Teaching Yourself to Play the Piano

If you teach yourself piano you gain an amazing skill that is much sought after. Being able to sit down at a piano or keyboard and instantly play a beautiful song is a coveted and admired ability. Extremely seasoned piano players can captivate a room or an audience with ease. Becoming a seasoned piano player, though, takes work.

You should begin by reading through all the content on this website. If it helps you learn, take notes on what you read here so you can keep a cheat sheet by you when sitting down at the piano or keyboard when practicing.

There are also two different schools of practice when it comes to teaching yourself piano. Some players prefer to learn in a traditional fashion, focusing on playing the piano with the aid of sheet music. The emphasis on this type of study will be to learn to read music fluently. The other school of thought involved playing the piano by ear, without sheet music. The emphasis here will be more so on the memorization of scales and chords. It’s important to understand, however, that regardless of the type of study you are interested in you should learn using both schools of thought when you teach yourself piano. It is just as important to be able to play by ear (without sheet music) as it is to be able to read sheet music when it’s provided. To be a well-rounded player who can step up to any challenge you are presented with, it is important to teach yourself to play the piano in both ways.

Teach Yourself Piano – Study Overview

Regardless of the type of study you choose to undertake, you’ll begin by learning about the different notes on the piano. After this it’s time to get into learning how to read sheet music. Sheet music is how we write out the different notes you will play when playing a song on a piano. Even if you aspire to only play piano by ear and don’t want to worry about reading music I would suggest you DO learn to read sheet music because it is a great skill to have.

And if you ever want to learn a popular song it is usually fairly easy to get its sheet music. This will save you from stumbling around on the keyboard trying to figure out the notes you are supposed to play when you teach yourself that piano song. So take some time to at least familiarize yourself with a staff, treble and bass clefs and the different notes and how they are notated on sheet music. If your primary way of playing will be to read sheet music you buy or download, then you are going to want to spend a fair amount of time memorizing and learning the notes on a staff and how to read the sheet music you will be using.


Before moving forward, while you learn about reading sheet music and reading piano notes, it is extremely important to learn about rhythm in music. Rhythm is how a song flows. Notes that you read or play have different time or length values. Some last longer than others, some are short and to the point. If you do not learn rhythm it will be very difficult to play songs like the piano masters do.

Next you’ll want to teach yourself scales on a piano. Each and every key/note on the keyboard has a “scale” (pre-defined set of notes that sound good together) of its own. Each scale consists of 7 different notes.

After you are comfortable with all the different scales and notes, it will be time to learn all about piano chords. Chords are groups of notes that are played at the exact same time (i.e. pressing 2 or more keys on the piano at once). You can really go wild with chords. There are so many different types of chords to learn and play – dark, scary chords; nice, bright and happy chords; sad and emotional chords and beautiful full chords. Once you are familiar with notes and scales, learning piano chords becomes easy. When you master chords, you are ready to truly master playing the piano.

Chord progressions and putting those progressions into full songs is an advanced topic of study. Once you are familiar with the fundamentals on this site, you can use the extra resources we review and offer to take your piano playing to the next level.

If you teach yourself piano you will truly carry with you a skill that is versatile and envied. How fast you learn to play the piano is completely up to you. It is important to be consistent with your study, however. Whether it is 20 minutes a day or an hour a day or 3 hours per day, your practice needs to be consistent. True piano mastery largely depends on your practice. If you are diligent with your practice, you will be playing complex songs and arrangements in no time!