Monday, June 1, 2015

JazzEdge: PianoWithWillie {Review}

First Thoughts
For over a year, we have used HomeSchoolPiano (see our review) and love it! Willie Myette teaches those lessons and the girls really have made a lot of growth. Willie has other programs through JazzEdge as well: EasyPianoBasics, PianoWithWillie, DrumsWithWillie, and Music Theory Online. During the last several weeks, Jo-Jo has been trying out the studio access of PianoWithWillie.

About PianoWithWillie
PianoWithWillie is a program set up to give folks with piano experience the opportunity to build on their individual style: blues, classical, funk, gospel, jazz, Latin, rock, and universal. The lessons are taught through online streaming video with downloadable, printable materials.
How it Works
With your membership, you have access to your dashboard.
To begin, you go into the Dashboard and follow the steps:
  • Step 1: Getting Started - Here you'll find a video explaining how to get going. You confirm your email address and receive access to downloadable beginning information.
  • Step 2: 30-Day Success Playbook - Contains 30 lessons for some quick basics.
  • Step 3: Piano Foundation Progress - This is set for you after take the 22 Point Assessment. There are lessons based on your results. You can always retake the assessment to develop a new plan.
  • Step 4: Using The Site - Has a video that explains how to maneuver through your home screen.
  • Step 5: Next Steps - Helps you to determine how to get into the lessons, practicing, and creating a piano plan.
The videos can be moved in 15 second intervals for quick replaying of information and you can play them slower or faster. A log is kept of what was completed on your last session.
After the beginning information, it is time to dive into the lessons. Lessons can be filtered by:
~key signature
~time signature
You can choose a path (Foundational or Fun'dational) or search by your own criteria.

Our Experience
Jo-Jo began by watching a few of the videos in the 30-Day Success Playbook. She reported that they were too easy and she wanted something more difficult.

We moved on to the 22 Point Assessment. She answered the questions and then went on to the specific lessons in her Piano Foundation Plan. She would watch the videos suggested in chapter chunks. Her videos were focused on rhythm, technique, reading music, and foundations for advanced players. When asked what she learned from watching her video lessons, she reports that she learned about scales.
She says that she would like to focus on a song set. She is particularly interested in gospel.

While Jo-Jo has learned piano quickly and does very well with HomeSchoolPiano, she still needs structured lessons. Without a piano background, I had trouble pointing her to which lessons would be a good fit for her.

We've headed to the lesson section and determined a direction that she may want to work on. Narrowing down the lessons to intermediate and gospel, we have several options to work with:  We have added those lessons to her plan and will be starting to work through those. Slow Gospel Blues and Gospel Piano Riffs Vol. 1 are the first two suggested, but I think she will enjoy working on the other three the most: The Old Rugged Cross, Blessed Assurance, and Amazing Grace.

If we had it to do over again, this may be where we would have begun. I think she would have been most interested in starting with songs. She likes to work toward the goal of learning a new song.


We would love to see a category listing. The search function is great, if you know what you are looking for, but if you don't know what you need to know next, it is difficult to know where to begin. 

The kids love to play seasonal songs (there were Christmas songs available) and folk songs. It would be great to have sections of styles for those areas.


We would recommend PianoWithWillie for piano students that have a large piano repertoire and are looking to branch out into other styles. This is an exceptionally good fit for folks that like to use an à la carte approach.

Wishing you homeschool blessings,

Click here to read more reviews from Schoolhouse Review Crew. *Our review was in the Top Ten on pinterest!! To see all ten click here.

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