Rocket Piano (http://rocketpiano.com) is one of the more popular online piano courses. A quick internet search for piano lessons with various terms reveal that they always show up high in the page ranks. It is no wonder. Their site boasts over 85,000 customers. Their program is suitable for a wide range of adult self-learners: absolute beginners, those that have a modest amount of musical experience, and players of other instruments interested in developing some keyboard technique.
Rocket Piano’s program consists of a series of lesson books graded from beginner through to advanced. You will also find introductory books to jazz and gospel styles, as well as a fingering exercise book. The lesson books are complimented with audio tracks, play along recordings, video lessons, and a collection of music software.
Once you sign up for the program, you can log into the site and start your lessons. I like the fact that Rocket Piano offers you two different packagings of the same material: downloadable and print. You may want to just try out the downloadable lesson books first. Once you get into the program you will probably want to order the print versions. Having hard copies of the books will ultimately be much easier to use than the electronic ones.
When you first log into your course you are presented with a welcome screen, and an overwhelming selection of different resources to choose from including ebooks, software, audio, and video lessons. Scroll down a bit and click on the Starter Course link. You will now be brought to an overview of six introductory lessons. This is a great place for you to begin to learn piano. These lessons cover the basics of piano technique, and will guide you in how to use Rocket Piano’s seemingly endless offerings of supplemental resources.
The first lesson introduces you to the piano, its basic fingerings and musical notation. It is jammed packed with information, so take your time to digest it fully. You will also find links to audio samples and free software to help in your practice. A nice feature is the feedback form at the end of the lesson that asks you to evaluate its material. It seems that the people at Rocket Piano are truly interested in helping their students. Once you have finished working through this lesson, go back to the home page to find the video lessons. Watch the first couple of short videos lead by Ruth Searle who succinctly reviews the material you have just covered.
After completing the Starter Course, download the various ebooks, and accompanying audio, video files. Use the beginner book as your main study guide. As a bonus, you can install several different pieces of music software designed to help your learning progress. Most are designed work on your reading skills. Both PC and Mac versions are available.
Rocket Piano has also produced a series jamtracks to accompany your course. These are recordings of solo arrangements of various popular songs for you to play along with. You will probably find this part of the program to be a lot of fun.
Once you figure out how to navigate the course and use the supplemental material, you will find that the lessons and the course itself are extremely well organized. The authors have developed a program that takes you through various styles of music while ensuring you are learning proper technique, how to read music, and developing some understanding of basic music theory.
Overall I found that Rocket Piano deserves its reputation as one of the better online piano programs. If you are an adult piano student either at a beginner level or wanting to dust off some rusty technique, you can seriously consider this self-directed program.
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