Private Piano Lesson Or Self-Learning Piano Course?

Posted by Yoke Wong on 3/31/2011 to Learn To Play Piano

Have you ever wondered whether you should take private piano lessons or learn from piano courses? Let me share with you my recent experience when learning to play the violin.

I decided early in 2011 I wanted to learn another instrument. I picked the violin since, I believe, the sound of a violin is beautiful, but I never played a stringed instrument before.After talking to a few people who play violin, I decided to invest in a decent violin.

Within a few days I started playing some simple melodies and Christmas carols; talk about an odd time to play Christmas carols. I know, it was a bit easier for me to get started since I already know how to read notes and improvise. I also had no problem finding the different notes on my violin. My biggest problem was my bowing technique. After some thought I decided to take private violin lessons. My initial feeling was that private lessons may help me more. I was wrong!

I told my violin teacher about my goals during the interview: to enjoy music-making on the violin, to play nice songs and to have good posture and techniques. We ran into problems before I even started the first lesson: schedule and time. We’re busy people and constantly juggle family, business and various other activities. so it's difficult to commit to a weekly schedule. In fact, I had to be out of town during the first lesson.

When I finally started my private lesson, I had already worked on a few songs and felt pretty good about the tone of my playing. I thought I was ready to take my playing to the next level. Do you want to guess what my teacher had me work on during the first lesson?

"Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star"

Ouch, not a kiddie song again! Can you feel my frustration?

I can feel your pain and frustration if you're starting to learn the piano, and your private teacher has you playing kiddie tunes.

This isn't the worst part. I felt as if the teacher didn't understand me when I explained to her I wanted to make music and not get tied up playing everything exactly as written in the book and have no room for creative music making.

My 60-minute violin lesson went by quickly, but I learned little new information. It was disappointing. The financial part was not that big an issue because I was eager to improve my playing and I was willing to spend the money ($60 USD/hour). My biggest frustrations were that the teacher didn't want to listen to me or to understand my needs. Toward the end of the lesson I played a few non-kiddie tunes for her, but there was no input whatsoever since the melodies I played were not part of the Suzuki Method Book 1.

After coming back from the first private lesson, I decided to invest in a few DVD violin courses. (I should have thought about that in the first place!) I get to pick what I like to learn with the DVD violin courses, and I get to choose my own schedule, not to mention, I get to watch the courses over and over again, And you know what? There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee with the courses.

Why am I sharing this with you?

I understand your situation. If you're like me, a busy adult, it's very difficult to schedule a private piano lesson on a consistent basis. If you finally have the time to take private lessons, it isn't easy to find someone who understands an adult's learning style.

Adults do not enjoy playing children's tunes. We don't have five to 10 years to invest in traditional learning methods. Unfortunately, most music learning books are designed for children, and there just aren't many resources out there for adults. Even if there are resources, most of them focus on classical music. Don't get me wrong; I was classically trained and enjoy playing classical music. However, classical music is only one genre of music. There are many genres out there.

If you're an adult with limited time, I urge you to take a look at our piano courses. We have it categorized so you get to learn what you want to learn. If you're a beginner and want to learn classical music, we have the beginner course in favorite classical, favorite hymns or beautiful love song series. (Don’t worry, no children’s songs.)

If you're somebody who already plays piano and has taken private lessons, you get to improve on different aspects of piano techniques such as piano improvisation, sight reading, hand coordination, etc. And if you’re someone who just likes to play from a fake book or lead sheet, we have the "Play Piano With Fake Book" series. There's also a Christmas carol arrangements course

Remember, you get to choose what you want to learn in your own time, in your own home. Plus, we provide a 30-day, money-back guarantee I really think DVD courses are the best option for a busy adult.

However, if you think you have time for regular private lessons and are ready to spend the next three to seven years in weekly lessons and you also found a teacher who understands your needs and learning style, private piano lessons may be right for you.

When learning a new language as an adult, we get adult subjects and topics that matter most. There are crash language courses in which you get to immerse yourself in the new language from a few months to a year, and then you’re ready to speak and communicate in that language. It’s the same with music. Music instruction for adults should also be flexible and help the learner gain the most out of it.



Date: 4/3/2011 1:26:30 PM
It is indeed difficult to find time for private lesson. I think dvd course can fill in the gap.
Kim West, Spokane WA
Date: 4/10/2011 9:31:45 AM
*I have played the piano for 50 years now, which doesn't make me an expert by any means. Being a busy professional, doing Yoke's DVD piano courses, have created new excitement and learning opportunities for me....on my own schedule. On the other hand, if I could get a private lesson from Yoke, now that would be a treat! How about a yearly piano retreat with Yoke for a group lesson, private lesson, and get together?
Yoke Wong
Date: 4/10/2011 2:44:22 PM
That's a great idea, Kim. I've been thinking about some kind of get together or group events for our customers. Will need to do some brainstorming. What would be a good month to host it? I am thinking of Southern California as it is spring-like all year round.
Dan Donnell
Date: 4/10/2011 5:33:52 PM
There is a song by Perry Como.."The Bluest Skies You Ever See are in Seattle" Being from Washington like Kim and wanting the opportunity to have a group lesson, I know of another Piano Teacher from California (Robert Laughin)..Play Piano For Fun, that goes from California to Hawaii to Washington and has workshops at College campusus. If you ever come this way let me know and I will attend as I have already said that if a person applies all the things you time will also be a good pian
Maureen Nishimoto
Date: 4/10/2011 7:38:02 PM
I understand what you say about being busy and schedule conflicts, as well as the teacher not understanding what you need. However, with the DVD's I miss not being able to ask questions or get feedback. I'am fortunate in that my daughtr teaches voice and piano, so I do get feedback from her once in awhile, however we don't get together that much anymore. (She is busy with a music studio of her own, in Corona Ca.) Maureen
P. Sandwell
Date: 4/10/2011 8:41:28 PM
I have just read your post, “Private piano lesson or self-learning piano course?” on your web site. Wow, it is amazing that you, as a music professional, would be subject to some of the same frustrations that we amateurs face. Perhaps your courses would be more understanding, and therefore more usable for someone like me
zee hani
Date: 4/12/2011 1:18:52 AM
i have interest in piano, but i think to be a pianist ones must have strong techniques(which i am lacking due to CTS) so currently im learning electone in yamaha, im a college student so i got spare time to attend the class.. but the fact that pretty soon im going to finish my studies and start to work, then will i be able to keep on attending the class? maybe later on i'll end up buying your fake book n play piano on my electone. keep it up yoke i love to watch ur vids!
Date: 4/13/2011 2:34:52 AM
....preferisco in italiano:possibile sperare in una traduzione dei DVD e libri?Grazie
Betty Wilson
Date: 4/13/2011 6:37:36 AM
Kim West, Spokane WA
Date: 4/14/2011 8:37:15 PM
In reply to Yoke's 4/10/11 note, Southern California could be a wonderful destination spot, especially to see where you live and your studio. In response to Dan's note, a retreat weekend in Seattle could certainly be an exciting destination! I've always wanted to go on the "duck tour". You'll have to describe that to everyone Dan. Those two locations would be fairly reasonable to fly or drive to . But! If you want to have a smooth, relaxing, comfortable destination without the airport or
Yoke Wong
Date: 4/16/2011 11:07:04 AM
Thanks for all your comment and post! Maureen: You are absolutely correct - it would be impossible to replace a live piano teacher. Most people have the challenge of finding the right private teacher, and to find time to attend regular private lessons :) Dan: Great to see you post comments! Yes, it would be fun and exciting to have workshops around the country. I will have to think about that later on - with two young children, family, church activities, and business involvement, it is a bit
Date: 5/13/2011 4:39:06 AM
Oh! I have to say thank you so much for been so motivational to me regarding music.I am learning so much from you. May the good God bless you.How do you constantly enjoy your Violin?I hope you do good. Warm regards. Mathifg.
Date: 5/18/2011 4:43:08 PM
I feel the same way I have paid for private lessions and dont have the time to go each week. I need a DVD to teach me new things. I have been playing for about 4 years and really have tought my self to play with the help of Wayne Shinn. Sooo,I have learned all the bad habits of playing piano. My theory is really bad, but I love to play hymns and classical music... Help WHAT do I do now?
Erkki Veijalainen
Date: 5/26/2011 1:18:24 PM
Dear Cathy, I can convince to you, that listening and watching the DVDs of our skillful governess Yoke Wong and practicing her intelligent methods 5 days a week I have achieved rather good skill to read and play many kind of music with my poor wooden piano and as I earlier have said in internet, this piano does no more remaind of that piano made of Swiss Cheese a year ago, when I had great honour to meet my governess Yoke. It means very much to me to have an ability to play beautiful musicals, o
willy reyes
Date: 6/9/2011 8:10:30 PM
I believe what you said against taking private lesson due to schedule problems. Id like to avail of your dvd on piano improvisation. I consider myself a late beginner. How can I buy one? I dont use a credit card.
willy reyes
Date: 6/9/2011 8:11:45 PM
I believe what you said against taking private lesson due to schedule problems. Id like to avail of your dvd on piano improvisation. I consider myself a late beginner. How can I buy one? I dont use a credit card.
Yoke Wong
Date: 6/9/2011 9:21:23 PM
HI Willy, You can order any of our courses 1. By PayPal – When you order our course from our website, you have the option to pay by PayPal. PayPal allows you to transfer your money to us from your bank account or your PayPal account. It’s free to open a PayPal account. 2. By personal check or money order – We accept money orders issued by U.S. banks or foreign banks. We accept personal checks issued by U.S. banks only. Here is the order form.
Yoke Wong
Date: 6/9/2011 9:22:07 PM
Please go to the following page to find out more about how to order our courses:
jacqueline beluse
Date: 6/23/2011 11:45:53 AM
I took some basic private piano lessons and I found that although; I learned the basics, it was very slow. With my new found courses with Pianomother, I find myself improving day by day. Great piano, great music. I will continue buying pianomother courses, they are great.
Date: 6/23/2011 7:08:03 PM
How did you do with your violin playing go?
Yoke Wong
Date: 6/23/2011 8:38:19 PM
Time is my biggest challenge! I have not had much time to practice violin, Diane!
Date: 6/28/2011 6:08:13 AM
Do you think you might need a translator from Italy, who could translate the books and the DVDs? think about it bye Elena (that is what Rita was asking for)
ruby goh
Date: 6/28/2011 7:00:45 PM
I took learn by ear piano lesson and can play a few pop songs but I am unable to create my own style cos I think I do not have good ears for music though I love to play.Think I would like to buy your dvd which is much more convenient for me to learn at my own pace.I do not have a credit card also and will check your other page to find out more on how to order your courses. Thanks for your info
Wil V Dofredo
Date: 8/4/2011 11:15:31 AM
I am 59 yo and having now the desire to play piano for fun and to be able to play with fake books. No previous experience except the desire to learn at my own time. I will leave it up to you as far as where will I start. I want to learn how to play chords with my left hand and my right hand to play the tune, know what I mean? Will I be able to play good tunes like Scarborough Fair, Unchained Melody in 1-2 years? How to play piano in rock and roll, jazz, folk and pop music style. I am willing to
Date: 8/5/2011 10:08:39 AM
Hi Ruby, You may want to check out our Play Piano With Fake Book course Wil, We have many customers that are baby-booomers. You can check out our fake book series as well as the beginner series. Thanks!
Date: 9/27/2011 12:07:43 AM
Precious sister yoke I am ruth here from India. I appreciate you for your efforts. from last three years I was learning keyboard and from last two years I am playing keyboard in church. but past one year I started learning piano.Learning piano I have the same problem like you. My teacher don't understand me. But I really want to learn piano. but I don't know how about coordination of two hand in piano and I don't know anything about piano. but I play keyboard and I can hear song and make notes
Emiola Christopher
Date: 11/8/2012
Playing piano is really fun and lovely. I play piano in the church, and I have that desire to learn new things each passing and I'm sure this site will help me. Hope to buy one of your course very soon for self-traing on piano. I just got how to play major chords on all twelve key and I'm eager to learn more.
john harvey
Date: 1/8/2013
never had the time on my side for learning the piano would love to try out your dvds thats if i can see the notes you are playing on the course clear. that would be like a teacher beside me showing me the notes to play.i can play a little but not good with my right left hand rubbish. know the f.c.g.block to learn to play off music sheets can you find a place for your courses or is it to late i am 85 well the way love the look of your playing on dvd.sorry late
Date: 10/30/2013
I would like to learn to play embellished hymns and beautiful classical music, without having to practice complicated sheet music, playing every single note as written. How wonderful if I could just sit down and play freely. But unfortunately, I am just a student with no money to spare, so I have to try to teach myself, playing the sheet music. Your free videos have helped me, and I would love to get a hold of your DVD's. Do you ever have give-aways of your courses?
Loretta Harmon
Date: 5/5/2014
I'm all for a "get-together". Loretta Harmon

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