About the Very Best Piano Instruction
The Very Best Piano Instruction: History of the development.
It wasn’t until after starting to frequent blues clubs did the drive to learn to play piano take hold. My favorite players were Detroit Jr. and Barrelhouse Chuck and the desire to play like these two great musicians became an obsession. I signed up for lessons with Erwin Helfer but soon got frustrated with the slow progress and the fact much of the material was forgotten before having a chance to practice. If only I could record my teacher and watch the lesson repeatedly at home I thought. Erwin agreed to be video-taped and from there and thru several generations of video and equipment upgrades and ways to improve the shadow this system of piano instruction developed. The first of these recordings were done with security cameras because the industry had a device to split the screen horizontally. With the video quality marginal, I used a very expensive VHS player manufactured by Panasonic that played clear in slow motion and was developed for sports professionals to analyze golf and batters’ swings and learned how to play. We started with a split screen view with the right hand on top of the screen and left-hand on the bottom but switched to one wide shot when we bought the Arri Master Prime Lens that recorded exceptionally clear. It wasn’t feasible to market this idea until the CD came out that could be played in slow motion on an affordable machine. We switched from CD’s to streaming when we discovered the video hosting site Wistia that allowed chapter markers to be put into the video.
I’ve had two main passions in the last 30 years that my part time career allowed me to pursue and they were building a boat which I worked on for 22 years and developing and building this piano instruction series that took eight years, a system of learning that I have shown has many unique and inventive features. For the players who are interested in boats I made a documentary called 74 Foot Homemade Boat which is up on YouTube. The boat building project became a curiosity and several newspaper publications ran stories on it and I heard marinas as far as California played the documentary in their club houses. I was encouraged by how many views this documentary got and it was one of the deciding factors in developing this website. I thought piano would be more popular than boats. I’ve been wanting to do this for years but didn’t have the time but did finally and my passion for this project was as great as my passion for the boat. I spent about $300.000. and 12,000 hours developing this site and I believe it shows. Everything was top end, microphones, audio processors, piano, recording room, monitoring system, cameras, lenses, computers, and the greatest players.
When I started asking players to come to the studio to record several including Detroit Jr. and Barrelhouse Chuck did not want to do it because they didn’t want to give away their trade secrets. Chuck told me he didn’t want anyone copying his style and he couldn’t give away in two hours what it took him ten years to learn. He also said “If I had this when I was learning to play, I would have been good in three years instead of ten” which is a testimonial to how watching the video in slow motion is a great way to learn and this is before we had the sheet music and the Word Notation available which makes learning easier by a factor of ten. These players were used to learning from listening to records or picking up a riff here and there from other players. He did allow me to record him playing one song and that was How Long Blues by Leroy Carr which I wasn’t allowed to show anyone and learned and have been playing ever since. Detroit Jr., because he needed the money, recorded about twenty songs which I wasn’t allowed to show anyone which I learned and still play. It was then I realized how great this system of learning was. Now my interest has been learning more classical and jazz songs all on the site and since I’m not proficient at reading sheet music I use the Word Notation. My hope is you find songs your passionate about playing and because of this site learning these songs will be easier. Thanks for looking at this.