Saturday, May 30, 2015

PianoWithWillie ~ Studio Access

I had the incredible opportunity to review PianoWithWillie "Studio Access" by JazzEdge. With over 3,000 lesson chapters and multiple learning levels, this program has something for everyone. PianoWithWillie is NOT for the beginner piano student but for the student that already has some piano background, as well as for the more advanced piano students. Willie Myette's music programs have been featured on NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX as well as featured in many music publications. This program is unique and exciting!!!

The site has different tracks depending on your experience with the piano. They have lessons for the beginner, up to those that already have extensive piano experience. The program keeps track of your progress so that each time you log in, you can pick up where you left off. There is a great Unit Reference Guide to better help you see what is covered in each book and unit. Lessons are taught using a video format. There is an initial piano assessment that helps the learner know where to start based on the students current skills and ultimate goals. 

Navigating the site
There is a very helpful video on "How to use the site" which is very informative. The interface is somewhat confusing with so many links and options to choose from that it is easy to get overwhelmed and lost. I guess you could say that the site is "busy" but with all that is offered it is somewhat expected. 

Willie Myette is actively involved with the site on a continual basis. The site has a forum where you can chat with others in the PianoWithWillie community. Willie appreciates feedback and is open to suggestions in order to provide ease and understanding, as well as amazing content to its users. Knowing that Willie has a strong presence is reassuring to the paid user. For anyone questioning the true validity of Willie's expertise and ability, the answer is unequivocally, YES!!!

Piano Start
Willie provides a 5 step guide to get you started: 
  1. Getting Started
  2. 30 Day Success Playbook
  3. Piano Foundation
  4. Using the Site
  5. Next Steps
Each of these steps is very informative and offers suggestions on navigating the site as well as guiding you, based on your comfort level and ability. In Step 3, Willie offers his expertise on the best path based on the ease or difficulty with the 30 Day Success challenge. If the student is struggling with completing the 30 Day Success challenge, he suggests that the student try the HomeSchoolPiano. Willie really does want all students to be successful in their pursuit of the piano. 

Studio Lesson Library
Wow, there are so many options. Willie offers six genres to choose from:
  • Blues
  • Classical
  • Funk
  • Gospel 
  • Jazz
  • Latin
  • Rock
  • Universal
You are able to narrow your lesson search by using the following filters:
  • Element
  • Level
  • Genre
  • Tonality
  • Key Signature
  • Time Signature
  • Instructors
The student can also choose which path they want to take, either Foundational or Fun'dational. 

Fun'dational, Song, Beginner, Classical

My PianoWithWillie Experience 
It has been 33 years since I took piano lessons. I took two years of piano before stopping in order to pursue the violin. When the opportunity came to review piano lessons, I was very excited. I can still play basic piano. I have often times wished that I knew how to play the piano better. We have a beautiful piano sitting in our front room that is never played. I was so excited to try my hand at the piano again and hopefully share the love of piano with some of my children. I was pleased to find out that although I thought I had forgotten much of what I had learned so many years ago, the fundamentals came back to me, as I worked through PianoWithWillie.

30 Day Success Playbook
After working through half of the 30 Day Success Playbook, I felt a sense of accomplishment. I may not have been 100% successful in mastering everything just like Willie said I should have been able to, but I progressed further than I ever thought I would. I often repeated lessons in order to master the skills being taught. Being a "very busy mom", I was really excited with how short the lessons were. It is so hard to complete anything that requires long periods of time without being interrupted. I found myself going to the piano throughout the day and practicing what I learned. I even heard, "That sounds pretty good, mom" from my kiddos.

Playing the treble clef is easy, but when I added the bass clef, my left hand had a very hard time working together with my right hand. My "down here" (left hand) did not like working with the "up here" (right hand). I laughed when Willie said that age and dexterity had a play in how easily one is able to catch on. Willie is right!! I do not remember having my left and right hands fighting to play together when I was a kid. 

I am what you would call "music terminology" challenged. Willie does an amazing job of explaining the terms and then demonstrating them. I had to take a lot of notes because I knew that I would need to go back and review.

Now that I have regained some of my lost piano skills from childhood, I hope that some of my children will be able to share in the love and joy of learning to play the piano too.

Core Piano ~ Piano Basics For All Levels
There are 30 chapters in this series. Students will learn how to sit at the piano, proper posture, grab techniques, rhythms, cords, scales, sharps, flats, playing hands together, how to read music and so much more. The lessons are short and are extremely easy to fit into even the most crazy of schedules. 

My 12 year old daughter has always wanted to play the piano. She took lessons for a couple of months and then stopped. She regretted the decision and was excited when this opportunity became available. One of the reasons it was hard for my daughter to continue taking piano was because she deals with chronic health issues. Weekly scheduled lessons and practicing just does not fit into her world. This program is perfect because it is self paced and can be done without the stress of worrying about missing lessons or practice time. It may take her longer than most to learn to play the piano but that is okay. She is enjoying the piano. 

Book 1 ~ Perfect For Beginners
This book is perfectly designed for the beginning piano student. In this book you will learn how to read music, improvise and create your own music. There are six units with each unit, containing technique, rhythm, reading/song, improvisation, and bonus. 

Book 2 ~ Building A Foundation
This book is a continuation of book one. For the student with some piano training, Book 2 is a great place to start. 

Book 3 ~ Unlocking The Pianist Within
In this book you will learn how to create piano arrangements using both prior and new techniques that will be learned.

My daughter really enjoyed learning piano with PianoWithWillie. She has learned so much. This program is definitely the perfect fit for our family. 

My daughter said, "For so long I have been wanting to learn how to play the piano and now I am. Willie makes learning to play fun and easy. I look forward to being able to play really well someday."

Final Thoughts
I had my reservations about how someone on the internet who I had never met or who had never met me, would be able to TEACH ME PIANO. Well, Willie is amazing. His teaching style is fun and likable and is very easy to follow and understand. Willie seems to anticipate questions or obstacles that the student may have. During the lessons, he addresses many of the exact thoughts and questions that were racing through your mind. Willie has done an amazing job. You can tell that he has put a lot of work into making the site a great music learning experience. 

The summer months are almost upon us which means academic work is more laid back and not as intense. Several of my other children plan on beginning their own piano adventure this summer. I cannot wait to share the love of music with all of my children through Willie Myette's program.

I would highly recommend PianoWithWillie to anyone wishing to learn to play the piano. This is a great alternative to normal lessons. For those that have a tight budget, this is amazing. Go check out the fantastic programs that Willie has to offer. You will not be disappointed.  

To read more review click HERE.

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