You don't need to spend long on the internet to find at least twenty different systems for learning the piano.

Some are designed for kids and some for adults. Some offer a series of downloadable e-books, some have e-books and videos while others offer an online teaching scenario. Some have an emphasis on modern music, some on jazz, others on gospel. The cheapest is I've seen is about $20. The best go up to two hundred dollars or more.

So can they be said to offer value for money?  You're keen to learn the piano and realistically, there are three different alternatives: The e-books I've just mentioned (and it's important to not that these e-books usually contain audio clips that you can listen to in order to guide you in your playing), ordinary teach yourself books that you buy from a bookstore and a real human piano teacher.

The big problem for me with the traditional book format is, of course, that it's silent. As a novice though you really do need to listen to a piece of music being played so that you can copy the style and the emphasis. One you start to learn how to read music intuitively, it becomes almost second nature to hear the music in your head as you read it.  Beginners can't do that and hearing the piece played properly is an essential part of the learning process.

So what about piano teachers? Prices vary considerably across the country, of course, but it's fair to say that about $35 per lesson is the going rate at present. Most people would opt for a lesson per week. So if you deduct a few weeks here and there for various reasons the number of lessons each year is approximately 45. That's $1575 per year. Of course, human nature being what it is, it's always possible that you and your teacher don't get on together very well!

Even the most expensive of the courses provides more bang per buck, so to speak, than a human teacher could ever provide. And in most of the piano tuition courses I've ever seen there is more than enough material of one sort or another to keep you learning for well over a year. In fact some of them have such a vast quantity of material that it can be somewhat bewildering.

Well, I don't know about you, but I know where I'm putting my money. I know piano teachers need to make a living, especially in these difficult times, but as far as I'm concerned it's no contest, the software wins every time!

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Author: John Richards

Get the facts on piano e-books and piano software and see what real users actually thought (these are not promotional testimonials!) of the top sellers.

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