How to learn guitar, piano or other instruments online
Learning to play a musical instrument can be an incredibly rewarding endeavor, but it also comes with its own set of frustrations as you train your fingers to contort into unfamiliar shapes. But worry no more (unless you’re learning guitar of course), because there are an incredible number of resources and apps online that can help you make sense of music and be playing in no time.
We’ll focus on guitar and piano, but many services here also teach other instruments such as bass and drums. For others, you can find many similar resources online.
how to learn guitar online
During confinement, many people decided to learn to play the guitar. So much so that companies such as Fender and Gibson saw record instrument sales. One of the reasons for this (besides the fact that guitars are so popular) is the wealth of free and affordable training available for new and improving players. We’ve outlined a few below, but there really are a lot more – that’s really just the tip of the iceberg.
In the past, if you were trying to work out a song or get to grips with scales, your options were theory books or finding a local guitar teacher. While we’d always recommend the latter, things are different now thanks to a massive selection of YouTube channels that can take you from beginner to shredding master. Whether it’s music theory, soloing techniques, mastering basic chords, or any other guitar-related topic, you’ll find several channels that are ready to help.
Some of our favorites are Justin Guitar, Guitar Pilgrim, and Samurai Guitarist, but there are plenty more. A bonus is that if you like the teaching style, most Guitar YouTubers offer paid lessons that can help you take it to the next level.
Truefire has a YouTube channel that offers snippets of its full video tutorials, but to get the real experience you’ll need to download the app to your smartphone, PC or iPad and take advantage of the advanced features that come with the lessons. These include fully tabbed notation, slow motion, and a section loop to get those notes under your fingertips, plus multiple camera angles of the tutors.
The lessons themselves cover a wide range of musical styles, from the basics to learning fingerpicking, bebop jazz, metal shredding or even bass. You have to purchase each lesson individually, but Truefire often offers sales and promotions that allow you to quickly build a collection without breaking the bank.
If you want to unlock the entire library, there’s an All-Access subscription which costs $249 (£190) a year, but again it’s on sale often and discounted by around 40%.
Another popular tutorial app is Fender Play. Fender is arguably the biggest guitar brand in the world, but it turns out it’s also a helping hand in creating a great teaching app. Fender Play is a great starting point for those new to guitar, bass, or ukulele. The lessons take you from the absolute basics of how to hold a guitar to playing full songs like The Beatles, Billie Eilish, Ed Sheeran and many more.
There are different styles of guitar and bass, so you can choose which “path” to follow. In some lessons, there’s a feedback mode that records your playing and highlights where you’re doing well, as well as specific notes and areas you need to improve.
The services cost £9.99/$9.99 per month or you can pay for the whole year upfront and save money, with the annual cost being £89.99/$89.99. For more details, read our full Fender Play review.
How to learn the piano online
The other most popular instrument to learn is of course the piano. Again, there are many options, including online and apps.
As with guitars, you’ll find plenty of piano channels on YouTube where you can learn how to tickle ivories without having to spend any money. Some popular channels include Instant Piano Genius, Pianote, and Piano in 21 Days.
You may have seen SimplyPiano advertised online. This app uses your phone or tablet to listen to you perform during lessons, then analyzes your performance to help you improve. In many ways, it’s a bit like playing Guitar Hero, but you’re using a real instrument and can learn to play popular songs surprisingly quickly.
Subscription is a bit pricey, with no monthly option available, you have to choose between 3 months (£52.99/$59.99), 6 months (£78.99/$89.99) and 1 year (104.99. £99/$119.99), but it’s such a fun app to use that we think it’s worth the money. Plus, a 7-day free trial is available for you to test everything out.
Similar to SimplyPiano, Yousician is an app-based tutorial service that uses interactive games to teach you how to play the piano (or guitar, bass, ukulele, and vocals). You play with the lessons on screen, while the app listens to your efforts and rewards you for your progress. It’s a great way to take the laborious repetition of those early learning steps and turn them into entertaining games instead.
Again, the cost may seem high, but it’s much cheaper than paying for private lessons. Yousician has made it hard to see how much it costs when you’re on the website, but for £19.99 / $19.99 a month you get just one instrument and lots of lessons, while the Premium + Personal tier of 25 £.99/$29.99 p/mo opens up all five instruments and adds thousands of popular songs you can learn.
If you pay for the whole year in advance, you can save up to 50%, which is a significant savings.
Any of these apps or websites might put you on the path to musical stardom, but, more likely, they’ll get you to a stage where you can play a song at the next social gathering, or even join a band. local . For more inspiration on the tunes you might want to learn, read our guide to the best music streaming services.