Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Hellem Ambiel. If you would like to contribute a guest post, please get in touch with us.
My name is Helen, and by profession, I’m a professional piano teacher. Having taught piano to countless students in the past decade, I’m proud to say that I’ve trained quite a fair number of students into concert-ready piano players, some of whom are already traveling around the world, performing, and getting paid for playing their music. That did not come easy, obviously. It took a whole ton of effort and perseverance on their part, and of course the guidance of an experienced teacher very willing to share what she knows.
Yet this number is surely far from the majority. I’ve seen far too many budding pianists quit halfway through their journey. Lost of interest is one of the causes. Financial strain is the other. Hassle of having to commute twice weekly to a school to learn the piano is yet one more. I also know of many kids who are deeply interested in picking it up, only to be rejected by their parents as learning the piano directly translates into one more huge ongoing expense. Just so you know, a lesson in the school I teach in easily cost upwards of $50. The rates that other piano teachers charge are around there as well. These numbers easily add up, and can be a real deterrent or obstacle preventing many people from being able to pursue their interest, hobby and passion.
The good news is, it doesn’t have to be this way.
Now, having researched and sieved through virtually all the materials regarding this topic on the Internet, I am convinced that there is only one particularly spectacular course to look out for. Here’s my take.
To all budding pianists with the ambition to eventually be able to pour off beautiful strains of music right from your fingertips, “Rocket Piano” has my highest recommendation.
First off, Rocket Piano is an online course designed by an award winning team of highly passionate and experienced musicians. Put together, this select group of music teachers have over 30 years of experience when it comes to performing, playing and teaching the piano. You can read up more on their team and the brains behind “Rock Star Recipes” here (opens in a new window).
The course is designed to allow anybody to pick up the essential piano skills at their own time and pace, from the comfort of their home. This means that you do not have to commute to and fro a couple of times per week just to learn the piano. No more rushing or constant adjustments to your schedules thereafter. Also, there would be no pressures as you can learn and practice each lesson at your own pace, and this also saves you from the monthly fees you would have to pay for piano lessons at normal schools.
More On The Rocket Piano Course:
Rocket Piano was designed to provide more than 12 months of step-by-step lessons with guided instructions, video tutorials, jam tracks to practice with, and software/games to make the lessons interesting to follow. Lessons gradually increase in difficulty and therefore caters to complete beginners, intermediate players and even the more advanced pianists.
As part of the course, you would be getting three ebooks each catering to your specific playing level.
The first one would be “The Beginners Book”, which is 165 pages long. This book starts from the ground up and shares with you some of the fundamental basics like how the piano is made up, the history of the piano, how to look at the keys of the piano, the name of the notes we assign to each of the keys etc.
This is the perfect place to start and you can also reinforce your knowledge even if you’re not a complete beginner. In this case, the parts on where to place your hands, techniques on using your fingers to hit the scales, melody and rhythm etc would probably not be new to you.
The second book is “The Intermediate Book”, which is 65 pages long. If you already know the basics of the piano, then this book is designed to take you one level higher when it comes to the melody, rhythm and harmony of piano playing. The rhythms gets more detailed and complicated here and you would be introduced to more complex chords.
Areas on key signatures, time signatures are also detailed and outlined so that you can finally ‘read’ a piece of music.
The third book is rightly known as “The Advanced Book”, which is 59 pages long. You will find that this part will focus a lot on learning new and improving old techniques and skills that will get you to play much more professionally.
You will learn the in-depths of writing a song, sight reading, improvising and transposing songs etc. There are also a ton of ‘tricky’ piano skills detailed in a step-by-step format that were discovered by the teachers after decades of playing the piano. In fact, it is highly unlikely that this book does not overwhelm you with the possible areas for improvement in your own playing.
Additional Materials Inside Rocket Piano:
- Additional Ebooks: As part of the course, there are also several related ebooks, each designed to help you master or better understand a specific aspects of playing the piano. They are “The Jazz Book”, “Gospel, Spiritual & Hymns Book” and “Advanced Techniques for Piano”.
- Jam Tracks And Quizzes: Throughout the lessons, there are “Jam Tracks” along the way to help you practice and play as you are learning. There are altogether 26 Jam Tracks, and is a mixture of those with piano performances and those without. These Jam Tracks are extremely fun to play along, and the quizzes placed throughout the book allows you to check if you understood the lessons and to monitor your scores. Not to mention, these Jam Tracks are in addition to the hundreds of high quality audio files already included with the three ebooks above.
- Video Demonstrations: As it is with playing the piano, not everything can be explained in words. “Rocket Piano” shines through in that the course provides high quality video demonstrations to help you understand the various lessons better. It is apparent that the teachers have gone through great lengths to make the lessons easy and simple to follow. There are a total of 57 instructional videos all in all that teaches you exactly what to do, and how to do it at each step. This will save you a lot of time in trying to master the various techniques.
- Advanced Software: As part of the course, there are a couple of included software/tools to make the learning more fun and efficient.
More Information About The Software:
#1: “The Rocket Piano Metronome”
This software allows users to set a click tempo in Beats per Minute (BPM). There are also traditional Latin terms incorporated that are commonly used in musical notation to suggest playing speed.
Users are able to use this software with the exercises and lessons in the course to gain better timing, speed and control.
#2: “Jayde Musica Pro”
Jayde Musica Pro is a software or a game that allows you to learn and pick up how to read music in a more fun and easy to learn manner. This module will get you hooked to better master how to read scores so as to beat your own high scores.
More importantly, you will know how to translate music to the piano.
This software teaches you how to read those piano chords off the musical staff. This actually complements greatly the Jayde Muscia Pro, and just one or two short games with the Chordinator would allow you to gain a far better understanding on how to read music.
#4: “Perfect Your Pitch Pro”
This is a really simple yet fun multiple choice question game that trains your ear to pick up pitches accurately and with ease. There are also several difficulty levels to choose from, and you’ll find that just by playing this game a couple of times, you’ll find it much easier to be able to transcribe songs from radios or mp3s.
As it is, Rocket Piano is the most relevant, most comprehensive and the best online course that would allow budding pianists to master the art of playing, regardless of their current skill set and level. What more, you are able to master each module at your own time and pace according to your learning speed, which takes the pressure out of learning from a teacher and therefore directly translates into a better and a more fun learning experience.
Also, it is good news for people who do not want to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on monthly piano lessons as it is available for a reasonable one-time fee.
Therefore, if you’re ready to finally catapult your piano playing skills and techniques upwards, the next step would be to check it out. Also, there is a “mini course” provided to give you a sampling of what to expect.