Getting Started

Getting Started with Hoffman Academy

By Hoffman Academy Team

Welcome to Hoffman Academy!

We have designed Hoffman Academy to support and guide you step-by-step through everything you need to know to be successful at learning to play the piano. Whether or not you have any musical training in your past–even if you are coming with zero prior experience–we’ll provide you all the information and support you need to succeed!

Links to Getting Started Articles:

Getting Started with Hoffman Academy

You’ll get the most out of our Hoffman Academy video lessons if you watch while sitting at your piano or keyboard. If you plan to watch the lessons using a tablet or smartphone, just set it up on your piano’s music stand. If you’re using a notebook or desktop computer, try to put it near your piano so you can see the screen while sitting at the bench. If you don’t have a piano or keyboard yet, or if you think it might be time for an upgrade, check out our handy Guide to Choosing a Piano or Keyboard

Watch a Lesson

Navigate to your next lesson easily from your personal Hoffman Academy “Home” page, or browse all of our lessons by clicking “Lessons” on the navigation bar at the top of any page on our website. Premium members will be able to view or print sheet music and activity pages, and also stream audio files for each lesson directly from the lesson page by clicking a button at the lower left corner of the screen.

As you play your lesson video, you can adjust the video settings to view closed captions and either speed up or slow down the video. For more info, see this blog post on YouTube Settings for Optimizing Your Video Lessons.


Experience shows that your success at the piano is not primarily determined by your innate musical “talent.” Rather, your success will be determined primarily by the consistency of your practice. At first, don’t worry too much about how long you practice. For starters, just get in the habit of spending a few minutes at the piano every day. Most people find it’s best to choose a regular time each day for piano practice, and make it part of your daily routine. If you practice every day, you’ll see much faster, consistent progress and have a lot more fun!

How do you know what to practice? That’s where our Practice Sessions can help. Practice Sessions are a Premium feature providing you a series of specific practice tasks for you to complete following each video lesson. These practice tasks will help you build your skills step by step and prepare you for additional learning in the next lesson. If a Practice Session feels difficult, or you just want more time to work on something, then simply repeat the same Practice Session or re-watch the video lesson again the next day. The beauty of online lessons is that each student can find their own pace. There’s a sweet spot between too fast and too slow in which you will be making optimum progress. For most students, that will be two or three video lessons per week, with one or two days of practicing in between each video lesson.

Check out the blog post When to Move on to the Next Lesson for a more detailed discussion.

Younger students (ages 8 and under) usually do best if they practice with an adult at their side. Having a parent there to help and encourage them makes a huge difference in students’ ability to progress, and practicing with a partner can make practice time much more fun!

Get more information about Being a Positive Practice Partner

To encourage repetitions and to keep practice time lighthearted and fun, try one of our piano practice games!

Online Learning Games

Premium Members will have access to a suite of music learning games that will help develop sight reading, rhythm, ear training, and music theory skills. Our learning games make it fun and easy to build the foundational skills that lead to music fluency. Learning games will be incorporated into daily Practice Sessions, and students will also be able to play these games any time through their profile page. Students will earn points and progress through different levels as they play and learn.

If you’d like more information about Hoffman Academy or any aspect of piano learning, check out our blog with hundreds of articles designed to help you be a better piano student or practice partner.

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