Online Piano Lessons for Your Homeschool
We’ve had the great opportunity to use PianoWithWillie, an online piano learning program by JazzEdge. Last year, we were blessed to receive JazzEdge’s HomeSchoolPiano.com, it’s program for beginners. PianoWithWillie offers the next-level up in piano instruction. We received a free year-long subscription to its Studio Access Membership program, priced at $49 per month, $99 per quarter, or $399 per year. In return, I committed to write my honest and unbiased review.
What to Expect
PianoWithWillie is definitely not for the true beginner. The child must have some familiarity already with the piano. Conveniently, JazzEdge offers classes for real beginners through EasyPianoBasics.com or HomeSchoolPiano.com, which as I mentioned earlier, I reviewed last year. PianoWithWillie builds on HomeSchoolPiano’s program, yet this one offers its lessons in an á-la-carte style. The program does begin with a suggested sequence called The 30-Day Success Playbook. Yet, one is also free to pick and choose the lessons that most intrigue or interest you. The system will even shoot out a personalized lesson plan after completing its “22-point assessment” evaluation. Super Hero and I really appreciate this flexibility.
With more than 3,000 videos, PianoWithWillie is truly a massive collection of piano lessons. Naturally, there are also downloadable PDFs, MP3s and MIDI tracks with sheet music. The videos are short, succinct, and to the point. There are many advantages to this online program, chief among them, is the piano-playing variety it offers: jazz, blues latin, gospel, funk & rock. For children used to the traditional learning via classical music only or mostly, this assortment may prove a breath of fresh air. Not that we don’t love and appreciate classical music, of course we do. Yet, spicing up the learning with buoyant modern styles, is a welcome change of pace, and a real motivator.
How Did Super Hero Use It?
I must say that both, Super Hero and I, found our way around the site confusing at first. This despite plentiful directions with big “start here” arrows and a detailed introductory video. Yes, we did “start here”, but still felt a bit overwhelmed and unclear about what to do next. I think a more effective step by step introduction sequence would be watching Step 1: Getting Started, then Step 4: Using the Site, then Step 5: Next Steps, then Step 2 and 3, which contain the bulk of the program.
Once Super Hero got the hang of it though, he was navigating the site just fine. He clearly understood his choices and preferred to only follow the 30-Day Success Playbook for now. I’m sure once he finishes this first sequence of videos, he’ll want to explore more, and venture into more “exotic” choices.
Super Hero has been following PianoWithWillie about three times per week. The videos are short, only about 5 to 12 minutes each. The video player allows you to go slower or faster, and to rewind or fast-forward 15 seconds at a time. Needless to say, one can play a particular lesson as many times as needed or wanted. A real plus for mastering skills. Another big plus is its portability. Super Hero can watch the lessons on the computer or laptop or iPad, or yes, even the iPhone. Ah! don’t you just love the advantages of technology?!
Still, the soul of the program lies in Willie’s knack for teaching and personable style. He comes across as an encouraging instructor who really cares about your learning.
So What Are We Thinking About PianoWithWillie?
PianoWithWillie is an outstanding website to learn to play the piano. Willie’s piano passion and love of teaching shine, and the top-notch technology he’s used in creating the website is second to none. Super Hero, who’s actually the one doing the review ratings lately, gave it 5 in almost all items. He only subtracted 1 star from Fun and 1 from Quality. I can see why Fun got 4 stars. He’s still only 9 after all, so unless it’s a site akin to Minecraft, 4 is about the highest he’ll rate for Fun. As far as his Quality rating, he said he did so because he had a bit of a hard time navigating his way around at the beginning. While I do agree that it was a tad confusing at first, I would not take 1 full star off this program’s Quality. I would totally give it a 5 on the Quality factor as well.
Overall Super Hero has liked PianoWithWillie quite, quite well. He wants to continue learning piano with Willie, whose passion for music and enthusiasm for teaching are clearly his greatest trump cards.
In a Nutshell
In Super Hero's Own Words
PianoWithWillie is good because the way that they teach stuff is, well, good. And the videos are short. So, it’s nice in general.
I would definitely recommend PianoWithWillie for everyone, ages 9 and up, interested in learning to play this timeless instrument. I, too, want to make time to incorporate these lessons into my schedule. Willie’s music sounds so beautifully. It’d be such a blessing to learn to play this gorgeous music that soothes and delights your spirit. Two thumbs up for PianoWithWillie!
What to Learn More?
If you’re like me and gotta hunt the entire Internet for more reviews before you commit, you got it easy. Read all the reviews you may be craving from my fellow Crew members. Or stop by JazzEdge’s website or social media accounts: