Have you ever wanted to...

…lead a sing-a-long?
People singing around a piano.
…be the one playing, instead of watching?
Man playing piano outside. Woman watching happily.
…or simply play your favourite songs, just for yourself?
Woman playing grand piano at home.

Then this is the course for you!

You've never learned piano like this before!

Traditional piano training methods adopted by most other courses insist that you must learn to read music before you can play it. With PLAY FIRST PIANO you are taught to play…first!

Watch founder Steve Pitkanen talk about PLAY FIRST PIANO:

The “play first” philosophy is inspired by guitar playing, where beginners are taught to strum chords and within days are playing and singing along to their favourite songs. 


This chord-based approach has actually been the dominant style of piano playing used by all popular recording artists for the past 70 years, yet is still rarely taught in online or private lessons…until now. 

PLAY FIRST PIANO will show you, step-by-step, how quickly you can start playing like the pros: you will be playing your first chords within a day, playing familiar songs within a week, and playing almost any song you can think of within months.

What's Inside

  • Short Video Tutorials

    Nine hours of instructional videos - under 10 minutes each, so you don’t get overwhelmed. Learn at your own pace - each lesson progressively builds on the previous ones; nothing is left out.

  • Play-along Songs

    This is where the fun happens! Join in playing popular songs with professionally-recorded ensembles, ranging from a Dixieland band to a Symphony orchestra. Each song has an accompanying video showing you exactly what to play.

  • Song Sheets and more...

    Learn the chords to 50+ popular songs from the past 70 years, using downloadable Chord Summary sheets (.pdf format). Each sheet also includes suggested rhythmic patterns to help you get started right away.

Plus get these great bonuses!

  • Live Q+A Sessions

    Monthly group Q+A sessions with your instructor to help keep you motivated and answer your questions when you have them.

  • Exclusive Online Community

    Complimentary access to our private online community - only for students enrolled in the course. You are not alone!

  • Email Support

    Feeling stuck? Simply email your instructor from within the course to get the help you need.

Meet Your Instructor

Steve Pitkanen
BFA (Music), MMus (Performance)

Hello! My name is Steve. I have been a working musician for the past 33 years, both as a performer and educator.

  • My performing experience ranges from high school rock bands to playing in hotel lounges and piano bars to a 15-year career opera career, singing with professional orchestras.

  • As a music educator, I have taught private piano/voice lessons for 20 years, group keyboard lessons for 7 years, and even lectured at university.

    But, honestly, I didn’t start out wanting to do any of those things. I just wanted to learn how to sing and play my favorite songs on the piano. The problem was that piano lessons were boring and I never got to play the songs I wanted to play.

    So, inspired by chord-playing on the guitar, I taught myself a new chord-based style of piano playing, only to discover later that every modern recording artist was playing precisely the same way! So, why wasn’t anyone teaching this?

    I have spent the past 8 months rethinking and redesigning the way keyboard lessons should be taught, based on the breadth of my 33 years experience as a teacher and performer of both Popular and Classical music. This is how I always wanted to be taught; hopefully it is the same for you.
  • Picture of instructor smiling

    Frequently Asked Questions

    • What makes PLAY FIRST PIANO different from other courses that teach piano chords?

      You don't need to learn how to read music. All other online courses incorporate some form of music reading, which is unnecessary, time-consuming and often confusing for beginners.

      PLAY FIRST PIANO uses a unique system of "Anchor Fingers, Anchor Notes and Chords Groups" to teach you from the beginning how to properly and easily switch between chord positions (using all fingers) like a professional musician.

      All other online courses begin by teaching you chords in one position only (using the same 3 fingers) for the sake of simplicity. However, this leads to poor finger choices for chords later on, and an awkward period of "unlearning" when new chord positions are introduced.

      PLAY FIRST PIANO gets you working on two-hand rhythm coordination and the use of the sustain pedal early on, so that they become second nature by the time you are introduced to trickier chord changes.

      One of the key philosophies of the PLAY FIRST PIANO program is to "play first...explain later."

      Rather than trying to explain confusing theory upfront, you are simply shown what fingers to put on which keys and....start playing! It may seem inconsequential, but it's the difference between fun and boredom.

    • Isn’t it important to learn how to read music?

      Only if the music you want to play is written down. Sheet music is primarily important for Classical music, Church hymns and Ragtime. Note reading is not necessary for most modern styles of music.

      However, I will be offering a course on note reading in the near future for anyone interested in playing solo-piano versions of popular songs - just keep in mind that it’s not how most musicians would ever play.

    • Are you teaching some kind of simplified or dumbed-down way of playing piano?

      Not at all; that’s actually what you get with most other online courses, particularly apps and monthly subscription programs - that is why their approach makes your songs sound like amateur elevator music.

      With Play First Piano, you get to play and understand music like professional musicians. Every modern recording artist plays this way.

    • I have taken piano lessons before; is this just a course for beginners?

      No. Most people I have encountered that have taken traditional piano lessons are completely mystified as to how to play without sheet music. Many are familiar with chords, but have never been taught how to understand them and how to use them to play songs. So, even if you have had previous piano experience, chances are that almost everything in this course will be new to you.

    • What styles of music will I be able to play when I have completed the course?

      The chord-based style of piano playing taught in PLAY FIRST PIANO is perfect for the following types of music:

      Pop, Early Rock&Roll (1950-60s), Country, Celtic/Folk, Easy Listening, Children’s Songs, Christmas Songs, Traditional Songs (any old song you can think of).

    • Will there be a Level 2?

      Absolutely. Level 2 is planned for release in Fall 2021.

    Is This Course For You?

    PLAY FIRST PIANO - Level 1 is perfect for:
    • YOU - if you want to have fun playing music without getting all serious about it.

    • YOU - if you have ever been a piano student frustrated by traditional lessons.

    • YOU - if you’re a complete beginner to the piano.

    • YOU - if you’re a musician (especially guitarist) who wants to quickly learn a second instrument.

    • YOU - if you’re a singer/songwriter or aspire to become one.

    • YOU - if you want to learn to play without sheet music.