I was SO excited to get an opportunity to personally review JazzEdge‘s piano curriculum, which is called PianoWithWillie. As a musician, and someone who has wanted to learn the piano and more in-depth music theory, this program has given me the opportunity for me to do just that. For this review, I was given a Studio Membership for one year, which includes 3500+ lessons, a 30-day start program, sheet music, audio downloads, unlimited support, and more.
JazzEdge was founded by Willie Myette, a Berklee graduate, who wanted to put all of his jazz education and performance ventures in one place. He has lessons available in jazz, funk, latin, rock, gospel and blues for everyone, including homeschool families. The different programs offered by Willie are: PianoWithWillie, DrumsWithWillie, Homeschool Piano, and Easy Piano Basics.
Willie’s teaching theory includes complete integration between Rhythm, Technique, Reading, Song, Style, and Concept. His idea is to make learning fun.. not just learning the foundations, but to make it fun in the process. By the 4th lesson in his 30-day start program, you are playing a fun little song. This will keep students entertained as they learn. By the 8th lesson, students are already learning about improvisation.
This program is extremely comprehensive. The 30-day start program is great for either a refresher course or a cram course for a newer player. After that, there are a TON of lessons that will teach you how to play a variety of songs in many different genres. Willie’s demeanor is great, very relaxed, and makes you see learning the piano as what it should be… fun.
It works on all different types of devices… computer, iPhone, iPad, etc. You basically watch the lesson video of the day and work on the musical piece you’ve been given. All of the sheet music and mp3s are downloadable for you, along with instructions, so you don’t have to worry about something not being explained. The interface shows Willie’s instruction at the bottom of the screen, along with a shot of him playing the keyboard with another virtual keyboard above, showing the notes he’s playing. It’s really, really cool.
I actually am going through the curriculum myself, as my kids have never had any real music training so they’re not to the point that this program would work for them. I would recommend that anyone who uses this curriculum is already a musician and has a basic understanding of the piano and reading music. If you are a true beginner, Willie’s Homeschool Piano may be a better fit for you. There is also a program for young beginners called Easy Piano Basics that you may want to check into.
I highly recommend that you check out all of Willie’s programs for your homeschool music lessons. Your kids will get a good foundation of music theory and practice no matter which program you choose. It’s an incredibly rich and comprehensive curriculum that shows he has put a ton of time, effort, and love of music into it.