Homeschool Piano provides online piano lessons to families that extend beyond just reading music and playing the piano. The goal of this company is to make each student into an expressive piano player that is able to improvise as well as playing sheet music. There are printable booklets to go along with the online video lessons.
For this review, we were given a lifetime subscription to the Homeschool Piano Complete Set of Books. These lessons are appropriate for all ages.
How We Used It:
First things first. I lost all my fun pictures of the kids practicing on the piano. I'm beyond bummed because, while we had some issues with the site in the beginning, they really had fun with this review.
Originally I planned to use these with Josie over the Summer. She has wanted to learn to play the piano for a long time and this program looked like a good fit. However, once we got it, I decided to use it with Gabe as well. And after sitting in on the first lesson, I decided I wanted to try to learn too! So all three of us ended up getting to try this. We all used and responded to it differently, so read on to see how it went for each of us!
There are three book levels in this program.
The first is for absolute beginners, the second for building a foundation for those that have a little knowledge, and the third is about perfecting your style. None of us have any experience on the piano, so we all started in book one.
To start off, I printed off the sheet music for Book One.
These were simple, few notes bars that were easy to print out. I made ours into a book, because I like organized papers. Totally unnecessary, but it worked for us.
Once that was ready, we pulled the keyboard out from the moving boxes in our garage and plugged it up. The kids? Beyond excited the keyboard reappeared!
The program lessons are done by video. I streamed them on the iPad so that we could sit at the piano as we watched them. I tried to have them both listen to the lesson at the same time, but that went about how you'd imagine, so we went to separate lessons.
Each unit has 7 lessons, each lasting about 10 minutes. After that, the student will need time to practice. We worked slowly through the lessons since we totally had zero experience. This is one review that I didn't have to remind Josie to do. She was quick to remind me that she needed to practice each day. She loves the keyboard!
I'm glad this is a lifetime subscription, because it may take me that long to learn! But I'm an old lady, my kids are a different story. Josie picked it up the fastest. She seems to have a little of a knack for piano. Even so, at 7 it was hard for her. Gabe didn't have a hard time, but he has tiny fingers and hands which made it difficult to manage the keys. He did try and I'm thinking that this will be a product that I circle back around to when he's a bit bigger.
A big chunk of our review period was effected by a glitch on the website.
We had a hard time logging on and, since we are in the middle of a cross country move, it really effected the amount of practices we got in. However, about a week ago we got an email explaining that the server had been overloaded by all the new sign ups. They boosted the server and since then we have had zero difficulty accessing the site. The company was quick to respond to the issue, which is super nice.
In the end, I wouldn't recommend this for busy little four year old boys, but it was perfect for elementary school aged kids. The lessons are short, leaving a good chunk of time for practice. It's also nice that students can keep replaying the same lessons until they are comfortable with it before moving on. There's no pressure to get it right on the first try.
I also loved the improvision lessons. This really gives them freedom so they don't feel like they are just copying someone else's music.
I think that for our family, we will still need some in person lessons to get down the basics. It's difficult since I have no knowledge to pass on to them. If your family has any piano experience, I think this would be a wonderful tool.
Complete Set of Books - $299
or Monthly Payments of $99.97/month for 3 months
* Unlimited life-time access to HomeSchoolPiano along with all bonuses (downloads, jam tracks, sheet music) for up to 5 students with both options