HomeSchoolPiano, a TOS Review

 

Homeschool Piano Review

 

Hubby walks into the living room yesterday to comment on our youngest son’s piano practice. He was astonished as he asked, “Have you heard Jon? He’s getting really good at that thing!”I recognized the noise  finger work from a lesson we recently watched with our  HomeSchoolPiano – Complete Set of Books from HomeSchoolPiano ~ (http://HomeSchoolPiano.com).  I answered, “Yes, he’s been practicing with the new tutor.” Hubby wanted to know all about it.

Our Piano History: Last year, Jon (13) took quite a few lessons with learning to read music and rhythm. He learned a couple of simple songs and seemed satisfied with his progress. It became difficult to advance with just a book and a keyboard in our back resource room. I’ve played with the keyboard my whole life and play by ear and pick out songs with my fingers. I can read music, but it doesn’t translate to my left hand. I don’t have the skills to teach piano, so we’ve just gone through books from the thrift stores and from friends.

The past few weeks we have been using online videos with Willie Myette from HomeschoolPiano.  I was excited to see that all of the levels would be available to us:

  • CorePiano = absolute beginner
  • Book 1 = beginner, maybe brushing the dust off and coming back to piano
  • Book 2 = beginner to intermediate (starts incorporating more complicated concepts, songs and improvisation ideas), and
  • Book 3 = intermediate (toward the end of this book we are getting into concepts like syncopation, voice leading and more advanced scales for improvisation)

Since I didn’t want to bore Jon, we started with Book 2. He really liked the challenges of using his left hand, but we would be stuck on a lesson for a long time while he tried to master it. He got a bit bored – and frustrated I think – and practiced less. We moved him down to CorePiano for a refresher.

I went on to the site and chose the CorePiano. Even though it says it is for an “Absolute Beginner”, I think it was great for me. It helped me to see how to put my fingers on the keys properly, and refreshed my High School Choir memory of the vocabulary of the sheet music. It really helped me to see and have the words to help Jon with where he was stuck. I enjoyed it so much, that I’ve been taking the lessons and am almost finished with the Core Piano level.

Equipment: We set up the keyboard on a stand right next to our main home tower computer. But what I found, is that if we used the Keyboard or the Kindle, the practice would happen more often. I’m pretty excited that the videos now work on my Kindle HD. Part of our struggle with this program in the beginning was getting the right browser to work, trying to get the videos to load, and being able to see them on the computers. We worked with their customer service and they were SUPER fast and explained the steps well to help us set up with the electronic devices we owned. It was less than a day of simple steps. I just found out this week that our Modem has been ‘mostly dead’. Went to Charter Cable yesterday and got a new one with a new connection – and they are re-wiring our old house to the street this afternoon. I’m pretty excited. What that did – was allow me to watch the videos on the Kindle HD as well. Our town still lives with analog cable and 3g phones – so this might not be an issue for folks who live in other areas.  Their answer to What Equipment is Needed is explained here: What Kind of Equipment Do I Need.

The Books: are set up with lessons that are super easy to follow. We like listening to Willie, and for us, that is the big part of any online tutor. It’s not helpful to try to learn piano at home with online lessons if the instructor isn’t good behind a camera. I like it that there is a box when you log in on the right hand side that says to click here to start where you left off. I can’t tell you how handy that is! Many programs make you click through 3-6 screens before resuming a lesson. Also, at the bottom of every video is a 3 directional to help you move to the next lesson or other places on the site. Super simple even for the youngest of students. On the man page for the unit is a link to download a PDF file for the class. This is helpful to be able to see the lessons and practice them off line. There are also lesson Quizes that a student may take. There is a report page, if your child is doing this all on his own, that you can check in to see where they are in the lessons, how much of the lesson they are completing, etc. It is a simple and easy to oversee their progress.

In the lesson, what my oldest son liked best, is that you can see his finger placement while he talks, and then a digital image above with the keys highlighted. He said it was easier to follow the digital image than his fast moving fingers. You can see that in the image below:

Homeschool Piano Review

So it fits with many learning styles, audio, visual, and kinesthetic. I like it that you can see Willie in the bottom left hand side of the screen. We like video tutors that let you feel like you are connecting with the teacher as a person, and not just a voice on a screen following images.

You can set up accounts for up to five students with the LIFETIME SUBSCRIPTION: HomeSchoolPiano – Complete Set of Books. I’m not sure why I didn’t set up accounts early one, we just all jumped in and picked a lesson. I set up an account for myself and for my two sons. This is a product for use with all ages. It is not ‘dumbed down’ to cater to toddlers – the beginning lessons are just simple and easily broken down. No baby voices. It is also empowering to the young children and parents alike – in that he is encouraging you that you can do it. Even when we were in a book level too far above where we needed to be, we were there while because he convinced us that we could do it.  ha.

The HomeSchoolPiano method is a 6-step cycle covering the fundamentals of:

 

Homeschool Piano Review

Jon has learned how to use both of his hands together well. He can remember the lessons and practice them  – which he does often. It’s become grey noise in the house. I have learned how to use both of my hands together, really for the first time. I was a right hand girl. I learned how to start my fingers on the keyboard. I also learned a bit about the G and F – a trick to see where it is on the sheet music, and that has helped A Lot with my left hand finding F. My oldest son who has been at camp just started this week, but he is pretty excited for the first time to learn piano. He thinks this is a method that will work for him. I will keep you updated on our progress and hope that some day soon they will let me record them playing.

You can find HomeschoolPiano on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

Homeschool Piano Review

Success Package One payment of $299
Unlimited life-time access to HomeSchoolPiano along with all bonuses
(downloads, jam tracks, sheet music) for up to 5 students.

Payment Plan Payments of $99.97 per month for three months
Unlimited life-time access to HomeSchoolPiano along with all bonuses
(downloads, jam tracks, sheet music) for up to 5 students.

 

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