Wednesday, June 3, 2015

JazzEdge: PianoWithWillie (Studio Access) Piano Lessons review

Last year we reviewed an online piano teaching resource, Homeschool Piano. This year the TOS Review Crew members were sent one of three different programs put out by the same company, Jazz Edge. The options were DrumsWithWilliePianoWithWillie, and Easy Piano Basics. For the purposes of this review, we were sent PianoWithWillie.

The plan was to have my eldest use it to continue some of her training, as she was the main user of the Homeschool Piano course. Unfortunately, we hit a road-bump or two, the main one being that our keyboard went on the blink before I was able to take any video of her using it. :p ARGH!

However, not to be disheartened, we decided to take an unconventional approach, to see what could be done in these less than ideal circumstances. While PianoWithWillie lessons are intended to stream on any device... (Which does make them perfect for "lessons on the go")
we decided to see what could be done *using* an e-device as the instrument! Admittedly, this is *not* a recommended or best-case scenario, but I figured it would be worth trying it out, to see how a family could keep up with their lessons when going through a life event that precluded the use of an actual piano or keyboard most days (ie military family moving, longer-term stays with grandparents, or longer-term vacation for example).

For the purpose of having a keyboard of sorts to play on, we used the Garage Band, and Piano HD apps for my iPad. While not having access to a full keyboard, these apps did allow us to increase the key size to close to full size, which gave her the opportunity to try out many portions of the lessons she watched. (See our videos below)

Now, a note about the depth and breadth of the lessons.
PianoWithWillie is a HUGE resource, with hours and hours and hours of piano/music lessons. As a matter of fact, this studio access subscription give access to 330 distinct lessons in four different levels: Beginner (37 lessons), Intermediate (93 lessons), Advanced (168 lessons), and Professional (39).

The lessons can be searched filtering by element, level, genre, tonality, key signature, time signature, and instructor. If this is all too confusing for you to navigate on your own, you can also ask PianoWithWillie to create an individualized "Success Map" for your student(s) at an additional charge. 

My daughter is definitely in the Beginner level, so I promptly searched lessons using the Beginner Filter, and we looked through them to see what she would be interested in. We also went through a few of the 30 Day Success Playbook lessons, but realized that some of them were duplicating some of the basic material from the Homeschool Piano lessons that she had done last year.

Eldest enjoys hearing people play ""Gospel-style" piano, so decided to check out the "Easy Gospel Basics" lesson. This particular lesson is split into nine different chapters, so I suppose it might be better to say that there are 330 "Units," and each Unit includes varying numbers of lessons. This Unit has 9 chapters/lessons (Which makes the actual number of lessons in the 1000's!). Each chapter tends to run between 5 and 10 minutes in length.

Because of the extensive use of chords in the Gospel lessons, and our current limitations, she decided to try her hand at something a little more Jazzy~  She worked through "The Chicken Pox Blues" lesson, which had 5 chapters~
1. Melody
2. Adding Chords
3. Blues Bass
4. Intro and Ending
5. Wrap up
She couldn't do much with the chords given the surface she was working on, but she did learn the melody and the bass line (one at a time)

Each lesson includes a link to download sheet music and other relevant information for that lesson. The website also keeps track of which lessons have been completed, or what percentage of the lesson has been done, which is handy.

By and large, I am highly impressed with the materials put out by Willie Myette and Jazz Edge. If you are looking for a music tutor, some lessons for the summer, or want to begin or improve your music skills, this could be a great place to start!

PianoWithWillie can currently be found on Social Media at the following sites:
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Vimeo

Not So Nutty Nitty Gritty 
  • Company: JazzEdge
  • Product: PianoWithWillie (Studio Access) 
  • Ages: 7+ is the recommended minimum age without a parent assisting, but it is perfectly appropriate for all ages on up through adult.
  • Price: 
    • $49 ~ Monthly Membership
    • $99 ~ Quarterly Membership
    • $399 ~ Yearly Membership
Please click the banner below to visit the TOS Review Crew and see what others had to say about this and the other two Jazz Edge Programs. As always, I hope that this review was useful to you as you choose where best to spend your homeschool budget.

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your honest review! I've always wanted to learn to play the piano! This looks nifty. kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com Thank you.


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