Pianoforall Review: Is It Worth All the Hype?

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Pianoforall Review: Is It Worth All the Hype? f you’re in the market for an online piano method, you’ve likely come across Pianoforall. Pianoforall Review: Is It Worth All the Hype?

With over 250,000 students, Pianoforall is a popular online piano course that uses a chord-based, “play first, ask questions later” approach that gets you sounding like a pro right away.

Creator Robin Hall says that his e-book course will teach you to “play piano by ear, improvise, create compositions, and then eventually read piano sheet music,” with each “bite-sized” lesson planned to move you from one skill to the next in a short period of time in a logical way.

According to testimonials, 20-30 minutes of daily practice can be all it takes to start sounding good within a few days.

So, how does Pianoforall work? Can it live up to its claims? Keep reading – I’ll cover everything you need to know to decide whether or not Pianoforall is the course for you.


“Piano for all” is quite flexible in terms of what you’ll need to use the course, but a piano or keyboard is obviously non-negotiable.

It’s much better to get a 61-key keyboard and start practicing than to not have a keyboard at all.

portable piano keyboard

However, I’d still recommend upgrading to an 88-key digital piano with fully weighted keys as soon as possible if you’re serious about learning the piano.

Most 61-key keyboards are unweighted or semi-weighted, which means they feel much lighter and very different from an acoustic piano keyboard.

Digital pianos, on the other hand, usually have 88 hammer action keys that try to replicate the feel of an acoustic piano as closely as possible, which helps develop proper finger strength and technique.

In terms of tech, you have the option of downloading the e-books onto your Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad, or Android.

Pianoforall download page

If you’re using a Mac or PC, you’ll need to have Adobe Reader and Flash Player installed to watch the videos and hear the audio clips embedded in the e-books.

For an iPhone or iPad, you’ll need the Readdle Documents app.

An Android device requires the EZPDF Reader Lite app, which costs one dollar (USD) unfortunately.

The Pianoforall website has detailed instructions and links for the downloads, as well as a thorough troubleshooting section for when the set-up isn’t going smoothly.


With your one-time purchase of the course, you’ll receive:

 Nine e-books plus one bonus book – These comprehensive e-books take you through various styles of piano music with chords, tunes, and exercises, teaching you just enough theory for each lesson. I’ll go into detail on each book below.

pianoforall 9 books overview

 200 video lessons – Embedded in the e-book itself, these videos reinforce skills with explained keyboard demonstrations by Robin Hall.

He plays the lesson on a lower keyboard while an animated keyboard above shows you which notes he is playing, making it clear which notes you should play, what your hands should look like, and how it should sound.

 500 audio tunes and exercises – These are beside each exercise to show you quickly what it should sound like. Auditory learners especially will benefit from hearing each exercise before attempting it.


Each e-book covers a different aspect of piano playing and builds on one another so that you are putting the skills you’ve learned into practice.

Except for Book Nine, which can be used at any time, you should read the books in order.


The first book is an introduction to both the program and the keyboard.

pianoforall book one

It begins by stating the primary principle of Pianoforall – that it’s important to lay a foundation of chords and rhythms before building improv, melody composition, and sight-reading skills beyond that.

It introduces you to the notes on the keyboard and then jumps immediately into playing some basic three-note chords, reminded you that like learning guitar, it’s more important to play than to worry about the theory at this early stage.

Book One also introduces musical notation, including rests and basic rhythm.

While most traditional curriculums spend a while on note-naming and rhythm exercises, this section moves quickly. You’ll likely need to keep revisiting it to make sense of later exercises.

The rest of the book progresses by teaching you a family of chords and introducing a rhythm associated with popular music, which you can use with the chords to play a song.

pianoforal curriculum structure

All in all, you’ll learn ten rhythms and eleven basic chords in Book One.

The chords are taught with the assumption that you will be reading chord symbols in songbooks, like guitar players do. Therefore, it shows you what to play when you encounter seventh chord or slash chord symbols.

By the end of the book, you should be able to play the chords and rhythms of several popular songs while you and/or a friend sing the melody.

You should also be able to play the short and lovely “Amazing Broken Chord Ballad.”


pianoforall book two

Book Two builds on your knowledge by teaching you blues rhythms to use with the chords you already know.

The first concept that it emphasizes is that you should practice left hand rhythms much more than the right hand, until you can play them in your sleep.

This book is brief compared to the first one, but it still teachers five blues rhythms and how to play a twelve-bar blues in any key.


pianoforall book three

Book Three is heavy. It teaches you the chords of every single key, including their inversions.

Thankfully, it also provides you with an “all chords memory trick” that makes the info dump easier to handle, in addition to many practice progressions to get the hang of the new material.

You’ll also encounter the “cycle of fifths” (commonly called the “circle of fifths”), a concept meant to encourage you to practice all of the keys, teach you the relationship between them, and help you understand the general structure of music.


pianoforall book four

This book continues to teach you how to play chords from chord symbols found in songbooks, starting with a “magic formula” for bluffing a few more advanced chords.

A Barry Manilow-inspired piece called “Manilow Mood” will have you learning new musical devices before you attempt to write a Manilow-style composition of your own.

Diminished chords and cluster chords come next, with a lot of practice progressions.

The book finishes strong with a lesson on Beatles styling and a long list of Beatles songs, which you can play with the rhythms and chords you know.


Book Five approaches ballad-style playing by introducing a step-by-step method for creating your own ballad-style songs.

pianoforall book five

The process encourages experimentation with left-hand chord patterns and the forgiving pentatonic scale.

This book is all about learning how to improvise, giving ideas for the melody, left-hand pattern, and chord progressions.

You’ll then learn how to apply the ballad process to songs you already know by building “Auld Lang Syne” from the bottom up.

Included in this book is the sheet music for quite a few beautiful ballads, which you’ll likely enjoy playing.

Since this is the first book to teach you about melody in depth, these are the first full-length pieces in the course that can really stand on their own as solo piano pieces.

The melody lines for many well-known Christmas carols are also provided, but you’ll have to practice your skills by adding the left hand yourself.


pianoforall book six

This section of the course is content-heavy, but you’ll come out with a great jazz and blues foundation.

It starts by teaching you how to get a “bluesy” sound using the blues scale, blues chords, and other tricks, before moving on to jazz.

Rather than learn to read complex jazz rhythms, you’re encouraged to learn the rhythms by listening to and copying the audio clips.

Book Six walks you through jazz in four distinct keys, gives you lots of tips and tricks for jazz improvisation, and serves up many cool practice progressions.

You’ll learn all about quartal harmony before finishing up with a comprehensive lesson in seventh chords.


pianoforall book seven

Book Seven builds on Book Two by adding your advanced chord knowledge and fun new right-hand chord riffs to the blues rhythms that you learned.

You’ll also learn about blues devices, such as tremolo, slides, and turnarounds.

The second part of this book teaches you about stride piano—both fake and real, the difference being the length of the “stride” your hand is taking.

You get to apply your knowledge with “the song you’ve been waiting for” – “The Entertainer” ending the section on a high note (pun intended)!


pianoforall book eight

Since this section largely relies on sheet music, beginning with a recap of musical notation and a quick lesson on key signatures, new symbols, and musical language. It also gives you a handy list of practice tips.

Hall teaches you to sight read music “the Pianoforall way,” which means watching out for familiar chords and motifs, and that the notes that are sharp or flat due to the key signature are given in red for easy spotting.

You’ll then get into playing classical piano pieces, including big names like Beethoven, Bach, and Chopin.

If you have a goal of playing more pieces from sheet music after the Pianoforall course, I recommend spending quite a bit of time on this section, practicing your skills in reading music, pedaling, and tone.


pianoforall book nine

Hall was clever with the name of this book, which is all about scales, triads, and arpeggios, aka the “vegetables” of practicing the piano.

If my piano teacher had referred to this area as “speed learning,” I perhaps would have been more eager to sit down and do it.

However, as the book states (and as I can attest to), incorporating these elements into your regular practice is an important way to improve your playing.

While this is the ninth book in the course, it contains practice “workout” routines and memory tricks that should be used from the beginning.

This section of the course will further your understanding of key signatures, triads, seventh chords, and melodic patterns, which are all very useful for the lessons in the other books.


This short e-book is not related directly to piano, but it contains tips on creativity, focus, and incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine, all practices which are beneficial for learning an instrument.


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