For all of my adult life I have really wanted to learn to play the piano. Last year in my 35 Before 35 post I included learning to play piano and after that I bought a keyboard so I could teach myself from YouTube videos. I tried a couple of times but every time I did Ava wanted to join in and I didn’t get very far. I then asked for a keyboard stand and stool for my thirtieth birthday which I got, and planned on setting them up in the spare room and taking an hour or so to myself each week. That never happened. I think because time is so short and because I didn’t have set classes or anything like that, there was no structure to my learning and I wouldn’t be able to tell how far I was progressing, and I had to find videos to learn from myself which obviously would take longer. I still regularly thought about my desire to learn to play but couldn’t find the motivation to start to teach myself.
I was then lucky enough to be offered to try the ‘Piano in a Flash’ course which is a combination of online instruction, lesson books and personalised feedback from the teacher, Scott Houston. Scott has had 14 seasons of an Emmy award winning public television show “The Piano Guy” and runs many live workshops which have been attended by over 15,000 people. Scott walks you through each class (online) and gets you to do an exercise to go over what you have just learnt.
I am now a couple of hours in to the first course and I have learnt so much already and I am loving it! I really wanted to keep going because it is so exciting to see much you have learnt in a short space of time. After just four of the classes within the first course I feel like I can ‘play’ (I use the term quite loosely!) two songs on the piano: ‘Jingle Bells’ and ‘When the Saints Go Marching in’, which feels amazing. And whilst I can’t play them very fast or perfectly every time, I can play them, with two hands which I think is incredible for such a short time doing the course.
It’s not like you are just learning certain songs and that is it though. As you go along you are being taught to understand things like chords, what symbols and things in the gig book mean, why certain things are the way they are and loads more which is great. I know and understand so much more about playing the piano as well as about the piano itself. I can now identify a key just by looking at it.
It feels so good and so exciting to have only done roughly two hours of the course and have learnt so much so quickly and I’m very excited for what I will be able to do by the end of the course. I’m impatient and want to blitz through it so I can learn faster, but I also want to take my time and do it properly so that I have learnt this stuff forever and don’t forget it all straight after I have finished the course.
The teacher for ‘Piano in a Flash’ is great, he explains things really well and is quite informal which I like, whilst being encouraging and clear. Each lesson is simple and straightforward and not very long which I really like, as it means you don’t have to spend an hour concentrating (unless you want to) all at once, and you get to finish the individual lesson and go over what you have learnt by yourself, until you are ready to move on. This all means that you can fit learning to play the piano in with your busy life rather than trying to find time and energy to go out to a private lesson every week.
The one thing that I think could be more clear is how well I should be playing after each class. After we had learnt to play ‘Jingle Bells’ the teacher mentioned that we could now play the song. However, I am not sure whether we should be able to play it really well, fluently and go back 24 hours later and pick up where we left off, or, like me, be able to play it, relatively slowly, occasionally making a mistake, and needing a reminder when we go back to playing. It is not a big deal, because obviously you can just keep practising until you know it really well. I would just like to have an idea as to when would be best for me to move on to the next stage.
So far I am (clearly) enjoying the course, and feeling like I am starting to be able to actually play the piano – a lifelong dream! I am eager to continue with the course and find out how good I could be by the end of it, and I will do another post with updates of how it is going soon. If you are interested in learning to play the piano yourself at home and in your own time, then make sure you look out for a very special giveaway coming soon on Birds and Lilies…. Or if you can’t wait that long, you can get $25 off any course or bundle here.
If you have any questions about ‘Piano in a Flash’ then please let me know in the comments and I will try to answer them for you. Do you play the piano or another instrument, or, like me, has it always been your dream to do so?
I was given the ‘Piano in a Flash’ course to review but all thoughts, opinions and powerful renditions of Jingle Bells are my own.