“HDpiano is a great learning platform. High quality HD videos of many songs from a wealth of artists, presented in a clear and informative manner, make this a valuable tool for learning songs on the piano.”
Please note I have no affiliation to HDpiano and will receive no compensation for my review. These are my unbiased views and experiences.
Price: $15 a month or $97 a year.
Payment : Credit card or PayPal.
Guarantee – Free 30 day trial. Will refund subscription if contacted within 7 days.
Requirements: Either piano, keyboard or midi keyboard. PC, MAC or Tablet.
What you get as a subscriber? : Many hours of Songs split into parts. Videos can be looped, slowed down and skipped to chosen sections.
- Highly efficient and excellent playback quality.
- Modern and classical songs.
- Wealth of material from many artists to suit all ability levels.
- First part is available free on YouTube.
- Search function makes it easy to find songs or artists.
- Can search by difficulty, genre, decade, song title or artist.
- Access to sheet music if desired at a small cost.
- No need to read music.
- Some well-known artists such as Billy Joel, Elton John, Abba are not present, although permission from the artists being sought.
- Aimed more at learning songs, a few lessons on YouTube. If you are a learner, you may need separate tuition elsewhere.
Suitable For: Beginners, intermediates and advanced.
Course content : ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Tutor knowledge/skill : ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer support : ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Value for Money : ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Acumen rating : ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
What is HDpiano?
If you’ve searched for piano music videos online or via YouTube, there’s a good chance you have come across HDpiano hybrid piano lessons. It started in 2012 inspired by a computer game.
They use a Synthesia style tool which is a scrolling conveyor above a keyboard. The lights on the conveyor show you the keys to press and the length of the light represents how long you hold the note. If you’ve seen dancing arcade games or have played rockband on the xbox/PlayStation you may be familiar with the concept.
It’s different from Yousician as you are seeing the notes appear vertically instead of horizontally. It may not suit everyone’s taste, but I find it very effective. I regard myself as an intermediate player, so when I see an advanced piece with lots of notes, I do feel a little daunted. This is natural, so dont set your sites too high initially and be put off.
Similar to Shawn Cheek’s webpiano teacher, each song is broken down into parts. Sometimes these can be as simple as the intro, verse, chorus and bridge. Part one, usually the intro, is available free on YouTube and if you want to learn the complete song, you have to enroll as a member. There are many YouTube videos of their lessons, so why not subscribe to their channel to see what’s on offer. As I write they have over a million subscribers on YouTube.
What do you see when you log-on?
Once you have logged in, you are presented with a dashboard, which includes a menu to the left and videos on the main page. The first time you log on, the videos are the latest lessons of songs to be published. When you have browsed some videos and saved some favourites, you will also see a video history of your previous visits. This is useful if you want to jump straight back in to a lesson.
The menu includes a home option to get you back to the dashboard (this can also be accessed at any time by selecting the HDpiano logo at the top left).
The history and favourite options do what you would expect taking you to a list of previous videos.
You have the option to view and edit your account preferences, such as changing your email or password.
Resources include a welcome tour video, instructions on how you can loop or slow down the videos as well as study tips and technical tips such as turning on subtitles.
Finally, there is a FAQ and contact page. The FAQs are worth a quick read to familiarise yourself with website and their policies.
What is included in the content?
As I write there a 901 song lessons, so take a look at the diverse artists available.
- Alicia Keys,
- Sam Smith,
- David Bowie
- Erik Satie
- The Doors
- The Fray
- George Ezra
- Johann Sebastian Bach
- John Legend,
- Nina Simone and
- many more.
I guess I’m showing my age, as there were quite a few artists I hadn’t heard of so, there should be plenty for everyone.
Note there are some omissions from well-known artists such as Adele, Elton John and Billy Joel to name a few. From what I’ve read on their site they are seeking permission from the artists to reproduce their material Although this is slightly frustrating, it does promote a legitimate, honest quality to the site and their teachers. They respect license laws of music artists.
When searching you can filter by
- Teacher and
These can be sorted alphabetically, by publish date or by popularity.
I had a quick browse and searched for Queen. I’ve recently had a desire to learn “We are the Champions”, so I was pleased to see this included as well as 7 other Queen songs at intermediate and advanced level.
The quality of the video was excellent. The intro was played at normal speed and then the piece was discussed with notes on the rhythm of the left hand and the basic chords. I was very quickly playing the chords and getting a feel for the song and had the first phrase down very quickly with some practice.
The tuition quality impressed me – It’s relaxed and friendly, but quite serious tuition. “We are the Champions” is an intermediate piece, so will take some time and effort to learn.
Check out the video yourself on YouTube.
About the teachers.
The site is co-owned by Dan Collins. I hadn’t come across him before, but he has been playing the piano since the age of 6. He is a talented, experience musician in his own right and a few recordings of his own playing. I had a listen on Spotify and his talent is clear.
Go here to see a bio of Dan Collins.
As I write there are 18 teachers including Dan. They are on the site in first name terms only, so it’s difficult to get any bio on them. From those I have experienced, they are all very competent and teach in a similar, friendly and effective manner.
They follow the same approach in the website – i.e. breaking down songs into sections and going through each part slowly bringing it up to speed.
The social media element is also very good. In addition to the YouTube channel, there is a Facebook page, a Twitter following and an Instagram page. The teachers try to to engage the social media when they teach and feedback is shown on the page you are on, with comments under the tuition. This is a nice little touch. You could ask a question to another member for example or the teacher will get back to you or engage in a group conversation.
Should I buy/upgrade to a full membership?
I saw a criticism of the fee while researching the site, which I felt was quite harsh. Why pay the monthly $15 fee, when there are free versions of many of the included songs on the internet or YouTube. Fair point, but you won’t necessarily get the quality of tuition from others (with no disrespect to some teachers on YouTube).
The quality of the teaching, video playback, ability to loop or slowdown won’t be found on a standard YouTube video. The quality of the musicians and the accuracy of the music is very impressive to me.
And for $15 a month? How much would a private teacher cost in your area? And for the content available, I think it’s could value. How much does a piece of sheet music cost these days? How much does a song book from a musician cost? If you put into this context $15 a month is good value to me.
I highly recommend HDpiano as a resource for learning songs, especially as an adult. I would always encourage children to learn to read music if possible, as this is a great skill to have, but if reading music is not important to you and you just want to learn songs, this is great. I’ve only given four stars for content as there are a few artists missing, but it’s a minor niggle. There’s so much material here, it will keep you busy for some time.
Good luck. Happy to respond to comments.