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#1099539 - 01/07/08 08:49 AM Re: piano magic cost
Seaside_Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 2160
Loc: Blackpool, UK
Hi gmmm1

I hear what you are saying

and yes sadly you are probably the one responsible, I remember you telling me "the magic secret" of the other course and of course we both now know it was nothing different to what was right before your eyes at pianomagic and what I already knew.

Just one thing the instruction at pianomagic is quite clearly not to "pick out the melody by hunt and peck" and if that is all you understood to do then Mike and the gang are probably at fault for not steering you right (in fact I am most annoyed with myself because I can usually help any newbies with melody issues (heck I'm the king of 'em) and I can't understand how I didn't manage to help you when you were there)

As I've just mentioned your inability to tell whether a melody goes up or down is an affliction commonly known at pianomagic as "Seaside_Lee Affliction" and I'd have gladly done my best to help you to cure it. To be honest I am not sure how you didn't manage to get the direction you needed...maybe, if you'd have only found my endless questions in the forums (that are still there) on melody ups and downs you'd have had it licked.

However, I am thrilled that Matthews program is providing the missing links for you \:D ...because at the end of the day if you are enjoying yourself and having fun then that is what its all about IMHO

People were playing pianos by ear a long time before pianomagic came along so it ain't the only way to do it and the beautiful music played on here in the bars and the recitals is proof pudding that there are many different ways to learn to play that work.


regards


Lee
_________________________
My Piano Journey Blog...Seaside Lee's Piano Journey...
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#1099540 - 01/07/08 08:54 AM Re: piano magic cost
Seaside_Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 2160
Loc: Blackpool, UK
 Quote:
I don't know about you Seaside, but rather than being tied to a computer, I was off on my bike fishing when I was 15.
Ah yes, there were many kool things that I was doing at 15 !! \:D

Still wouldn't have minded knowing what I know now about piano, back then (if only for the babes ;\) )


\:D
_________________________
My Piano Journey Blog...Seaside Lee's Piano Journey...
New Piano Video...Learn To Play "I Dreamed A Dream" with Seaside

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#1099541 - 01/07/08 03:48 PM Re: piano magic cost
Gilbert Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/22/06
Posts: 442
Loc: Ireland
I am a PM member and I think that there are a lot of merits with the approach. However, as Lee and a few others have pointed out - it isn't the only method. Some of the more recent youTube sites provide tutorials that are direct and give you the short cut to playing many songs (Shawn Cheek, Music without Music TV and PianoJohn). I subscribe to two of these methods and apart from being able to play some of the songs they demonstarte, I have also been able to use the same methods to crack other tunes I love.

Finally, although the PM fee may seem expensive to begin with, the renewal fee after one year is half price which is a good way of luring you back.
_________________________
"If your only tool is a hammer, every problem tends to look like a nail!"

Piano: Roland FP-7

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#1099542 - 01/07/08 05:53 PM Re: piano magic cost
DeepElem Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/27/06
Posts: 366
Loc: USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
I love the simple idea of this guy and his whiteboard: http://www.youtube.com/shawncheekeasy
Perhaps it would be better if he wrote up notation instead, but you couldn't get a quicker start to keyboard playing.
[/b]
When I listened to him play Maybe I'm Amazed I thought the obvious, "that sounds just like the record". This brings to mind another point about Pianomagic.

Pianomagic will not teach you how to play something that sounds exactly like the arrangement you are used to hearing.

Pianomagic teaches you how to pick out melodies, how to harmonize the melody in a variety of ways (ie what chords you can play), and how to play a number of decorations. The whole point of Pianomagic is you are creating your own arrangement.

So if your goal is to play "Piano Man" (or insert your favorite song here - Alone Again Naturally maybe for Gilbert ;\) ) and sound like the record then Pianomagic is not for you.
_________________________
-Buck
------
If you knew what you were doing, you'd probably be bored.
- Fresco's Law

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#1099543 - 01/08/08 08:59 PM Re: piano magic cost
Elssa Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/05
Posts: 1484
Loc: NY
PianoMagic is really just a name as far as the "magic" part goes. PM has a foundation of solid music theory/math (that should be easier for tech people) - a simple but concrete method of music/harmony that is used in all types of music. It's the study of chords, basically. Calling it "magic" is more appealing, though, and fun. ;\) BTW, a lot of people start out with simple songs, such as Twinkle, Twinkle, to get the basic chords/theory down pat.

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#1099544 - 05/29/08 07:40 AM Re: piano magic cost
Props2u Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 18
Loc: Connecticut, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
[QB] I love the simple idea of this guy and his whiteboard: http://www.youtube.com/shawncheekeasy
Perhaps it would be better if he wrote up notation instead, but you couldn't get a quicker start to keyboard playing.
Be forewarned before paying for his service.
First he says the videos are bigger and better on his site. They are not. They are the same size and quality as youtube. He says ALL the part 2s and 3s are on his site. But he has many, many unfinished songs that are months old and seems he has no plans to finish them. He tells you to send him requests and he'll do them. He doesnt do this for free. Despite being a member you must pay extra if you want him to do a requested song. His updates are way too infrequent. He has stated that he does this full time. To me, that means he should have a new song or part to a song almost everyday. Yet he uploads 1 part every month or so. I can write almost a full song out with Synthesia in like a hour. He is much more of a pianist than ill ever be, yet it takes a month? Thats laziness and milking it out to its fullest.
He wont answer his emails unless you need tech support or you praise him. You cannot download his videos unless you pay for quicktime in order to use its save feature, which is shut off in the free version. (mp4 files are QT/itunes only)
If you nicely question any of this stuff in a email, he ignores it. If you try on youtube, he will delete it and disable comments. In other words, 95% of his youtube videos have comments disabled.
Very bad customer support, and terrible updates on something that is simple (for him) to do.

One more thing, he recently has said that ALL of Abbey Road is uploaded. Yet only 5 or 6 songs are there.
Obviously his plans are to get rich on the net and do little or no work.
I got suckered in for a month, i wont be paying for a second month. You get paid for how much you work, and i cant see many people paying $30 every month for 1 part to a song. A shame. He had a good idea and the whiteboard method is nice. But the once a month updates are certainly not worth paying for.

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#1099545 - 05/29/08 10:06 AM Re: piano magic cost
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Thanks for pulling me up there. Hope you got your $30 worth.
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snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1099546 - 05/29/08 10:11 AM Re: piano magic cost
btcomm Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 02/05/07
Posts: 273
Loc: California
Props2u ---------

You're absolutely correct. Bad - very bad -customer service and completely scattered material offered. I did buy one of his DVD's and the song list parts 1, 2, and 3 were scattered everywhere with no menu -- really a mess and the quality pretty lame. Probably a nice guy but I think greed has definitely set in. I, for one, won't be revisiting.

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#1099547 - 05/29/08 04:17 PM Re: piano magic cost
JerryG Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/25/06
Posts: 170
Loc: Long Island, NY
There are a number of people posting here that are members of PianoMagic. When you read their comments about the course one must understand where they are coming from. I think some could not relate to a more traditional approach such as a teacher. I give them credit to them to accomplish what they want through this course.

However, learning to play by ear is not as easy as people might lead you to believe. First you must pick out the tune. Then you must add the harmony part with your left hand. Have you not then just reinvented the wheel?

There are no shortcuts to learning an instrument, particularly if you want to become proficient at it. You should learn to read music. You should learn theory and harmony. A teacher, although more expensive than PianoMagic, will provide basic skills and a regimen for the learning process.

Assuming you can read music, would it not make more sense to find that song in your head already written out in a fake book. At least you don't have to reinvent it, and can get started on learning how to play it. With the chords already written out you can see the movement of the music. Patterns will emerge such as the standard I-VI-II-V-I.

After working on a number of tunes you might be able to anticipate patterns when playing another tune. You will start to hear in your head a particular chord pattern before you even start to play it.

So I say to those who want to play by ear, perhaps the more traditional approach would jump start your playing. I know I will get a lot of flak from this however, I do not attempt to take away your belief in the course, but only to present another way to look at the process of playing by ear.

If you have difficulty picking out tunes then why not go to the already written out music? If you are trying to figure out which chords go with which melody notes, why not go to the music directly.

I have probably now incurred more of the wrath of the PianoMagic people here, but I am just presenting another way to look at things.

PianoMagic excells in explaining theory. Mike Anderson is one of those rare individuals who is committed to the members of PianoMagic, and I would be the first to nominate him for Piano Sainthood. However I happen to believe that a good grounding in basic music skills should be learned first.

If PianoMagic helps bring you to the place you want to be then all the more Power to you. The goal is to enjoy yourself in your learning process. That said my comments are only to give a little different perspective.
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IJGpiano

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#1099548 - 05/29/08 07:16 PM Re: piano magic cost
Rosanna Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/07
Posts: 1360
Loc: San Francisco Bay area
 Quote:
I have probably now incurred more of the wrath of the PianoMagic people here, but I am just presenting another way to look at things.
JerryG, with a comment like that, how can I not jump in?!

 Quote:
When you read their comments about the course one must understand where they are coming from. I think some could not relate to a more traditional approach such as a teacher.
I am not sure "where [any or all PM-ers] are coming from" either, as each has their own background, goals, learning styles, etc. But anecdotically, I can name several people, including myself, who are PM students, who also have prior lessons in classical and/or jazz and/or pop. I am not sure what you meant by "some could not relate to a more traditional approach such as a teacher". It seems that your implication is that PM-ers chose PM because we can't quite handle traditional lessons, and thus resort to some lesser methods.

I did have a teacher for 10 years, and while no where as beautiful a player as other members of this forum, I am capable of playing grade 6-8 classical pieces. I happen to prefer pop music, and have played those from score too. So I am quite mystified by your statement.

 Quote:
However, learning to play by ear is not as easy as people might lead you to believe. First you must pick out the tune. Then you must add the harmony part with your left hand. Have you not then just reinvented the wheel?
I am not sure what your point is. If play by ear is not as easy as people think, it would seem it's quite legitimate to learn to do that with guidance, via some course. But then you seem to imply that once one picks out the tune and put left hand harmony on, one would have reinvented the wheel - so are you saying it's not a worthwhile endeavor, since it's not easy anyway, so why bother - let's just learn to play by learning to read music alone?

 Quote:
There are no shortcuts to learning an instrument, particularly if you want to become proficient at it. You should learn to read music.
Your statement implies that becoming proficient at an instument equates to learning to read music. Reading music is just one skill out of many. Playing by ear is another. I don't know why you would put one as more superior, almost to the exclusion of the other skill. When we learn to talk/read/write, we don't say that reading is the path to being proficient at talking, do we? In fact being able to talk is a natural prerequisite to reading. It's worth considering that playing-by-ear may also be a worthwhile, or even natural prerequisite to reading music.

To push that analogy further, one can also say that reading, writing and public speaking are very different skills. Being good at one doesn't mean one is natually good at another. Having the skill at one doesn't mean that the other skills should not be developed. It also depends on what skill one likes to have.

 Quote:
If you have difficulty picking out tunes then why not go to the already written out music? If you are trying to figure out which chords go with which melody notes, why not go to the music directly.
It's call freedom! I don't have a memorized repertoire. More than that, I don't even have a score on Happy Birthday. Could I have played something, anything without score prior to PM? NO! Do I want to carry my sheet music to any party, just in case in the spur of the moment, I'd like to play for and with friends? No! Do I want to only play someone else's arrangement? No! Besides, I would say to be able to play a song in the moment based on one's own creative moods and ability is the gift of music making.

 Quote:
I do not attempt to take away your belief in the course
I must say that I don't have any particular "belief" about the course. What I am learning is experiential, and not a belief! However after reading your post, I am most curious if you were a member of PM at any point in time, and what you particular objections may be to the method. The reason I ask is that what you said or implied about PM doesn't sound like first hand experience, but an inference, a "belief", you are making about what is taught and how it is taught.

There are other ABF members who have joined PM and quit due to various reasons/preferences of their own. Their posts/comments on PM appeared in various threads. I am always interested about their perspectives, because they gave personal and experiential reasons, and pointed out the whats and whys about PM didn't work for them. Their posts always make sense to me, and show me in a tangible way why PM doesn't work.

Your post, to me, sounds very theoretical. If your basis about PM were accurate, it would be just fine. But there is nothing you said or guessed about PM that sounds like what PM really does! So if you really were learning from PM at one point, I can see why you may have less than satisfactory comments about it, since you didn't really get the essence of it.

It feels to me that the main point of your post is that one should get a proper technical and theoretical training. I have no disagreement with that.

The other point is that with that proper training, the play-by-ear skill would come somehow on its own, (although one paragraph implied that it's not easy, while another paragraph implied that it would come somehow with learning to read music and/or from playing from fake book.) That I have to disagree with. My own experience tells me I do not have the insight on my own to figure out how to play by ear. Other ABF posters who are experienced players (Danny Nikolas is one of the members who comes to my mind) also lament that such a skill is not properly nutured in traditional training.

OK Jerry, you've incurred the first "wrath"! I just want to re-emphasis I have nothing against traditional methods, nor your views of how play-by-ear may or may not fit into the big scheme of piano playing. But I do find your implications about what PM actually is to be theoretical and as such rather erroneous.
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#1099549 - 05/29/08 07:22 PM Re: piano magic cost
Akira Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/27/07
Posts: 1645
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
That's about the most civilized wrath I've ever seen. \:\)

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#1099550 - 05/29/08 07:28 PM Re: piano magic cost
Rosanna Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/07
Posts: 1360
Loc: San Francisco Bay area
Haha Akira! I hate "flaming" sessions, but I couldn't help responding when I saw Jerry's post. I tried not to "flame" while I doled out my "wrath"! :p Glad I sounded "civilized"!
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#1099551 - 05/29/08 09:02 PM Re: piano magic cost
TonyB Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/08/07
Posts: 314
Loc: Twin Cities
Rosanna responded VERY well, and said her piece better than I could, so I am just poking my head in here to mention that I know theory and harmony (and have written many arrangements of tunes for solo fingerstyle/classical guitar), have played guitar for many years, worked full time professionally for a couple of years and played lead in a number of church bands and shows, and after all that, am getting a kick out of learning to play songs at the piano by ear. As far as I am concerned, Piano Magic complements, rather than replaces, any form of traditional learning.

Robert Conti has a number of jazz guitar books and DVDs out, called the "Source Code" series. He is one hell of a player, playing the NAMM show and working 6 and 7 nights a week in Las Vegas - a very busy full time professional musician. In his teaching materials, he says over and over again that people make learning music far too complicated.

His view is that it would be a good thing for students to play first, and then later learn the WHY of what they are doing. In other words, learning all the theory and harmony beforehand without having the context of actually playing music to keep such study in perspective, is putting the cart before the horse. Looking back over my time in music, I tend to agree. Conti is not saying that a person shouldn't learn theory and harmony, but that one should do so to understand what s/he is already playing - as he says, when it really comes down to it, the action is on the fretboard, not in a book (or on the piano keys in our case here). If you look into his materials, you will readily see that they are all about playing songs and learning through doing.

There are many different approaches to learning music, and there are many successful musicians who have come up in any number of ways. When anyone espouses a particular view regarding his or her favorite means of learning to play music as being THE WAY, that person needs to realize that other ways can and do work just as well. If that were not true, then there would only be musicians worth their salt who came up through one method. That is simply not reality.

Tony
_________________________
my blog: http://ajourneyintomusic.blogspot.com

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#1099552 - 05/29/08 09:36 PM Re: piano magic cost
Musictuary Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/19/05
Posts: 169
Loc: Aurora, Illinois, USA
JerryG

I joined Pianomagic about two weeks ago. I had six years of "traditional" classical lessons as a child and I am currently taking "traditional" classical lessons as an adult.

Although I believe that learning to read music and knowing music theory is important, knowing how to play by ear is also just as important. I truly believe that ideally learning to play by ear should precede learning to read music similarly to how one typically learns a language. Since I didn't have the opportunity to learn to play by ear in my formative music training before learning to read music I decided to join Pianomagic to improve my ability to play by ear. I haven't completed going through all the beginning lessons but the knowledge I've gained so far has been quite a revelation. I truly believe I am on the path of finally being able to play by ear in a pleasing manner. Another secondary goal that I have for joining PM is to improve my understanding of music in general by being able to hear what I see and see what I hear.

I tried using the traditional approach that you suggested to learn to play by ear but I have made greater progress since joining PM.

Musictuary

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#1099553 - 05/31/08 09:32 AM Re: piano magic cost
Rerun Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/28/07
Posts: 507
Loc: Louisiana
Hey Jerry,

I'm a PMer and I enjoyed reading your post. You probably have a common perspective. I found it pretty easy actually to learn to play by ear, and I have virtually no prior training, do not sight read, and have very, very little understanding of theory (all of which I picked up at PM). Even though those discussions are a part of PM, I choose not to bog myself down with a lot of that stuff because it's not very important to me right now. I just let my ears do the heavy hauling.

Also, just "consider" the possibility that there "is" a short-cut to learning to play piano, etc. proficiently. If it's an impossibility for you, you might be letting that belief affect how quickly you move ahead.


It's easy for me to overlook that everyone is wired differently... some things subtle, somethings not. I have a son-in-law with an MBA, manages a manf. plant, pretty bright, but believe it or not, has GPS in their cars so he can find his way to and from a store. \:D Figure that one out. Nothing wrong in that, that's just the way it is. Musically, some use sheets as their GPS, some use ears, some both. Some improvise (play by ear), some can't..... (because they probably don't believe they can, in a lot of instances) \:\) .

But, I'm glad you posted your take on it...in the end, we probably all understand each other a little better by talking about it.
_________________________
Rerun

"Seat of the pants piano player" DMD







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#1099554 - 05/31/08 01:18 PM Re: piano magic cost
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
 Quote:
Originally posted by Rerun:
Also, just "consider" the possibility that there "is" a short-cut to learning to play piano, etc. proficiently.[/b]
Short-cuts no, blind alleys - plenty.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1099555 - 05/31/08 03:18 PM Re: piano magic cost
Elssa Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/05
Posts: 1484
Loc: NY
I've been taking classical and jazz piano lessons off and on all my life and I found Piano Magic still had a lot of great stuff to teach me. \:\) Only a couple of those private teachers over the years really taught me some of the intricasies of harmony/chords/chord progressions, but none of them had taught me how to pick out almost any tune and find the "correct" (good-sounding) chord for it, and I didn't have the creativity or savvy to figure all the patterns and methods out myself or by looking at books/sheet music. I'm still with PM and also just started up occasional jazz lessons again just to learn some more "fancy" chords/voicings and tricks/licks, but am very grateful for PM, the one and only place that I've found that teaches a true play-by-ear method. If you're interested, it goes beyond finding the basic triad chords; I've learned complex half-step, diminished chords/progressions, etc. through PM. You just have to stick with it long enough and also be willing to ask questions to get there (especially if you want to get beyond the basic printed lessons), though, and have a true desire to eliminate most reliance on sheet music. I still get stuck and look at a book now and then, but MUCH less than before. As Rosanna says, it's "freedom". I don't think it replaces other things like lessons, or getting ideas from books, it just adds to it and ties everything together so it makes more sense, so it's not just a tune with a random jumble of chords that you're playing. Most jazz players know theory/chords inside and out and PM teaches you the basics and some of the advanced aspects of all that, too.

P.S. If you really don't care to learn to read music, it gives you a good foundation for playing very well without it.

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#1099556 - 05/31/08 07:25 PM Re: piano magic cost
Rerun Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/28/07
Posts: 507
Loc: Louisiana
___________________________________________
Quote: Short-cuts no, blind alleys - plenty.
___________________________________________


Yep, that's probably what everyone was telling the guy who invented the wheel, too. \:\)

Hey, I understand where you're coming from, but I'm not sure it's that clear cut, across the board, written in stone for everyone.
_________________________
Rerun

"Seat of the pants piano player" DMD







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#1099557 - 06/01/08 02:33 AM Re: piano magic cost
Ragtime Clown Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/08
Posts: 684
Loc: Ireland
 Quote:
Originally posted by Props2u:
You cannot download his videos unless you pay for quicktime in order to use its save feature, which is shut off in the free version.
I've paid for the three month membership to EasyPianoLessons and have had some success with his material and yes, it is possible to download ALL the videos after you have paid the membership - I paid, downloaded everything I wanted - but to be honest it takes a lot of time to get through them all, so I'll leave them for a rainy day.

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#1099558 - 06/02/08 07:48 PM Re: piano magic cost
JerryG Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/25/06
Posts: 170
Loc: Long Island, NY
I can't tell you all how much I have enjoyed all the attention I have gotten on my thought provoking comment.

Having been a memeber here for several years and knowing the response I would get I was certainly not disappointed.

There is no need for me to respond to each of you since your opinion is your opinion and you are certainly entitled to it, and I would never disrespect your opinion.

I is truly nice to post a comment here and not be ignored. Thanks again.
_________________________
IJGpiano

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#1099559 - 06/04/08 07:51 AM Re: piano magic cost
Props2u Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 18
Loc: Connecticut, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Ragtime Clown:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Props2u:
You cannot download his videos unless you pay for quicktime in order to use its save feature, which is shut off in the free version.
I've paid for the three month membership to EasyPianoLessons and have had some success with his material and yes, it is possible to download ALL the videos after you have paid the membership - I paid, downloaded everything I wanted - but to be honest it takes a lot of time to get through them all, so I'll leave them for a rainy day. [/b]
How do you download them off his site without paying for Quicktime? MP4 files are QT and when you right click a video it has 2 options. Save as, and Save as Source. Both of these are greyed out in the free version. Any help would be appreciated.

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#1099560 - 07/14/08 01:51 AM Re: piano magic cost
RayMetz100 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/05/08
Posts: 119
Loc: Everett, WA
I finally bought PianoMagic about 3 weeks ago and love it. It was definatly worth the money for me.

I went to my daughters first piano recital after 6 months of lessons and out of 20 students, only the last two best students had a decent sense of rhytum. Seems like with traditional piano lessons, you learn one or two songs and once you've just about got it you go on to another harder one. So the only thing challenging for most students sounds not so great to others because if it did, the student would have already moved on to another harder song. The arangements are also preset by the composer so it's very uncommon that a student would take a basic arrangement and play it fancy and also uncommon that a weaker student would play a hard arrangement easy. So it seems that in most cases sheet music limits the pianist.

I have a friend at work that's been taking piano lessons from a pro for the last 5 years. He has very high respect for his teacher and gladly pays over the standard rate. For the last 5 months, he's been learning the same hard piece. He's memorized a few bars and sounds very impressive for about 3 seconds, but then he stalls. Even at his house with his sheet music he struggles to finish a passage. I guess it's challenging for him and I surly couldn't play it either, but that's not my idea of fun.

I look at the kids in the basement bands with guitars, bass, and drums. Or 95% of professional musicians. They don't play with sheet music unless it's an orchistra. PianoMagic teaches notes, key signatures, C, F and G chords, Circle of 5ths, and most people who've progressed far can likely read sheet music too. Just like if a kid in the garage band were to ever make it big, they would understand how to read and write music. But I don't think it's a good idea to start out reading music.

Just like it would be silly to have your kid only speak written letters put in front of him, I think that only pressing keys on the piano that are on the page is a huge limitation.

I guess I'm drinking the Koolaid over there, but I almost feel I wasted 6 months trying alfred and I really don't want to send my daughter back to her old piano teacher after summer break. I think she's be better off with a drumset.
_________________________
PianoMagic.com student
Recordings and piano pic at: RayMetz.com/Piano

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#1099561 - 07/14/08 04:50 AM Re: piano magic cost
Gilbert Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/22/06
Posts: 442
Loc: Ireland
There are things that on-line courses cannot teach and that is proper fingering, technique, discipline to name just a few. I find/found that as you fumble around at home jumping between a PC to your piano you get frustrated, bored, tired or reading forum posts and distracted. Thats my own experience. I think a good teacher CAN give you the teaching that suits your learning style - and its always best when its hands on and one to one!
_________________________
"If your only tool is a hammer, every problem tends to look like a nail!"

Piano: Roland FP-7

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#1099562 - 07/14/08 08:09 AM Re: piano magic cost
TonyB Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/08/07
Posts: 314
Loc: Twin Cities
Gilbert:

Like you, I really don't like to "fumble around at home jumping between a PC to your piano". Here is my solution as a PM member (since you are, or have been, a PM student, there is much in here you already know, but I put it in for others who might also read this post):

I followed malzheit's links in his "Beyond the Lessons" post in the forums, along with Mike's thread about student's favorite thread links, and captured the parts of each thread that I considered essential into Open Office in the Linux environment and then exported these as PDFs. Then, I downloaded all the videos and audio files and converted these to MPEG4 and MP3s respectively, again using all Open Source software (lame, ffmpeg, mpg123 components, various codecs, among other packages, along with a number of scripts that I wrote to automate the conversion processes). I am sure that this could be done in a Windows or Mac environment too, but maybe at some $$ cost for the software. I ended up with almost 1600 pages of text, over 50 videos, and probably as many MP3s. That is a LOT of material for the cost of a year's subscription. Looked at from that perspective, the price is an absolute bargain.

This process took about two intense weeks of work, but I discovered some very important insights into the "curriculum" of PM, that rather than being open-ended, there really is a strong sense of cohesiveness running through those threads and a solid body of complete knowledge there. Mike is really guiding the student through a long term experiential process of discovery. I really think Mike could put together quite a decent course of printed text and DVDs and package the course to sell for those who don't want to do it online, but would be willing to participate in the forums as an adjunct to the course materials, as many other courses seem to do.

My project also answers the question raised elsewhere in this thread regarding what if the site went away. The materials I gathered are IMHO, much more valuable than the typical DVD or book based course because the instruction is guided by student feedback. In other words, when making a DVD course, the teacher typically writes a script (or at least has SOME idea of what s/he is going to teach) and sits in front of the camera and does it, hoping that s/he put the salient points across clearly enough. There is no "did you mean..." interaction that provides a sort of "closed feedback loop" of self-correction that allows the student to steer the teacher into clarifying the material to a particular student's needs. But on PM, there is ensuing discussion between Mike and typically 3 or 4 students in any given thread that really brings out the essence of what Mike is trying to get across. Anybody who has gone through college knows the value of both study groups and insightful classroom discussion to bring the presented material to life. The result is that in EACH of these threads, the material is CLEARLY understood.

Obviously, I can't speak for everybody because our respective backgrounds are so varied, but for me, the information I gathered was easily enough for me to go for a lifetime continuing to explore and apply the concepts that Mike and the students provided. A person starts with the 27 or so basic lessons to get the essence of the mechanics of playing by ear (it is not quite what many people think about "hunting and pecking), and goes through chord substitutions, all manner of left and right hand "decorations" and ends up with some fairly sophisticated playing that would be at home in any restaurant or club situation. In other words, given a shove in the right direction, I can certainly see myself continuing to figure out what I need from there. In the threads and videos I gathered up on the PM site, there is nothing left to the imagination. It is all quite clearly explained (at least from my personal perspective). I understand that different people need different forms of instruction, so I can't make that claim for anybody else, but with the wealth of information at PM, it is likely that there are other people who would greatly benefit from the information contained within those forums, videos, and audio files.

By the way, for anybody reading this...I don't intend the materials I gathered to be used by anybody else - even by other PM students. There really is something to be said for gathering them yourself and experiencing some important insights by seeing the whole site from a "bird's eye view". For non-PM students, Mike has a "product" here that is worth far more than he charges. It is not my domain to give that away, sell it, or in any other way to disperse it.

TonyB
_________________________
my blog: http://ajourneyintomusic.blogspot.com

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#1099563 - 07/14/08 11:07 AM Re: piano magic cost
RayMetz100 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/05/08
Posts: 119
Loc: Everett, WA
My computer isn't in the same room as my piano. I'm on lesson 9 and 10. I started those lessons three weeks ago by reading them on my computer for about 20 minutes and refered back to them once. Since then, I have a list of over 50 songs I'm learning to quickly play by ear using the concepts I learned in PM lessons 1-10.

I could practice 2 hours a day for the next month with no computer access at all and still be on those same lessons. Because in the same two months, I would add another 50 songs to my list and notice that over 10 of them are 2-3 chord songs that are very easy to play by ear.

I expect in another month or two I'll be able to play maybe 1/3 of the easy songs by ear with good timing starting and ending on the right note with no sheet music. The next lessons teach the pedal, left and right hand octaves and arpegios. But you don't need those fancy decorations to play any song. So I'm choosing to focus on my ears and hitting the right chord at the right time by ear before I focus on my fingers.

So far it's very fun for me and I look forward to the time I feel comfortable playing 4+ chord songs, different key signatures, and the fancy fingers. That may be 6 months away for as little as I practice and I'm ok with that.
_________________________
PianoMagic.com student
Recordings and piano pic at: RayMetz.com/Piano

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#1099564 - 07/14/08 11:45 AM Re: piano magic cost
TonyB Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/08/07
Posts: 314
Loc: Twin Cities
Ray:

Where you might benefit from referring back to the lessons is making sure that you are not getting off track and into your own thing ever so subtly or gradually over time. When I was perusing the forums to gather than information, I saw a number of people who seemed to fall victim to this. The problem is that you don't realize this is happening until one day you are ready for the next thing and you realize that you have run into a "brick wall", and have to go back to the beginning and work forward to figure out what you missed.

So, for example, I am working with the tenths right now in the left hand. I was having a bit of trouble fingering them so they would come out smoothly. I went back to that video and watched it on my DVD player and clearly saw that I was using a SLIGHTLY different fingering. The fingering I was using worked OK for the basic stuff, but when I was trying some of the "rolling tenths", they were just not coming out smoothly.

Other people have talked in the forums about how they missed something very fundamental about HOW Mike teaches us to figure out tunes by ear. The easy tunes are easy enough doing it any old way, but when you get to level II and III tunes, you had better really be comfortable with Mike's way or it will suddenly become very difficult instead of the easy progression that Mike describes. I won't go into details here because this is an open forum and "Mike's way" is the crux of the PM work.

By gathering up all that material, I got a good look into the future and saw the types of problems students found they had if they missed something basic. It was clear to me that it is a good idea to constantly review the basic information to insure that I am not missing something very subtle. This is where people with prior musical experience seem to have the most trouble. If we get off on the right foot and REALLY get what Mike is showing us from the beginning, then it will be MUCH easier, as Mike frequently says in the forums.

So I am not saying that we should all do what I did and gather this information and package it to use away from the computer, but I am saying that frequent trips to the computer to double-check ourselves, especially early on, IS important (just as it is with learning ANY new skill).

The early stages of learning any skill form the foundation on which the advanced skills become possible. Unfortunately, it is often quite possible to NOT be doing it QUITE right in the early stages (yet make seemingly great progress), and not realize it until later on when the advanced skills are discovered to NOT be possible and we have to go back and unlearn something learned wrong and then replace it with the correct method (which is ALWAYS much harder than having taken proper care to learn it right in the first place). This is where many people will throw in the towel and go on to something else altogether.

Just something to consider...

TonyB
_________________________
my blog: http://ajourneyintomusic.blogspot.com

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#1099565 - 07/14/08 01:10 PM Re: piano magic cost
RayMetz100 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/05/08
Posts: 119
Loc: Everett, WA
Good idea. We can each stick with one teacher or mix and match several methods. While we're progressing towards our own personal goals along the way we'll likely be happy with whichever path we've choosen.

I spent less than 5 minutes on my piano yesterday and instead took the kids out on my new sailboat. Between that and my wife and my job, I'm working several angles at once which won't help me become a pianist as quickly as if I focused on one method. That's perfectly ok with me. For me, piano is one of many hobbies and I'll continue having the most fun with it I know how. I can just about guarentee that won't be focusing 100% on one method for years and years as none of my other hobbies have been that way.

What I find appealing about PianoMagic.com is the fact that I can walk up to any piano anywhere and play songs I know or improvise and sound ok. If I had 2 hours, I could easily have fun learning for two hours with just a piano. no sheet music and no computer.

When I tried to do that with the Alfred sheet music songs I learned, I had played out my full memory and was "stuck" in under 10 minutes. My wife hated mearing me repeat and repeat the same songs. Piano Magic allows me to take whatever song is in my head at the moment and put it under my fingers in a basic way. I'm confident if I stick with the method for a year and follow "Mike's way", I'll be playing more complex songs I know with more grace and speed than if I tried on my own or switched to any other method. I'm still new and very happy with my decision to study there.

I haven't cast off sheet music completly though. A lady at my church heard a CD she liked, transcribed it to her piano by ear and wrote out the music so another pianist at church who only reads music could back her up. It was a nice duet and I offered to buy a copy of her sheet music. I DO want to know how to read and write sheet music and communicate with other musicians through that medium, but as a beginner, I'm placing a higher importance on being able to play songs I know by ear than learning more by sheet music.
_________________________
PianoMagic.com student
Recordings and piano pic at: RayMetz.com/Piano

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#1099566 - 07/14/08 01:24 PM Re: piano magic cost
TonyB Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/08/07
Posts: 314
Loc: Twin Cities
Ray:

Very well said!!! This has been my experience too. Rather than having to memorize songs and play them every day, the same way every time - or embarassingly lose them, I can walk up to a piano and play music. That is freedom!

You said:

I'm confident if I stick with the method for a year and follow "Mike's way", I'll be playing more complex songs I know with more grace and speed than if I tried on my own or switched to any other method.

My response:

Again, well said. From what I have heard from Mike's students, that is definitely a true assessment.

TonyB
_________________________
my blog: http://ajourneyintomusic.blogspot.com

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