The Ultimate Guide to Tonebase Piano Lessons: Everything You Need to Know
We review tonebase piano lessons: from the platform’s core offer, to its additional features, pricing, and user testimonials.
Since its launch in 2017, tonebase has produced hundreds of high-quality music lessons taught by professors from top schools. At its core, the platform’s mission is to democratize access to high-quality music education, by allowing users to attend lessons by teachers from some of the world’s most prestigious institutions: Juilliard, Yale, Eastman School of Music, and more.
But can it replace in-person learning?
In this tonebase review, we’ll be taking a look at the platform’s piano lessons, additional features, pricing and user testimonials.
While tonebase’s intention is to provide useful content for musicians of all skill levels, the majority of the lessons are of intermediate and advanced difficulty. For example, some of the first videos that pop up when you look at the lesson library are lessons on pieces like Beethoven’sSonataPathetique, Rachmaninoff’sRhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, and Chopin’sBallades.
So keep in mind: If you’re looking for a place to start your journey in piano playing and music making in general, tonebase might not be the best choice for that. While there are some amazing lessons there on piano fundamentals, we wouldn’t recommend them as the actual place to start building out your technique. However, you can still use these courses to help you refine your playing.
Once you have a firm handle of the keyboard, tonebase becomes a great learning tool. People looking for virtual piano lessons for intermediate players, or some advanced piano lessons online, are sure to find quality material they can use on tonebase. You can use it to either learn new pieces from scratch, learn about pieces you already know from a different perspective, or brush up on your knowledge of music theory and history.
Tonebase’s lessons UI is extremely accessible, well thought out, and easy to use. Each lesson is presented through interactive video which combines the presenter’s tape on the left-hand side of the screen and the music score on the right. Throughout the lesson, you can adjust small details if necessary: zooming in on the score, individual parts, adding bookmarks to specific sections, or even taking notes.
But the user-friendliness of the lessons’ interface would mean nothing without the quality of the lessons’ content. The most important value tonebase has for its users is the greatness of its teachers (the number of which is truly surprising at first look).
The platform includes lessons by international piano masters such as Jean-Yves Thibadeut, Penelope Roskell, Leon Fleischer, Boris Berman, and Garrick Ohlsson – the only American pianist to have won First Prize at the International Chopin Competition.
Through lessons spanning anywhere between 5 minutes and a full hour, these piano greats unlock, by way of both discussion and demonstration, secrets hiding behind the staples of classical piano repertoire. Highlights include Seymor Bernstein’s walkthrough through Schumann’s Album for the Young, Jean-Yves Thibadeut’s teachings on Debussy’s Preludes, and there is also, of course, a treasure trove of insights on the music of Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, Schubert, Rachmaninoff, Ravel, Scriabin…
With the lesson library continuously being refreshed and updated, you are also hardly ever at risk of running out of learning material.
Finally, apart from the actual lessons themselves, tonebase also offers other, complementary resources:
a library of scores for most (not all) of the pieces discussed in their lessons,
lesson notes containing essential exercises, custom assignments and summaries of key information,
and handy workbooks you can use to improve your technique, such as tips on pedal playing, or scales and arpeggios.
In addition to this, tonebase makes an effort to build a community for its users and teachers. There are regular live workshops, monthly AMAs by special guests, and community challenges centered around cornerstones of classical repertoire, like Brahms’s waltzes or Bach’s Goldberg Variations.
This makes the platform a rich resource for piano lovers. Its greatest value, of course, are still the video lessons – but there is also plenty of quality extra content to keep users occupied.
Psst – For those who want to explore what the tonebase platform has to offer in more detail, they also have a pretty cool YouTube channel. Check out this lovely lecture by the great Seymour Bernstein on playing Beethoven:
Tonebase Piano Lessons: Pricing and Value
Tonebase’s pricing comes in 3 subscription packages: Monthly ($49.95), Yearly ($24.95), and Lifetime (one-time payment of $695). There is a 14-day free trial available.
Subscriptions can be canceled any time. However, the platform currently does not offer partial refunds on Yearly or Lifetime memberships after the 14-day free trial period.
I’ve been a tonebase subscriber for about the past year or so. It is a fantastic platform in my opinion. They have an impressive roster of performers/educators. Some of the lessons are masterclasses and some of them are just tutorials on pieces by the performer. They regularly add new content. I particularly enjoy Garrick Ohlsson’s lessons.
Tonebase is a robust learning platform offering great and insightful virtual piano lessons for intermediate players, as well as advanced piano lessons online.
Its 350+ lesson library helps pianists refine their technique and improve their understanding of a certain style or composition: from Baroque to 20th century music.
If you want to expand your repertoire, pick up some new tricks when it comes to your technique, or just like hearing interesting new insights from world-class performers and professors, we definitely recommend tonebase. The platform is unparalleled in the number of experts it hosts and the quality of the lessons they provide.