Simply Music: A New Way Of Playing Piano
Simply Music is a remarkable, Australian-developed piano and keyboard program that offers a breakthrough in music education. This unique method has children, teens, adults and seniors, playing great sounding blues, classical, contemporary and accompaniment pieces–-immediately–from their very first lessons.
This Simply Music approach focuses on the fun and sheer pleasure of playing music. The “hands-on” nature of the program, and the immediate results that are produced, actively dispel the notion that learning to play means enduring years of lessons, boring practice sessions and relentless hours of drills.
HOW SIMPLY MUSIC DEVELOPED: When Neil Moore, the creator of Simply Music, was a boy, he did not play the piano the way his teacher thought he should. Rather than read music, he listened to the teacher play the piece and then broke it down into patterns. Between lessons, he would work out the pattern and figure out the piece. Then, at the next lesson, he would pretend to read the music while playing the piece. His teacher and mother were not fooled, but they decided to let him use his own unique style of learning and, although he became an accomplished musician, Neil did not learn to read music until he was in his 30’s.
Mr. Moore taught music to students and trained teachers for many years by way of a traditional program until, one day, he received a phone asking if he would be willing to teach an eight year old boy who was blind. With reading music being out of the question, Neil wasn’t exactly sure how he’d teach the young boy (Wade), but had no doubt that he could do it.
It was clear to Neil that he needed to recreate for Wade his own experience of learning from when he was a boy. When Wade came to lessons, Neil would simply teach him the patterns he had distilled from his own childhood model. Within a few months, Wade was playing a range of blues, popular and classical pieces. When Neil asked Wade’s father if he was pleased with his son’s progress, he replied, “… not only are we happy with his progress, but he’s started to teach his four year old sister how to play, and she’s blind too.”
Neil Moore was then compelled to introduce all young children to a similar approach–no music reading, no theory–just playing and learning by “doing.” He continued developing this program, began introducing the concepts to young children, and found that they were producing superior results to older, more “advanced” students. What struck him as remarkable was that from the very beginning, these new students were playing with both hands, simultaneously, easily and musically, and with so much confidence. Parents began reporting that their children were playing all the time and the students, themselves, began saying that practice didn’t feel like practice…it was fun to play the piano!
After completing a pilot program for student of all ages, it was clear how successfully students could progress with this “playing-based” approach. From their first lesson, students were playing great sounding music and, within a few months, had already built a repertoire of contemporary, classical, blues and accompaniment pieces. The students’ experience of the process was that it was refreshing, inspiring, and motivating. Neil Moore realized this approach that was far more powerful than anything he had ever witnessed or even heard of before.
HOW SIMPLY MUSIC WORKS: In reality, children learn to talk long before they learn to spell and read. Furthermore, we learn to tie our shoelaces, brush our teeth, and button our shirt by doing and experiencing them directly, not by studying the “theory” of the subject or referring to notes. In other words, we learn by doing.
Simply Music’s “learn-by-playing” approach is based on the premise that everybody, without exception, is musical. Life is musical, profoundly so. Our heart beats to a steady “thump,” and that is rhythm, the foundation of all music; walking is a highly rhythmical, graceful, musical act; conversation is made up of spoken sentences and phrases of astonishing musical complexity. Music is easily and naturally available to us all. Our innate connection to music is precisely what gives us the ability to talk. The Simply Music program accesses the natural sense of music we all possess and teaches students to play the piano by immersing them in the actual process of playing.
The Simply Music method is a “playing-based” program and begins by translating pieces of music into a unique series of simple concepts that unfold directly onto the keyboard. Beginning students are free to relate directly to the piano because they do not have to read music. Consequently, within months, students easily and naturally establish a true “feel” for the instrument and build a Playlist that includes contemporary, classical, blues and jazz styles.
The bottom line is that students get to experience the absolute joy that comes from being able to immediately play a broad repertoire of great-sounding music.
After about 12 months of lessons, and with a repertoire of 35 to 50 pieces covering a broad range of musical styles, students go on to learn how to read music and understand more theory. Their ability to play piano so well provides a natural and ideal foundation.