Kyle – Piano Lesson – 2017.01.31

What brings you in for piano lessons?

Ultimately, Kyle is looking to move into playing his 8-string guitar.

Enjoys heavier music.

Has had music lessons for rhythm/drumming previously… now looking to expand his melodic abilities.

Looking for playing music *both* by ear and by reading.

Kyle believes that reading sheet music and transcribing music will be the fastest way to learn.

Software to assist in learning, playing, writing, and recording music:

Transcribe (Free trial, then $39.00 for single-user license)

Transcribe is a specialized player program which is optimized for the purpose of (music) transcription.

Transcribe link:

Audacity (Free)

Audacity is a free, open source, cross-platform audio software for multi-track recording and editing.

Audacity link:

Finale NotePad (Free)

Finale Notepad is a free introduction music notation and playback software.

Finale Notepad link:

Finale PrintMusic ($120)

Finale PrintMusic is a music notation software designed for educators, worship directors, performing musicians, composers and arrangers who don’t require the most advanced features in Finale.

Finale PrintMusic link:

Finale ($600)

I would *not* dive into purchasing the $600 full-version of Finale.

I say this because I do not believe the expense would be justified for your use at this point.

GarageBand ($5)

GarageBand is the easiest way to create a great-sounding song on your Mac.

GarageBand link:

Logic Pro ($200)

A complete professional recording studio right on your Mac, Logic Pro X gives you everything you need to go from first inspiration to final master.

Logic Pro link:



Creating a multi-month outline of what we will work on in lessons together.

Wants to program his own game, make music for the game, and have fun during the process.

Writing and creating own music eventually… but wants to be proficient first.

Miscellaneous Notes:

Ultimately, you are going to be your best musical resource.

Beneficial things about having a music instructor:

  • Accountability
  • Honest feedback
  • Getting more out of your practice time at home
    • Often times, an instructor can save you 5 years in 5 minutes

At a fundamental level, all music is very simple… it’s just the technique to be able to play music at the highest level that is often difficult for music learners.

Kyle would rather learn from his own music than method books.

You are always in charge of your lessons… make sure to communicate with any teacher you have if they are moving too fast, too slow, or you would like to change your course.

DAW = Digital Audio Workstation


Your posture should provide the ability to execute musical vision without putting unnecessary strain on your body.

Dream Theater, Animals As Leaders, Buckethead, & other prog/metal bands are often great examples of posture while playing music.

A really great video on posture for Piano:

Ben’s general goals for his students:

  • Help each student increase their own level of enjoyment of music.
  • Help each student increase their own level of commitment for playing music.
  • Help each student learn the simple skills of how to effectively learn music by oneself.

Pitch-Finding Exercise (Ear Training):

Play any note on an instrument and try to match its pitch in the same octave.

If you find an octave:

  • Look where you’re playing it on the keyboard
  • Listen to see if the original note is higher or lower
  • Move up or down an octave to find the correct pitch

If you’re totally lost:

  • Listen to see if the original note is higher or lower than what you’ve just played
  • Go up or down by a half-step accordingly until you find the correct pitch

If you want to practice on your own without any instrument or other music:

  • Sing any note you can make with your voice
  • Find it on the piano using the guidelines above

Kyle’s lesson rating: 10/10

What has been most valuable for this lesson?

  • Ben’s goal with lessons is that the student chooses their own goals.
  • Students are given the option to play the music that inspires them, instead of the teacher choosing all of the material.

For next lesson:

  • Bring 3 songs to learn that we can dissect and practice in lessons.
  • Look for MIDI keyboard on eBay.
  • Write a list of musical dreams.
  • Investigate music software options.
  • Hook up the keyboard Kyle rented to his digital interface and experiment with it.

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