Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Simply Music REVIEW

I took piano for about 10 years MANY years ago.  I have wanted to work with my kids on piano lessons but it just hasn't happened.  I was happy to give the Music & Creativity - Foundation Course by Simply Music a try.  It seemed to be the perfect thing to work on with my 1st-grade daughter.  She was excited to get started!  The Foundation Course is a FREE online program.  No credit card or payment necessary.  You simply visit their page and register for the course.  Everything you need is right there.  You have immediate access once you register (did I mention for FREE?!).  You are provided with simple video lessons in addition to supporting documents that include:
  • Reference Book (pdf file)
  • Practice Pad (a paper copy of keyboard to practice on when you are away from home or do not have access to your piano or keyboard) - pdf file
  • Soundtracks (downloadable zip file)
  • Music and The Art of Long-Term Relationships (pdf file)

It was easy to print the pages and I bound them with my binding machine to keep them neat and all together for easy reference and reading.  The Foundation Reference book includes the supporting information for the songs you learn including words to the songs, finger sequencing, and chords.  The printable practice pad is printed into 3 sections that you can tape or glue together to create a "portable" keyboard to practice on.  There is artwork you can print out for the cover and song list for a CD case for the downloadable soundtracks.  I haven't made a CD copy of mine yet since we just use the files from my computer but this allows you to listen to them on a CD player if you choose to do that.  In the Music and The Art of Long-Term Relationships resource, he explains "The Relationship Conversation" that is necessary to establish a long-term commitment to music.  What it takes to "stick with it" and not just let your learning fade away.  A foundation of discipline, practice, and compassion develops into time and patience to continue your music relationship.  "Simply Music's fundamental premise is that everyone, without exception, is deeply, naturally and profoundly musical." (p. 21 Music and The Art of Long-Term Relationships)

Reference downloads (pdf) and soundtracks

There are 19 lessons plus the Quickstart lesson.  You can begin your lessons with the Quickstart lesson or with Lesson 1.  The lessons are generally short videos 5-10 minutes long.  Neil is in front of his piano as he shows you what he is doing and why.  He spent 25 years developing this program.  Basically, he is teaching you your fingering and showing you techniques to get your fingers moving and flowing.  How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.  Neil teaches you "one bite at a time" to get you to your end results.  We are not too far into the program since we are taking it slow.  I want her to enjoy and have fun with this.  I don't want to lose her or cause her to look at it as work or something she "has" to do.  I want her to keep wanting to do it.

Short video lessons

Online lesson page

In the Long-Term Relationships reference book, Neil challenges you (the teacher/parent) to think differently about teaching music.  He breaks it into two distinct parts, "Method" and "Relationship."  He explains what he means and how it works in the reference book.  He asks us to change our "conversation" and not just chalk any failure up to "it just isn't for me" or "I just don't have what it takes."  I like what he says about this and how he challenges us to think differently.  I also like the technique he uses to just dive in and play.  He teaches you a basic foundation that can carry you into much deeper musical skills.  I know how to read music but this program is not about reading music.  It is about learning about your keyboard and how to make your fingers sing.  It allows you and/or your student to begin playing right away and getting quick results that transfer into excitement and a desire to continue to learn more to improve your technique and play more.

Neil's 4 goals to encouraging music as a lifelong companion include (p. 28):
  1. Experience music as a natural self-expression
  2. Play a huge repertoire
  3. Develop the ability to self-generate
  4. Have a highly positive, self-affirming experience throughout
He goes on to explain the six components of all long-term relationships. It's a wonderful reference book that will get you thinking differently to enhance your success in your musical endeavor.

I have to say, that from my experience as a child, I have more memories and have still retained (after 45 years!!!) a song I first learned when I first learned to play the piano.  I had a teacher that I believe encompassed many of Neil's passions.  She got me playing before she locked me into all the technicalities of note reading, etc.  I loved to play when she was my teacher and I loved what I learned.  Later I had a teacher that "taught by the book" and I hated it and quickly lost my interest in my lessons and music. I hope to have a better outcome with this program and my 1st grader.  So far we are progressing slowly, but we are having fun.

I like the technique and philosophy behind the Music & Creativity - Foundation Course by Simply Music.  As an adult, I have taken a course similar that taught me chords but no note reading.  It really gives you a lot of freedom in your playing and you have a lot of fun and quick results.  Especially since this program is free, you really have nothing to lose in giving it a try.  I personally recommend it and would love to hear how it works for you if you give it a try.

You can connect with Simply Music on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, INSTAGRAM, and YOUTUBE.

Be sure to check out the other reviews from my fellow Crew members by clicking on the graphic link below.  Give it a try, you might just awaken that music bug within you!

Learn to Play the Piano with Music & Creativity - Foundation Course {Simply Music Reviews}

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