If you don't consider yourself musically talented, please keep reading, because this program is designed for you! Simply Music (www.simplymusic.net) is not a program written for students and teachers who have had 20 years of classical training - although I think they would still find it to be a very valuable tool. It is written for the novices, like me, who love music and wish we could play, or play better. I'll give just a quick history and description because other, more brilliant reviewers are looking at the overall program in more depth, and I want to focus on using this excellent program with students with special needs.
Neil Moore didn't play the piano the way his teacher thought he should. He didn't read the music score and play what he saw; 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 was not fooled. This was not how to learn! However, after complaining to Neil's mother, they decided to let him use his own unique style of learning. Although he became an accomplished musician, Neil did not learn to read music until he was an adult. The Simply Music Program had its origins with a blind student. Neil had been asked to teach a boy who was blind to play the piano. Certainly, the traditional methods would not work! But what if Neil could somehow break down the system that he used to play and teach this system to his young student? You guessed it! The results were astounding and this wonderful music program was born.
The nuts and bolts of Simply Music involve a student either doing an independent study program or working with a Simply Music teacher. There are books, videos, cassettes or CDs, music books, charts, etc., all to guide you through the process. Did I mention the process is upside down? Traditional, classical music programs start by spending weeks or months (or years) teaching how to read music and play the scales. For those of you who enjoy frustration, I highly recommend that method. However, for the rest of us who want to learn to play the piano, I love the Simply Music approach. Neil starts with a very brief introduction, and then teaches the student to play a song, with both hands, in the first lesson! He uses patterns and symbols that make it easy to understand and easy to play. By starting with success, the student has fun right from the start, while they are learning. Don't worry, learning to read music and all of the "boring" stuff comes later, but not in a boring way. Neil makes an excellent point about why he uses this method. He says that babies don't learn to spell and write before they learn to talk, so why would we ask kids to learn to read music before they learn to play? And these are not "Dick and Jane" kinds of songs, but a full repertoire of beautiful songs from a variety of genres. I'll confess that I love this method, because it is close to how I learned to play the piano in junior high school. My teacher taught me how to read music, but it was too slow for me. I would take the music home and decipher a little bit, memorize that part by breaking it down into patterns, then learn a bit more. Start with the right hand, and then add the left. That was a long time ago and I've forgotten most of what I used to know, but this process makes more sense to me, and is much more fun!
What really struck me about the Simply Music program, though, is how wonderful it would be for my son, Benjamin. Benji is almost four-years-old and has Down Syndrome. His fingers are a little bit shorter than other kids' his age, and his gross and fine motor skills are behind. He has cognitive delays and will probably never understand the more intricate concepts in music. However, music absolutely speaks to Benji's soul. He listens, sings along, smiles, swings, dances, and imitates any music he hears. We usually have some music playing, because it is such a special part of his day. We also use songs to help motivate him, such as a "clean up" song, or songs to sing while we clean him up after dinner and give him a bath. He only speaks a few single words, but he can sing along with whole songs! What if, using the Simply Music program, I could teach my beloved son how to play the music he adores so much? He understands patterns and could learn to repeat the patterns pretty easily. He would have success from the first lesson without having to decode the complicated musical language. He could learn many songs and be able to play any time he wanted to. This would be nearly a miracle. I don't think he is quite ready yet - but in another year or two, look out!
What about for your child with special needs? I think this program could be a major breakthrough for children with a variety of cognitive delays or learning disabilities, because of the method of learning. The child does not have to be able to decode the entire musical language to learn how to play many songs. Later, as they are ready, they can learn to read music and develop more of the nuances, if they choose. It could also be wonderful for children with many different physical disabilities, because the songs focus on keys that are close together, and on patterns, making it easier to play the pieces, but still producing big results. The program can be adapted to meet the unique needs of your child. He or she can go faster or slower, do more review or less, and play more difficult pieces or easier, as needed. Keep in mind, the program was started to teach a child who was blind how to play the piano!
What if you want to teach your kids to play piano, but you are not a musician? Not a problem! The self-instructional materials could be mastered with no musical background. The only danger is that you will likely want to join in the fun and learn to play alongside your child! There are also Simply Music teachers across the country who can teach the whole program to your child. Another danger, though - you might decide you want to become a Simply Music teacher. Again, no problem! You don't need any background in music. There is a teacher's course that takes you through everything you need to know, helps you set up your business, and includes frequent phone consultations with Neil Moore to help you every step of the way. I think the toughest part of the Simply Music program is deciding which course is right for you! The rest is smooth sailing!
-- Product Review by: Dr. Anne Margaret Wright, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine
Here's another Simply Music review!
"Simply Music is simply amazing!...I was completely captivated by this program." -- The Old Schoolhouse Magazine
Simply Music is simply amazing! It took me longer than usual to do this product review, because I was completely captivated by this program. It is so much fun - and amazingly effective!
Neil Moore, an Australian born educator, had his eyes opened to the state of music education when he was asked to reach a blind eight-year-old boy. Because Moore had been playing since childhood, had a natural affinity, and an attuned ear that could hear and recreate even complex pieces of music, Moore set out to try to translate what he knew into the hands of another and onto the keyboard. He yearned to go beyond the traditional read-and-drill method of teaching piano. From the very beginning of his experimentation with this new method, he noted that students were learning easily and playing with both hands with confidence and joy. His first pilot groups of students learned to play six to 10 songs within their first six to eight weeks of instruction! This hands-on approach was remarkably successful.
How is this done? There is a complete system of Learn-at-Home self-instructional materials for use at the student's own pace. This includes videos and CDs, as well as printed material. In this playing-based method, students learn sentences, shapes, sections, patterns, orders, fragmenting, rhythm, and melody diagrams, instead of the traditional notes on the scale, key signatures, etc. The multi-sensory nature of the approach appeals to visual, aural, and physical skills, integrating them into a natural, fun way to learn to play.
Three levels, or years, of instruction are available. In Year One, the student learns 35 to 50 pieces of various genres, develops the basics of accompaniment, and prepares for the introduction of music reading. In Year Two, 25 to 40 pieces are covered, accompaniment is developed, music reading and writing foundation is strengthened, and the student begins to develop a classical, popular, blues, and jazz foundation. In Year Three, 15 to 30 new pieces are learned and all of the foundational knowledge is expanded and strengthened.
Mr. Moore noted that people who had been taught with this method were also successful teachers of the program. He then began to create a teacher training program to equip others to bring this spectacular method to students around the world. The Simply Music Teacher Training program component includes a wide range of video, audio, and print materials. Teacher Trainees are coached regularly via phone conferencing or Internet, to not only teach successfully, but also to run a rewarding business offering this remarkable teaching method to your own students. If you choose to enroll to become a Simply Music instructor, you are furnished with a wealth of support materials. Notebooks of forms to run a business, including enrollment sheets, attendance and payment records, referral cards, and more are included to help you succeed. In addition to regular chats, Mr. Moore has even set up an Email Communication Line for use by Simply Music teachers to communicate with one another and share information.
When I was reviewing this product, my five-and-a-half-year-old son became enthralled. He has learned his first song! AND, my 13-year-old piano lesson dropout has once again become interested in playing. It's simply amazing!
-- Product Review by: Christine Field, Senior Correspondent, TOS Magazine
Here's another Simply Music review!
"If you love music and teaching and would like to supplement your family's income, you simply MUST check this out!" -- TOS Magazine
Have you wanted to add music to your curriculum, but have no background of your own with which to teach it? Well look no further than Simply Music! Mr. Neil Moore, founder of Simply Music, has created an instructional program of which you can teach your children (and yourself) to play music quickly and with exceptional precision and accuracy. I took piano lessons for many years and never achieved the level of expertise that a Simply Music student will achieve in only a few short years!
Mr. Moore presents a very unique method for learning to play. It is dependent upon all the senses and not upon rote memorization of written notes. It is very impressive. Students are playing pieces almost immediately. The method he teaches was discovered when he was teaching a blind student. I really cannot express enough how unique and wonderful this program is! Even veteran teachers will be amazed!
But wait! There's more! I can just see the entrepreneurial wheels turning in some of your heads! The ideal of this program is not just to learn for yourself or to teach your own children, but Mr. Moore has established a certified teacher program that will allow you to teach others on an income generating basis! This is a wonderful program! It has three phases and you can learn at your own speed. This is a three to five year curriculum. Now, I know what you''re thinking - three to five years? And THEN I can start making money? No way! You can enroll your first student right away. In fact, Mr. Moore encourages his teachers to enroll students very soon after starting the program! His program utilizes video, phone conferencing, and Internet instruction. You are never alone and just can't get lost as he and his staff personally guide you through the entire process!
And when I say the entire process, I mean entire! Not only does he provide the music training but also all the business and marketing support you will ever need! I couldn't think of anything that he hadn't covered in the business portion of the training materials. He even has an affiliation with an instrument supplier! It's a totally turn-key operation! There is so much opportunity in this here - if you love music and teaching and would like to supplement your family's income you simply MUST check this out!
-- Product Review by: Renee'' Ruby, Office Manager, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine
Here's another Simply Music review!
This is a music program like no other I have seen. Do you want your child to see success at playing right away and be excited about music lessons? Do you want your child to actually learn how to play up to 10 songs in just the first level? We are not talking about Mary Had a Little Lamb types of songs, but beautiful multifaceted music from all different genres. The list includes great-sounding pop, blues, jazz, classical, and accompaniment pieces. My seven-year-old daughter and I are both learning along together and the easy-to-use and understandable video that teaches the course makes it very simple to do one lesson at a time — or more if we are ready. By just the fourth lesson, we are playing a lovely song (Dreams Come True) with both hands!
Simply Music was designed by an Australian gentleman who was given the challenge of teaching blind children how to play. This eliminated the normal teaching manner of learning how to read music and then playing it. This method can often be frustrating for both teacher and student and some just give up because of it. This is not necessary with Simply Music. Their view of learning music is linked to how we learn to talk. We all talked long before we learned how to read, write, and spell. They view it the same way. They delay the music reading process and jump right into music making! Students can directly connect with a love of music that they are making, they realize the success of it early on and the desire for more is developed. The reading of music comes along later.
This is a wonderful and exciting approach to music that we are very much enjoying. It is wonderful to see what can be done in such a short period of time. Included in the Level 1 is the music for all the pieces you will learn, so if you want to learn to read the notes along with the music, you can — it is that simple. I am thrilled to recommend Simply Music and think that any homeschool parent with or without prior musical experience can be a successful teacher — to themselves or to their children. To start your musical journey today, you can check them out on the web at www.simplymusic.net