Last year my family had the opportunity to try HomeschoolPiano from JazzEdge. This time JazzEdge offered a different selection of products for the Crew to review. We do not have access to a set of drums so we had to pass on the DrumsWithWillie and having already reviewed HomeSchoolPiano, and we didn’t need the Easy Piano Basics course. Fortunately, there was a third selection: PianoWithWillie. Turtlegirl didn’t hesitate when I asked her if she would be interested in trying it. “Yes.”
What Is PianoWithWillie
PianoWithWillie is an online piano instruction program that offers two levels or types of membership options: Studio and Premier. We received access to the Studio level of membership. Some of the membership benefits include:
- Instant Access Anytime ~ because this is a web based subscription membership you can access the program whenever you want so long as you have internet access
- Use Any Device ~ Lessons can be accessed from any device! It even works on my Kindle Fire!
- A Variety of Musical Styles ~ including jazz, gospel and funk!
- 30 Day Guarantee
- And more!
Both the Studio and Premier plans offer unlimited streaming access to all of the lessons. Each lesson can be purchased as a download if you prefer to work offline but streaming is unlimited and included in the membership.
PianoWithWillie recommends starting with Piano Start. This helps to get started with PianoWithWillie. Beginning piano students will want to complete all five steps. Intermediate and advanced students may want to skip steps 2 and 3. The other steps will help you understand how the program works and includes tutorials on how to use and navigate the website.
Once you are ready to start Lessons there are two methods to choosing lessons:
1. Choose a Lesson from the Lesson Tab: You can simply click on the Lessons tab and pick and choose which lessons you’d like to complete. If you choose this method there is a tutorial you can watch. This is the archive of the Studio Library Lessons and you can choose a path, or apply filters or simply browser through the lessons.
2. Create a Piano Plan: You can take a 22 Point Assessment. The assessment asks questions about your interests and skill level and then generates a personalized piano plan. You can create more than one lesson plan. Currently Turtlegirl has 4. Each one has a different focus based on what she chose for her interest.
Anatomy of a Lesson
Most Lessons are broken down into chapters. Each lesson also has a PDF of Sheet Music you can download, as well as mp3 and midi audio files.
Lessons can be played in full screen and can be sped up or slowed down. One really cool feature is that when you are watching a lesson you can see his hands and which keys are being played.
Turtlegirl is very interested in composing her own music and had already taken piano lessons a few years ago. She took the 22-point-assessment, and generated a personalized lesson plan that would help her improvise. She was very happy to see that she was considered an "intermediate" student. She created a few more Piano Plans because she discovered she needed more help with rhythm and she wants to learn more music theory to help her with her compositions.
The first thing she did was look at the Piano Start. She realized that steps 2 and 3 with their beginning and foundational lessons were below her level, so she took the 22-point-assessment. After that, she would watch the videos. Because she was so excited about the material being covered, she would sometimes just move ahead in the videos without practicing. However, she is working on practicing more often.
I think this is a fabulous way for motivated learners who want to play piano and have specific learning goals but for whom traditional lessons may not work. Turtlegirl wants to be able to compose her own music. She wants to play for herself. This program suits her as it allows her to explore music concepts, and skills that she can use to compose her own pieces.
The program can be overwhelming when you first look at the lesson tabs so I strongly recommend creating a Piano Plan.
I think this program is not suitable for beginners though you can work through some foundational stuff. For beginning students, especially young students or students with no experience, do check out Easy Piano Basics or HomeschoolPiano.
Turtlegirl is enjoying this program and she recommends that by used with students by more experience who want to focus on more specific topics in their piano study.
- The Vendor: JazzEdge
- The Product: PianoWithWillie (Studio Access)
- Format: Online Subscription
- Also Available: DrumsWithWillie, Easy Piano Basics, HomeschoolPiano
You can read my other Schoolhouse Review Crew Reviews to find more great products.