Hoffman Academy Review
It has been many years since I took piano lessons. In fact, I took lessons two different times from two different teachers. The first teacher was intimidating and the metronome was more than I could bear. The second time taking piano lessons ended for other reasons. Of course, back then there was no internet for me to search for an alternative method for learning how to play the piano. Now, there is. I am pleased to announce the Hoffman Academy provides children with the opportunity to learn how to play the piano in a way that is fun and economical. No more intimidating teachers or metronomes. Allow me to tell you more about how Mr. Hoffman’s program works in this product review.
The Hoffman Academy began in 2007 with 40 children and adults taking piano lessons from Mr. Hoffman. He began offering online lessons in 2010 through a website formerly known as FreePianoLessons4Kids.com. Today, his free online lessons have been viewed over 2 million times. You will find his story interesting and I encourage you to take a moment to read it.
Before I go any further let me explain the fee for taking the lessons. You read earlier the online lessons are free. Yes, free. You may wonder what the catch is. Mr. Hoffman says it best on his about webpage:
“We are trying to make music lessons more accessible and affordable for kids in any situation by providing the most expensive part of music lessons—the lessons themselves—free! The only thing we charge for is the materials. If you choose to not purchase the materials, you are still 100% free to watch the video lessons without ever paying a penny.”
Piano lessons can quickly become expensive. I live in a small town in the Midwest. The lowest fee for private lessons in my area is $10 for a half hour lesson. The books cost extra. I did an internet search on the cost of piano lessons and discovered some moms are paying as much as $118 per month for half hour lessons for one child. Ouch!
You may question if learning how to play the piano online really does work. My daughter took piano lessons for nine years. She has continued her lessons at home by using YouTube videos. She will watch the video, go to the piano, and play what she learned. My daughter is in the process of learning a difficult piece as a present to her father.
Mr. Hoffman offers 60 free lessons on the Hoffman Academy website in the form of YouTube videos. There are 3 units with 20 lessons each. The lessons themselves are anywhere from 5 minutes to nearly 16 minutes in length. Each video lesson has a left sidebar telling the children what they will learn as well as the lyrics to the song. Having the lyrics available is a helpful learning tool for those children who can read.
Mr. Hoffman has a gentle spirit that entices children to want to play the piano. He encourages children to interact by applying what he is teaching as he teaches it. His method allows children to begin playing songs during the first lesson. This is quite different from what I have seen with other piano teachers. They tend to give an introduction to the piano, how to sit, proper finger placement, and so forth during the first lesson. Children want to jump right in and learn how to play a song on day one and not wait until later.
Mr. Hoffman creates a desire in the students to want to continue to the next lesson. He uses listening games, stories, clapping to the rhythm and other methods in his teaching. For example, in lesson four he tells the story of Piano Street to explain how to find the C, D and E keys on the piano. One of Mr. Hoffman’s methods I find unique is he helps students to learn how to play by ear. Numerous piano teachers only teach how to read music.
The key (no pun intended) to learning how to play the piano is practice, practice, and practice some more. Now, that does not mean children should spend hours at the piano. Instead, they should watch the video lesson and practice what they learned until they have mastered the lesson. That may take several days or so until they are ready to move ahead to the next video. One of the advantages of learning from a video is that children can pause, rewind, or view the entire video over and over again for as long as they need to do so.
Hoffman Academy offers the opportunity to purchase downloadable materials. These materials will help to reinforce Mr. Hoffman’s teaching while adding complementary activities. Do not be anxious about how to “teach” the materials. Mr. Hoffman has done the work for you and you do not need to have any prior musical training. He even has included a letter explaining your role as a Daily Practice Partner.
You have three responsibilities as a Daily Practice Partner: have your children practice the piano daily for 15-20 minutes; do not over-correct; and keep the experience fun and positive. Obviously, the more consistent practice the children have will help them to become more proficient in their piano playing. A sure kill-joy is a parent who is harsh and critical. To foster your children’s desire to learn how to play the piano, follow the activities in the funsheets (AKA worksheets), listen to the MP3s, and most of all give lots of praise.
A few examples of what you will receive in the funsheets are:
- Coloring pages
- Practice games
- Song sheets
- Rhythm sheets
There are two types of Mp3 recordings. One is for listening to all the songs taught in the lessons. The other recording is an accompaniment to use during practice sessions.
There are many options for using the videos and materials. Here is a suggestion for what piano time might look like:
- Day 1 – watch the video lesson
- Day 2 – watch a portion of the video for review and practice for 15-20 minutes.
- Day 3 – watch another portion of the video for review and practice for 15-20 minutes. Include a practice game.
- Day 4 – practice for 15-20 minutes. Use the MP3 recording and an activity.
- Day 5 – watch the entire video, practice for 15-20 minutes, check for mastery, and play for Dad.
Mr. Hoffman’s materials come in four packages. You may purchase the materials according to the three units or as a total package. The regular cost for the individual units is $19. The total package for all three units is $57. You are welcome to take a look at the sample lessons before making your purchase.
You are welcome to like the Hoffman Academy’s Facebook and share it with your friends.
Be sure to invite them to learn more about how their children can learn how to play the piano through the Hoffman Academy.