How does learning to play piano in 8 weeks sound to you? Too good to be true?
Well, think again because it is totally possible with http://pianoin8weeks.com/ by Brian Lucas. Brian Lucas is a lifelong musician and a graduate of the Berklee College of Music. He splits his time between performing, both studio and live, and teaching music. Brian has worked for companies such as HBO, Touchstone, ABC and has toured as a keyboard player and vocalist with Top 40 artists.
We had the pleasure recently of asking Brian a few questions about teaching online video courses and were so moved by his answers, that we are posting them here below!
What is your motivation to teach?
I feel that it is my responsibility to pass on my knowledge to future piano players. People taught it to me, and I should in turn teach it to others. And with the internet, now you can do that on a much larger scale. So even though I’m performing a lot more and not teaching full time any longer, I can still attempt to reach anyone who wants to learn how to play the piano.
What is your passion?
Teaching has always been a passion of mine. I’ve done it all through my life, even when it wasn’t my main focus. Other than that, making music will always be the greatest passion.
It takes time to create a video, right? Is it worth the effort?
This was an experiment for me to see if I could capture the content from my private lessons and put it into a video format. It has taken a lot of time and money to launch the course, but in this first year, based on the feedback I’m getting, it was definitely worth it. I love getting emails from people happy to finally be able to play their favorite songs.
How has Sparkeo’s online video platform helped with this process?
It’s great to have a company like Sparkeo handle all of the billing and video streaming. It allows me to focus on creating and promoting the course and frees up time that otherwise would be spent on the technical side of things.
Are video courses effective? How is it different (for both teacher and student) compared to face to face lessons?
You obviously have a harder time helping the student though mistakes, since you can’t see them. The difficulty in any video class is making it easy enough for the complete beginner, but still beneficial for the student who knows just a little piano. Also, teaching people how to think about music so we’re all on the same page can be a bit of a challenge. That’s why I spent a lot of time developing the scripts and testing the lessons out on test subjects (my poor friends). I think if you are going to try and teach a video course, you need to make sure a wide range of people will understand and benefit from it. For the student, it takes a lot more focus when you’re watching a video. Attention span can wander, especially if you’re home watching it. I’m sure many people stop and rewind the video when they realize they have been distracted and have missed something. It’s best to have a quiet place to watch the videos so you won’t be interrupted.
What makes your courses unique?
I don’t teach the old “Every Good Boy” method of piano. And I don’t rely on memorization, the way most methods do. I realized over a decade ago that we teachers didn’t teach music the way I think about music when I play it. So I set out to change the way I teach and through trial and error, developed the Target Method I teach today, and have been using successfully for many years. It’s a combination of learning piano chords and sight reading of notes. It’s my goal that at the end of the 8 weeks, every student will know the core skills of piano and be able to apply it to playing their favorite songs.
Do you have a community?
I participate in an online community of piano lovers at the Piano World Forum (http://www.pianoworld.com/forum). Among other things, they have an Adult Beginners Forum with a great community of piano students, piano players, piano teachers, etc. It’s a great place to get some extra help or share an achievement with other piano people. I also make myself available via email (DH: See Brian’s contact info below) for anyone with specific piano questions.
It sounds like you’ve had a distinguished career as a musician. Any special achievements along the way?
I believe I have found a great balance between a performing life and the educational side of music. I’ve played with Top 40 acts, theaters, and been on recordings. This helps me be more relevant with the real world skills I teach. I think it’s this balance that helps me continue to do what I love and devote 100% of my time to improving both my playing and my teaching skills.
Without further ado, here is Brian’s full 8 week piano course. Other Sparkeo video courses by Brian can be found one his site Piano in 8 Weeks. Enjoy!
Piano In 8 Weeks - Full Course
This blog post is part of a regular column where we highlight video courses by experts using Sparkeo. If you have any comments, or would like us to feature your video course, please reach out to us in the comments, on Facebook, Twitter or Google+!
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By Dani Horwitz, Community Manager