Time for another student success story! Piano In 21 Days student Tony Lee and I had a chance to catch up over video chat recently, and it was a great conversation. Funnily enough, his piano journey started with a hiking accident that made him stay off his ankle and forced him to look for ways to entertain himself. A lot of people would have gone straight to Netflix as a distraction, but not Tony!
Looking for an Online Piano Course
When Tony was young, he played bass in some university rock bands, and got into guitar as well. He was always interested in music and had lots of fun on bass and guitar, but the end of university marking the beginning of a long break from music playing.
Later in life, he and his wife became experienced hikers, doing long trips such as Camino to Santiago (that’s 800 kilometers!). Fast forward to 2019: they went on a trip to Scotland. In an area that was supposed to be easy terrain, record-setting rains and flooding led to Tony hurting his ankle along the way.
He managed to walk the last hundred kilometers on a broken ankle with the help of Advil and some Guinness here and there. But when he got home, he was told to stay off his broken ankle for a while. That meant staying at home, and finding something to do.
Making the Most of Recovery
Instead of binging Netflix, Tony decided to get back into music! He bought a cheap Casio keyboard, downloaded a piano-learning app, and started watching YouTube tutorials. But these options all focused on sight-reading. Finally he found Piano In 21 Days and went through my free 5-day workbook. That’s when the lightbulb turned on: the piano could be playing with chord-based techniques! This resonated with Tony because of his previous experience with other instruments and his time playing in bands, so he could see the value of it right away.
He signed up for my Piano In 21 Days course, and the rest is history!
Comparing the Piano with the Guitar
Remember, Tony wasn’t completely new to music: just to the piano. His bass and guitar experience turned out to be a helpful reference point as he made his decision to learn with my course. And he brought up a very interesting idea in our conversation, one that I haven’t ever really thought about before.
As Tony puts it, “a guitar is a messed up instrument.” Hey, he said it, not me! 😉 But if you take a piano keyboard and compare it to the guitar, the keyboard is like a one-stringed guitar with 88 frets. The structure of chords is the same across the whole instrument, unlike in guitar where you have to individually memorize many chord shapes that have very different results on different frets.
In his opinion, piano is actually easier to learn. And I may be biased, but I’m inclined to agree. The piano is essentially a repeating set of notes, and whatever you learn to do on one of those sets will in theory work on any set. This means you can rapidly start using chord-based skills and make progress very quickly.
Where Tony Began
When he started with his keyboard, Tony felt intimidated by the concept of traditional piano learning. Sight-reading, classical music, scales, drills… that just didn’t seem like a natural entry point for him. The app and the YouTube tutorials he found just weren’t the right fit. So he started Googling around and found his way to my Piano In 21 Days site.
The moment that really convinced him of the value of my resources? Going through my free 5-day workbook and realizing just how applicable his guitar and bass knowledge would be with my chord-based approach. He started looking up songs and was impressed by how quickly he was beginning to play them.
“That was the moment that it was: ‘Okay, this is perfect for me.’”
Tony’s Experience with Piano In 21 Days
Once Tony began my full Piano In 21 Days course, it was full steam ahead. Over the course of about a month, he powered through more familiar concepts and took his time practicing and re-practicing new concepts so that they began to feel more natural to him.
He struggled a bit with rhythm when playing independently in both hands. Fortunately, he found my add-on hand coordination course to be very helpful in that regard. Later, Tony continued on through my other resources, such as the Melody & Ear Training course (a.k.a. “the next 21 days’). Since he’s an Ultimate package member (one of the course package options I offer when enrollment is open), he got to take full advantage of all the different content that I had available at the time.
Does it Have to be 21 Days?
I was glad to hear that Tony never felt pressured to complete the main course in exactly 21 days. As I always try to make clear, my brand is Piano In 21 Days because that is how long it can take to get started playing real songs. But there is never any requirement to move through the course that quickly: most people prefer a more relaxed pace and that is completely fine. Motivation, past experience, and scheduling considerations all play a part in how the individual can experience the course at their own pace.
In Tony’s case, he was able to set aside about an hour each day, and didn’t take many breaks from the learning process. That may not be feasible for you, but don’t let that stop you! A few lessons per week, or shorter practice sessions broken down over longer periods of time can also work well.
How Tony Inspired Me
When I recently put together the 6.0 version of my course on my brand-new course website, Tony immediately came to mind as a perfect beta user. He already had ample experience with the previous course version, was having a blast with what he had learned, and was always a source of interesting feedback and great suggestions.
In fact, one of my students’ favorite new features of the course was directly inspired by Tony! I added backing tracks to exercises throughout the course, making it much easier to practice on-beat and helping students build confidence playing at different speeds. He had already tinkered around with this concept before I ever did, so credit where credit is due: Tony, my students LOVE the backing tracks and it all started with your email feedback!
Some of the new features that he noted about the 6.0 course? More content, across the board (some lessons are up to double in length). More detailed information where it counts, more convenient ways for the community to interact with the content and each other, and of course, those awesome backing tracks. 🙂
Putting Piano Knowledge to Good Use
Nowadays, Tony is putting his new piano skills and experience to good use. He’s started a website and an accompanying YouTube channel, featuring reviews of keyboards, digital pianos, and other related gadgets. He’s posting tips on what he’s discovering as he continues to play and have fun on his keyboard. And he’s even got his very own backing tracks, including the ones that originally inspired me.
I encourage you to check out his site if you are interested in anything related to buying a new keyboard or digital piano, or if you are interested in the perspective of a Piano In 21 Days student who is definitely using what he’s learned.
Who is a Good Fit for Piano In 21 Days?
In his opinion, Piano In 21 Days is a good fit for many different types of students and goals, with a few exceptions. In fact, he told me that the only people who probably shouldn’t bother with my course are classical students and people who want to be concert pianists.
That leaves a broad path open to everyone from the beginners who’ve never touched a keyboard, to the adults who hated their childhood lessons, to the sight-readers who can play from sheet music but have no idea how to get into playing modern popular tunes. And everyone in between!
Advice for Beginners
I asked Tony to share his advice for piano beginners, specifically for people who have just started my Piano In 21 Days course. Here’s what he told me:
- Stick with it, even if you feel like you’re going too slowly at first
- Keep it fun by taking breaks as needed
- Be patient with yourself: sometimes new concepts click a bit later
- It’s not all “rainbows and butterflies the whole way through” but all the tools are there to help you
Great advice and I couldn’t agree more! There is no magic pill: this takes work no matter what your goals are. But it’s worth it if you’re willing. And my goal is to make the journey as fun and simple as possible.
Are You Next?
Tony is just one of thousands of happy students who have gone through my resources over the years. Are you next? Check out my free 5-day workbook to get started today.