As a piano teacher I often hear the regrets that people have for not learning the piano or not continuing tuition when they were children. We all lead very busy lives – we work a lot to pay our bills, we spend our spare time with the family, and we are generally all very busy people.
This often means there just isn’t enough time to squeeze in piano tuition and to learn the blues and boogie woogie on the piano – right?
With the rapid development of social media and the progression the internet has made with sites like YouTube, there is an abundance of free video tutorials for just about everything.
But why should you use online tutorial videos to learn a style of music like piano blues and boogie woogie, rather than seek one to one tuition or buy piano books?
Why shouldn’t I seek one to one piano tuition?
Having private tuition for the piano is a fantastic way to learn, and as a piano teacher I completely understand the benefits of this type of direct tuition. However, not everyone can afford weekly piano tuition, and not everyone has the time to travel after work or on weekends to the teacher’s house to only spend 30-40 minutes per session. It might take you 30 minutes just to drive there, so losing an additional hour from your day can be difficult in the evenings and especially difficult on the weekend if you have plans with family or friends.
Some might say that if you were dedicated enough to learning to play the blues on the piano then you wouldn’t mind giving up your valuable time to visit a music teacher, but in real life this just isn’t so easy – and that’s where online video tutorials come into their own!
What are the benefits of piano video tutorials?
One of the biggest factors when it comes to deciding whether or not to learn how to play the piano is time and money. When you agree to personal tuition you are often expected to attend every week at the same time and on the same day, which can be quite difficult to commit to with work, family and life in general. However, with online video tutorials you have access to them whenever you want, and at a time and day of your choosing.
What’s even more exciting about using online video tutorials is that you can play them over and over again as often as you want, which makes it easier to run over something again and ensure you are getting it right. As a piano teacher myself, although I do offer and encourage that a student contact me in between lessons, they rarely ever do and will usually leave a problem or question they have until the next lesson.
When it comes to price, tutorial videos are usually inexpensive if you look in the right place. The cost of a piano lesson is around £25-£35 per hour or $35-$40 US Dollars, so this can add up to quite a bit if you are expected to attend lessons weekly. You can spend hours upon hours watching the tutorial videos whenever you like, but you only have a small teaching window when it comes to one to one tuition.
A tutorial video is also a great way to learn because of the visual aspect. There are many people that are put off learning to play the piano because they believe they need to learn how to read music at the same time. This just isn’t true when it comes to learning to play blues and boogie woogie on the piano, and you can learn just by watching someone through a tutorial video.
If however you did learn to read music when you were younger or you’ve kept it up a little over the years, then you will often find that the tutorial videos come along with sheet music. It isn’t essential to have sheet music when learning from the videos, but for someone who can read a little it will give them an additional learning tool and also help them to continue to develop with the skill of reading music.
Do I need to own a PC or laptop?
An online tutorial video can be watched on a mobile phone or tablet, and you don’t have to go out and buy an expensive PC or laptop in order to watch them. If you do have such luxuries then great! But if you don’t, then you can simply bring up the videos on your mobile and even put the phone or tablet on your music stand so you can watch them whilst playing at the same time.
The convenience of being able to press a few buttons and learn within minutes from your own home is what makes an online video tutorial exceptional value.
Should I go out and spend lots of money on a piano?
The biggest misconception when it comes to learning to play the blues is that you need to spend thousands of pounds on a piano. The truth is far simpler – and much cheaper!
When you watch Jools Holland or Dr John playing on their really expensive grand pianos on stage, you have to realise that you don’t need such an instrument in order to learn. You shouldn’t be put off by the concept of a real acoustic piano when there are so many other inexpensive options out there that do the same job.
What should I buy if I want to learn to play blues piano?
Depending on your budget, a keyboard is all you need to get started today. You can spend as little as £50 on a keyboard and begin learning from an online video course if you want. You don’t have to worry about having 88 weighted keys and having to spend hundreds of pounds on delivery costs for an acoustic piano to be delivered to your home, when all you need to do is click a button on the internet and have a keyboard delivered to you the very next day.
There are lots of options when it comes to learning the piano, and I would always recommend buying something at the lower end of the market if you are unsure about the learning process. Buying an inexpensive keyboard or digital piano will be much easier to sell on if you decide you want to upgrade to something better at a later date.
Not only is a digital keyboard or piano much cheaper to buy than a real acoustic piano, they are far easier to deliver to your home and transport to any room you desire. The cost of tuning a piano 3-4 times a year can be hundreds of pounds, so there are obvious maintenance costs associated with an acoustic piano that you just don’t get with a keyboard or digital piano.