One regret that I have always had is quitting piano lessons as a child, so when the opportunity to review HomeSchoolPiano by JAZZEDGE came up, I jumped at the chance! HomeSchoolPiano is taught by Willie Myette, a graduate of Berklee College of Music. Willie has toured the U.S. and Europe, taught piano lessons for many years, and even has music that has been published by Alfred®, MelBay® and Hal Leonard®!
We were blessed to receive a lifetime subscription to HomeSchoolPiano – Complete Set of Books for this review. The books can be and found printed right from the website! HomeSchoolPiano is an online curriculum that covers many different genres of music including jazz, funk, latin, rock, gospel, and blues. We were blessed to receive a lifetime subscription in exchange for our honest review, so now I have no excuse to not continue my lessons 🙂 !
One of the BEST things about HomeSchoolPiano is that you can watch the videos on your home computer, laptop, or even your tablet or smart phone! When using a home computer or laptop, you can use keyboard shortcuts to speed up or slow down your lesson and HomeschoolPiano will even track your progress and update your records automatically. It’s like having a private teacher right in the room with you!
HomeSchoolPiano offers four different levels:
1) CorePiano – designed for absolute beginners
2) Book 1 – for beginners (and those who may be brushing the dust off and coming back to piano after some time)
3) Book 2 -appropriate for beginner to intermediate levels (starts incorporating more complicated concepts, songs and improvisation ideas)
4) Book 3 – for intermediate skills (includes concepts like syncopation, voice leading and more advanced scales for improvisation)
What’s included with a subscription?
- All Online Access benefits (unlimited, lifetime access to HomeSchoolPiano.com)
- 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)
- Two payment solutions:
- One-time payment of $299 or (3) easy payments of $99.97 per month for three months
HomeSchoolPiano uses a 6 step cycle to teach piano (meets the National Standards for Music Education):
- Ear training
- Reading music
We started off using my Galaxy Tablet to watch the lessons, but got frustrated because the videos kept filtering (not HomeSchoolPiano’s fault – we just have old tablets 🙂 )….
….so we moved downstairs to my home computer and everything worked much better!
Ryan started with Core Piano. He has played guitar for three years, but is completely new to the piano. It was nice that we could watch the videos together (normally during private piano lessons, the parents are in another room). I love how Core Piano starts with the very basics and covers everything from how to sit correctly at the piano to scales. Ryan didn’t take as many lessons as I did because he had had a lot of extracurricular activities this summer, but since Willie graciously gave us a lifelong subscription in exchange for our review, Ryan can pick up the pace when he has more time in the fall 🙂 .
Since I have taken lessons in the past, I went ahead and started with Book 1. Much of it was familiar, but it was a good review. I like how Willie encourages his students to “have fun”! My piano teacher (many, MANY years ago 🙂 ) was much more formal and somewhat strict so it is nice to take lessons in the privacy of my own home where I can just have fun and play around with the music!
Below is a picture of one the first songs in Book 1. The music is in a large font and broken down by measures to help students not feel overwhelmed:
It is then condensed into the full song:
As I worked my way through the lessons, I learned that it helps to already have the books printed out and ready to go. A few times I forgot to preprint the pages and had to stop the video and go find the pages needed (oops). I like how Willie assigns goals and tasks for the student. Later in Book 2, he even encourages the student to create their own goals. Quizzes are provided periodically to reinforce what you’ve been learning.
Willie is a fantastic teacher! He is fun, encouraging, and “talks” directly to you from the computer screen 🙂 . I was somewhat apprehensive about learning improvisation at the end of Unit 1…I like to follow directions and know that I’m doing something right, so improvising was out of my comfort zone. The way the lesson was broken down into small segments made it much more comfortable, and I actually found myself having fun with it. By Book 2, I was really getting the hang of it!
Here are just a few reasons that HomeSchoolPiano is so cool:
1) You can learn how to play at your own pace and in the comfort of your own home.
2) HomeSchoolPiano is for all ages…even 40 year olds like me 🙂 !
3) You can watch the video lessons as many times as you need on your phone, tablet, or computer.
4) Printable worksheets and sheet music are included with your subscription.
5) The program teaches using the 6-step cycle (including technique, rhythm, ear training, reading music, song, and improvisation) that makes learning easier for students of all levels.
The customer service for HomeSchoolPiano is excellent! They offer support Monday-Friday from 9-5:00 EST, you can e-mail them with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org, or even chat live while you’re taking your piano lessons.
While I think that having a “live” one-on-one piano teacher is probably the best fit for most students, HomeSchoolPiano is a fantastic option for those times when that is not possible….plus, your subscription can be used for up to five students (very economical)! It is a GREAT option for homeschoolers and others who want to learn to play piano in the comfort of their own homes and on their own timetable!