Pianoforall, which translates as “teaching piano to all pupils,” is a popular program that teaches people to play the piano by ear rather than the more technical approach of learning to read music.
It’s not a brand-new program. The Pianoforall course, created by professional pianist Robin Hall, was initially launched in 2006. It was updated and modernized significantly in 2013, and again in 2020. Around the course of those 15 years, Pianoforall has been purchased by hundreds of thousands of students all over the world.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a sort of resurgence for Pianoforall. As many villages went into lockdown in 2020 and even 2021, more people than ever turned to the Internet to interact, play games, and even learn a new skill, such as playing the piano.
Pianoforall sales are exploding. The buzz surrounding this piano instruction program is stronger than it has ever been, so now is an opportune opportunity to take a closer look and see what all the excitement is about.
What You’ll Need for Pianoforall
A actual piano or keyboard will be required. A virtual piano will simply not enough unless you have a complex setup. You should ideally have an 88-key instrument. However, because digital 61-key instruments (and, to a lesser extent, 76-key instruments) are more common and affordable, many students start there.
You can certainly learn to play the piano on a 61-key keyboard. There will be certain restrictions. Because the 61 keys allow for fewer octaves, you will not be able to perform all tunes precisely.
Another thing to think about is whether your instrument has weighted keys. Most piano teachers think that fully weighted keys help students learn more quickly and with greater nuance. Weighted keys, on the other hand, are more expensive. Semi-weighted keys are preferable to no weighting at all, and if it is not possible to fit it into your budget, unweighted keys are preferable to nothing at all.
You will also require the ability to read the Pianoforall e-books and view the Pianoforall videos. You’re probably in good shape if you’re reading this review. You can use a desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or even a smartphone running Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, or iOS.
Who Is Robin Hall, according to Pianoforall?
Robin Hall is an artist best recognized for his work as a cartoonist. He is also a pianist who began his career selling his artwork and music on a contract basis. Hall augmented his professional work as a private instructor, teaching individuals how to play the piano and how to mould their innate artistic abilities into skills that could be applied in the real world as a professional cartoonist.
The controversy over whether it is better to learn by ear or by sheet music is an ancient one, but Hall is clearly of the former school of thought. He began selling books, such as The Cartoonist’s Workbook, as his career progressed. It combines art, instructional text, storytelling, and humor to help his audience understand subjects, and it works. It was at this point that he realized these concepts could be used to teaching piano. He began using these tactics successfully and subsequently included them into the Pianoforall program.
What Is Included in Pianoforall?
The Pianoforall program is comprised of nine e-books totaling 600 pages. Each book gives a course with a theme, such as Jazz, and the volumes are organized so that you can go through them in order. Each book builds on the knowledge you gained in the prior course.
The program also includes more than 200 video courses, which are displayed inline within the e-books. This method allows Hall to present a subject from many angles, and it allows you to hear and watch the music that the instructor wants you to emulate at that level.
Furthermore, Pianoforall offers over 500 audio tunes and workouts. These exercises are especially beneficial for auditory learners because they reinforce what the instructor has just taught you. You can spend as much or as little time as you need on each practice until you have mastered the idea.
Pianoforall: The Complete Course
In the sections that follow, we will go through the nine core e-books as well as one of the additional books:
Party TimeRhythm Style Piano (Book 1)
The first four books’ purpose is to lay a firm foundation. The first book makes no assumptions and teaches the fundamentals of the piano or keyboard that you will need to know as you progress. This involves making sure you know what chords and rhythms are.
Following the introduction of notes, the program has you playing three-note chords. A recurring topic throughout this book is that playing and hearing your music is more important than understanding the underlying theory. However, it does introduce you to parts of that theory, such as rhythm notation.
Pianoforall differs from other piano guides in that it does not devote much time to rhythm exercises and note naming. It seeks to teach you the fundamentals of the game and then move you ahead swiftly. It then spends the rest of the time presenting you with popular music rhythms that you are likely familiar with or have at least heard, and assisting you in recreating them.
Book No. 2: Blues and Rock ‘n’ Roll
By the end of the first book, you will have learned 10 rhythms and 11 basic chords, as well as how to play the Amazing Broken Chord Ballad, an iconic piano teaching tool, and the chords and rhythms of a few popular songs that almost everyone knows.
The second book expands on that information by teaching you how to play blues beats. The blues place a strong emphasis on left-hand rhythms, and one of the primary goals of this book is to establish in you the habit of practicing your left-hand rhythms until you can play them without thinking about them. The right-hand rhythms will be easier to learn.
This book is shorter than the previous, but at the end, you will be able to play five classic blues rhythms. You will also be able to perform twelve-bar blues in any key, which is popular in popular music.
Chord Magic, Book 3
Book three is the most technical yet, with the goal of teaching you the chords and inversions for each key. This is a bit of an information dump, but it’s vital. It does include certain mnemonic strategies that piano teachers have used for ages to assist their students.
The third book then offers practice progressions to assist you reinforce what you’ve just learnt. It also introduces you to the circle of fifths, which is also known as the cycle of fifths and the circle/cycle of fourths. This is critical for understanding the structure of music and the relationship between keys.
Book No. 4: Advanced Chords Made Simple
The idea here is to present you with views that make advanced chords appear lot simpler. It begins with a technique Hall refers to as a magic formula, and it teaches you how to play chords from chord symbols seen in songbooks. It will play a piece inspired by Barry Manilow before daring you to compose your own piece based on the same inspiration.
The course then moves on to clustered chords and reduced chords, with several practice progressions to help you get them down. Once you have them, it teaches you about the Beatles’ approach and presents you with a list of Beatles songs that you can now perform.
5th Book: Ballad Style
The fifth book is quite interesting. It teaches you how to play ballad-style music in a step-by-step manner so that you can build your own composition. The emphasis here is on teaching you to improvise and, perhaps more importantly, showing you that you already have the imagination to do it right now.
With that under your belt, the book returns to well-known ballads like Auld Lang Syne, and it even includes sheet music for around five of them. By the end of the course, you will be able to play whole solo piano pieces, including well-known Christmas songs.
All That Jazz & Blues, Book 6
This is one of the more difficult legs of the course, but it is also quite educational. It teaches you the blues scale, chords, and other blues-related intricacies. The program then moves on to jazz, which can be complicated, but that complexity is mainly avoided with this approach.
The student learns to play jazz in four distinct keys via the courses, and there are various exciting and fascinating progressions here. Book six also has various improvisation tips and encourages you to improvise as you learn. As the course closes, you will have learned about quartal harmony and will have a more in-depth understanding of seventh chords.
Advanced Blues & Fake Stride, Book 7
Book seven is enjoyable since it returns to and continues from book two. You may have forgotten what you learnt back then, but this book repeats it and demonstrates how far you have progressed. It also combines your freshly gained advanced chord knowledge.
You will also learn about slides, tremolo, and other blues instruments. The program then moves on to stride piano, both true and fake, which are distinguished by the distance your hand goes. All of this culminates in the pupil performing The Entertainer, widely regarded as one of the more challenging jazz arrangements.
Taming the Classics is the eighth book in the series.
This is the first point in the curriculum where you truly focus on sheet music, and it begins with a review of what you learned about musical notation previously in the course. It also includes tactics and tips for practicing with sheet music in order to improve.
Book eight is one of the more divisive sections of Pianoforall since it does not teach you how to read sheet music in the traditional sense. It prefers what is effectively a shorthand approach in which you cue in on common chords and patterns and locate flat and sharp notes.
The training then advances to whole classic piano compositions by many well-known composers, including Beethoven. It also includes everything you need to keep practicing reading sheet music, pedaling, tone, and so on, and it allows the learner to choose how much time he or she wants to devote to these specific skills.
Book #9: Accelerated Learning
This final book covers arpeggios, scales, and triads. These would be among the first things you would learn in a regular online piano study. They are among the last in this list, and it is an unusual technique to making you aware of these fundamentals after you have already mastered so many diverse piano talents.
The title alludes to the notion that you will want to include these approaches into your regular practice in order to improve your skills. It includes mnemonics that you may utilize right away, as well as several practice routines that it recommends you learn by rote. You will then have a thorough understanding of melodic patterns, key signatures, seventh chords, triads, and so on.
The Mindfulness Practice as a Bonus Book
This additional book is about creativity in general, not playing the piano in particular. It explains how to take what makes you unique and incorporate it into your music as well as other elements of your life.
Lessons on Video
As previously said, the video courses are integrated into the text-based lectures, but we wanted to briefly discuss what they contain. In most videos, two to three keyboards are arranged horizontally side by side.
The bottommost keyboard depicts Hall’s hands while he plays the piano. The second keyboard’s keys are colored to represent which keys are being pressed in the bottom video, while the third keyboard is utilized to depict progressions, transitions, and the like as needed.
Pianoforall’s Advantages and Disadvantages
In a nutshell, here’s what we liked about Pianoforall and what we didn’t:
You’ve been playing the piano since you were a child.
Lessons are taught via aural, visual, and textual methods.
Use well-known music that the majority of people will enjoy.
Makes you use your left hand as much as your right.
Encourages musicalityyour natural musical talent
Information is presented in an easy-to-digest fashion.
Perhaps there isn’t enough emphasis on technique.
Perhaps there isn’t enough emphasis on music reading.
omits a number of critical phrases and symbols
Is This the Course for You?
A common question we heard online from people thinking about taking the Piano for All teaching course was if the program was good for them as an individual. If you are a complete newbie, then the answer is yes. The course is fantastic, entertaining, and quite effective. If you are a mid-to-advanced player, the answer is most likely no.
Another thing to consider is that, in order to make it interesting and engaging, this curriculum deemphasizes classical piano and instead stresses rock n roll, blues, jazz, and so on. However, enjoyment is subjective, and if you prefer a more traditional approach to learning the piano, Pianoforall is certainly not the ideal option.
How long does it take to complete Pianoforall?
This is an often requested and difficult to answer question. Consider that it takes the average piano student roughly six months to reach the intermediate level. According to some Pianoforall evaluations, the program is a 30-hour course. Others claim that it takes roughly 20 two-hour sessions, which equates to 80 days if you spend 30 minutes a day. All of this, however, is highly dependent.
For the sake of this review, our student finished the curriculum over a nine-week period and became quite skilled. That individual, on the other hand, was practicing two hours a day, six days a week, and no less than five. It is critical to emphasize that Pianoforall is not a miracle formula. However, if you put in the effort, you will almost surely become an intermediate learner in less than six months.
How are the customer feedbacks?
The reviews for Pianoforall are overwhelmingly positive, and this was true in 2006, after the upgrade in 2013, and again in 2020. The results of Pianoforall are undeniable. Thousands of people who put in the effort have learnt to play the piano well thanks to this program. We couldn’t locate a single unsatisfied pupil among those who were brand new to the piano and eager to learn.
Final Thoughts: Is Pianoforall a Good Buy?
Does Pianoforall actually work? Yes! Our review was centered on a team member who has never played the piano and is not even musically inclined. Our test subject completed the program in nine weeks, one book each week, with no assistance from the team’s actual pianists.
Following the ninth week, we administered an in-person exam based on the Pianoforall song list to our test subject. We next showed her many videos of prominent and famous songs that were not included in the curriculum and asked her to copy them. She was able to accomplish so at an impressive level.
Bottom line, if you want to study piano, the Pianoforall download is a fun, effective, and reasonably priced way to do so. There are, of course, some limitations. Robin Hall’s method is unconventional, and depending on their viewpoints, that concept will alienate some teachers and students alike.
It is also worth noting that, due to the unconventional methodology, you will most certainly graduate from this program with some blind spots. That implies that if you take a more typical intermediate course after finishing Piano for All, you may experience some growing pains. From a professional piano instruction standpoint, we do not believe this is a major concern, but it is important to be aware of it.
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