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Friday, May 29, 2015

TOS Review - JazzEdge PianoWithWillie Online Music Instrument Instruction

JazzEdge  Review
I was thrilled to get a chance to review PianoWithWillie from JazzEdge. I received studio access for a year.

JazzEdge  Review
What is PianoWithWillie? - Foundational v. Fundational

JazzEdge  Review

Willie Myette is a Berklee College of Music major (Read: Berklee...  aka all musicians are, at this point, already impressed) who focused on jazz music but is also adept in and incorporates other styles of music within all of his online instruction courses. JazzEdge provides a lot of piano instruction at many different levels.

JazzEdge  Review

This PianoWithWillie music program is not recommended for a brand new complete beginner or young child, but JazzEdge does offer newbie classes as well. PianoWithWillie is perfect, however, for those of us who have at least some prior piano experience.

I had about 4 years of lessons as a child plus some guitar and a theory class in college but have always been so stiff, follow-the-sheet-music-or-freeze-up kind of pianist. So, I was excited to give it a try. I really wanted to learn how to make playing feel more natural. I was really excited about reviewing this program, because my hubby is a musician who plays guitar and saxophone and has been wanting to add a little bit of keyboard to his shows.

The way it works is that it uses streaming video that can be accessed from a computer or other way of going online. I was thrilled to learn that I could also pull up the lessons on my iPhone.

There are also downloads that are provided to be printed or otherwise viewed. For instance, the first thing you download is a 53-page playbook in pdf format that corresponds with the video lessons. Besides the 30-days of lessons and the downloadable playbook, I was free to explore everything on the site that my studio access allowed - Which was a lot of bonus material, though some additional lessons, like a 4-week Christmas boot camp filled with Christmas music, required additional cost or premiere membership. I also opted to receive email updates which also included some fun extras.

JazzEdge suggests that users of PianoWithWillie have access to a 61-key piano keyboard.

The Studio Access for one year that I received offers:

The dashboard is really easy to access and view the lesson plans. I really liked how it is broken down into a step-by-step format and that each step shows you the percentage of what you have completed as you go along.

I highly recommend viewing Step 1: Getting Started AND Step 4: Using the Site and some of the Step 5: Next Steps (like the lesson on how much should I practice) BEFORE completing Step 2: 30-Day Success Playbook, which is the meat of the program:

How Did We Use It?

I was asked to use the program at least three to four times a week. The lessons are fairly short and to-the-point, running between 6 to 15 minutes for most of the lessons. And, each video lesson has easy access keys that allow you to move 15 seconds forward or backwards to review or preview the material within that lesson.

If you use it only three times a week, it will obviously take longer than 30 days to complete the 30-day lessons. However, the lessons are online videos that can be replayed and reviewed as often as needed. So, if a lesson comes quickly for you - You can cover more than one lesson a day. If, another lesson is more challenging - You are free to take longer on that particular lesson before moving on. At first, I completed more than one lesson for the day.

I completed the Piano Assessment after I had already started the 30-day lesson plan. It generated a custom lesson plan for me in addition to the 30-day lessons for the review that included foundational lessons and ear-training that were added to the end to enrich the 30-day lessons.  

What Did We Think?

I was excited that by Lesson 4 I was already playing a blues song, and by Lesson 16, the complete second song has been taught. He covers improvisations and music theory that even though I had years of piano lessons - The way he taught it finally made the terms sink in.

What I really liked about how he taught each song was that he broke the songs apart into a few lessons making it easier to tackle than looking at an entire overwhelming piece of sheet music.

I was thrilled to see my children's reactions when I brought up our keyboard. They surrounded me begging to play again. It had been awhile since they have played since I had the keyboard stored away in the basement. I think I managed to make it through Lesson 19 before my son was spotted confiscating the keyboard to move it into his room.

My husband was also excited as he listened to the lessons. He was impressed with the style of teaching and was thrilled to see me playing. He left for work, and I was listening to the lessons on rhythm and such. When he returned from work, his face lit up because I was already on Lesson 5 and playing part of a blues song called "Dunkin's Blues".

About mid-way through the lessons, the instructor began to add in chord patterns and more complex terminology, but the way this material is presented makes it stick in your memory because it makes sense when the instructor explains it all. For instance, with my hubby being a guitarist, I had heard the term augmentation but it didn't sink in as to what that really meant until now.

Find PianoWithWillie on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Vimeo.

Members of the TOS Review Crew also reviewed DrumsWithWillie with all the lessons for one year, and Easy Piano Basics. Read what other members of the TOS Review Crew thought by clicking on the picture below:

JazzEdge Review

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