offer an affordable way to learn the piano with resources that make your money worth the cost. Learning the piano with an in-person teacher can be expensive, so the subscription costs are designed to combat those prices.
There are a couple of different memberships you can choose from when starting your account with Pianote. The first is a monthly plan, which starts at $29/month or $197/year. This is the base pricing but there are many promotions, discounts and bonuses available regularly, so be sure to check the website.
If you’re not sure whether or not Pianote is the right choice for you and are a bit wary about signing up for a program right away, you can also enter your email address to receive ten free video lessons right away.
Furthermore, the program stands by a 90-day money-back guarantee, so if you’re not enjoying the program, you can always cancel your subscription and get your payments back. In other words, there’s no risk in just giving it a shot.
One of the most significant differentiating factors that set Pianote apart from other online courses is that it offers live instructional videos from real music teachers.
Each lesson takes anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes. A teacher performs a live stream to multiple users at once, so if you’re looking for one-on-one time, this may not be the application for you. However, you can submit questions during the live lesson, and the teachers do take the time to answer them for you.
In addition to learning a full song during a live lesson, there are also student review live lessons. During these lessons, students submit videos of them playing a song. The teacher plays the video live and provides each student with critical feedback to help them strengthen their skills.
The Foundations Learning Path is likely the most crucial and valuable component of Pianote’s online features. This feature includes ten levels of lessons that establish your basic techniques and skills as a pianist.
The Learning Paths start with an introduction to the keyboard and roll through details like sight-reading, core skills, notes, chords, and even improvisation. Each level includes ten lessons, giving students a whopping 100 lessons to complete on their own.
During each lesson, you will watch one or more teachers work through what you will be learning. After you watch the videos, you will move onto the Practice Along mode, during which you can play along at your chosen speed.
During these lessons, your screen will show hand positions, sheet music, and an overhead view of the keyboard.
Learning Chords and Scales
Anyone who has any knowledge of the piano whatsoever knows how essential and fundamental chords and scales are to musical success and development. Pianote tackles the basics and walks you through each scale and every one of the chords.
Rather than trying to simply learn the keys and sight-read music, you will watch video lessons and read sheet music for each one-octave scale and all of the chord progressions. The videos are available to you at any time during your subscription, so you can always go back and work on the ones that give you the most trouble. You can learn how certain chords sound with our online piano tool.
Because Pianote uses real teachers and live features, you have access to unmatched support. Your teachers work to personalize your experience, beginning from the very start with a custom welcome video and how-to guide.
From there, you not only get to tune into weekly live lessons, but you can also submit your own videos for personalized feedback. The cookie-cutter method of teaching does not fly when it comes to Pianote.
In addition to live videos, teachers also host live Q&A lessons. When you’re practicing on your own, you can note the questions you have and ask them during a session for immediate feedback. If it simply cannot wait, you can also contact teachers through instant chat or even email.
Let’s be honest: one of the main reasons many people want to learn the piano is so that they can play their favorite songs. Pianote makes learning a fun experience by providing users with a wide range of song options through their song tutorials.
You can pick your song using a variety of filters. First, you can decide whether you would like to read the sheet music or play along using a chord chart. From there, you can follow along with engaging tracks.
You can also categorize the songs by difficulty level, style, or artist. You can find over 100+ pop songs, ballads, rock, and more, with many of them being very popular and highly recognizable. This is another feature that we like because students aren’t stuck playing children’s songs or classical music 24/7. It seems new music is constantly being added, which is a big plus.
Pianote also offers access to 500 songs along with a long list of worship songs separate from its membership. If you are a member, you get instant access to the worship songs. However, non-members can also purchase music.
Pianote adds new songs to their tutorials every week, so there’s always something new for you to learn - even if you’re flying through their available content.
The last significant feature we are going to focus on is the availability of open forums. In the forums section of the membership, individuals can communicate about various aspects of the learning process, the piano, or the program.
Students can create threats to ask questions to other students, introduce themselves, or simply get connected. You can also interact with other threads and participate in discussions.
Many users like to create a personal practice threat, which allows you to track your individual progress. You can share what you’re learning, what you’re struggling with, and even share videos. Meanwhile, other students and teachers can share input on your journey and progress.
One thing that we can truly say we love about Pianote is that it is obvious that they want to guide their students to ultimate success in the best way possible. This fact is evident right on their website with a list of what you will learn and when.
Upon opening the website, you can see a clear and direct list of what exactly you will be learning over the course of your subscription. It begins with getting started online, keyboard confidence, the key to beautiful music, and learning chords.
These are the initial lessons that will be available to you right away. From there, the site lets you know when you will be able to move on and what you will be learning.
Following the above steps, students can move onto reading and even writing their own music. They will learn from the pros how to develop their own unique musicality: what that looks like and how to achieve it using pedals, phrasing, dynamics, and control.
After that, you can attack and conquer common piano player problems and further explore your own style. As you learn, you might find that you prefer playing certain kinds of music. Some students may love to improvise, while others like to play by the books.
From there, you will continue to explore musical styles and move into songwriting. Maybe it’s time to write a full composition and put words to your notes. Pianote can help you accomplish this if it’s a goal of yours.
Finally, the last step of the Pianote method is that there is no last step. In your final level, level ten, students will learn how they can continue to grow and develop their skills on the piano. You can even learn how to create your own practice routines or play with others, whether it be in a band in your garage or on your church’s Sunday morning stage.
Even after completing the full package, a member will always have access to professional guidance. You can always turn back to Pianote for advice or more practice.
Alternative Programs to Pianote
While it seems like Pianote is a dream come true, there are certain aspects about it that may turn potential learners away from it, looking for other options.
For example, the song library is fairly limited, considering just how many songs are out there today. At just about 80 tutorials, some students might find it difficult to play a diverse set of tunes.
Likewise, the information on the website is a bit jumbled, making it difficult to navigate at times. In this case, while the modern appearance is visually inviting, the setup can be confusing for some. A simpler organization may be the key to finding your ideal program.
Finally, though there is a lot of room for feedback and support, it will never be immediate. So, while you’re playing a tutorial or practicing chords on your own, you won’t have someone watching you to correct a mistake you make. That is the beauty of in-person learning that is hard to replace.
All of this being said, Pianote is not the be-all, end-all of online musical learning. Below are a few alternatives we like that you may consider.
Flowkey has to be our number one alternative to Pianote. If cost is your main concern, then it should please you to note that Flowkey’s subscription costs sit right around those of Pianote. This application is very user-friendly and is an excellent choice for someone who is looking to learn specific songs.
With resources for all skill levels, from beginner to expert, you can get started with the free version before upgrading to the subscription. You will start by having your skill level assessed, and this will ensure you’re in the right portion of the program. From there, you continue to learn, and your account will track your progress for you.
Read the full review of Flowkey first.
Playground Sessions is a very popular online piano lesson software that was designed and developed for both a computer or an iPad. Right from the start, this application is diverse and reaches audiences regardless of if they are team PC or Mac.
One of the biggest selling points for this software is the names behind it. One of the co-creators is Quincy Jones, a famous producer, and one of the tutors is Harry Connick Jr. himself. With a branded MIDI keyboard, fully interactive lessons, and a video-game style, this program is fun, engaging, and effective.
Check out my review of Playground Sessions first.
The ArtistWorks program helps students learn classical piano through personalized video feedback, experienced teachers, and online services. Since it’s hosted online, anyone with an internet connection can use it.
One of the downfalls of this program is that it’s much more expensive than Pianote. However, it offers hundreds of lessons across all levels, along with video learning, expert reviews, and individual feedback.
Pianoforall is one of the more affordable programs that you can access with a simple one-time payment and a download. You get to choose from one download or a download plus a DVD. As long as your device can open PDFs, you’re good to go in one shot.
Pianoforall does not have any of the interactive features that other online programs have, so that is a downfall. However, if you’re more of an independent learner, you will truly enjoy the chord-based learning that teaches you how to play, improvise, and even compose your own music.
Read the full Pianoforall review first.
When it comes to finding an online music program, it can be difficult to determine which is the best out there. After all, every site is going to claim that they are the best in the business, and piano lesson sites are no different.
However, these sites are unique in that there are many different goals, skills levels, and preferences out there for students. Some students are one-on-one learners who need individualized instruction and strict attention to their progress. Others operate better in a group or class setting where the pressure is off. And still, others need something in between.
If you fall into that in-between category, we recommend that you give Pianote a chance. This online piano program has a lot to offer. It delivers ten levels of learning from beginning to advanced, and each level features ten different lessons to continuously enhance your skills.
As many online piano lesson programs are today, Pianote is video-based. However, they add in live lessons with real piano teachers to give it that personalized touch. Combine the live lessons with the Q&A sessions, and many students feel like they are in a real-live class.
During your off-time between live lessons, you can continue to progress on your own. You can choose from the library of songs and play through tutorials or work on specific chords and scales that are giving you a hard time.
While Pianote may not be as good and immediate on in-person piano lessons, it’s certainly a notable alternative. Pianote does a great job of not only teaching the technical aspects of the piano but really focusing on driving students to gain an ear for music.
There are certainly improvements to be made, such as updating the library for more song options and increasing the difficulty a bit more, but it looks like there’s room for growth and improvement with this website.
Since Pianote does offer a 90-day money-back guarantee, it’s definitely worth it to give it a shot. If you decide it’s not for you, you can always turn around and go back. But we think there’s some real value to be found in this program, so click here to try it today.
James is an ex-writer for Music Grotto who focused the majority of his writing on the musical skill development content on the publication. His 20+ year career as a singing and vocal coach provided insightful content for the website, and his continued thirst for development in guitar and piano playing helped create some excellent skill development content for the publication.