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LESSON 1 First Song

What you'll learn

How to find high and low notes on your piano
Pattern of 2 and 3 black keys
How to play your first song on the piano


Hot Cross Buns
Hot Cross Buns
One a Penny
Two a Penny
Hot Cross Buns

Casio Privia

Mr. Hoffman's Top Pick for Digital Piano: Casio Privia PX-150

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202 Responses

  1. Hi Mr Hoffman! We are a homeschooling family and my kids are thrilled that we stumbled upon your wonderful website. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your gift! We are excited to begin our lessons with you. I have purchased the worksheets to go along with your lessons and just have one quick question. How long would you recommend staying on each lesson before moving onto the next? Is it simply based on how quickly the kids are picking it up…. just wondering based on your practice recommendations of 20 mins each day- will that be outlined in later lessons? Thanks again SO very much! :)

    • For beginners, I generally recommend completing 2-3 lessons per week, but it is important to keep an eye on how your kids are picking it up. Practicing every day is important, and new students usually do well with 15-20 minutes per day, but I prefer to base practice sessions on completing tasks rather than strictly on a timer. Check out our blog post on establishing a Piano Practice Checklist if you think that might work in your family. Good luck! – Mr. Hoffman

    • In my lessons, I try to include things that will help you learn new songs and also help you become a good musician in general. Some things, like the story of Piano Street coming up in a few lessons, are not essential themselves but will help you remember important concepts in the future. – Mr. Hoffman

  2. I don’t want to buy a grand piano so is it okay to play on an electrical one. For example the Casio CTK2400. It has 61 keys. Please get back to me as soon as possible because I am extremely eager to start learning!

    • I don’t have personal experience with that type of keyboard, but here is what you need to know: 61 keys is fine for a beginning pianist – while not a full-sized keyboard, it will give you enough room to complete all of the songs and exercises we use in our lessons. Before purchasing it, however, you should find out whether the keys are weighted. Weighted keys build and train your finger muscles so you will be able to play any type of piano, including acoustic, in the future. For more details and some brand & budget recommendations, check out our blog post on Choosing a Piano or Keyboard for the Beginning Student. Good luck! – Mr. Hoffman

  3. Hello Joseph,

    I am interested in learning how to play the piano. There’s only one issue: I am Deaf. I know Beethoven became deaf, but despite that he still went on to be one of the greatest pianists ever. He became deaf after he already learned how to play, but I have been deaf all my life and have been wanting to learn how to play the piano. What is the best approach to take on learning the piano as a d/Deaf person?

    • Wow – that is an amazing ambition. I suppose first off I would want to know a little more before making a recommendation. Specifically, how do you experience music? Can you hear it at all? (In other words is this partial deafness or complete?) Or have you only experienced it through feeling vibrations? In order to learn to play there would have to be some way you could register what you are creating and experience the results of your playing. I’m happy to discuss this further if you’re still interested. – Mr. Hoffman

  4. Hi,
    I just looked through your website and really the way you are teaching. I am planning on introducing my 5 year old to the world of piano. I have a Roland Kr7. Is it ok to teach a small child on that ?

    • That’s a great digital piano to start with! It has 88 weighted keys, which will give your child a similar sense of the finger strength required to play an acoustic piano. Good luck and happy playing! – Mr. Hoffman

  5. I began piano lessons 8/03 with a music instructor and stopped for awhile. I transferred to another instructor 5/12 and had been taking lessons until 6/14 when my instructor became ill. I have since been practicing on my own since 6/14. I have completed 1 and am now in Alfred’s Basic Adult Piano Course Level 2. I am playing Alexander’s Ragtime Band. I review my previous lessons often, and perhaps I linger too long seeking perfection before advancing. I have CDs with both books and use them on occasion just improve my cadence. I would like to practice with an instructor because I’m not certain of explanations regarding book instructions, chords, fingering and just overall guidance concerning improvement. Do you have any suggestions, I would greatly appreciate your advice. Thank you.

    • Geraldine – It is wonderful that you are doing so much practice and review on your own. If you are in Alfred’s Level 2, you are probably more advanced than the beginning lessons we currently offer on our site. We do plan to produce more advanced lessons in time, but for now let me suggest that you continue the wonderful work you’re doing on your own and start looking around for a live teacher who can help you further. We’ve posted an article about Finding a Piano Teacher that can give you some tips. Good luck and happy playing! – Mr. Hoffman

  6. Mr. Hoffman,
    My daughter is taking your lessons and loves it. She is working on a 61 key very old Casio. We were looking into the Casio PX-150, but at a local music shop, we were told they thought the Yamaha was of better quality and told us about the Yamaha P35. I don’t know much about digital pianos and from what I’ve read the reviews are pretty good on both models. Do you have any insight into the Yamaha that could steer us one way or the other? Thanks so much!

  7. Thank you for offering these lessons FREE! You have a great personality for the videos, in addition to the talent. We will add this to our HS routine now! So thankful!

    • I am 60+ and started working at an Adult Day Care Center. I walk past the big piano there every morning after I open the doors with hopes someone who “plays” will walk in to entertain our music loving participants. I recall my Daddy trying to teach me on the player piano in our basement growing up. I am so happy I found this site and my new teacher Mr. Hoffman. I will go to work a little early for my lessons. Thanks so much.

  8. Why, oh why, wonderful Mr. Hoffman… is a Casio your favorite beginner’s keyboard? Sure it’s cheap, but you could get a Yamaha digital Clavinova or other, slightly used or perhaps new, depending on the model, for about the same money. Yamaha is far, far superior. Support our local Classic Pianos! They have many digital Yamahas! They are not only superior instruments on all points, but hold their value. The only Casio I would ever buy would be in a watch. Maybe not even that.

    Love everything else you’re doing!

    • Hi Sherry, Thanks for your comment! I think the Clavinova is also a great digital piano–no question about that. And believe me when I say that we support Classic Pianos–a first rate piano store. 2 years ago we bought six brand new Yamaha U-1s from Classic Pianos for our new Hoffman Academy location. About the Casio Privia–have you actually played on one? I find the Privia line to have an EXCELLENT action and tone, equal to, in my opinion, other more expensive models. I am all about value. I don’t see why I should pay $1-2K or more for a Clavinova when I can get great quality in a Privia for $600.

    • I agree with Mr Hoffman. My husband and I looked for about a year before buying the Casio Privia keyboard (before we started our kids on this site and saw his recommendation). It’s a fantastic keyboard. And a great value. Thanks for your lessons Mr Hoffman! My kids and I enjoy them!

  9. Thank you for offering these lessons! We homeschool our daughters. I started teaching our 6 year old piano but she’s seeing enough of me! She is responding better to you and I’m sure I’ll learn with her along the way.

  10. I play piano, but not as well as I’d like. I have a seven-year-old granddaughter who wants me to teach her how to play. I plan to use your lessons as our “curriculum.” As we advance, I just may learn some new things, myself! I know I’ll learn a lot about how to teach what I already know. Thank you very much for giving of yourself for others to have the benefit of your knowledge and hard work. Blessings!

  11. Amazing, So delighted with everything this program offers. Thank you could never suffice to explain how grateful my family is with this opportunity.

  12. Hi there, Mr. Hoffman. I have just come across your website recently. I’m a complete beginner and I don’t have a background in music, but I do want to learn to play the piano so much.

    I had researched about free music lessons in the past and I didn’t see them as effective, and so I thought that maybe I would learn better if I would have live music lessons.
    If only I were financially adept to do so though.

    Then I realized that it was just a matter of better teaching methods.

    I have no enough words now but…
    I really thank God for you. You are a blessing to each of us here. I hope you all the best. And do continue sharing your talent and selfless giving. =)

  13. Hi Mr Hoffman,

    I have just registered on our site after watching some of your lessons on youtube. Thanks a bunch for great lessons.
    I am a beginner and purchased a second hand piano prior to having read your recommendations. I own a Zender, will this do for the time being for a beginner?
    Thank you

  14. Hello Mr. Hoffman,

    is this an online lesson free? I am a grown up man; I want to learn how to play piano. I have been doing research so many times on Google or youtube for a beginner piano lesson. I love singing. I can sing with Karaoke or with a band. I took voice lesson; sometimes, I get so frustrated because it is hard to sing with piano when I don’t even know how to read the music. I sometimes perform solo in my church without piano, but most of the time I sing in a choir group for my church. I am a baritone person and I took a voice lesson from my college….I hope that one day I can sing and play piano at the same time….

  15. All I can say is I love your lessons. I asked my second grader the best part of her school day ( we homeschool) and she said, “PIANO!”

    The kids love the animations at the end. Thanks for these, I will be downloading the materials!

  16. I’m new to this, I’ve played piano, but I didn’t know what exactly I’m doing, I know some basic things like notes, but I’d like to learn from bare basics again, even if it’s an easy song like this, and even though the tutorial appears to be more directed towards children, it’s still nice. I hope I can learn a lot from these lessons. Good luck to me. :)

  17. i was hoping that this video would show me things like the c scale or do re mi…. and so on… but i get what your trying to teach

  18. Hi, I have an electronic keyboard, Yamaha PSR-262 with 61 keys. I don’t have the space or money to be able to get a regular piano (21 year old just out of college, have to start paying student loans off next week!) Will my keyboard work for relearning the piano with your lessons? I used to take piano lessons for a few years when I was younger (up until probably the age of 7) but I haven’t played since then. I would really like to relearn the piano, one of my current goals is to eventually be able to play the song Piano Variation In Blue from the movie Finding Neverland ( ) How long do you think it would take to learn how to be able to play that song, and will my keyboard work? Thank you so much for offering these lessons for free! I will start with the first lesson later this evening when I have the time.

    • Hello Hannah! Thank you for your message. Your keyboard should be just fine to begin learning on. If you want to achieve the level of the song you mentioned, this is going to take some time–perhaps years–but I strongly encourage you to pursue your goal and get started. The best thing you can do is establish the habit of daily practice. Choose a time of day to be your special practice time, and then keep that time sacred. Even 20-30 minutes a day can create some great progress. As you progress, you will probably come to the point of wanting to upgrade to a full length, 88-key piano with weighted keys, or a real acoustic piano, but for now I think your instrument will be just fine. I hope you find my lessons useful in getting started with learning the piano! Happy playing!

  19. First I saw you in youtube and makes me want to learn piano. So here I am one of your student to learn more about playing piano. Being positive !!Thank you for your great method of teaching. Its cool and I think I will enjoy it to have you as my teacher.
    See you!!

  20. Mr. Hoffman,
    My child is 7 yrs old. I started her on electronic keyboard without weighted keys. Can she gradually upgrade herself to a piano? Is it better to start with a piano right now? If so, which piano will you suggest?

    • To me, a “great pianist” is one who makes music with full heart and passion and love. It is also one who has the discipline to stick to daily practice, with focus on refining and polishing skills to an artistic level. How long does this take? I’m not sure. I think it is possible to play even simple “children’s songs” with artistry. I’ve also heard very technically advanced pianists that I would not call “great” because they lacked heart. I would focus less on being a great pianist, and focus instead on being great at practicing, and focus your practicing on refining your ability to artistically express yourself. That will be music’s greatest reward.

  21. Dear Mr. Hoffman thanks for teaching us the lessons from 1 too 56 you were great and your wife and you are a great piano teacher. Keep teaching us and we will play for you and I love your shows , thanks we love you Love Anthoney Thompson xoxo

  22. I am so happy to have had an opportunity to learn from you and use your curriculum for my 9, 7 and 4 year old boys. We plan to learn through lesson 80 since learning music inside and out interests our family! They love your teaching method and we have truly been Blessed. Thank you!

  23. This website is an answer to prayer! My son has really enjoyed your lessons. Thanks so much for FREE lessons! You’re a wonderful teacher!
    -Hans’ Mom

  24. i am writing for this my son who is studying in fifth standard in school ,he is studying keyboard for the last three years.he is very much liked to see your piano is very much interesting for him.he have a keyboard of yamaha psr i455.

  25. Hi Mr Hoffman..I was looking for a site that offered begginers lessons to teach my grandson how to play piano when I found yours…I know basic chords and can play along with other musicians. I am hoping to teach begginers and learn something I can use along the way also….I haven’t taken lessons and I need to learn how to give them, so do you think you will be able to help me learn and teach others? Hot Cross Buns was very easy and am going to teach that to my grandson as well as the other lessons you offer…Thank you,

  26. hi mr.hoffman. i wonder what keyboard should i buy for a beginner like me? what would you recommend?

  27. Thank you so much for these lessons Mr. Hoffman. I am failing on this song at the moment trying to play the song with both hands as you did in the video, and I feel as if I am just not coordinated enough to be good at piano. However, I will keep trying. Thank you again.

    • Hi Zane, thanks for watching! I wasn’t expecting that you could play it hands together like I do. In this lesson, I’m just hoping that you can learn the melody. I add some extra notes in my left hand, just to make it sound more interesting, but I would encourage you to just keep going with the lessons. We’ll get to more complex things to do with both hands as we go and as you build skill.

  28. Thank you so much for this video, it has helped me a lot.
    I have never taken piano lessons, but I have a problem with my left hand, I can’t coordinate my left hand! I play perfectly with my right hand and then with my left hand I can’t, I don’t know what to do!

    • Hi Gabriela, I would say that you are completely normal! If you are right-handed, then your left hand at first will likely not feel very coordinated when you play. But, as a pianist, you will need to master use of both hands. My suggestion is to practice extra using the left hand. This can help your left hand “catch up” to your right hand in terms of coordination and agility. Just be patient, and practice a little every day. Soon you will find that your left hand is able to play just fine. Please keep me posted about how it goes! -Mr. Hoffman

  29. hello where do u get the sheets for hot cross buns im new to this so if would be awesome if u help me also is 10 a good age to learn to play.

  30. If you are playing the piano and some of the bass clef notes hit the same key as some of the treble clef notes, which hand do you use? Thanks for the help!

    • The answer is, it depends. Most often, if the notes are written on the bottom staff, then your left hand plays them, even if the notes go up into the range of the treble clef. If the notes are written in the top staff, the right hand plays them. There are exceptions to this, however. Any exceptions are usually noted in the music with the marking “RH” or “LH” to indicate which hand is playing the notes written. Also, sometimes if both hands are playing in the same staff, notes for the RH are written with the stems going up, and notes for the LH are written with stems going down. I hope this helps!

  31. Hi Mr. Hoffman! I am 14, so do you think I am too old to start playing the piano?? Also thank you for the tips, and teaching, I love your strategy. P.S. I loved your little puppet show at the end :)

    • Hi Caroline, Thanks for your question. I believe you can learn to play the piano at any age, as long as you have patience and persistence. Just practice every day and keep working through the lessons. I hope you enjoy learning to play the piano with me! Best, Mr. Hoffman PS Glad you liked the puppet moment at the end!

  32. Thanks to your usage of solfege, I can finally put my Casio WX-500 to use without having to memorize absolute key positions! I really only have to decide on one absolute key if I know the tune relative to that one key, so I managed to easily play a “ghostly” Hot Cross Buns on the three highest keys after watching. Thanks for making these wonderful videos and setting up an organized website for them!

  33. Hi, I love your lessons, I feel really great learning piano lessons…..Can you also teach how to play the chords just like how you did it in the above video? :)

  34. I like the new layout to the website. Each of my kids enjoy your lessons a lot! We’ve been using them for a couple years now with each of my kids as they get older.

  35. how do u go to the newsletter and make an acount plz awnser and ur a really good teacher i love playing a piano

  36. My 8-year-old, after singing and playing “Hot Cross Buns” practically non-stop for a couple days, noticed that the beginning note pattern is just like “Figaro.” I love how this method gets the music inside the learner so they can make musical connections like that.

  37. i love this website. ive always had a piano and its adapter but my dad never taught so it’s been pretty useless to me until no :) :D

  38. Very nice method for young kids.
    But only one question: why do you sing do-re-mi while playing la#,so# and fa# ? They would get confused.

    • There are 2 approaches to solfege used around the world: fixed ‘do’ and moveable ‘do’. In the US, and in some other Eastern European countries, moveable ‘do’ is more common. In moveable ‘do’, ‘do’ is the tonic pitch. In other words, if you are in the key of F-sharp, then F-sharp is ‘do’, G-sharp is ‘re’, etc. In fixed ‘do’, C is ‘do’, D is ‘re’, etc. The reason I choose to use moveable ‘do’ instead of fixed ‘do’ is because fixed ‘do’ (in the US at least) is a redundant, and therefore somewhat pointless system, since we already use letter names (C, D, E, etc.) to represent the fixed pitches. Moveable ‘do’, on the other hand, is very useful in teaching transposition to beginning students, so kids can easily see how the same relationship of pitches can be transposed to various keys. So, to sum up, I use letter names to represent the fixed pitches on the piano (C, D, E, etc), but moveable ‘do’ to represent the relationships of the pitches to one another around a tonal center. My students learn both a fixed and a moveable system, which I believe gives them the greatest advantage as they progress and develop musically.

  39. For the first time in my life I learn to playmy first song Amen to that, as a kid my dream was always to learn how to play the piano, being a poor kid my mom did not had the means to send me to piano lessons, I do not have the words to thank you for all of us who you inspire by you teaching us to play the piano , you makes it so easy for us especialy me who is a hard learner i,m almost 49 years of age. May our heavenly Savior keep blessing you and your family for helping other and using your talent He gave you to teach other ,such as me . Thank you and God bless.

  40. Joseph, thank you for the interesting teaching method. I will be back because your lessons make it funner : )
    more happy notes to you , Rod

  41. Just watched your first lesson and I am very impressed. I’ll let you know what the 5 year old thinks after. Have bought some ‘hot cross buns’ for the occasion (chocolate chip cookies with icing with a cross on the top of them). What I like about your first lesson is the simplicity, talking to the child, a song accomplished in the first lesson, the opening with your demonstrating your skill which will blow her out of the water (she is going to want to see you in person), pointing out the single black key alone at the bottom just tickles me and I love that you give him some love at the end!!!!! Good job. Kudos.

    • Thanks for the feedback, and what a fun idea to make your own ‘hot cross buns’ to enjoy! I hope your 5 year old has a delightful experience learning to play the piano! Please keep me posted about progress. Best, Joseph Hoffman

      • I know how to play this. It is just that my last comment is on lesson fifty nine, which is love somebody. I have finished all the lessons

  42. hi mr hoffman
    ı live in turkey but ı know englısh very good
    ı had lesson with two pıano teachers, but now ı understand this very good
    this is a very good lesson ı enjoyed it

  43. Hi Mr Hoffman,
    Writing you from Bangladesh. I am 32 years old and taking lessons from your website. I don’t have a Piano but I have already completed lesson no 10. Planning to buy one in next month. There are very few models of digital pianos available in our country. I did not find a Casio Privia PX 150. But I found a Casio PX 750, which matches my budget. Is it ok?

    Thanks for your magnificent job.

  44. Thank you so much mr.Hoffman. I always wanted to play the piano. I used to but I started taking math lessons so I couldn’t any more. But now I can continue because of you. Really cool site. Thanks for making it free.

  45. Mr.Hoffman I only got a orchestral piano with the 2 rows of keys so how do I play your songs with it ??????????????????? :D :D :D

  46. what are the songs called that you played before you played the main song ????? I really want to learn them .. I know Symphony 5 or 9

  47. Dear Sir,
    I actually bought a normal,not proffesional piano.Is it ok to use that during the days when I am practising?My piano has only 17 keys,is that ok to learn with?

  48. What a wonderful teaching method!! My children and I loved sitting down at the piano and playing together. Really great voice you have and excellent video production!

  49. Mr. Hoffman,

    Your method of teaching piano gives a concrete learning. The style is superb! Simple and straight forward for learners. My friend who is now 60 is learning aggresively and enjoying your piano online free lessons. Thank you for your contribution to the world.

    • I cover various major and minor pentascales in my online lessons. You can check out the following lessons: 12, 18, 29, 35, 38, and 58 to learn about the C, D, G, and E major pentascales, and the D minor pentascale. Thanks for watching!

  50. Hi! I am not very musically inclined, but my daughter is, and I love the gift of your lessons! We have a 61 key keyboard at our home and my mother has a piano. Do you think it is possible to learn on the keyboard but practice on the piano when we visit?

    • Hello! I recommend that my students practice on an acoustic piano, or a digital piano with 88 weighted keys whenever possible. But if that is not possible, using your 61-key keyboard plus occasional practice on grandma’s acoustic piano should work fine, too. The main advantage of using weighted keys is developing finger strength as you practice. So, I’d recommend starting to save up for a piano or digital piano with weighted keys so your daughter can have that benefit every time she practices. I hope she enjoys the lessons! Best, Joseph Hoffman

  51. Could you please share the notes you are playing with your left hand? Thanks so much!! Wonderful site, lessons and materials!

  52. Just found your site , very impressive.
    56 year old guy, love and fascinated with the sound of the piano. Purchased one and am going to give it a try.
    Thank You,
    Dwight S.

  53. Dear Mr. Hoffman;

    It`s Christmas Eve and Just I want to say :



    May all the sweet magic of Christmas conspire to gladden your heart and fill every desire.

  54. My friend has been learning lessons from Mr Hoffman on YouTube, unfortunately he doesn’t have a piano and he asked me if it is possible to play on the organ…?

  55. I love this, this is the best website I have ever visited. Thanks Mr. Hoffman. Thanks. I love what you do and how you do it. I just made an account today and so far I love it. I love the fact that its free and that I can become a piano player like the piano player I love. Thanks for doing what you do and if I’d never come across to this website, I would probably be somewhere wishing I had the power to be a great piano player. Thanks Mr. Hoffman. Thanks!

  56. Thank you, Mr. Hoffman:
    My daughter is 3 years old and has been wanting to learn the piano since she could reach the keyboard. She has started your lessons today because locally she must be 4 years old to begin lessons. Thank you again, Lori.

  57. Mr. Hoffman-

    We love your lessons and we love learning with you as our guide. I thought the lessons and material from your first endeavors were awesome but now you’ve raised the bar. Thank you! We were on later lessons but my little one wanted to start all the lessons over. Wonderful! I love seeing her catch your enthusiasm for music. (She giggled and giggled at the silly clip of the finger puppet bringing lonely black key some hot cross buns!)

  58. Hi ,
    I surprised yesterday that my son of 4 and half year remember and sing the do re me of this song in spite that he heard the new video lesson since 3 weeks ago .
    While today we will start seriously the lessons and practice.

  59. My daughter could not stop at one lesson and wanted to go on to do 3 more! I had to stop and remind her she needs to practice what she has learnt! :) She and I both are enjoying the lessons.. Thanks so much!

  60. I wish my piano lessons were so fun! I am excited to teach my kids piano along with Mr. Hoffman!! Thank you for creating this academy!

  61. I am a member of the old site but couldn’t get into this one. Had to register again. My grandson loves taking lessons from Mr. Hoffman!

  62. Your site is totally awesome. I’m actually a guitar teacher, but a friends 9-year old son wants to learn piano, so I’m by default his coach. Thank you.

  63. material printed… check, read first lesson… check, watch first lesson… check, master hot cross buns with right hand only… check :) feeling accomplished already thank you.

  64. I don’t know how to download the material from the first lesson, could you help me please, I am trying to find where is the download is, but I can not find it

  65. A keyboard can probably work fine, depending on how many keys it has. I recommend using a keyboard with a minimum of 61 keys, although 88 keys is even better! I also like my students to practice on a keyboard with weighted keys since that builds good finger strength. You can learn more on my blog about choosing a keyboard:
    I hope this helps! ~Joseph Hoffman

  66. You will get a link to download the materials for Lesson 1 for free when you sign up for our weekly email newsletter (which is also free) which will give you tips for practicing, etc. I hope this helps and thanks for watching!

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