This week, I was very grateful to receive the following insightful observations and feedback from David Wang from Epping in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
David is a father of 6 year old Sophia, and in my view an exemplary parent, particularly in relation to fostering a love of music and learning in the home.
At the time of writing, David and Sophia have been learning for 11 weeks and both are currently learning Level 3, Lesson 39 Hickory Dickory Dock.
For some time prior to enrolling in piano lessons with Musiah, David was on something of a mission to find the right piano teacher (or piano lessons solution) that would enable him to learn piano alongside his daughter.
This is the story of how he came to try learning piano with Musiah and the outcomes both for David and his daughter Sophia.
Before enrolling in Musiah, the main initial obstacle for me was the logistics of hooking up a traditional upright piano to a computer. Although my recently purchased piano comes with a device that enables MIDI in/out, the lack of real estate simply prevents me from making it work with Musiah. That’s why I think an iPad/Tablet version would be tremendous to make it more accessible via acoustic pianos that can be fitted with electric devices.
I ended up buying a mid-range Casio keyboard to try out Musiah, which may sound irrational given I had already bought a brand new piano! But the fact of the matter is that we had to wait for 2 months for the piano delivery and I can only blame that eventful Sunday afternoon when I started searching for piano tutors on the internet and came across Musiah, and the rest is history.
I had always been open to self-learning in anything new. Technology, especially Internet has made it easy with endless possibilities.
I have witnessed firsthand of disgruntled friends’ families gripe constantly over piano practises and/or the lack of them. Kids are not enjoying traditional piano lessons partly due to the lesson structure setup by the private tutors but generally due to the lack of support in between lessons. If the parents don’t even like any kind of music in general, let alone taking personal interests in the subject, the kids will not find any motivation to do well in piano playing other than it being coerced or forced into part of their extra-curricular life.
Many parents (mainly Asian background) in my view send kids to piano lessons for the wrong reasons, such as a means of gaining scholarship or entrance to prestigious schools, or look good amongst other families, or simply because everyone in their social circle is doing it.
While the ones with financial incentives in mind (music scholarship) may have persevered until their goals are achieved, the other ones at the vanity front are the first to have fallen aside in the face of challenges in terms of time and money in piano lessons.
The lack of personal interests in music in general from the parents is often the death knell of the musical life of a young child who embarks on a journey to learn music and instruments.
Apologies for all this ranting but my observation and personal experience has led to my decision making in terms of Sophia’s piano learning, as well as my own.
I didn’t have the opportunity to learn any musical instruments at young age but I have always had a passion for music. Having mucked around with acoustic guitar in my late teens/early 20’s helps cement the life-long passion to learn an instrument well.
I have always had a soft spot for the sound of a piano so it was a no brainer when we were to decide an instrument for Sophia to learn on (along with other important musical reasons with piano being a predominant musical instrument to help learn music theories as well).
Lastly but not the least, it is a great opportunity for me to learn at the same time.
With that in mind, I started shopping around for private tutors who offer to teach both adults and children (yes they do but no they are NOT cost effective!) 3 weeks and almost 50 phones/emails later, the best response I had was a guy located 30 km from my home charging me 1.5 times of a normal lesson fee for me to sit in my daughter’s lessons!
I ended up pulling my hair wondering why they make it so hard. I was ready to give up on my own mission to learn piano from tutors and was about to sign up Sophia with a piano tutor who is half-an-hour drive from us for a weekly hour-long lesson.
His fee was competitive but it would still set us back $3.5-4k a year on the lessons fee alone, with other add-ons such as events, performance, exams, we are looking at a European holidays vaporized in front of our eyes every year.
And then there is always the fear that she won’t maintain the interests to keep up with practise, nor the technical support in between lessons. I have a good ear for tunes but as far as reading music sheet and finger styles, guitar tabs and finger picking is all I know about.
At my wit’s end I started to search online for free piano lessons on youtube so I can give myself a head start before venturing Sophia into private lessons. Most of them were sales pitch — including Musiah :) — but what sets Musiah apart is the interactivity.
Following an online video to play along is one thing, having a virtual tutor at your fingertips is completely another!
So there I was spending most of my Sunday afternoon digesting info from the Musiah website and reading reviews on the Internet. And so, I decided to tip my toes in the water by signing up for the free trial.
In hindsight, it was the best decision I had made as far as piano learning is concerned!
Musiah is everything I have wanted as a learning tool for adults and I found it works wonders with kids as well.
It’s cleverly designed to build up the motivation with a great pace of learning, it teaches all the right things at the right time (theories, finger style, rhythm, left hand etc.)
The only scepticism I had before signing up was around the content taught in Musiah but up to this point I have to say I have been more than satisfied with the course structure.
What I really like most about Musiah is the interactivity. To be able to follow the sheet music in real time with backing track is tremendous.
The use of backing tracks is very good to build a sense of rhythm, and the post assessment is very helpful. The course structure is great in terms of the pace of teaching.
The storyline is cool but may not work as greatly with girls as with boys but you can never please both sides at the same time.
But I must say, overall, I would recommend Musiah every time in a heartbeat.
The interactivity, the fun factor, the cost effectiveness, and the course structure to gear you up cleverly; the emphasis of the Left hand and importance of rhythm… the list goes on.
Musiah has been a fateful choice in the music learning journey of our family and we just can’t wait to finish it!
A BIG thank you David for your thoughtful and in-depth feedback. I would particularly like to commend you for the way in which you are leading by example in terms of learning piano alongside Sophia.
This is something I have always recommended parents do — at least for the first few levels — because kids will almost always be interested in things their parents are interested in.
In addition to sharing a love of making music, by taking an interest in piano lessons and becoming involved yourself, you are demonstrating to your child that you value learning and in particular this form of learning with all the associated benefits that piano lessons offer.
The value of this is tremendous. It simply cannot be overstated what a huge difference this will make in your child’s life on so many levels including self-esteem, success, academic results and of course the results she will achieve in her piano lessons.
This is top parenting!
Also, dear reader, incase you're interested, an iPad / tablet version of Musiah is coming soon. The forthcoming Unity version of Musiah is on track for a beta release approximately mid June 2014.
If you are seeking the perfect solution to enable you to learn piano either on your own or with your children (at no extra cost), I encourage you to take our Free Online Piano Lessons 14 Day Trial.
It really is a great way to learn and the results our students of all ages are achieving speak for themselves.
Thanks for reading, and of course, if you have any questions for me personally, please feel free to email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Til next time,
Piano Teacher & Musiah Inventor
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