JazzEdge: PianoWithWillie – A Review

JazzEdge: PianoWithWillie – A Review

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,...

O My Soul – A Year Later

It’s been almost a year since I wrote this post… O My Soul. No sufficient words can explain the peace that has taken over my heart and life over the last 11 months. God is so good! Little Paula finally let go and made some changes… deep ones… that have caused a complete (and sometimes surprising to me) transformation in my soul. It’s true. When you let go, He’ll do what He wants to do in you. So 10,000 Reasons came on the radio as I drove home from dropping Jeffrey off at school yesterday. It hit me again, deeply, how thankful I am for the change God has given me. I got home, made sure the other two kiddos were good for a while, and locked myself in my me-time room. As I pulled the guitar out of the case, I treasured the moment. Made sure the strings were all tuned, not because anyone was listening, but because I wanted God to have the best pouring out of my soul possible. This sacred song. One that has become so special to me… one that has become the main soul song between me and my Creator God. I started playing the song slowly, singing quietly, almost a whisper. By the time I hit the final chorus, it was coming loudly from the depths of my soul. A soul that has been revived. It was amazing. Reliving the last year and recognizing the greatness of what God can do in a life was an incredible reminder. It led me to search scriptures for what our souls are called to do,...

His Love Will Light The Way

It’s been a year of change in the Ebert household, particularly for Mommy. My “40” year was an incredible learning year. So many things have happened: Our family left the church where I grew up, which was hard, but necessary for a season. God started working on me about patterns in my life that were destroying me… and hurting those around me. I left a job and friends that I love. I finally let God knock over this stubborn soul and show me that He wanted me to homeschool our children. A book proposal that was meant to be… didn’t happen. I got sick. She Speaks, the conference, was more about changing my HEART than getting me to write a BOOK. A new opportunity has been given to me for 2015 that actually HELPS with the homeschooling adventure we are on. It’s been a lot to process, and I’ve done a lot of processing!!! A few weeks ago, I was running around the circle track-like perimeter of our backyard, playlist cranked. My running playlist is what you would call, umm, eclectic (kind of like our homeschool). I have a little of everything on the list… the tunes and lyrics that keep me going. So I was just running along, thinking about how crazy the year had been and where was God leading me now and all of those jumbled up thoughts that go through a mom’s head. Then I realized that the song playing was giving me the answer to the main question in my head. It wasn’t the here-is-your-path answer that we normally want. It was an answer to trust. Aftermath by Hillsong United was playing,...

The Art is Coming Back…

As I opened the case for the first time in months, the familiar sounds got me… the buckles flipping open on the hard shell, the creak in the hinges as I pushed away the velvety top so I could pick up that beautiful instrument that has been hidden away too long. The black sound hole cover was still stuck on, with black streaks leading from where my pick used to hit the rubber. I held my favorite pick in my hand, the red one that I chewed up so much, you can see indentions on each side. It’s the pick I haven’t used since the days when I was playing… a LOT. I put the Taylor in my lap, strummed it once to hear just how out-of-tune it had become… then I pulled out the tuner. I took it all in, the familiar smell and sounds, the feel of the wood. After tuning, I started to play the song that always seems to come to my fingers first thing… Your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me. There was an amazing sound of rawness, as the guitar has been silent for months. It was, well, not the smoothest sound to ever come out. This from a combination of lack of practice and the aching of my fingertips, callouses all but gone. A reminder of what happens when we drift away from something we love so much. Settling in a little more, I found the chords to the new song that’s on my heart so much lately, “How Can It Be” by Lauren Daigle. It’s mostly a piano song,...
Still The Great I Am

Still The Great I Am

Open hands learned in Birmingham? Yes. Great I Am became the worship song that would always remind me of that life-changing trip? Yes. My family is in a time of transition as far as what church body we are calling “home” right now. We’ve visited a few places; and without a doubt, a few of those Sundays, I know we were exactly where God wanted us to be at exactly the right time. This morning was one of those times. The worship music was definitely my style. (Not to get started in worship wars, because I can worship to just about anything that is Christ-honoring.) But let me just say that my heart felt at home. So when the band started to play Great I Am, my eyes filled up with tears as I realized what was happening. When I first learned this song and it became ingrained in my heart, God was giving me a chance, pushing me forward to do His work. At that time in my life, I could tell He was pursuing relationship with me in an incredible way. It was special. That was two years ago this month. For the past two years, I have taken that beautiful opportunity and twisted it into something… not so beautiful. Unintentionally, doing God’s work became priority over loving Him and knowing Him. It consumed me so much that the most important ministry entrusted to me got the leftovers. My family suffered. Thankfully, my husband led me in a different direction. He helped me get out of the darkness that I couldn’t even see I was in… and he held my hand through it. Now we...

Same Purpose, Different Stage

It had been three months since I’d pulled out the Taylor on a Sunday morning. This time was different. Same purpose, different stage. For Father’s Day, Jeff wanted to have church at home, and he wanted me to lead our family in worship. What a gift. What a responsibility. It was in those precious few while-we-have-their-attention moments that God reminded me WHY I love music. WHY I connect with God so strongly through this tool He has given us so freely. Our beautiful children hesitated at first… they just listened to Mommy and stared at the guitar. But after a little explanation about the song (and some repetition), they started singing as loudly as they could “Your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me!” Then Katherine picked up her princess guitar (broken string and all) and started playing along with me. I didn’t even notice how badly it was out of tune. In those precious moments, I remembered what worship is really about. It’s not about where we are, who we’re around, or what is happening around us. It’s not about how many times we repeat a phrase versus how deep the theology is (although the fact that His love never fails seems pretty deep to me). It’s about loving God. It’s about experiencing a deep and true relationship with Him to the point that everyone around us wants to know how they can “get that.” It’s a connection between my heart and my Creator God. It’s a connection between my amazing man’s heart and our Creator God. It’s a connection between each one...