Big Brother has been showing interest in piano for a couple of years. He can pick out songs here and there and just loves to sit and play around. I know how to play piano and could probably teach him… probably. We recently were given the opportunity to review PianoWithWillie from JazzEdge. I was very excited to start this with Big Brother (and perhaps Big Sister). As a homeschool mom, I do like opportunities for my kids to learn from others whether in a classroom setting or via online learning.
JazzEdge is a company founded by Willie Myette, a graduate from Berklee College of Music. The company has many different endeavors including lessons in jazz, funk, latin, gospel, and blues. The company offers lessons specifically geared to homeschoolers.
We received a one year access to the Studio Membership. The Studio Membership includes over 3000 lessons, access from any device, live support, printable music sheets, personalized plans, and more. The website and program are very user friendly. I got on when I received my information for the review. I explored the site a little and followed the steps for getting started.
PianoWithWillie is designed for those with some basic knowledge of piano playing. The easiest place to start is the 30 day play- book. It is a refresher/ introduction of basics. The video lessons are short and easy to follow. Willie does talk a little fast in some places, but because the lessons are so short, it is not a big deal to watch through a couple of times. The topics covered include rhythm, tempo, reading music, scales, and chords. I really like that the you can refer to the dashboard to know how many lessons have been completed. There is no need to keep up with where to go next.
We used PianoWithWillie two to three times per week. If Big Brother was feeling so inspired, he could do more than one lesson per day. He was able to sit at the table with our keyboard and computer in front of him. The video shows a split screen of Willie, the piano is he playing, and a computerized piano that lights up the keys that are played. It is great for visual learners.
After completing the 30 day play-book, you can really take advantage of the Studio Membership. There are hundreds of lessons to choose from. You can choose by skill level, musical genre, key signature, time signature, etc. We have not reached this point as of yet, but I am excited to move forward. Big Brother is not a fan of learning fundamentals. I like that I can say to him, “Once you finish the 30 day play-book, you can choose what you do next.”
What We Thought
PianoWithWillie from JazzEdge is extremely user friendly. The program is designed in short, manageable pieces- perfect for the attention span of children (and most adults). Big Brother loves that he has access and eventually control over what he is learning on the piano.
Because PianoWithWillie can be accessed from any device, Big Brother does not have to wait for me to be done on the computer. He does not have to be tethered to one spot in the house. He can take the tablet and keyboard into his room and practice.
If you do not have a musical background, PianoWithWillie offers online support. There is no reason a person should not be able to find success in using the program.
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