Note: Since writing the below review, Tim has completed the course and written a 2nd review, Musiah Review: "Finished The Course Last Week And I Loved Every Minute Of It", which you may find helpful to read in conjunction with the below article.
Like so many people I’ve always thought about learning piano. I’m 50 now, and pretty much assumed I was past it. But then I thought the same when I was 30 and 40.
Interestingly though, I think there’s something about reaching late middle age that reverses this train of thought. With age comes the realisation that you can do anything with determination and application. So a few weeks ago, for reasons I can’t explain, I suddenly decided: I’m going to learn piano.
I have always mucked around with music. I taught myself guitar as a teen and trumpet about 10 years later. I never had lessons and never got beyond a kind of intermediate level.
Lately, I’ve been playing bass guitar in a covers band. I know a tiny bit of music theory (treble clef, from recorder lessons aged 10) but everything else has been done by ear.
For me, piano has always been the big beast in the background: a proper instrument that requires two hands and sophisticated musical chops. So when I decided to learn, I knew I couldn’t teach myself.
Instead, I had to ask myself a question: do I want to do this properly? Learn sight reading and correct technique and all that?
I wasn’t sure. I don’t like classical music much, so the idea of studying grade 1 Mozart or whatever didn’t get me excited. But I knew it was probably the right way to go.
While thinking about how to find a teacher, I happened across Musiah on YouTube. It sounded intriguing so I downloaded it. Thank God I did. It’s amazing.
I’m now coming up to two weeks in, and I’m half way through Level 3.
For me, the program does everything Brendan describes. It breaks everything down into small chunks, just hard enough to be a challenge but not insurmountable. It consolidates existing learning with every new lesson, and it turns everything into a game.
Though I know I’m being manipulated in a way, it doesn’t stop me striving to pass the auditions, improve my scores and progress. I spend well over an hour a day on Musiah. After less than two weeks, I can’t quite believe the progress I’ve made.
I think of all the things that makes Musiah work, the most important is that you’re never ‘alone’ while you’re learning. It makes you want to get back to the piano - you know there’s some new thing to learn or test to pass.
I sometimes wonder where I would be if I had hired a teacher. I might be on my second lesson by now. How much could I have learned? I assume I would have picked up and practiced maybe one or two items of knowledge, rather than dozens - as I have with Musiah.
The articles on the Musiah site talk a lot about how the program doesn’t just teach you technique, but also deeper lessons about patience and determination. It’s so true.
In just 10 days, I’ve discovered the joy of slowing difficult things down, and the pleasure of seeing my muscle memory steadily improve. I still get very frustrated. But I can cope with it.
Also, I can look ahead to the songs in later levels and - though they seem impossible - a part of me thinks: well, if I follow the instructions and practice, I can get there.
I’m so grateful to have found Musiah. It’s become a wonderful obsession, and I’m determined to finish the course.
My old resistence to classical repertoire has also gone. I just see these pieces as markers of my progress. Oh, and it’s true. Brendan really does reply personally to your emails. I’ve already sent him three! He must be sick of me.
Tim G - London, United Kingdom
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