Recently our family received a lifetime subscription to HomeschoolPiano as a review through the TOS Crew. The main gist of this program is that you can learn piano at home at your own pace. What we received gives us access to everything! It’s the HomeSchoolPiano – Complete Set of Books which lets us learn piano from the very beginning to a very advanced stage! All online and all available when we are ready to learn it!
Willie Myette created the program and does all the lessons. My kids found him funny and enjoyed watching and listening to him. It’s awesome that they wanted to learn from him and I loved that he seemed to try to connect with his students even though he couldn’t interact with them.
- technique- Technique is important and they choose to make it the building block upon which everything goes. The first thing you learn is speed and dexterity. This step is what kept some of mine and what others sped through. I think what the skill level or rather the developmental level of your student may determine this. I found that some of my kids who have not gained the best motor functions stayed in this area the longest.
- rhythm- Rhythm is the engine of music. You gotta have rhythm! Whoohoo! A vocalization of rhythm helps them to hear and internalize the rhythms so they can play them perfectly. I think rhythm is one of my favorite parts of music!
- ear training- This. This is why I knew that I would never be able to teach my kids how to play music. I’m tone deaf. One hundred percent tone deaf. My husband plays by ear and I’m tone deaf. Interesting combination. This area helps the kids to learn to hear rhythm, melody and harmony. You gotta have those if you’re going to succeed at improvisation. I could never do improv which really is one of the reasons that I quit taking lessons. I was at a brick wall.
- reading music- This is something I’m great at! It teaches sight reading so you can quickly read and play as well. It has a step by step approach to learning how to read music which leads to learn and then compose your own. I know for me I did a lot of practice with sight reading so that I would be able to read and play without making mistakes.
- song- This is so fun. You don’t just play “theory” or scales over and over. You start out playing real music. Yes it’s simple music and just one or two bars, but it’s music! This really helped my kids want to continue because they were actually already doing something.
- improvisation- Yikes. This is the hard one for me. You have to read to read music and play songs before you can improv. This is where you go into yourself and bring out the inner music. I don’t fully understand this because I am tone deaf and it all sounds the same to me except the rhythms.
This program works well for . . . . well. . . . . everyone! It is suitable for all ages which is pretty awesome! My kids can learn and I can refresh on what I learned a long time ago. That to me is wonderful! I am definitely rusty as I quit taking lessons when I was in high school. I would love to be able to play more. My kids are loving to learn piano and I love how easy it is. We can do lessons around our schoolwork or around naps, etc.
So since I’ve hit on it already, our favorite part(or my favorite part) of this piano program is that it is totally flexible. We didn’t have to do it all at the same time each day. We could simply pop on when we had some time and do one lesson or ten! You move at your own pace.
We started at the beginning. Yes we have done some piano before. So yes, they were not totally without any piano knowledge, but I wanted them to at least have a bit of refresher with this. So one of the first things we did was find middle c on the piano. Really no reason to touch the keys before then!
Our setup is simple as well. We have a piano. Solid wood, passed to us from another, think we’re probably the fourth or fifth owner. We had it tuned and some keys unstuck when we took possession of it and it has served us well. The piano sits on a wall in our living room being really the center focal point. Above the piano is a shelf for our vcr/bluray and home phones. Above this is our television mounted to the wall. My laptop computer sits on the “media” shelf as well. This makes it easy for me too hook up the html cable from the laptop to the computer so my kids can all watch the lessons at the same time. Once the kids are at a point that they are doing individual lessons and need to see the lessons and be at the piano at the same time, we merely go back to the laptop and place it on the piano. Tada! Super simple and great for us!
The lessons are short. I mean really short. The longest one is less than 10 minutes. You can do more than one lesson a day in the beginning. My kids all started at the VERY beginning. The CORE. It starts out teaching the basics. Teaches them about the keys, where middle C is, what the alphabet of music is and how to use it. Then it works up to scales and what the notes are and how long to hold them. It does it in such a way that it’s fun and hold the kids attention. They retain what they learn because they only learn one small thing at a time.
There are 33 lessons in the CORE section. Super easy and short. It really didn’t take long for some of my kids to get through this section. We’ve done some piano before and they pick things up quickly as well.