Before I enrolled in Musiah’s piano lessons, there were a couple of obstacles that were preventing me from learning:
For years I held myself back because I was too intimidated to begin learning how to play an instrument. I have spoken to a lot of musicians who have been playing for decades. Some of them I consider close friends. Their reaction to adult beginners isn't the most welcoming.
Most never take an adult seriously when you tell them that you’re interested in learning to play an instrument (understandably considering how many quit soon after starting).
Some act as though it’s this exclusive club you’re not allowed to join unless you started playing as a child. I’ve received condescending remarks, smirks, demoralizing comments (“You’re too old”; “You’ll never do it”), and annoyed replies when I ask for advice on how to start.
I can understand where they are coming from. They didn’t quit, "paid their dues" with hours of practice, and may think a newbie is taking their accomplishment lightly. Still stinks. I wasted lots of time in my teens and twenties taking comments like these to heart. I'm now in my early 30's. Still young, but time isn't stopping.
It has been an eye opener realizing that I was letting random people dictate what I accomplish in life.
The other obstacle? Private lessons are just too expensive. I would love to have someone watch me play and comment on my technique as I progress. That’s a huge benefit to miss out on if your goal is to be proficient at piano; however, I couldn't find justification in the cost per lesson when the internet is littered with information at a fraction of the price (if not free).
The question then became – “How do I make sense of it all so that I don’t become overwhelmed and quit?”
I came across Musiah’s piano lessons. I was very skeptical. Who isn’t these days? We are surrounded by products and services that constantly fail to deliver on grand promises of making our lives easier in the shortest amount of time possible. (We all have that one fitness product gathering dust.)
The cost of Musiah is incredibly reasonable. What I paid for the entire year is close to what I would have paid for private lessons in a month. Even if the program wasn’t as efficient as it is (I’ll get to that point later), it would still be worth the cost for the guidance.
Also, that little issue I had about being intimidated went out the window after asking Brendan my first questions about the program and for clarification on some of the music theory I was confused about. Professionalism coupled with kindness. It’s tough to find these days.
My questions are answered almost immediately, but you can tell a lot thought goes into Brendan’s answers. I never receive some boilerplate response generated by a computer. I don’t feel like a customer. I feel like I have a private instructor who is one email away if I have an issue. I’m not sure how to better describe it. Send him an email. You’ll see what I’m talking about.
Here’s what I've enjoyed so far about Musiah’s piano lessons: The program basically holds your hand as you learn. Piano is difficult. I don’t know many people who could just learn without some kind of structure (I couldn’t). The lessons are organized so that you aren't overwhelmed with information. The concepts are reinforced and each lesson is more challenging than the last so you actually see progress in your playing as you continue.
This is key — seeing myself progress as quickly as I have has been the ultimate motivator. I typically schedule 30 minutes of practice a day in the evening during my “leave me alone” time. (I’ve been good at keeping the schedule although life happens sometimes.) Often times those 30 minutes turn into an hour. Practice isn’t a chore. I actually enjoy it. It's because my progress is obvious.
And I get to practice and study on my own time, at my own leisure, in the comfort of my own home. I don’t have to fight traffic to get to lessons and I don’t have to deal with someone who may not have an interest in showing me how to play.
Also, I love that my progress is tracked online. I love comparing my scores to those in my age range, in my state, and in my country. It plays into my competitive nature and slight OCD. I refuse to settle for anything less than 100% on each lesson and performance. It’s tangible proof of your progress (outside of your actual playing). It’s motivating.
Surprisingly, low scores on auditions or completely butchering songs are a god-send. I would have considered these failures in the past. Frustration would have set in and I would’ve quit. But, my progress is tracked. I can see how well I’m doing and can hear it in my playing. It would be foolish to stop now and I don’t want my record tarnished. So, I practice my way through these failures until I end up with a perfect score when I give the lesson another try.
This has boiled over into my professional and personal life as well. I fail often. In the past, it was a confidence killer. Now, I realize failures are an indicator of what I need to work on. I push through and use what I’ve learned from past mistakes in order to dominate the next time I’m faced with a similar challenge. It’s odd how it works.
As of right now – Yes.
To date, Musiah has delivered on its promise. Plainly put - It teaches you to play piano and you will learn fast. Respect the program by practicing the lessons learned in each level and Musiah will continue to walk you through the next challenge in its curriculum.
Keep in mind, I am only just starting level 3; however, in less than two months I am comfortable sight reading sheet music, I do not need to look down at the keys to play the note the sheet music calls for, and can play the keyboard with two hands.
I have 11 more levels to complete and a lot of work to become completely comfortable with playing and sight reading. However, considering what I can do on the keyboard right now as a result of Musiah, I can’t imagine the progress I’ll have made at the end of it.
In closing, I am not blowing smoke with any of my comments. I value my time and my dollar. I’m satisfied that Musiah isn’t wasting either. I can’t begin to tell you the amount of progress I’ve made with Musiah. It’s cool, to say the least. But I’m still in the early stages. I will update my review once I have completed the entire program.
Adam A - Danbury, Connecticut, United States
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