coming soon in a couple of weeks.
This is an unbiased review. I will receive no compensation from Improv piano tips and these views are my own and based on my experience.
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(All prices at the time of writing)
30 day money back Guarantee – 100% refund.
Either piano, keyboard or midi keyboard.
Either PC, MAC or Tablet to watch the videos and view the PDFs..
What you get in the package?
- 3 lesson videos totaling over 60 mins.
- 2 tutorial videos of song examples totaling 15 mins.
- 3 application videos totaling 35 mins.
- Sheet music for all the lessons.
- Highly efficient and good quality videos.
- Unique method, not covered anywhere else.
- Will develop finger and hand independence.
- Tutor is talented musician presenting material in an effective manner.
Suitable For: Beginners, intermediates and advanced.
Course content : ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Tutor knowledge/skill : ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer support :⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Value for Money : ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Acumen rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
What is Rhythm techniques for you?
If you’re wondering what is the best online piano lessons for the money, then this could be it. I’ve talked about Nikolas Nunez before and I’ve reviewed his free piano lessons for beginners.
I enrolled on this course about a year ago and I can safely say this course is a little different and well worth the money.
There are 10 challenging exercises.
Video one is composed of three exercises starting at a basic level. There’s an assumption that you are not a beginner and if you are, the teacher suggests you follow his free beginner lessons, before starting this course.
The first exercise is a simple 4 chord progression played with chords played with right-hand and simple rhythm in the left-hand and this should be practiced until this is under your fingers.
Then exercise two brings in a different left-hand rhythm with the right-hand playing the same chords.
Finally, exercise three adds a rhythm to the right-hand with the left-hand playing the same part as exercise two.
It’s a good video to begin the course as it’s a good challenge without being too difficult. The parts are built logically and each part should be mastered before moving onto the next. If you have difficulty playing each hand independently, you will soon find the benefits of this course and a hint about what’s to come.
Nikolas’s tuition style is excellent. He is relaxed, speaks slowly and offers good advice and encouragement. There is sheet music included with each video.
Exercise one is based on a I IV vi V chord progression. Don’t worry if that doesn’t mean much to you, but your ears will certainly recognise it if you haven’t come across it before.
It’s in the key of C and the left-hand plays a similar rhythm to video 1. The right hand now is playing up the first 5 notes of the C major scale over each chord, but in a specific rhythm which is slightly different to left-hand. This is building the right-hand to play something different, while the left-hand is playing a straight rhythm. This sounds daunting, but is quite simple, when you give it some practice.
Exercise 2 is a useful method of playing scales. The right hand-hand is playing a one octave scale up and down, while the left-hand plays only two notes, but these notes are played once, then twice, then three times and then four times each, before coming back down again. It’s difficult to explain in writing, but this is a great way of practicing your scales and counting your left-hand, which will build your independence. A clever exercise and a good warmup routine.
Finally, exercise 3 is a simple comping rhythm as played in many songs, but most recognised in John Lennon’s Imagine. The left-hand is playing a similar rhythm to video one. This is a nice 8 bar piece, which has a tricky move with the left-hand to keep you interested.
First Application videos.
These video are based on the chorus from Bruno Mars – Just the way you are. This is a “real world application “from Nikolas on how to apply the techniques.
The first video teaches you the basic part. The left is playing three chords, again based in the rhythm you have been learning in the first two videos. The right hand-hand is then playing the main melody.
The part should be mastered before moving onto the next video, which now adds some embellishments in the right and left-hand. The right hand-hand is playing extra notes from the key to make the piece come to life. The left-hand rhythm that you have been learning is also expanded with new notes and some tweaks.
Finally, the third exercise from video 2 is added to add extra rhythm with the right-hand. He also talks about syncopation and avoiding playing in straight rhythms.
All in all, a simple piece, which is progressively built up into something more complex. Nikolas makes this look easy and plays very well, but I don’t find this easy to play. It’s still something I need to work on.
At the end of the first application videos, the exercises are showing their worth. You have some excellent practice toold and an example piece in how to apply them.
This video starts with nice 4 bar piece. The left-hand is playing a similar rhythm as seen before, while the right-hand is playing a more complicated part. Again each video is building upon the last adding the difficulty only slightly, but aiming to improve your skills. I like this piece and it highlights’s Nikolas’s talent. He emphasizes the need to play along with a metronome or backing track.
Exercise 2 is a little tricky and I found the most difficult. It plays a repeating part with the right-hand and the left-hand comes in with a simple part, but at different speed. This is teaching you to play each hand independently and you will find a sense of achievement when you nail it. It’s important master each hand on it’s own before bringing it together.
Exercise 3 is another good piece which is playing a syncopated right hand part playing on the up beat, with a straight part for the left hand. This is again moving the student away from playing straight rhythms.
He gives you an improvised example of playing on the upbeat which is incredible, again highlighting his talents.
Finally exercise 4 is the most tricky one so far, so tricky that it’s not written in the music PDFs. This is a challening part with each hand playing indepently of each other. Each hand on it’s own is fine, but bringing them together is difficult. it took me a few weeks to master, but as before this is rewarding and worth the effort.
Video 3 really moves you on with some nice, but challenging pieces concluding all 10 exercises. They teach you complete rhythm independence.
Final application videos.
This video looks at Vince Guaraldi’s version of “O Christmas Tree”, where you will learn part of the song and apply some rhythms to “bring the song to life@. in the first 8 minute video, Nikolas teaches you the right hand part and basic left hand rhtym part.
The final video is about 19 minuteslong an brings together every thing you’ve learned. The previous videos and exercises have been challenging and have “conditioned your brain” to seperate your hands.
So the right hand is playing the melody part, which doesn’t vary too much. The concentration is with the left hand. Nikolas plays a basic rhythm to begin and then adds to it, making it more compliacted, but also much more pleasing and interesting to the listener. He is emphasising playing on the “off beat”
He explains this concept quite well using some illustrated music tablature. His passion for getting this important information accross is admirable and is the essence of this whole course. Why play in boring straight rhythms, when these concepts will bring any piece alive.
Althought this is a 20 minute video, there is a lot of work to be done here. I am only scratching the surface, but Nikolas’s Facebook community will provide a good base to watch him and other students who are mastering this style.
Here’s an old video of Nikolas playing some of his concepts.
Should you buy this course and why is it different?
This course is a bit different and not a traditional curriculum like “Learn and Master” or “Playground sessions”. Saying that the free beginner course will give you most of what you need to progress onto Rhythm techniques for you.
I think this is aimed more at beginners and intermediate players who are looking to improve their hand indpenedence and left hand rhythms. The lessons build up adding your skills in a measured manner. They are challenging in their own right and some are good to come back toas warm up exercises. Nikolas’s style and aptitude is inspiring and ecourages you to progress.
I think the cost is worthwhile as these day’s that would buy you 3 one-to-one lessons – certainly where I live. I’m looking to try ssome of his other lessons, as it’s clear Nikolas is a huge talent and has a desire to share his knowledge and teach.
Just a short post this month. I came across this great Youtube video on Boogie Woogie Piano lessons. It’s just one 6 minute video, but there is a lot of content, which will keep you busy for some time.
There’s a good left hand basic rhythm, which I find quite challenging to play on it’s own. Then, various right hand chords in different rhythms are brought in.
Once that’s mastered, right hand riffs are added. These must be transposed for all three chords in the 12 bar blues.
Finally an introduction and ending are shown, so you have a complete piece, although the combination of parts you choose to play is down to you.
The content in this 6 minute video is invaluable, and will certainly keep me busy for some time.
Best wishes for the new year.
“HDpiano is a great learning platform. High quality HD videos of many songs from a wealth of artists, presented in a clear and informative manner, make this a valuable tool for learning songs on the piano.”
Please note I have no affiliation to HDpiano and will receive no compensation for my review. These are my unbiased views and experiences.
Price: $15 a month or $97 a year.
Payment : Credit card or PayPal.
Guarantee – Free 30 day trial. Will refund subscription if contacted within 7 days.
Requirements: Either piano, keyboard or midi keyboard. PC, MAC or Tablet.
What you get as a subscriber? : Many hours of Songs split into parts. Videos can be looped, slowed down and skipped to chosen sections.
- Highly efficient and excellent playback quality.
- Modern and classical songs.
- Wealth of material from many artists to suit all ability levels.
- First part is available free on YouTube.
- Search function makes it easy to find songs or artists.
- Can search by difficulty, genre, decade, song title or artist.
- Access to sheet music if desired at a small cost.
- No need to read music.
- Some well-known artists such as Billy Joel, Elton John, Abba are not present, although permission from the artists being sought.
- Aimed more at learning songs, a few lessons on YouTube. If you are a learner, you may need separate tuition elsewhere.
Suitable For: Beginners, intermediates and advanced.
Course content : ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Tutor knowledge/skill : ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer support : ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Value for Money : ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Acumen rating : ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
What is HDpiano?
If you’ve searched for piano music videos online or via YouTube, there’s a good chance you have come across HDpiano hybrid piano lessons. It started in 2012 inspired by a computer game.
They use a Synthesia style tool which is a scrolling conveyor above a keyboard. The lights on the conveyor show you the keys to press and the length of the light represents how long you hold the note. If you’ve seen dancing arcade games or have played rockband on the xbox/PlayStation you may be familiar with the concept.
It’s different from Yousician as you are seeing the notes appear vertically instead of horizontally. It may not suit everyone’s taste, but I find it very effective. I regard myself as an intermediate player, so when I see an advanced piece with lots of notes, I do feel a little daunted. This is natural, so dont set your sites too high initially and be put off.
Similar to Shawn Cheek’s webpiano teacher, each song is broken down into parts. Sometimes these can be as simple as the intro, verse, chorus and bridge. Part one, usually the intro, is available free on YouTube and if you want to learn the complete song, you have to enroll as a member. There are many YouTube videos of their lessons, so why not subscribe to their channel to see what’s on offer. As I write they have over a million subscribers on YouTube.
What do you see when you log-on?
Once you have logged in, you are presented with a dashboard, which includes a menu to the left and videos on the main page. The first time you log on, the videos are the latest lessons of songs to be published. When you have browsed some videos and saved some favourites, you will also see a video history of your previous visits. This is useful if you want to jump straight back in to a lesson.
The menu includes a home option to get you back to the dashboard (this can also be accessed at any time by selecting the HDpiano logo at the top left).
The history and favourite options do what you would expect taking you to a list of previous videos.
You have the option to view and edit your account preferences, such as changing your email or password.
Resources include a welcome tour video, instructions on how you can loop or slow down the videos as well as study tips and technical tips such as turning on subtitles.
Finally, there is a FAQ and contact page. The FAQs are worth a quick read to familiarise yourself with website and their policies.
What is included in the content?
As I write there a 901 song lessons, so take a look at the diverse artists available.
- Alicia Keys,
- Sam Smith,
- David Bowie
- Erik Satie
- The Doors
- The Fray
- George Ezra
- Johann Sebastian Bach
- John Legend,
- Nina Simone and
- many more.
I guess I’m showing my age, as there were quite a few artists I hadn’t heard of so, there should be plenty for everyone.
Note there are some omissions from well-known artists such as Adele, Elton John and Billy Joel to name a few. From what I’ve read on their site they are seeking permission from the artists to reproduce their material Although this is slightly frustrating, it does promote a legitimate, honest quality to the site and their teachers. They respect license laws of music artists.
When searching you can filter by
- Teacher and
These can be sorted alphabetically, by publish date or by popularity.
I had a quick browse and searched for Queen. I’ve recently had a desire to learn “We are the Champions”, so I was pleased to see this included as well as 7 other Queen songs at intermediate and advanced level.
The quality of the video was excellent. The intro was played at normal speed and then the piece was discussed with notes on the rhythm of the left hand and the basic chords. I was very quickly playing the chords and getting a feel for the song and had the first phrase down very quickly with some practice.
The tuition quality impressed me – It’s relaxed and friendly, but quite serious tuition. “We are the Champions” is an intermediate piece, so will take some time and effort to learn.
Check out the video yourself on YouTube.
About the teachers.
The site is co-owned by Dan Collins. I hadn’t come across him before, but he has been playing the piano since the age of 6. He is a talented, experience musician in his own right and a few recordings of his own playing. I had a listen on Spotify and his talent is clear.
Go here to see a bio of Dan Collins.
As I write there are 18 teachers including Dan. They are on the site in first name terms only, so it’s difficult to get any bio on them. From those I have experienced, they are all very competent and teach in a similar, friendly and effective manner.
They follow the same approach in the website – i.e. breaking down songs into sections and going through each part slowly bringing it up to speed.
The social media element is also very good. In addition to the YouTube channel, there is a Facebook page, a Twitter following and an Instagram page. The teachers try to to engage the social media when they teach and feedback is shown on the page you are on, with comments under the tuition. This is a nice little touch. You could ask a question to another member for example or the teacher will get back to you or engage in a group conversation.
Should I buy/upgrade to a full membership?
I saw a criticism of the fee while researching the site, which I felt was quite harsh. Why pay the monthly $15 fee, when there are free versions of many of the included songs on the internet or YouTube. Fair point, but you won’t necessarily get the quality of tuition from others (with no disrespect to some teachers on YouTube).
The quality of the teaching, video playback, ability to loop or slowdown won’t be found on a standard YouTube video. The quality of the musicians and the accuracy of the music is very impressive to me.
And for $15 a month? How much would a private teacher cost in your area? And for the content available, I think it’s could value. How much does a piece of sheet music cost these days? How much does a song book from a musician cost? If you put into this context $15 a month is good value to me.
I highly recommend HDpiano as a resource for learning songs, especially as an adult. I would always encourage children to learn to read music if possible, as this is a great skill to have, but if reading music is not important to you and you just want to learn songs, this is great. I’ve only given four stars for content as there are a few artists missing, but it’s a minor niggle. There’s so much material here, it will keep you busy for some time.
Good luck. Happy to respond to comments.