No matter the reason why you don’t own a piano, you are in luck. In this article I’ll show you how to learn piano without owning one.

Have you always wanted to learn how to play the piano, but have never been able to own one?  Perhaps your parents couldn’t afford to buy you a piano when you were a child, or no one ever took you seriously when you expressed your desire to learn piano? Or maybe the desire to learn piano just popped up in the last few years, as an adult?

You’re in luck. It is possible to learn how to play the piano even if you don’t own one.

Don’t believe me? Let me explain the different ways you can learn.

Begin by Learning Music Theory

If you want to learn to play the piano without actually having one, the best place to start is by learning music theory. Sound boring? It might seem tedious in the beginning but learning music theory will provide you with the fundamentals of understanding music. 

Learning to read music and recognize notes is the first step towards learning to play the piano, and one you can take even if you don’t own a piano. Learn to Read Music, by Howard Shanet (available here at promises to give you all the tools and information you need to learn to read sheet music. 

There are also many free resources online that can help you to learn the basics of piano. Sites such as ZebraKeys and PianoNanny offer free piano lessons online, and teach you about notes, piano keys, time signatures, and more. 

YouTube also has a variety of helpful videos that will demonstrate to you many of the fundamentals involved in playing the piano. Studying videos such as these can help whether or not you own a piano. sells a variety of books for beginners, including Alfred’s Self-Teaching Adult Piano Course, which comes with a book and CD and promises to help you learn to play the piano without a teacher. 

If you use resources such as these, by the time you get a piano, you should at least have a basic understanding of how to play!

There’s an App for That!

You might not realize it, but there are free (and paid) apps for your smartphone and tablet that mimic a keyboard, called virtual keyboards. You can use these to practice proper fingering and hand placement as you are learning piano without owning one. 

These won’t be as easy as playing a real keyboard, of course, due to their small size but they do have some advantages: they’re portable, you can use earphones with them so as not to bother others, and you can practice anywhere, anytime!

A few of the apps available that help you to learn the piano include:

  • Karajan Pro ($9.99, for iPad)- this app teaches music theory
  • Magic Piano (free, for android and iPhone/iPad) – this app allows you to play along with favorite songs
  • Piano Notes ($0.99, for android and iPhone/iPad)- this app acts as flash cards to help you to associate the proper piano keys with the correct notes
  • Learn Piano HD ($1.99, for android and iPhone/iPad) – this app offers you private piano lessons that you can do at anytime, anywhere

Make a Substitute Piano from Cardboard

Wait a sec, don’t laugh. This is a real thing. It’s easy to create your own piano out of cardboard, just to learn the notes and get used to seeing them in order. No, you don’t have to give it 88 keys. Just a basic octave is fine.

how to learn piano without owning one

If you need an example of what to put on the cardboard piano, check out How to Build a Cardboard Piano. It tells you what materials you ‘ll need to create a simple cardboard piano and gives you step-by-step instructions.

If you want to take your cardboard piano a bit further and you have a bit of technical knowledge, it is possible to make a real, functioning piano out of cardboard and a computer board. There are instructions for how to create this high-tech cardboard piano online, should you wish to accept this challenge. 

Then there’s always Nintendo Labo, which works with the Nintendo Switch gaming system should you happen to own one. You can make your own cardboard Toy-Con piano (among other things) with this kit. 

Borrow a Friend’s Piano

Do you have a friend or family member who already owns a piano? Maybe your church or school has a piano they’d be willing to let you use occasionally. 

Friends or family members may be willing to conduct an exchange – they will allow you to use their piano for a specified number of hours per week, and in return, you will babysit or tutor their kids, or wash their car, clean their house....

Many public areas have pianos. Your church, school, or local nursing home might have one just sitting there that they’d let you tinker around with for a while each week. 

Nursing homes especially like to have younger people come in so that their residents can see some fresh faces once in a while. As long as you don’t mind practicing in front of older folk, they will probably thank you. 

If you’re still in school, or have some type of school or college nearby, ask if you can borrow their music room occasionally to practice. Some music teachers are happy to lend their piano to a student during down time to further encourage that student’s burgeoning love of music. Some might even offer to tutor you or give you lessons at a reduced rate.

Rent a Piano

Just as with other instruments or pieces of “furniture,” some companies will rent you a piano. Google “piano rental” in your area to find out if there is such as company near you. There are companies that will rent digital pianos, acoustic pianos, and all types of pianos, for as long as you need them or until you can afford to buy one. You might even luck out and find a sweet rent-to-own deal! 

rent a piano

Buy an Electronic Keyboard

If all else fails, you can always buy yourself a cool electronic keyboard. These are available in smaller size (usually 44 to 61 keys) or full size (88 keys) and are usually way cheaper than a digital or acoustic piano. Plus, many of them have added sounds, instruments and rhythms built in that can help you when you are learning to play the piano. 

Electronic keyboards are portable and much easier to take with you so that you can practice in a variety of places. Make sure to buy one with good reviews, such as this Casio SA-77 or the RockJam RJ761-SK Key Electronic Interactive Teaching Piano Keyboard, both available at The latter is an example of a “teaching keyboard,” and is perfect for beginners with no piano experience. It even comes with a three-month free trial membership to online piano lessons. Many of’s keyboards are also available used instead of new, at a reduced price. 

Conclusion - How To Learn Piano Without Owning One

As you can see, there are many ways to learn how to play piano without having to own one. These tips will allow you to learn the basics of playing the piano while you might be saving up your money in order to purchase one. By the time you do buy a piano, you should be quite ready to sit down and tickle the ivories like a pro!