Are Piano Lessons on DVD Worth It?

Learning To Play The Piano From Watching DVDs.Thinking about purchasing a piano lessons DVD program? Here, Brick, NJ teacher Elizabeth C. shares her thoughts on this method of learning, and if it’s really the best way to go…

You have probably seen the infomercials marketing piano lessons on DVD that guarantee you will be “playing the piano in six weeks or your money back.” These programs may be beneficial in teaching piano basics, but fall short in providing methodology that fosters long-term piano success or song versatility.

Why Piano Lessons DVDs Don’t Always Work

The basis of these “teach yourself” programs is rudimentary. Learn the melody and chords and you can play any song. This is known as reading “lead sheets.” Lead sheets are a form of music notation that provides the musician with just the melody, rhythm, and chords. This method can help a beginner play modern or popular songs from different eras. However, learning to play piano only using lead sheets does not provide you with the ability and knowledge to play some of the standard classics of Beethoven or Mozart, or to transfer this musical knowledge to other instruments.

These programs also leave out a very important factor for any student in any subject: feedback. The instructor on the DVD cannot answer questions, listen to your playing, or offer suggestions or strategies in struggling areas. This type of instruction can only occur when a relationship is developed between you and your teacher. A private teacher can also tailor your program to both ability and musical interest. A private teacher offers a holistic approach to music theory and piano instruction that can translate into an in-depth understanding of music, so that you can build a vast repertoire of piano skills and knowledge.

Investing in Your Learning

We all know the old consumer saying: “You get what you pay for.” You can purchase an inexpensive program to teach yourself piano, or you can invest in a private piano teacher for expertise and life enrichment. The choice is ultimately yours. When choosing between recorded resources or private instruction, keep in mind what you want the end goal to be. What method will be a better return on your investment in the long term?

When I sit at my piano to play, before I touch any keys I always pay homage to my incredibly talented and passionate piano teacher, who patiently taught me all that I know about piano and music. I remember the conversations, the drills, and the recitals. Most importantly I remember her modeling songs to me so that I would one day want to play a song that touched my spirit. I not only developed a relationship with my piano and my music, a lifelong connection was fostered between my teacher and myself.

Relationships between teachers and students are what build success, rigor, accountability, and love in any type of learning. So remember: connecting with a mentor and expert is something that four easy payments of $39.95 for a piano lessons DVD set could never buy!

ElizabethC.Elizabeth C. teaches piano and music theory in Brick, NJ. She received her Bachelor’s of Arts degree from SUNY Oneonta, as well as her Masters of Education from Mercy College. Learn more about Elizabeth C. here!

 

 

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5 replies
  1. Ellen Banks
    Ellen Banks says:

    For years I’ve wanted to learn how to play the piano, but I don’t know where to start. Learning from DVDs is an interesting idea. I wonder if the effectiveness of this method depends on the student. Some students may thrive in this environment while others require feedback from a teacher.

    Reply
  2. Valatron
    Valatron says:

    Hello! I am a basic copy-player; I took piano lessons, but once I heard the teacher play I would play what she played without learning the notes.

    How would I overcome this?

    Reply
  3. Jeff Biss
    Jeff Biss says:

    This question goes back to the invention of the printing press! Prior to that time, most people could learn only by working with someone, a teacher. But through the printing press, everyone thought that the necessary information could now be transmitted through books, as we think today through youtube and DVDs. It’s not that easy as Elizabeth notes. Teachers are a great resource, find one and learn!

    Reply

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