If you have thought about piano lessons for yourself or your children but are unsure if it would be worth the time and investment you’ll want to check out the Music & Creativity – Foundation Course from Simply Music. For this program, your family will need a piano or a keyboard with at least 49 keys, a printer to print out the resources, and optionally 2 sets of headphones along with a tablet or phone.
When I was a child, my parents initially signed my sister and I up for piano lessons. However, in the way many things for children go, I was allowed to quit. Now as an adult, I regret quitting. So when I saw the opportunity to review this program, I was excited. This was not going to be a program for my children to review (my only son who wants piano lessons was already taking lessons from an in-person instructor this summer.
This online piano program includes online piano lessons, printable resources including a keyboard you can print out for when your student needs to practice either when you are on the go or do not want to disturb other members of your household, downloads of the soundtracks for the musical selections, a resource notebook, and a printable version of Music and the Art of Long-Term Relationships.
Simply Music provides online piano lessons to students in the comfort of their own home. According to a quote on the website, “From his earliest years, Neil Moore, the Founder of Simply Music and creator of the Simply Music Piano Program, heard music and pictured it in his mind in terms of shapes and patterns. This relationship to music became the basis of his entire approach to learning and playing the piano.” This relationship with music provides a dramatic contrast to the way many piano instructors approach their lessons.
As a busy homeschooling mom and blogger, I love the convenience of being able to learn the piano on my own time in my own home. This program encourages the students to go at their own pace rather than rushing through the material. From watching the videos, I can tell that Neil Moore, the founder of Simply Music, genuinely cares about his students and loves what he is doing.
For this review, I used a tablet for watching the lessons and listening to the soundtracks. I plugged a set of earbuds into my tablet to hear the lessons and soundtracks. Then I plugged in a set of headphones into the jack on our 61-key keyboard. This allowed me to hear both what I was playing on the keyboard and what was being said or played in the lessons.
The program starts out allowing the students and their families to either dive right into a section where they play actual music or you have the option to go right to the lessons. I elected to go straight to the lessons. I love how easy the screen is to navigate. Once logged in, I had the option of what course to select. Then I had the option to print out and download the additional files necessary for completing the course. Once that was done, I was able to dive right into the lessons.
Mr. Moore starts off by providing basic information about the keys on a keyboard and basic information necessary to play. Then he moves on to discussing proper techniques and more. I happened to be watching some of the videos going about the background information in our bedroom, and my husband wound up watching with me. We both found the approach Mr. Moore uses to be easy to understand and learn from.
I was able to quickly and easily navigate to the page to sign up for the course online. Once signed up, I was able to easily sign in and begin the program. In this program, the emphasis appears to be going slowly to ensure learning is done properly. I loved how the lessons were broken down into manageable sections. Although for younger children or those with no background in music, more time may need to be devoted to the first lesson to ensure mastery.
I feel mastery is necessary for this program. So during the review period, I gave myself the grace to do exactly that – master a lesson before moving on to the next section. So during this review, I only made it into the 3rd lesson. Right now, I am trying to master the first part of this lesson, which has me working with my right hand. Because I feel comfortable taking my time, I feel confident I will be able to master this piece. Here is a video of me practicing part of the first song in the third lesson.
One of my favorite parts of the program is the music selections. The arrangements have a richness and depth to them. The soundtracks are available as piano solos, vocal accompaniments, accompaniments, as well as improvisations, The quality of these soundtracks are amazing. Ode to Joy and Amazing are two of the selections, which are two of my favorite pieces of music. While some of the other pieces I am not familiar with, having listened to the soundtrack, I look forward to playing them in the future.
In addition to the actual piano lessons, I received a PDF copy of Music and the Art of Long-Term Relationships I found this book to be one that spoke to my soul. In junior high and high school I played in the band and also sang in the choir. So music has been a part of my life. Our children have been brought up singing in church. Then they picked up musical instruments. Our children tend to be self-motivated for the most part. This book delves into the need for parents to play an active role in their children’s musical endeavors.
I recognized the importance of having a personal relationship with music, both for myself and for our children. The idea of using music as a form of self-expression causes me to recognize the importance of this statement. For our family personally, musical expression is a way for us to praise, honor, and worship God. I love the idea of being able to sit down at a piano or keyboard at any time in order to worship God. I love how the book emphasizes the idea of having a lifelong relationship with music versus allowing students to just quit. I also appreciate how it talks about the highs and lows that will come with learning music, but recognizing also those highs and lows will be temporary. This book is one I definitely feel is worth reading and goes hand in hand with the entire philosophy of Simply Music.
I would recommend parents and older students read the book either before beginning the program or shortly after your family begins the program so you understand the basis of the program and what your role as parents should be. Truly, the term “Life Coach” fits the job we as parents do perfectly. Because I am the one doing the program in our home, my husband is my “Life Coach”. He does an excellent job of helping recognize that statuses and feelings change (even when I may not want to accept that fact).
Whether you have a background in music or not (or whether your child has a background in music or not), I feel this program would be a wonderful way of learning to play the piano.
So if your family is interested in online piano lessons from a different perspective, check out Simply Music’s Music & Creativity – Foundation Course for yourself.
Other members of the Home School Review Crew are posting their thoughts on this program this week. Click here
or on the graphic below to read other reviews.