Friday, July 18, 2014

Online Piano Lessons For All Ages {Schoolhouse Review}

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Since learning piano basics a few months ago, my daughter has been ready to take her skills to the next level. I am beyond grateful to HomeSchoolPiano for offering the Schoolhouse Review Crew the opportunity to review a lifetime subscription to HomeSchoolPiano - Complete Set of Books for up to 5 family members. Is that awesome or what?! 

What is HomeSchoolPiano?

HomeSchoolPiano is a subscription program which gives you access to online piano lessons taught by Willie Myette. Willie is a graduate of Berklee College of Music and has toured America and Europe as a clinician and performer. His music has been played on over 90 radio stations nationwide, and he is also the founder of JAZZEDGE, JazzKids, PianoWithWillie, and more.

HomeSchoolPiano uses a particular method, Prepare - Present - Review, which follows a 6-step cycle for the purpose of ease and mastery for all students. This cycle adheres to the National Standards for Music Education to develop a well-rounded music curriculum that touches all nine NAfME requirements. HomeSchoolPiano's six steps are as follows:

  1. Technique - From the start, proper technique is crucial to learning how to play the piano. Developing speed and dexterity are key goals in this section.
  2. Rhythm - Willie says rhythm is the "engine that drives music" so it is focused on first.
  3. Ear Training - Learning to hear rhythm, melody, and harmony will improve piano playing and improvisation.
  4. Reading - With step-by-step instruction, learning how to read music will make it easier to learn and compose songs.
  5. Song - From the beginning, students play songs that sound like songs rather than exercises.
  6. Improvisation - In this section, students can take what they've learned so far and learn to create their own music.
Each book (1-3) comprises six units and each unit has six lessons following the 6-step cycle above plus a bonus lesson. So, really, there are seven lessons including the bonus lesson. The bonus lessons seem to offer more advanced practice for the student who is eager to go above and beyond.

Each book also comes with downloadable worksheets to use along with each lesson and for practicing rhythms, chords, licks, and songs in between lessons.

Each unit in HomeSchoolPiano gives you an overview of what you will be learning. For example, here's the description of what you will learn in Book 1 Unit 6:

When you click on "View Unit," you will be able to start your lessons in that unit which, as I mentioned above, follow the 6-step cycle.

As you can see in the screenshot above, there is a quiz after the Rhythm lesson. As a matter of fact, there are several quizzes in each unit. Quizzes, so far, have been brief and simple. My daughter has had to listen to rhythms being played on a piano, and then choose the correct multiple choice answer.

You can view your child's scores under the "Records" section. You can also see which lessons have been completed and when. (I am not sure why a couple of the lessons show less than 100% complete because I watched all of them with my daughter.)

Is HomeSchoolPiano For You?

It doesn't matter whether you're a child or an adult; this program is designed for people of all ages and skill levels. Good news for me because I'm a beginner adult who'd like to learn how to play the piano, too, and having a lifetime subscription sure takes the stress out of having to complete a program in a certain amount of time. I need all of the time I can get!

This program will teach you how to become a real pianist if you are willing to put forth the effort to watch lessons and practice what you learn. Also, this program is for you if you want to learn more than the just the basics such as scales and exercises. HomeSchoolPiano goes further by teaching you how to play songs and compose your own music.

According to the website, it usually takes a student 18 months or longer to complete the entire program.

How Much Does It Cost and What Does It Include?

The complete HomeSchoolPiano lifetime subscription costs $299 and includes:
  • Core Piano™ -  (This is a bonus included at no cost and valued at $99.) This is designed for the absolute beginner, and contains 30 lessons that teach the essentials of piano.
  • Book 1 - This is also a level for beginners or for those who are coming back to the piano after some time. Here, you will learn how to read music, improvise, play six original pieces, and create your own music.
  • Book 2 - For beginner to intermediate, this level picks up where Book 1 left off. Here, you will improve your skills and continue with more complicated concepts, songs, and improvisation.
  • Book 3 - For intermediate and up, this level teaches you how to create resonant piano arrangements and helps you become a well-rounded pianist. Concepts such as syncopation, voice leading, and advanced scales are also taught here.
Additional perks:
  • All Online Access benefits
  • Tracking and quizzes for up to 5 students
  • Unlimited lesson streaming to any device
  • Unlimited music downloads
  • Unlimited lesson video downloads
  • Jam Track CD (download version)
There are two payment options for the HomeSchoolPiano lifetime subscription:
  • One-time payment of $299 – no monthly commitment or recurring charges. 
  •  Make three easy payments of $99.97 per month for three months.

What Do You Need?
  • You will need internet access to watch lessons.
  • You also need a piano or keyboard with at least 61 keys.
* It will be helpful to have a keyboard that has keys that can be played soft, loud, and in between since the first unit in Book 1 teaches mezzo-forte and forte. My daughter's keyboard does not have keys like this, and while we are still able to do the lessons, we can't play loud and soft like Willie wants us to.

How We Are Using HomeSchoolPiano

My daughter and I are the only ones in our household using HomeschoolPiano right now. We each have our own accounts, however, I have just been sitting in on my daughter's lessons from Book 1, and we take turns practicing what Willie is teaching.

We chose to skip Core Piano™ since we already learned some basics a few months ago with another program. We did go back and watch one lesson from Core Piano™ to view Willie's particular key-grabbing technique since we had no idea what that was. It's really great that we can go back if and when we need to!

Lessons are usually anywhere from about 8 -15 minutes in length, and my goal was to watch one lesson with my daughter every other day or two to allow for practice time in between lessons. Well, I admit, our summer piano schedule has been a bit more sporadic then I'd like, but we did make it to Unit 3 in Book 1 and have been learning a lot! Once our official school year starts in just a couple of weeks, we will have scheduled lesson time every week and practice time every day.

Here's my daughter, Shiloh, demonstrating "Improvisation" from Book 1 Unit 1:

Our Opinion

What We Like:
  • Willie's personable teaching style
  • Order and predictability of lessons
  • Excellent customer service (I had an issue with being able to access my account that actually ended up being a problem on my end - clearing cache and cookies)
  • Lifetime membership
  • Learning to use both hands early on and playing with drum tracks
  • Brief lessons
  • Keyboard doesn't have to be connected to the computer
  • Opportunity in each lesson to play along with Willie
*The only complaints I have don't have anything to do with the program itself but rather with technical issues. We've experienced problems while watching a lesson a couple of times - video kept stopping for some reason. Eventually everything worked, though. Overall, I am very happy with these online piano lessons and plan to continue until my daughter has completed the course! (And, hopefully, me too.)

HomeSchoolPiano really is an economical solution for providing your family members with quality piano lessons. See what other Crew Members thought by clicking the banner below!

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Anonymous said...

From all of us at Jazzedge, we thank you for your unbiased review. Hope you enjoy the lessons!

Unknown said...

If you want some professional online piano lessons for you or your kid, I suggest you Really expert teachers!


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