If you’re used to a more traditional method of learning to play piano: plenty of technique, note theory, learning to read notes on a printed stave; you may find Marilyn Van Roekel’s “Simply Music” method unorthodox.
Yet being able to read music is only one part of learning to play the piano successfully, and actually enjoy doing it.
Marilyn’s students don’t learn to read music for at least a year, yet they are promised the ability to play a simple, recognisable tune after just one lesson.
Marilyn knows first-hand about the traditional method. She stuck it out – so did I (actually, I didn’t mind the style, but then I had a good teacher).
Many children don’t. They come to loathe piano lessons (how many times have you heard that?)
That’s a shame. It’s not the piano’s fault.
Van Roekel says the method, developed by Neil Moore, an Australian living in California, isn’t just fun, it works very well. In fact, she believes the average Simply Music student will be a better player after a year than the average student using the traditional method.
“My experience is that the speed and quality with which they learn it is far superior to a reading-based method,” says Van Roekel.
And then there’s the whole matter that they may also be more likely to still be a student after a year, at least if enjoyment has anything to do with it.
Granted, you still have to practice, says 56-year-old Mike McCrory, at Van Roekel’s Oro Valley home for a lesson. But McCrory says that’s not a problem. “It’s a lot of fun,” he says.
Van Roekel’s premise is that everyone has a sense of rhythm, even if they don’t recognise it. This method capitalises on the in-built musical ability that everyone has, when unhindered by confusing theory, acronyms and such like.
That’s not to say that everyone should learn to play the piano – but a good many will enjoy this method and stick at it, reaching a level where they can enjoy playing music with friends and family.
Read the full article: A new way to learn piano