I’ve received this questions a few times, so I think it’s worth discussing here. What is the benefit of taking lessons with a Simply Music Piano teacher when the method is available via DVD or the online “Learn-at-Home Program“?
I was first introduced to the Simply Music method via the DVD, which I purchased as a gift for my husband, who has always wanted to learn to play the piano. While it appeal to him, I watched the entire program, and played around with it myself. It was through the DVD that I discovered the beauty of the Simply Music method and decided it would be the best way to teach my son, with me as his teacher, to play the piano. And that’s when I realized that, using the Simply Music method, I love to teach the piano!
Here’s a bit about the DVD / Learn-at-Home Method. The DVD teaches students to begin to play music immediately, the same as a student would play with a Simply Music Piano teacher. Through the DVD, the student learns to play a 10-20 musical pieces… classical, gospel, contemporary, and blues. However, these specific pieces are all the student will learn from the DVD / online program. I found that limiting. Now, if your desire is to learn to play a variety of songs on the piano, and you’re happy with that, then the DVD / online program is a great option. It’s also a wonderful option for those who live someplace where teachers aren’t available. However, if you want to grow as a musician, learn to play other pieces, and read music, then moving beyond the DVD / online program is necessary.
So what does a Simply Music Piano teacher have to offer above and beyond the DVD? In lessons, the student will also learn the “foundation” pieces taught in the DVD / online program, but that’s only a fraction of what the student will learn. I can’t speak for all Simply Music Piano teachers, but in my classes, students will also receive the following…
- Students in my classes will use the foundation pieces as building blocks for further learning. Within the first month or two of lessons, my students will use these base pieces to learn more complex varieties of the same music. Over time, these foundation pieces will be revisited, built upon, lengthened and developed into full pieces. Early in the second year of lessons, these pieces are what will be used to teach students to read musical notation.
- Additional music taught in my lessons is tailored to the specific student and/or group. Are my students friends who like to play piano together away from lessons? Then they would enjoy learning to play duets! Perhaps a student loves to sing, and wants to learn to play piano to accompany their singing. Then I would teach this student more accompaniments, choosing pieces that they would like to sing along with. Perhaps a student wants to learn Christmas music to play over the holidays. Then I can teach them a favorite holiday song or two. Is the student more interested in learning classical music or the blues? Again, lessons can be tailored based on interest.
- While students won’t officially begin to be taught to read music until the second year of lessons, throughout the first year, the student will be introduced to musical notation, rhythm, and concepts. This “trickling” of information throughout the first year will make it easier for the student to learn to read music when it’s introduced. The DVD / online program does not teach students to read music.
- Beginning in the second or third lesson, the student will be introduced to composition and improvisation. Students will learn to play the piano creatively, composing their own music from a very early stage.
- And don’t forget the benefit of human interaction. As a human teacher, sitting side-by-side with my students, I learn the way each specific student learns, and I can tailor my teaching method accordingly. Are they more auditory, visual, tactile, or kinesthetic? The beauty of the Simply Music Piano method is that it is designed to reach all styles of learning. As a human, teaching alongside the student, I can see the specific areas where they are struggling, and I can help them overcome those obstacles.
- Lastly, in learning from a DVD, there is no teacher confirming that the student is learning the material as intended. The student may be playing the piece, but is the student using the keyboard correctly, using the appropriate fingers and hand positions. To someone who does not play the piano, this may not seem important, but beginning with appropriate technique in place prevents bad habits from developing at the beginning, which can sometimes be tough to break later on.
How about beginning with the DVD / online program for the first few months and then beginning lessons with a Simply Music Piano teacher? Yes, this is an option. However, if the student will be substantially behind other students who have been taking lessons with me from the beginning, as the student will only know the foundation pieces, and will have missed out on months of learning the additional pieces and improvisation skills the other students have acquired. For a student transferring in after using the DVD / online program, I recommend private lessons, until the student is up to speed and can be integrated with a group (if the student wants to be in a group).
Please feel free to contact me with any questions!