PROS / This is a new approach to learning piano – you learn how to play by ear and learning patterns on the keyboard instead of reading sheet music.
CONS / You should have prior playing experience before you begin with PlayPianoTODAY.com.
VERDICT / If you want to learn to play songs by ear, these online lessons are worth looking into.
PlayPianoTODAY offers two ways to gain access to its online piano lessons. You can pay a one-time fee and download all of the piano lessons, or you can have the DVD bundle with a booklet mailed to you.
David Sprunger is your online piano instructor for this program. David majored in music at California State University and has been teaching piano for many years. PlayPianoTODAY emphasizes learning to play by ear as opposed to learning to read sheet music. The main teaching concept within the first couple of lessons and the foundation of these play-by-ear tutorials is learning the concept of rhythmic patterns. The instructor teaches you to play certain patterns on the keyboard as opposed to notes and sheet music to play piano. He then pieces these patterns together to show you how to create songs just by using rhythmic patterns.
In the ear-training section of the piano lessons you play a game where a digital keyboard plays two or more notes, and as you listen to the notes you try to replicate them on the digital keyboard. After you are done, the game tallies your score as a percentage which you can post to a leaderboard. This game helps you build motivation to get high scores while training your ear.
The downloadable tutorials are composed of video tutorials in which the instructor shows you various piano techniques and styles. These videos are not ideal for novice piano players. Learning by watching someone’s hands can be difficult without other practice tools such as song looping, song segmentation or adjustable song tempos. These lessons are ideal for students who already know how to read sheet music.
The lesson library consists of stylistic piano playing such as gospel piano, blues and salsa. There is also a riff bank-tutorial filled with piano runs and fills that are catchy and useful, as well as a scale and chord finder if you aren’t sure what chords you are playing.
This program offers tips on how to play piano correctly. Often, students learn improper technique, which hinders progression. These tips are not video tutorials, but helpful hints that address the most common mistakes pianists make and how to fix them.
Unlike other piano lessons online, there aren’t many practice tools other than video tutorials. Lesson music is not provided because these tutorials emphasize learning to play piano by ear. This software is not MIDI compatible and does not provide a practice interface, so you can’t plug your keyboard into your computer or track your practice progress. There is little communication between you and your instructor. You can contact PlayPianoTODAY by email if you have any questions.
PlayPianoTODAY is a course of online piano lessons best suited for players who already know their way around a keyboard. These online piano lessons offer tutorials on different techniques and styles but don’t provide many tools for practice purposes. If you are looking to train your ear or just need some stylistic suggestions, PlayPianoTODAY is worth a try.