Mine is the usual story: traditional piano lessons as a child, a general interest in all sorts of music throughout my life. When I retired I decided to go back to the piano. I live in the south of Ireland and there is a university level music academy here and I found a nice teacher. It wasn't long, however, before I realized the lessons were continuing where I left off as a kid. The approach was designed to make you into a concert pianist or a music teacher. That's fine because we need concert pianists, but I just wanted to play from memory all the tunes in my head. My teacher was patient and nice as she listened to me stumble through my little Chopin pieces but my progress was very slow and frustrating. I couldn't really take notes, could not review anything. When the lesson was over it was over. I gave it up.
I stumbled along on my own for a while: a book here, a YouTube video there. I had a good ear and after a while I could play a little and have fun but finally got to a place where I was just repeating myself and had no idea how to go farther. What I wanted was a base to build on. I realized I learned best watching somebody show me things. There are many fine players on YouTube and it took me a while to find the approach I felt would be for me. Then I saw a video of "Amazing Grace" on ThePianoByEar where the tune started very basic and then was played in a more and more advanced way. I knew that was for me. I would be happy if I could play like that.
Since I didn't know where I would fit in I bought all the DVDs. That was much cheaper than the piano lessons anyway. It turned out I could comfortably start with the second disk. My only regret is that I didn't find that sort of course as a child, because I really enjoy playing and might have saved myself many years of stumbling around.
I'm a 74 year old "senior" who took piano lessons for two or three very brief periods of time during my childhood and teen years; but the materials used and the approach to learning, did not appeal to me - did not excite me - did not give me early "successes" and satisfactions - only a continual sense of "I'll never learn this stuff."
As the years have gone by, I have occasionally sat at the piano my wife and I bought more than 40 years ago and played from some of the sheet music, pop song and hymn books written for piano players. However, when I played, my wife would often say, "Would you just stop the noise!" Sort of hurt my feelings, but I sympathized with her because my playing really was so awful.
A year or so ago I decided that I really would like to learn to play the piano with a much improved level of knowledge and skill, but I did not want to repeat the approach of long ago. I decided to make a commitment to learning to play by ear. I made an effort to find local piano teachers and materials that could help me start out on my goal of learning to play by ear, but without satisfying results. So I turned to the internet and was amazed at all the information and resources that were available.
I settled on your web site, and ordered the first few items available for beginners. I was emotionally touched with joy when I found that the materials and instruction were so clearly presented that with even only a little practice and study I could begin the process of learning to play by ear. In just a few weeks, if not a few days, I was experiencing the early satisfactions that I had wanted and needed in my youth.
My piano practice time is extremely limited because I'm still quite active with obligations to my business, my church ministry, and my family. However, I have found that by following your instructions, DVD's etc. my skills are developing. I know my piano playing must have significantly improved because for the past year, I have never heard my wife say: "Would you please just stop the noise." And I have even played a hymn or two, a time or two, for my little church congregation!
From the bottom of my heart, Thank you Matthew for bringing a long time cherished desire and joy to me. There is a long, long way to go to reach the skill level I'd really like to have. Time and circumstances may prevent me from ever getting "there." However, the trip itself is one of the most satisfying ones of my life. Keep up the good work; keep the DVD's and other materials coming.
Overland Park, KS
This is Caroline, I can't begin to thank you enough for the piano course. I am stopping at the moment at lesson 5, to allow my brain and finger tips to absorb it all in. I love the way you teach. This course is so much fun. I look forward to practicing everyday. I also think you are very kindhearted and too generous to give me that extra DVD!!! God bless you. I like how you open your student forum for all to see, because i enjoyed reading peoples discussions about the courses. I also love how you start off with a simple melody and you build it up with chords and variations to show us how you can really dress up a plain melody. LOVE IT! I watched the Xmas DVD and can't wait to get started on that! I learned about a 7th chord yesterday, I had no idea what it was used for, so when i learnt that it was used to move onto a higher chord I was soooooo pleased, felt like a kid who found a candy at the bottom of my pocket..haha. All these little details make learning piano so much fun, because I know how to use them. Well, if ever I know someone who wants to learn, I will highly recommend to them your courses. Take care and god bless your family!
Mrs. Kido, Japan
This is Clark... I ordered your DVD Advanced III the southern gospel stuff. This is great ! Thank you so much for making this. I've taken lessons off of many top Southern gospel pianist like Tracey Phillips etc.. I play at singing conventions and attend gospel music schools, but this helps break it down where I can slow it down and learn. I'm already starting to apply some of these things to other songs I play. Great Job ! I can't wait to practice this more and to continue with the rest of the DVD. I'm glad I ran across this resource ! Let me know if you ever continue with the southern gospel series. You're great..
Clark, West Virginia (USA)
I really appreciate the great service you provide. Since it is a DVD it can sometimes bring up a lot of questions and it's really helpful knowing you respond to my emails so fast and answer my questions. That was the one thing I was nervous about when ordering online. I knew I would have a lot of questions and it's so nice knowing you will answer them. A lot of services online do not have great support like you do and I really appreciate it. And I am hoping to buy your next DVD soon, because it has been a dream of mine to play by ear. Thanks again. -
Luke, New York
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