Internet piano lessons - How valuable are they?

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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Wed Jan 12, 2005 11:02 am

There are now many sites that claim to offer "piano lessons" over the Internet. There are numerous "miracle method" and "play in a day" sites. In my view, the less said about them, the better. Other sites, aside from the "miracle" ones, upon closer examination, vary from mostly "pitches" for signing up for online lessons to sites that actually offer free, limited Java-based, "interactive" lessons. We have even linked a few such sites that are among the better of that genre.

Have you visited or used such sites yourself? Do you find those sites valuable? If you're a teacher, what do you think of those offerings? Do you advise your students to use them? Are you aware of any Internet piano lesson sites that you would recommend and why? How should such sites best be used, if at all, and what are their limitations? This should be instructive for all of us, so let us know what you think. :cool:




Edited By Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Editor on 1105803392
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Postby 119-1097335655 » Fri Jan 14, 2005 8:28 pm

I am learning alone right now, without the benefit of a teacher, so I occasionally browse these sites in my free time. I'm looking for tidbits on theory, or perhaps basic strategies for approaching certain pieces that I've taken it into my head to learn, not a comprehensive guide to the art of piano, or a miracle method for turning me into an instant prodigy.

In my opinion you really can't substitue for the trained and watchful eye of a professional. However, if you are willing to filter through the immense information garbage, and expect only modest returns, the internet will on occasion furnish you with the odd gem...

I think the internet can best be used as resource for theory, as this is comparatively simple to present through the internet format... technique... YIKES. I think not. And as you suggested, I concur: there is NO miracle method, except that of practice, practice, practice, practice, listen, listen, practice, practice, practice, think, think, practice, practice, practice, practice... :-)
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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Sat Jan 15, 2005 11:14 am

wouldbewarrior wrote:In my opinion you really can't substitue for the trained and watchful eye of a professional. However, if you are willing to filter through the immense information garbage, and expect only modest returns, the internet will on occasion furnish you with the odd gem...

Yes, I think that's right. The Internet has tremendous amounts of information and has become invaluable as a research and educational tool, but you have to able to sort through a lot of chaff to find the wheat. Unfortunately, most people aren't equipped to do that well.

Putting aside pedagogical issues, you'll find that most sites that claim to offer "free lessons" really only offer LINKS to the few other sites that actually provide content, in this case, actual lessons. I can't tell you how may sites I've looked at because they have requested links on PEP, claiming that they offer "free lessons," only to find the claim to be simply false. The most recent was yesterday! That's one of the may hidden aspects of running PEP - checking out sites before we link them.

There are a few sites that DO provide some lesson material, but they are of highly variable quality. I can think of one or two whose Internet "lessons" are worthwhile and fun to do, but only cover something like the first year of training for the average student. We have linked these on PEP, though with some trepidation, lest we give people the impression that they are a substitute for private teaching. Similarly, that's the reason we have avoided giving "lessons" of any sort on PEP, though that distinctly disappoints some of our visitors.

Having said all that, let me say something in favor of the potential for Internet lessons. I live in a city in New Mexico where lessons can be found readily, though most studios are full. However, you don't have to go very far from the cities in this state to come to areas where piano teaching is almost impossible to find. An acquaintance of mine was paid by one of the Native American tribes here in New Mexico to come to their reservation and teach lessons there, because they were unavailable - and that one was relatively close - only an hour away.

Many other people live in counties of hundreds of square miles where there are only 20,000 residents in the whole county and the nearest town may be 2 hours away through the mountains. However, most of those places have some access to the Internet, by phone, cable modem, satellite TV or, less likely, phone-based DSL. Thus, much of this audience can only be served by the Internet or software piano teaching.
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
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