PianoWithWillie is an online piano program developed by Willie Myette, an accomplished pianist who studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. PianoWithWillie provides over 3,500 lessons for studio member students and covers a wide variety of playing styles, an essential for all of the best online piano lessons (opens in new tab). The videos teach you at a steady pace and don't overwhelm you with information, but keep you invested in playing.
PianoWithWillie review: Membership
- Expensive but interactive
- Premier members get more
There are two types of memberships that you can purchase – studio and premier memberships. The studio membership is $39 a month with options to pay monthly, quarterly or annually. Annual membership costs $399. This is an expensive service, when Piano Marvel (opens in new tab) costs just $110.99 annually.
That being said, PianoWithWillie definitely has a more personal touch which might justify the higher price. When you purchase a studio membership you get unlimited access to over 3,500 lessons, the online user community and downloadable MP3 and MIDI tracks with sheet music. Becoming a premier member has additional benefits. With a premier membership you have access to everything a studio member gets with additional check-ins and teacher feedback as well as monthly live training sessions with Willie via Skype.
PianoWithWillie review: Lessons and features
- 30-Day Success Playbook
Great piano lessons feature real-time practice tracking tools so you can see how long you have practiced and track your progress. This requires you to connect a MIDI keyboard to your computer so you can interact with the software. These online piano lessons don't track your practice as well as Playground Sessions (opens in new tab) does. However, it does let you know how far along you are in a particular lesson – as it displays a percentage of completion before you click on a lesson.
If you become a premium member with PianoWithWillie you can have one-on-one Skype lessons with your instructor, but there doesn't seem to be a place that you can request a song or lesson anywhere on the website. When you purchase a membership, you also gain access to downloadable sheet music as well as jam tracks to accompany your playing.
For novice players, these online piano lessons provide what's called the 30-day Success Playbook. This is a booklet of downloadable content that covers the fundamentals of playing piano. Once you complete the playbook you can move on to other video lessons.
PianoWithWillie review: Experience
- Not ideal for kids
- Variety of playing styles covered
We took the first two lessons from the beginning courses. In the first courses, you won't be doing a ton of playing, but PianoWithWillie moves along the content at a good pace, where you don't get bored with the lessons, but you won't get lost in the information either. Is there's not a load of instant gratification, sites such as Flowkey (opens in new tab) might be better for kids.
Willie encourages you to practice your lessons. He mentions that every lesson is a building block for the next, so it is important to practice the previous lessons so you can continue to grow as a player. This positive reinforcement is important to stay motivated and continue on with the lessons.
There is something for every style of piano and every skill level within PianoWithWillie's online lessons. These playing styles include jazz, blues, rock, Latin, gospel and funk. You can filter through the lessons by element, level genre, tonality and even key and time signatures, making it easy to find the exact lesson plans you want to learn. If you're looking to focus on classical piano, we recommend Piano with Christie Peery (opens in new tab).
One of the major benefits of taking piano lessons online from Willie is that it covers a wide variety of playing concepts as well. There are lesson plans dedicated to helping you improve your sight reading, song writing and musical theory.
PianoWithWillie review: Technical support
- FAQ on every page
- Online community support
Members have access to an online community where you can ask questions about lessons and start discussions with the instructors and other students. You can also contact PianoWithWillie by phone or email if you have any questions concerning your lessons. There’s also a handy FAQ bubble at the bottom corner of every page.
Should you subscribe to PianoWithWillie?
PianoWithWillie provides a structured lesson plan that is well balanced. The lessons are an appropriate length and have a good flow to them. Although there aren't tools to help keep track of your playing, there are lessons for every skill level and many different styles of playing. PianoWithWillie provides something for everyone.