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Comprehensive Piano Course

Question: Read your email today. I am a trained musician and songwriter (guitar, voice, music major at college level) working as a physician/surgeon. I have forever wanted a legitimate comprehensive piano course that I can do on my own. There are a few out there that are more like “piano candy,” getting you to understand shapes and patterns and chords. Fine for non-musicians tinkering around the edges. I am completely persuaded that an organized CD set that takes people from the beginning and marches them through to more intermediate and advanced playing would be a tremendous value and a great opportunity for the pianist/teacher that could put this together. The video/print format of individual lessons and a curriculum forces the teacher to stay very well organized and it allows the student to take things at their own pace. This medium for music education is taking root in all the online formats we are seeing proposed by many colleges for theory, songwriting and music production. You could even have a format for getting some review and individual input for a price, etc., but to have the organized curriculum (beginner, intermediate, advanced?) would broaden your audience, meet a need and be a great business opportunity for you. Is this what you are planning?

– Scott Wilkinson (Birmingham, Michigan, USA)

Albert’s reply: Yes! This is more or less exactly the sort of thing I have in mind. In addition, one of the weaknesses of traditional method books that I seek to address is the lack of sufficient repertoire at any given skill level. Piano courses tend to have a limited number of pieces and progress too fast for many students, who become frustrated when the music is more than their present skill set can handle. This scenario sometimes causes them to quit playing altogether.

My concept offers large amounts of repertoire at every level of difficulty. I believe that this will keep more students more engaged more of the time, since they will be free to choose the pieces they like best. It will also allow students to spend more time developing a given skill before moving on to the next level of difficulty.

Moreover, our minds need continual reinforcement of learning concepts. One example almost never suffices. What’s more, even the simplest pieces are generally too complex to address their every facet, from harmonic analysis to contrapuntal aspects to form to rhythm to dynamics to technicalities of touch to interpretation. These concepts need to be introduced gradually and can only be done over the course of, well, a comprehensive course. I therefore chose to focus each lesson on each piece on a small number of aspects of musicianship. I also created the lessons in such a way that students can learn even if they don’t play the particular piece on which the lesson is based.

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