Two guys, a piano, and a YouTube channel may sound like the start to an iffy joke, but HDpiano’s business success is far from a punchline. Sean Lee and Dan Collins have turned their 2008 YouTube piano channel called HDpiano into a blockbuster business booming with the easiest, most accurate piano tutorials on the planet, reaching nearly 1 million subscribers and curating over 100 million lifetime views and counting—all thanks to a video game called Guitar Hero.

HDpiano invented the Hybrid Piano Lessons, and have managed to maintain a reputation of producing easy-to-learn piano tutorials without the support of (wait for it) sheet music! We know. Gasp!

So, why and how did HDpiano use a video game concept to inspire not only quality tutorials but also a successful business plan that NOW includes having an exclusive partnership with Musicnotes sheet music?

HDpiano’s Business Beginnings

Sean and Dan started their musical journey like many beginner musicians often do: taking lessons.

  • Dan studied and attended Jazz school
  • Sean attempted piano lessons

But Sean was curious about using a different approach to piano playing, so he searched the web to find high-quality and accurate how-to videos for piano lessons that were easy to understand.

(Spoilers: He didn’t find any.)

Guitar Hero Rocked HDpiano’s World

Using a guitar-shaped controller, Guitar Hero allows gamers to play their favorite rock songs by matching notes that scroll on-screen to colored fret buttons on the controller.

Both Sean and Dan were fans when the game exploded onto the scene in 2005 and thought: Why couldn’t the falling block technique be used to teach a real instrument, like the piano?

“The falling blocks are a vertical representation of what music is. It’s just tipped 90 degrees.” — Dan Collins, HDpiano

A Peek Behind the Piano

Once the concept was built and HDpiano was born, Sean and Dan wanted to add in another extra personal touch to really define who they were and what they wanted to achieve.

“The main distinction between us and our competitors is that there is a trained pianist behind the mic.” — Dan Collins, HDpiano

After pressing play, a tutor introduces themselves, introduces the song that will be played, then breaks down the song into smaller sections so the viewer can follow along. The tutor interacts with the viewer throughout the piece, providing some music theory nuggets or simply asking questions to the viewer to make it feel more of a one-on-one lesson.

Sheet Music Magic

As HDpiano continues releasing one new lesson every day to their nearly 1 million YouTube subscribers, the need for diverse teaching tools is in high-demand. Musicnotes was ready to give a little sheet music magic for HDpiano. 

With Musicnotes’ sheet music, HDpiano can reach a beginner learner who may benefit from having sheet music complement the tutorial. Plus with our top-rated sheet music apps, HDpiano customers get access to their Musicnotes sheet music libraries anywhere on any device, making it easy to practice whenever and wherever they’d like!

“Partnering with Musicnotes lets us have quality sheet music as an alternative option during tutorial playback. Giving our customers Musicnotes’ sheet music provides another high-quality tool to use with our tutorials, which only adds to the learning process and hopefully inspires beginner musicians to continue building their skills.” —Dan Collins, HDpiano

We’d like to thank Sean and Dan (plus the many talented HDpiano musicians and tutors) for sharing their business story success with us and choosing Musicnotes as HDpiano’s exclusive sheet music provider!
Don’t forget, you can find a great selection of HDpiano’s sheet music arrangements at Musicnotes to use alongside the piano tutorials. Happy playing!
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