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)
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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.