Now that I have finally finished my lengthy review of piano sessions and i have completed 5 reviews in total, I can pause to reflect which course I prefer.
To be honest from the start, I think all five are great quality. The technology and availability of course now available is astonishing compared to 10 years ago. Back then we were going through an explosion in the book/CD media, which quickly overlapped to DVD. With the advent, availability and affordability of broadband, the trend is now expanding to online courses.
Computers generally don’t have CD or DVD drives anymore. Streaming is here to stay, although CD, DVD and Blu Ray will take time to disappear, if they do at all. Vinyl is even making a comeback.
Getting back to the point, it is difficult to come up with the perfect one choice fits all. With the five courses I’ve reviewed, any student will learn all they need from any one of them, providing they commit and follow through to the end.
What follows is a preference and a feel. While I try to remain subjective and impartial, learning a musical instrument is personal and I will try to back up my preference with my own experience.
As I put forward my justifications I thought it would be easier to narrow the five course reviewed (so far) to my top three.
The course in my third preference is Learn and Master. As I mentioned before on the site, I get better results if I follow a curriculum and this course fits the bill. The DVDs are recordings with the tutor. Having a one to one teacher is, by far , the best way to learn, but this is not always available to some. It can also be expensive and doesn’t always fit student’s busy lifestyles. Having a DVD with a tutor is a close second, although the course is rigid rather than tailored to your own preferences that a personal teacher would provide.
Even so, there is a large amount of material, covering the necessary techniques with good song examples. The quality of the tuition is excellent. The traditional method of learning to read music as your progress is built upon slowly and is effective. I got a good win from learning the simplified version of “The Entertainer”. A good quality package.
Students who have no interest in learning to read music may prefer Shawn Cheek which is my second choice. He has developed a unique method of learning songs quickly and has a huge repertoire covering many styles and abilities. There are many videos covering songs, techniques, music theory an learning to read music swell as sight reading. This gives the student choice, but there is no requirement in order to learn any of the songs included on the site. If i want learn a song, this is my first place to visit. I have followed his 50 lessons course so there is a curriculum, which is another plus for me. The subscription rates are reasonable.
Although both “Learn and Master” and “Shawn Cheek” tick the boxes of a curriculum, face to face videos with the teacher, the ability to learn to read music, a significant amount of content, there is an important element missing. That is feedback.
My first choice is Playground sessions, which provides instant feedback as you learn and play. The quality of the lessons is first class, building things up slowly, but pushing the student to progress quickly. The content is huge with a repertoire of songs from many different styles. All the necessary techniques are covered and the content will keep the student busy for a long time.
Providing you can hook up the technology, which is fairly straightforward, this will be a course for me if I had one choice.