FAQ for Learn Piano Live
What equipment do I need?
- If you're reading this, you already have half of the equipment. All that's left is to get a keyboard to play on. That's it. Many students will also find that it helps to have access to a printer to print out the worksheets. And if you have a way to record video (like a smartphone or iPad or webcam) then you'll be able to submit videos of yourself to get personalized feedback. But again, most students just need internet access and their piano. For my equipment recommendations, click here
I am interested in learning [specific style]. Self taught on piano, I do need help. Is this something your school can help me with?
- Honestly, no – our pre-recorded library just isn’t big enough yet that students can get in-depth lessons on a particular topic that’s not on the schedule. However, if you want to send a video of your playing and a description of where you’re wanting to go and where you feel your playing isn’t up to par, I’d be happy to throw it in my queue of videos to analyze and I’ll get back to you with some practical advice on how to get where you want to go. Eventually we’ll have all these topics on-demand too. For now we have 2 main tracks for adults:
- *Live Lessons - students learn various skills while alternating between working on a specific song one week to a skill/topic another week. It’s very interactive and the songs and topics are chosen from student suggestions, but we deliberately rotate the topics so we don’t just harp on one thing over and over. While a few students attend very regularly, the audience on these really varies a LOT from lesson to lesson, so each lesson/broadcast is prepared as a stand-alone lesson without the need for prior attendance. That’s probably why our highest reviews are usually from students who have spotty attendance because of travel or kids or work or just other higher priorities. It’s not a fast-track for students wanting to make their living as concert pianists. It’s more of a direction and accountability for serious piano hobbyists, who want to be able to jam, play their favorite tunes, and maybe get hired for individual gigs. I myself am very passionate about piano and dedicated to getting better each day, but my goal is to meet students where they are and help them get to THEIR goals, not mine :)
- *Klopol Academy (free to students signed up for live lessons) - students start from absolute zero and learn all the traditional skills in the traditional order to become a well-rounded classical and jazz musician (not specific sub-genres like you’re looking for). It’s about a 10-year program, depending on practice time, of course.
How is this different from regular lessons?
- You have an actual live teacher. All other lessons are either inexpensive video lessons with no live teacher OR one-on-one lessons with a teacher at $100+ per month. No other internet or video lessons offers the convenience of the internet with the ability to get answers to your questions in real time unless you're Skyping with a private instructor.
- It's a fraction of the price! Private instruction is about $100 for 4 lessons a month. We're providing 12-15 new lessons per month at $19.95/month. We're trying to keep the price low enough that everyone can get involved in this amazing, encouraging family of pianists.
- Each week is new. Because it's based on the scheduled topic, it's okay if you had a busy week and didn't get to practice that much. We've ready to wipe the slate clean and work on something else.
- Wear your pj's if you want. We can't see or hear you unless you send us a video, so there's as little or as much accountability as you want each week.
- 3 lessons each week. As a beginning or intermediate student, you can watch the lessons for more advanced students and see what's coming down the road for you. If you're already an advanced player and have your own students, you can watch the beginning lessons to see how we would teach those topics.
- You learn on your own instrument. Instead of learning on your teacher's piano and trying to play the same thing at home, you're learning each week on your piano in your home.
- No travelling. Neither sickness nor rainy days nor snowy days nor crazy hot days will keep you from getting your lesson at LearnPianoLive.com.
I like the idea of the lessons online but I really want to learn specific stuff, so do you do one on one lessons?
- I do teach traditional in-person and Skype lessons for $129/month. (ScheduleALesson.com) However, if you can use your smartphone to record a video of yourself playing, I think you’ll get about as much out of Learn Piano Live as most in-person lessons since you’ll be getting what is missing from prerecorded video lessons: feedback on your playing and custom assignments. But some people’s learning style still requires that a teacher be physically in the room with them. Another option would be to try out the Learn Piano Live thing for a month or two and if it wasn’t working out, I could refund that money toward Skype or in-person lessons if we can find a time that works.
Should we sign up for the adult or kids lessons?
- Well the main difference is that the kids lessons have a lot more prizes and games and they focus on learning how to play specific songs at any level. The adult lessons are really more conceptual and don’t focus on specific songs as much as on specific skills and how to apply them to any song. For young adults 14-ish and under, I'd probably recommend the kids lessons, but if you try it and hate it, let us know! We'll try to work something out.
What level am I at?
- It really depends on the topic. We do a topic per week and split that topic up into the 3 levels, but your level might change depending on the topic. (For example, I know beginning astrophysics would be way over my head, but even advanced alphabetization is going to be pretty easy for me.) So we recommend you participate based on the topic, not the level. Skip the weeks you don't care about, but if the week's topic looks interesting, maybe check out the beginner lesson and if that's easy, try the next level. Super secret hint - we put the main points of each lesson in the description on the schedule of upcoming lessons, so you those might help guide you too. But if you really want to stick with one level each week, you can use this general guideline:
- KIDS live lessons focus on a playing a song. Regardless of your level or age, you'll be able to take something away from every single lesson. For technique and a more traditional piano method, we recommend students enroll in our sister school, Klopol Academy, where skills and classical training are emphasized. Most of our students are between the ages of 7 and 16.
- BEGINNING level lessons assumes you have never heard of a piano before. You don't know the notes, the beats, how to read music, nothing. The key to the beginners lessons is to ask a lot of questions. Since it's a beginning lesson, all questions are game. No questions are dumb.
- INTERMEDIATE level lessons are geared toward people who haven't had much, if any, formal training, but have played songs on the piano well enough to impress at least a couple friends. You don't have to be good at reading music or knowledgable about music theory, but again - ask questions! Everybody will be at a slightly different level - some a little above but many a little below, so if you don't understand something, ask it on behalf of that other confused student who is too chicken to ask.
- EXPERIENCED students have been playing for a while and are mostly looking for a new influence, some accountability, and to fill in some of the gaps they missed along the way. An experienced student is known by most of their friends as a "pianist" and has other musician friends too.
How does it work?
- Log on at the time of the lesson you want to take (Beginners on Mondays, Intermediates on Tuesdays, and Experienced on Wednesdays).
- Take your computer/iPod/tablet to your piano.
- Play along and ask questions when you don't understand.
What songs will I be learning?
- In the adult program we focus on concepts more than specific pieces. We do apply the concepts to popular songs, but you can look on the schedule to see how the lessons are based on a topic and not a specific song. We often take requests of how to apply the concepts to specific songs.
- In the kids program we use popular children's songs, folk songs, nursery rhymes and songs from popular cartoons. The goal is to kind of trick kids into learning musical concepts by teaching them songs using those concepts. The specific songs are not listed in the schedule since we try to change it each week according to students' requests.
I am a beginner and now deciding to sign up, however, you have already advanced in the lessons. Is there a time when you start over to give newcomers a chance to get the lessons from before?
- Our non-linear lessons are not dependent on each other, so any student can begin any week. While we’ve taught about 100 live lessons so far, every Monday (beginner lesson day) we assume everyone attending that lesson is a very beginner. So each week we take a topic our students have requested and break it down to teach it at all three levels: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. We keep the last 2-3 months of lessons in the archives so students can go back and watch, but as we get repeated requests for lessons we’ve done recently, we record and store those separately so they can be accessed at any time as an addition to the archives. In the end, the topics we cover are dependent on student interaction. Some students prefer to sit back and wait to see what the topics are and practice that. Others are very active in requesting topics and submitting videos of themselves to get personal feedback. Since these video lessons are live with an actual teacher, you control how much help you get.
On the archives page I was able to view videos starting from about 3 months ago. Will I be able to watch older videos?
- The focus of the site is the live lessons and the interactions, questions and answers with the students. We keep 8-12 weeks of lessons in the archives for the students who aren’t able to make it to a particular live lesson. Since the lessons are not built on each other, you won’t need, for example, lessons 1-99 to do lesson 100. Each lesson stands on its own.
Why not keep all the old lessons in the archives?
- First, students who sign up seem to care mostly about the current topics and VERY rarely want to go back more than about 6 weeks, and it costs too much to store videos that never get watched. We're trying to keep student rates as low as possible.
- More importantly, we really believe the best way to learn an instrument is with an actual teacher, so the focus of the site is the live lessons. We do have a growing store of static lessons for students who want our immediate coverage of a specific topic. If you just want video lessons, those are available at varying degrees of quality for free all over the internet. We're here to interact with the students and answer their questions as they have them.
Do I need a webcam?
- Nope. It's as anonymous as you want to be, so your teacher will never see you unless you submit a video for review. You can take your lesson in your pajamas, or even less. Just don't tell us about it...tmi!
How would I unsubscribe if I wanted to take a break?
- Your PayPal account should have a "recurring payments" link where you can suspend payments. But you can keep using Learn Piano Live because we'll keep your account active right up until the very day the next payment was due.
How long is each lesson?
- Since we don't stop the lessons until all the student questions are answered, length varies from lesson to lesson, but most adult lessons are about 25-45 minutes and most kids' lessons are 45-60 minutes.
Can I access all the lessons with 1 subscription?
- We offer 2 separate subscriptions: Adults and kids. We try to keep the price on these lessons just as low as possible so everyone can enjoy learning piano, but the kids' lessons include raffles and prizes and giveaways, so those lessons need to be a slightly higher price to help us cover our costs.