Most people who have a desire to play a musical instrument dream of playing the piano. There is a mystique surrounding this particular instrument that separates it from all others, and among musicians in general, pianists are held in very high regard.
Private piano lessons today have become quite an expensive proposition, and as a consequence, many people have been turning to online piano lessons as a more economical option. But is this digital method of delivery an effective alternative to the traditional one-on-one experience with a teacher?
Let's examine some of the advantages and disadvantages:
On the Up Side
- It is significantly cheaper to get piano lessons online because the time, effort and expense associated with setting up and delivering digital lessons are a fraction of what traditional lessons cost.
- The material and teaching methods are no different from what you would expect from a live tutor.
- No travel necessary. You can study your music in the comfort and privacy of your own home without having to hassle with driving to your lesson.
- You can choose the type of music you want to play. While the rudiments of music apply to all genres, if you want to learn jazz or classical, you can select a course that focuses specifically on that musical form.
- You get to set your schedule to fit the demands of your day. You are no longer restricted to any particular weekday as you would be with offline lessons. You can practice whenever it's convenient for you.
- You get to hear and see how your lessons are to be performed before you actually play them. This audio/visual component helps you understand what you are to do, and gives you a reference point against which to compare yourself.
- Whether you are a beginner or and experienced musician, you can find a piano course that appeals to your skill level.
- In some cases you get unlimited access to the entire library of lessons, videos, sheet music and other resourses the course provides.
- You can advance as quickly or as slowly as you want. There's no timetable or deadline except those you may set for yourself.
- If you are a beginner, it's an ideal way to learn the basics of music theory and get a feel for what playing the piano is all about, while progressing at your own pace.
On the Down Side
- As comprehensive as any particular course may be, it will never be sufficient to satisfy all your musical development needs. Sure, you could make remarkable progress and achieve a measure of proficiency, but at some point you will outgrow that course.
- Some of the finer points involved with technique, execution and expression may not get the attention they deserve. These are a few of the elements that contribute to "touch" - that subtle something pianists acquire which allows them to convey their emotions through their music.
- Since you don't have a teacher monitoring your every practice, you could easily form bad technical habits which could hamper your long-term development.
- Not every musician or pianist who offers an online course is necessarily a great teacher. You don't want to get stuck with a course that is poorly designed and is more confusing than enlightening.
A great online course may not be sufficient to guarantee a professional career as a concert pianist, but it can certainly provide you with the tools to entertain your friends at parties and play for your own enjoyment. And the cost in terms of time, effort and money, makes an online piano course an attractive proposition. The trick is to find the one that best suits your needs.