What equipment do I need?
- If you're reading this, you already have half of the equipment. All that's left is to get any keyboard or piano. That's it. Many students will also find that it helps to have access to a printer to print out the worksheets, but we'll display those on the screen too. 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 a keyboard. For the list of my equipment, click here
Should I do online lessons or pivate lessons?
- Type of class will usually depend more on personality and learning style than age. One-on-one teachers can't provide much benefit outside of inspiration, accountability, and efficiency. Some students are very recklessly curious and prefer to teach themselves things than be slowed down by "assignments" and learning things the traditionally "right way." For those students, online videos are usually best so they can skip to whatever they want at whatever speed they want. Those students don't need inspiration or accountability, and they're already running at light speed, so even if they aren't practicing efficiently, they are going to get to their goals quickly just by sheer force. Other students would like to be shown the next steps by someone they trust, when they are ready.
- I try to make make my online classes a hybrid, where students can explore, but also check in personally with me as frequently as they want...like swim lessons - I'll give you as much support as you need to feel like you won't drown, but I won't slow you if decide you really want to take off in another direction.
- The other major factor is practice time. One-on-one lessons will be more intense and more expensive. To really make the most of each lesson, students will need to find practice time during the week. Otherwise, we're mostly practicing during the lesson...which is great! That's inspiration and accountability. But another productive way to use the lessons is to bring your completed project and get feedback and next steps...to get in the lessons what you can only get from a one-on-one teacher: personalized direction to make practice time more efficient.
What is a good age to start?
- It REALLY depends on the particular student. As a VERY rough generalization, 5 is a pretty good age to start something kind of formal. But we have lots of students as young as 2. In most cases, those are younger siblings of other students. At that age, of course, the attention span and one-on-one support are more significant factors. But my general rule of intensity of instruction is their level of engagement. To whatever degree it’s a fun challenge and a positive experience, I say feed that appetite as much as it will take. But for younger students, the clash usually comes in the gap between the student’s natural desire for engagement and the parent’s expectation for what kind of progress they will get for their money. Students can always come back to it later in life…we get those students ALL. THE. TIME...with a huge student population in the 50-90 year-old range. But generally, the more negatively the experience ended, the longer it takes the student to come back to it. So my biggest warning is to quit before it becomes a fight. Leaving on a positive “note” will be important later in life.
I am interested in learning a specific style. Self taught on piano, I do need help. Is this something your school can help me with?
- Absolutely! That's exactly what our Musipedia custom courses are for! And our offerings are constantly expanding, so if you don't see the topic you're looking for,let us know! Also, 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 review it and get back to you with some practical advice on how to get where you want to go. In addition to the Musipedia, we also have two other tracks for where you'll eventally pick up what you're looking for, if in a different order than you intended:
- *Live Lessons - students learn various skills while working on the week's excercise or song. It’s very interactive and the songs and while topics are chosen from student suggestions, we deliberately rotate the topics so we don’t just harp on one thing over and over. A minority of students attend very regularly, so 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 (that's what Klopol Academy is for). It’s more of a direction and accountability for piano hobbyists, who want to be able to jam, play their favorite tunes, and maybe get hired for some individual gigs. While I 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 (included in your subscription) - students start from absolute zero and learn all the traditional skills in the traditional order to become a well-rounded classical and jazz musician. With 12 levels, it’s about a 10-year program, depending on your practice time, of course.
Can I skip the Klopol Academy levels to get to the more challenging material?
- I can totally relate. Being stuck on a beginner level would be frustrating for me if I were signing up for a piano program too!
- On the other hand, back when we used to let students self-assess, they so frequently had missed skills they thought weren’t important like fingering or music history or sight reading or a million other things, but they sounded fine to themselves. And when they got to the higher levels where the problems compounded, it was a nightmare for me and understandably disheartening for them to have to be pulled back several levels behind where they felt they should be to iron out things they had never taken care of. They felt disrespected and I didn’t have any way to help. If it were an automated assessment, it would be no big deal, but while we’ve automated everything that is black and white, I’m actually looking at these videos and instructing each student individually with their hand position, timing, style and creativity. I think this involvement is what sets our program apart from other sites or apps, but it also makes it a lot more messy when a student has gotten themselves way in over their head instead of practicing skills in order. There’s no “quick fix” I can give to students who are at a level 6 in music theory but a level 2 in keys and scales. There’s just a lot of practicing to be done. And they can make progress in any area they want separately on the site with the Musipedia, live streams, and one-on-one help with video submissions, but there’s nothing I can do to rush a student through skills they just need to practice for the comprehensive piano academy.
- But here’s what I can offer to subscribers upon request: In the lower levels, it’s completely acceptable for experienced pianists to put all the skills in one video if you can get them all in the first try. Just press record and play through the 5-finger patterns and scales and stuff that most students would have to practice and submit individually. Let’s schedule the tests and get them out of the way. (Just be careful to not go too quickly. Some pros end up rushing on the metronome or making dumb mistakes on the tests because they had their eyes too far in the future.) Also, in the mean time, I can give you access to level 2 immediately even though we don’t normally do that, so we can at least rush those two levels. Depending on how quickly we can cross all that stuff off the list, we should be able to get you into some challenging material pretty quickly where you can grind away on stuff that makes sense in your head, but your hands can’t quite do yet.
- Bear with me and I’ll try to accommodate your skill level.
How is Learn Piano Live different from other lessons?
- Here 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 $150+ per month. As far as we know, 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 at a buck or more a minute.
- It's a fraction of the price! Private instruction is about $150+ for 4 lessons a month. In contrast, we're charging 1/10 of some private instruction but providing 15-20 new lessons per month. We're trying to keep the price low enough that everyone can join us on this journey.
- 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're 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.
- All levels welcome on all topics! And 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 lesson on your piano in your home.
- No travelling. Neither sickness nor rain nor snow nor heat will keep you from getting your lesson at LearnPianoLive.com.
I like the idea of the lessons online but I really feel like I need a weekly, one-on-one lesson. Do you do one on one lessons?
- I do teach traditional in-person and Skype lessons that you can check out at Milestones Music 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 I sign up for the adult or kids lessons?
- The main difference between the kids' lessons and the adults' lessons is that the kids lessons have a lot more prizes and games and they focus on learning how to play specific songs. 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.
What level am I?
- 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. 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 also use their free enrollment in Klopol Piano Academy, where skills and classical training are emphasized. Most of our students are between the ages of 7 and 16.
- BEGINNING level lessons assume 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 too 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 do the live lessons work?
- Log on at the time of the lesson you want to take
- Take your computer/iPod/tablet to your piano.
- Play along and ask questions when you don't understand.
- Review the lesson (or any other lessons) in the archives for the parts you missed
What songs will I be learning?
- You can check the schedule for the upcoming songs, but while we do apply the concepts to popular songs, in the adult program we focus on concepts more than specific pieces. We often take requests of how to apply the concepts to specific songs.
- In the kids program we use popular pop songs, children's songs, folk songs and theme songs from popular movies, tv and video games. The goal is to kind of trick kids into learning important musical skills by teaching them their favorite songs using those skills.
I am a beginner and want to join when you're starting from the beginning again, so when should I signup?
- Now! Our non-linear lessons are not dependent on each other, so any student can begin any week. While we’ve taught hundreds of live lessons so far, in every beginner lesson we assume everyone attending that lesson is a very beginner. So each topic gets broken down and taught it at all three levels: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. We keep hundreds of lessons in the archives so students can go back and watch, but as we get repeated requests for lessons we’ve done recently. 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.
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?
- Of course, we hate to see you go, but life happens and students have to take breaks for all kinds of reasons. We can see payments on our side, but we cannot initiate transactions or manage your payments on our side. PayPal gives instructions on how to cancel payments here and 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. Even if you used a coupon/voucher/promo code for your first month, you should have a PayPal transaction for $0.00 with normal recurring payments. If you’d don’t think you can use the rest of your subscription right away, we can put your account on hold so you can use the remainder when you’re back at the piano.
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 these days are about 75 minutes and most kids' lessons are 40-60 minutes.