Robin Hall, an accomplished artist and cartoonist, is the brains behind Pianoforall, an innovative online platform designed to teach anyone how to play the piano. With over 450,000 members, Pianoforall has gained immense popularity due to its chord-based teaching approach that emphasizes playing first and asking questions later, which enables students to sound like professionals from the start. According to Hall, the course promises to teach students how to play by ear, improvise and compose music, and finally read piano sheet music, all in a logical, structured manner that takes learners from one skill level to the next in a short time.
Many testimonials indicate that just 20 to 30 minutes of daily practice can make students sound good within a few days. But how does Pianoforall work, and can it live up to its promises? Let’s find out.
What You Need to Get Started With Pianoforall?
While Pianoforall is flexible about the tools students use, owning a piano or keyboard is non-negotiable. It’s best to purchase a 61-key keyboard if you’re just starting. However, if you’re serious about learning the piano, it’s advisable to upgrade to an 88-key digital keyboard as soon as possible. The 88 hammer action keys of a digital piano are used to develop proper finger strength, while most 61-key keyboards feel lighter than an acoustic piano keyboard.
Pianoforall offers e-books that students can download onto their Mac or PC, iPhone, iPad, or Android. Windows PC users can view the e-books and listen to the audio clips, while Android users can download the free application from Google Play. Mac and iPad users can use the default books app. Pianoforall’s website offers detailed instructions, download links, and a troubleshooting section if needed.
Who Is Robin Hall?
Robin Hall is an artist, cartoonist, and pianist with a knack for teaching. He sold his artwork and music mostly as a freelancer before he began working as a private piano instructor. Hall believes that playing by ear is a superior method of learning music, which led him to sell books such as “The Cartoonist’s Workbook.” These books combine art, instructional text, humor, and storytelling to effectively communicate concepts to readers. This inspired Hall to apply these strategies to piano instruction, leading to the creation of Pianoforall.
What’s Included in Pianoforall?
Upon purchasing Pianoforall, students receive the following:
Nine e-books covering various piano styles, including chords, tunes, and exercises, with one bonus book. The e-books provide enough theory to help students understand each lesson.
Over 200 video lessons featuring Robin Hall explaining and demonstrating keyboard functions. The animated keyboard above displays the notes he’s playing, making it easy for students to follow along.
Over 500 audio exercises and songs placed next to each exercise for instant feedback on pronunciation.
The educational program provides a structured approach to piano learning, with each e-book focusing on a different aspect of playing. It’s best to read them in order except for Book Nine, which students can use at any time.
In conclusion, Pianoforall offers a groundbreaking approach to learning the piano and keyboard, making it accessible to anyone. With its comprehensive e-books, videos, and audio exercises, Pianoforall provides an effective way to learn how to play the piano, from beginners to advanced players. So, if you’re considering learning how to play the piano, Pianoforall is definitely worth the investment.
Book One – Party Time
This book provides an introduction to the program as well as the keyboard.
It starts by explaining the main principle of – it is important to lay a foundation with chords and rhythms, before building improv and melody composition skills and sight-reading abilities beyond that.
It introduces you first to the keyboard’s notes, then moves on to playing basic chords.
Book One introduces music notation. This includes rests and basic rhythm.
Traditional curriculums tend to spend some time on rhythm exercises and note-naming, but this section is very fast. To understand the later exercises, you’ll likely have to go back to them repeatedly.
The book continues by showing you a set of chords, then introducing a rhythm associated with popular music. This rhythm can be used with the chords to create a song.
In Book One, you will learn ten rhythms as well as eleven fundamental chords.
It assumes that you will be reading songbooks and interpreting chord symbols. It will show you how to respond to seventh or slash symbol chords.
By the end of this book, you should be able to play the rhythms and chords of many popular songs and have a friend or two sing the melody.
You should also be capable of playing the lovely ” Amazing broken chord ballad”.
Book Two: Blues & Rock N Roll
Book Two expands on your knowledge by showing you blues rhythms that you can use with the chords already known. It emphasizes the first principle: practice left-hand rhythms more than right-hand ones until you can play them in your sleep.
Although this book is shorter than the first, it still teaches five basic blues rhythms as well as how to play a 12-bar blues in any key.
Book Three: Chord Magic
Book Three is very heavy. However, it will teach you all the chords for every key and their inversions.
It also includes an all chords memory trick that makes it easier to use the info dump and many practice progressions to help you get to grips with the new material.
The “cycle of Fifths”, also known as the “circleof fifths”, is another concept you will encounter. This concept encourages you to practice all keys, teaches you the relationship between them and helps you understand music’s overall structure.
Book Four: Advanced Chords Made Easy
This book will continue to teach you how chord symbols are played. It starts with a magic formula for fooling around with some more advanced chords.
The Barry Manilow-inspired “Manilow Mood”, will teach you new musical tools before you try to create a Manilow-style piece of your own.
Next, you will find practice patterns for diminished and cluster chords.
The book ends strong with a lesson about Beatles styling and a long listing of Beatles songs that you can play using the chords and rhythms you already know.
Book Five: Ballad Style
Book Five uses to approach ballad-style play by creating a step–by-step method to create your own ballad songs. This encourages experimentation using left-hand chord patterns as well as the more flexible pentatonic scale.
This book teaches how to improvise. It also gives ideas for melody, left-hand patterns, and chord progressions. Then you’ll learn how to apply the ballad process for songs that you already know, by creating ” Auld Lang Syne”. From the bottom up.
This book contains sheet music for many lovely ballads that you will enjoy playing.
These are the first pieces of the course to be able to stand alone as solo piano pieces, since this book is the first to teach you melody in depth.
You can also find the melody lines to many popular Christmas carols, but you will need to practice your skills by adding left hand.
Book Six: All That Jazz & Blues
Although this section is very content-heavy, you will be able to create a great jazz foundation .
The course teaches you how to make a bluesy sound by using the blues scale and blues chords. It then moves on to jazz. Instead of learning complex jazz rhythms to read, you are encouraged to listen to and then copy the audio clips.
Book Six guides you through jazz in 4 distinct keys. It also gives you many tips and tricks for jazz improvisation and offers some cool practice options.
Learn all about quartal harmony, and then get a lesson on seventh chords.
Book Seven: Advanced Blues & Fake Stride
Book Seven expands on Book Two, adding your advanced chord knowledge as well as fun right-hand chords to the blues rhythms you have learned. Additionally, you will learn about blues devices such as slides, tremolo and turnarounds.
This book’s second section teaches you stride pianist. Both fake and real, the only difference is the length of your “stride”.
Your knowledge is put to use with “The song you’ve been waiting” – ” The Entertainer”. This section ends on a high note (pun intended).
Book Eight: Taming The Classics
This section relies heavily on sheetmusic. We will begin with a review of musical notation and a lesson on key signatures, new symbols, and music language. You will also find helpful tips for practicing.
Hall teaches you how to sight-read music “the Pianoforall Way”. This means that you should be looking out for familiar chords, motifs and notes. The key signatures are indicated in red so that it is easy to spot any sharp or flat notes.
Then you’ll be able to play classical pieces including big names such as Beethoven, Bach, or Chopin.
If your goal is to play more sheet music pieces after the pianoforall course then I recommend that you spend a lot of time in this section. You can practice your reading, pedaling and tone skills.
Book Nine: Speed Learning
Hall came up with the title of the book, which is all scales and arpeggios. This book is also about scales and triads. Perhaps I would have been more excited to do this if my piano teacher had called it “speed learning”.
These elements can be incorporated into your practice, which is a good way to improve your playing.
This is the ninth book of the course. However, it includes practice “workout” routines as well as memory tricks that should always be used right from the beginning.
This section will help you to understand key signatures and seventh chords.
Bonus Book: The Practice Of Mindfulness
Although this e-book does not directly relate to piano, it offers tips on creativity and focus as well as mindfulness, which can all be helpful in learning an instrument.
Pianoforall Pros And Cons
Let’s now summarize the pros and cons of the Pianoforall teaching course.
Audio and visual lessons. Pianoforall is different from traditional ebooks and printed curricula. It offers visual and auditory learning options, which are especially useful for beginners who don’t feel comfortable reading music.
The ebooks include audio and video clips, making it easy to find the needed content.
You can jump right into the game. From the first session, you will feel like your progress is being made.
Use well-known songs. This will make it easier for you to play by ear and you’ll also enjoy playing songs you know.
Music promotes musicality. Piano methods for beginners often neglect to teach you how to play by ear, improvise, and compose melodies.
These skills are taught by Pianoforall, which will give you a solid foundation in musicality and ensure that you always have something to do.
Allows you to use your left hand better than traditional piano programs.
Like many traditional piano players, I was used to focusing only on my right hand. I found it difficult to focus on the left-hand parts of my pieces as they became more complicated.
Pianoforall encourages you practice with your left hand more than your right hand, so students will have less chance of having a lazy left hand.
The information is easy to comprehend and presented clearly. Although e-books may seem a little less detailed than printed curriculum such as Faber’s Piano Adventures, they are organized well and visually clear.
Technique is not the main focus. Traditional piano teachers remind their students about their hand position, posture, wrist, finger, body movements, and wrist movement.
This is a problem with online piano lessons in general. Pianoforall, however, does not address this issue.
You can supplement the course by lessons (YouTube count) that teach posture, and other techniques.
Avoid reading music. You should not read music.
It would be easy, therefore, to leave the course with a poor grasp of music reading.
Many terms and symbols used in piano notation are missing. This curriculum is sufficient for students who wish to learn how to play basic sheet music and improvise. However, it leaves out many terms and symbols that can confuse those looking to expand their knowledge.
Hall suggests that you supplement your course with material that teaches music notation terms and symbols if you are one of these students.
Why Is This Course Best For You?
Pianoforall is designed for complete beginners. Its teaching style is very different from traditional piano programs. However, even those with basic knowledge of classical piano may find it helpful in learning play by ear or improvise.
Pianoforall’s emphasis upon blues, jazz and rock n’ roll is a warning sign that this course is not for people who want to play classical music.
Book Eight teaches students how to read short classical pieces. However, this course will provide a foundation that will allow you to expand your classical playing knowledge rather than just teach you.
Although the content may be different, Pianoforall’s head-first, jump-right-in approach is the same as that used in adult piano lessons such as Faber’s Adult Piano Adventures series.
Adults are eager to learn and won’t settle for simple tunes that children play. Pianoforall is a good choice for adults as well as teens who want to create real music quickly.
This course’s songs are also for adult learners.
These are great tunes that many people know and love – certainly better than ” Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star”. But let’s not forget that older generations may be more excited about the songs than younger ones.