Pianoforall Review 2019.
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My Review of Pianoforall by Robin Hall
Superb value given the amount of material included.
Extremely effective if you put in the time and effort.
Ease of Use
Simple, no-nonsense format is easy to use from the start.
Timely and friendly responses (email).
- Amazing value (usual price is $79, but get it today for just $39)
- One-time purchase—no ongoing subscriptions (I love this)
- Downloadable—use offline once downloaded
- Lifetime free updates
- View on PC, Mac, smartphone, or tablet
- A huge amount of material, and a lot of ground covered
- Well structured, high quality content keeps things interesting and fun
- Great for beginners, and intermediate players alike
- Simple, straightforward format—no gimmicks
- Learn piano at your own pace, no pressure, and no deadlines
- Responsive email support in case you need a little help
- Embedded audio clips stop when page changed—only a minor issue, but would be nice to have audio clips continue to play when page turned
- The email support is wonderful. However, a forum where students could discuss their progress and experiences would have been a nice addition
Hi! I’m someone who loves to create music, however, apart from a few simple chords, I can’t actually play the piano/keyboard (I use a sequencer to put my music together which is great, but I think it would be nice to be able to sit down and just play something). So, I made it my mission to learn. I tried for many months to do this on my own (YouTube videos etc.), and I did learn a little this way. However, I found that I eventually hit a wall and got discouraged, so decided to invest in a course—(I couldn’t afford one-to-one lessons with a local instructor unfortunately). After searching the internet for around 4 days or so, I decided to try ‘Pianoforall’, and this is my review. So is this course any good? Read on to find out…
Pianoforall comes in 2 formats: A digital only download or if you prefer, you can purchase the digital download plus everything on physical media (DVD); I opted for the former.
The ordering process was quick, painless, and secure (which was just as well, as I was eager to get started).
You can download the e-books for desktop as well as Android and IOS devices. There’s a fair bit of material to download, but in today’s world of super-fast, un-metered internet this isn’t really an issue. (I downloaded and used the course on my Windows 10 laptop).
I found the format of this course quite interesting; a series of PDF e-books, within which you will find not just text and diagrams, but also embedded audio and video (and lots of it, as you’ll see). I really do like the way it organises everything into one neat package so it’s all available at your fingertips when needed. It should also be noted that there is an option to download the e-books and the videos separately (I didn’t use this option, rather I just used the embedded versions). The fact that you can actually download this course is great, as it means you can study offline.
Pianoforall is split into 9 of these e-books which are as follows…
The instructor (Robin Hall), speaks clearly and calmly, explaining everything in meticulous detail, and I found the videos to be of very good quality with clear audio and visuals. Right then, let’s take a look at what’s included!
Book 1 (Party Time): Here, Robin takes us through the very basics. For example, we learn the names and positions of the keys (C, D, E etc.) along with the basic chords, starting with the chords of the C major scale. I was fairly familiar with these things already but went through these lessons anyway and think it’s great that the course starts with these basics, as it means that even if you’ve never even seen a piano before, you can sit down and start learning to play.
As we continue through book 1, we learn techniques such as split chords, sevenths, and various rhythm styles, so a lot of ground is covered here.
Book 2 (Blues & Rock n Roll), Here, we learn the ’12 bar blues’, ‘straight 8’ and more besides. Again, there are some nice examples here to play along with. Even if you aren’t into a particular style of playing, these lessons are still invaluable learning aids, so I definitively wouldn’t skip over them. If you really want to learn to play the piano (and I’m guessing you do, as you’re here), then make your investment work for you, and learn everything this course has to offer!
Books 3 & 4 are all about chords. In book 3 (Chord Magic) we get some nice tips for remembering all the basic chords we have learned so far. We also learn about inversions and are shown some new chords. In book 4 (Advanced Chords Made Easy), we learn about cluster chords, diminished chords, and a great method for learning 9, 11, & Sus9 chords. So after these two books, I definitely felt a good deal more ‘accomplished’. As with the previous books, we also get some nice chord progressions so we can put what we are learning into practice
Book 5 (Ballad Style). Here, we get to experiment with some improvisation using the pentatonic scale, we are taken step by step through the process of creating a pattern (over which we can play a melody). We are also given some advice as to how we can expand our patterns based on the pentatonic scale to make them sound more interesting. We are encouraged to experiment/improvise but are also given some ideas to get us started just in case we’re feeling a little shy, creatively speaking. Again, we are given lots examples we can listen to by clicking the little speaker icon. Then we are shown some examples of actual songs to learn. I found that learning the songs that were in front of me really helped, as it got me to used to using my hands independently of each other (something I had always struggled with when trying to play the piano). It also helped with many other aspects, such as hand placement or finding notes quickly etc.
Book 6 (All That Jazz, And Blues). This was a big download! It was actually split across 2 separate books. We start by looking a little more at the Blues, but a different style to that which we saw in book 2. This is used as an entry point to the Jazz style (which we get into as the book progresses). We are shown a blues scale, and some chords to go with it (7th chords, which we learned about earlier). I like the way Robin gives us visual examples to help us remember things, as he does here with this blues scale. We are also encouraged to improvise along with the chords, and I was surprised how good it sounded—considering I’m a beginner. We are also shown some excellent riffs to add in. As we work our way further into this book, we start to move more towards the jazz style. We are given some some chords to practise, along with an alternative voicing relevant to various jazz standards (by the way this book is also relevant to showtunes). Robin shows us more inversions, and gives us some tips for creating melodies (which is always handy!).
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The 2nd part of this book delves further into this style, and introduces to us, such wonders as the ‘descending bass line’, (this sounds sublime). We also learn about modern voicings and so much more besides. Like I said earlier, there is so much content here. I would love to go through it all, but this review would end up at about 100 pages long!
I would say that I found this the most challenging book by far. Of course, this will be different for everyone but I think for me, it was getting used to playing some of the swing rhythms. However, practice, along with the tips given here really help, and when you get it right, it sounds great.
Book 7 (Advanced Blues and Fake Stride), starts by giving us a simple method of transposing songs (moving them to a different key) after which we revisit what we learned in book 2, except we now learn how to make our right hand chords more interesting by introducing sevenths, as well as inversions. We then practise playing patterns with our right hand, over rhythms played with our left hand (again, when you first try this it may be quite difficult for you (as it was for me), but with practice it does get easier) We also are introduced to new techniques such as tremolos, pickups, and slides which we can incorporate into our playing.
Book 8 (Taming The Classics). We start by reviewing some of the basics to keep things fresh in our memory, before moving onto some additional theory. We learn about key signatures and then what some of the symbols in written music mean. As I don’t know how to read music, (I write my music ‘by ear’ using DAWs/sequencers such as Sonar), I found this part really interesting. Robin gives us a neat little trick we can use to read music quickly, which I found to be quite effective. The highlight of this book though for me, are the practice tips we are given, including for playing different parts with the left and right hands.
We are also given some songs to play by reading the music. If this is something you plan on learning, this course introduces you to it gently, as the music is written the ‘Pianoforall way’. That is, with some handy hints to make it easier to read. As always, we can hit the speaker icon to hear how the piece should sound—quite often my first attempt came out sounding out rather different! We then move onto some more advanced pieces (a lot classical tunes here that you probably have heard many times on TV, in movies or in other songs). These have accompanying audio and video. I’m not quite up to the level of some of these just yet!
Book 9 (Speed Learning), as you can probably tell, is aimed at helping us learn faster and making the process more interesting. We get exercises to help us learn the scales, (and arpeggios–don’t worry, these are explained!) in every key. We are show some memory tricks to help us remember all the scales, and are shown the correct finger positions for the all the arpeggios. The exercises in this book are given a musical slant, we aren’t just playing chords over and over again, which is what keeps it fresh and interesting. We are also given workouts for Jazz and Blues. If you want to print out the PDFs, there are a series of boxes at the bottom of each exercise so you can keep track of how many times you’ve practised it. This book is a whopping 120 pages!
Book 10 (Bumper Bonus Book), is the first of 2 bonus books and includes a foreword from Robin, followed by some tips on buying/choosing a piano or keyboard. There is also a section on connecting your keyboard/digital piano to your PC/Mac as well as software choices (of course, you don’t need these if you have a standard piano or aren’t that bothered about recording your playing to your computer). Of course, you may know about this stuff already (as did I), however for those who don’t, it’s a nice touch for it to be included here.
We are also given a list of piano/music related websites, and a huge list of great sounding songs for us to play, categorized by style/rhythm. We can also read some piano related book reviews here, and a website is recommended to us for purchasing sheet music should we wish to do so before closing with some articles which aim to help us increase the effectiveness of our practice/learning—so take note!
Book 11 (Increase Your Creative Ability 400%), is another bonus book who’s 40 pages are aimed at assisting us in unlocking our creative potential and ability to learn. It’s full of cartoons, exercises, and tips aimed at helping us learn more, faster, with next to no effort!! Of course, the exercises and tips given here can also be applied to other things in life, not just to learning the piano.
I’m a big fan of the way the course material is presented, with written instructions, audio, and video all packaged into the PDFs. The text gives you instructions for each of the lessons, along with diagrams showing which notes to play, the notation and sometimes, even cartoons—which are used to help you remember things more easily! In my opinion, the embedded videos really are invaluable, allowing you to actually see Robin play the examples from the current lesson, which is a great learning aid.
The embedded audio allows you to hear how the examples should sound, but without the voice-over, which is a nice touch.
Now, the sheer amount of material here is staggering. 200 videos totalling over 10 hours. That’s more than the running time of all 3 ‘The Lord Of The Rings’ movies! Add to that the 500 audio ‘clips’, as well as the e-book text, and you have yourself a pretty comprehensive piano course. While I do understand that when learning a new skill, a large amount of material can be overwhelming, I didn’t feel as though that was the case here. On a course such as this, there is no deadline, so you are free to go as fast or as slow as as slow as you like; and the friendly, easy to follow format of the course helps keep you focused.
Despite the amount of material included, its quality remains extremely high throughout—it never dips, so we get quantity and quality, which is a rare thing indeed.
Speaking of quality, the quality of the instructor, is one of the most important aspects of any course, and Pianoforall scores highly here. Robin speaks clearly, calmly, and gets his point across in an efficient and effective manner.
But what about one-to-one piano lessons? If you can afford them, that’s fantastic. There’s something to be said for having someone sitting there with you so they can actually see, and point out, where you’re going wrong! However for me, these are not an option; they are far too cost prohibitive! Lessons are usually charged by the hour, or the half hour, and given the amount of material covered in this course, the equivalent one-to-one lessons would add up and become very expensive, very quickly. So for me, one-to-one lessons are a no-no.
Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered Pianoforall, as it fell perfectly within my price point. Its usual price is US$79 but if you buy now, you’ll get it for just US$39! This also includes a 60-day money back guarantee, making it a no-brainer.
What this (or any other) course won’t do, is make you an expert piano player overnight—that’s pie in the sky, and I would avoid anyone that tells you otherwise! You will only become great given the correct guidance, and through repeated practice—I personally felt that I started to sound good after a few weeks, therefore you shouldn’t have to wait too long to see results. So If you are ready, and willing to commit, I wholeheartedly recommend Pianoforall. Give yourself some time with this course and I’m convinced you can become a fantastic piano player, and if you’re still not sure if this is the course for you, no problem, just find what works for you and start learning to play this wonderful instrument—remember, there’s no time like the present! Good Luck!
Summary: 4.5 / 5: An absolutely wonderful course that represents amazing value for money. If you want to learn the piano, this is the course you’ve been looking for! Claim your 50% discount while it lasts!
See It in Action!
To see Pianoforall in action, just click the above button to visit the Pianoforall homepage, scroll down a little and you’ll find a couple of videos, one of which is a great little compilation giving you an sneak peek at some of what the course has to offer. The other, is a free sample video lesson—”The Amazing Broken Chord Ballad”. Who doesn’t love a freebie?!
The following testimonials are verifiable as per Pianoforall.
Hi Robin, Recently bought your series and think it is incredible. My mother was a classically trained pianist and my father was a bar room “by ear” player and I always wanted to be sort of combination of them. Your set of books has made it all fun for me again. Could never be bothered by all the technical stuff, just wanted to sit and play. Piano For All is great. Thanks,
Hi Robin, I recently purchased your product and I have to tell you: it’s absolutely wonderful!!! I’m still quite a beginner but I can follow your instructions and feel I improve daily! Though I have to admit I watch and listen to the videos thousands of times – but once it clicks in – it’s delightful. Thanks ever so much for your efforts of putting this whole set together, I’m really glad I’ve found you!
Robin, Thank you so much for this course. I have wanted to learn to play my favorite instrument as long as I can remember. Now that I’m an adult, I am so glad to not have to learn from the child books. Already being able to play popular songs just amazes me! I am having so much fun. Thanks again,
Hi Robin, just a quick note, this is david from barnegat, new jersey i started your course about three months ago, i am on book 3 and still think the course is just great. books 1 and 2 were just the best, i really look foward to sitting down at the piano now, and just have fun the licks and songs you use are just what i am looking for. i am 59 years young and grew up with all those tunes. keep up the great work and i will stay in touch, thanks again, david.
Hi Robin, Your course is everything that you and others said it would be. The lessons are do-able and satisfying. Your videos and sound bites make everything quite clear. I didn’t think I could make the piano sound this good so quickly. I would highly recommend your course to anyone who wants to learn the piano. Thanks so much. You are making a dream come true.
Hey Robin we have spoke awhile back about your course..I started on book one and it is awesome.. I play acoustic guitar and sing but i am so excited to play piano now, and it so easy to create chord progressions with your method that the second day already im playing let it be progression…what is your suggestion should i just follow each page and dont move on till i master each page? Thanks..it was a blessing finding you, music is my life.