Our kids have had chorale lessons from true-blue musicians at co-op but they've never really grasped how to read music and on-going lessons have been stymied by our locale and lack of piano. Enter PianoWithWillie created by JazzEdge as we dust off the keyboard. This is an on-line program that streams 32 lessons ranging from never having touched a piano before to reading music in a matter of weeks, depending on how fast one works through the lessons.
Easy Piano Basics - The program really is easy. Willie show you how to do everything, via video, with step by step instructions Each video is short and lesson specific, with lessons ranging from 2- 10 minutes in length. Perfect to add to a busy homeshool schedule, or for adults who want to hone or re-learn long lost musical skills. I love the short lessons, because they are do-able, regardless of whatever else you might have to fit into a day.
PianoWithWillie starts with your on-line dashboard; this lists your recent activity and is your access to the larger site. You can customize the program to fit your own needs with "Piano Success." Start with the , "Getting Started" video and you will quickly understand how to navigate the site, which includes tons of lessons and music to learn and play. There is a lot to this program!
This is an amazing concept for teaching music and I think one well worth looking at for families who value music education but can not get to traditional music lessons for whatever reason, find the cost prohibitive and want to learn from home. Great stuff. One of the few drawbacks I found to PianoWithWillie was that the streaming was often glitchy, or slow and we often had to wait for it to load (country living, y'all). If we had time to let the program load, this was not an issue at all, but we quickly learned that load time was just going to have to be factored in to PianoWithWillie. This did lead to some frustration as the program didn't always pause to allow us to load the lessons, and at times we waited, yet it would default back to the beginning of the lesson, forcing us to wait for it to load again; we rarely were able to just "play" and through a lesson all at once.
That being said, what is there to love about PianoWithWillie ? A lot. Willie is an affable chap, and an engaging teacher. He starts with basics, keeps the lessons short, teaches the students to understand and appreciate music as he is teaching them to play. Students get two views as Willie teaches- a front view of him sitting at the piano and an overhead view of Willies hands and keyboard. This could be distracting to some, but as a visual learner, I found the visual data to be great, and not overwhelming at all. In fact, I appreciate the dimensionality of it.
Both my 12 daughter, who is currently taking violin, is really nailing down the basics of reading music and my 20 college student is also going back and filling in the gaps from his spotty piano and chorale training. In other words, this program will appeal to a broad age and skill range of students, from motivated young beginner, to more musically versed students.
PianoWithWillie is a solid, affordable program, perfect for the homeschool family.
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And check out Drums with Willie!
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