The “Design Your Own Piano Path” Course is Now OPEN!

Hey all!

Today I’d like to tell you about a brand-new course I’ve created, called “Design Your Own Piano Path”. It’s been in development for a year (and incubating years before that), and I’m so pleased to finally be able to share it with you.

Though the standalone version of the course will be now available on PianoTV indefinitely, there are a couple reasons I want to encourage you to sign up within the next week.

Here’s where you can sign up. Now let’s talk more about this course!

Why a “Design Your Own Piano Path” course?

I began teaching piano around 2005/2006. I had just completed my RCM grade 8 exam, and dove into teaching head-first – within a couple of months, I had around 40 students!

Though I enjoyed teaching in those early days, it was also pretty stressful. I had no idea what I was doing. Yes, I shadowed my piano teacher to learn the ropes, but I didn’t have a sense of direction with teaching. My students would show up week to week, and we’d work on some pieces and enjoy each other’s company, but there was no aim. No sense of how long it takes to learn a book or advance a level, no sense of the long-range.

My students did okay. They kept coming back – largely, I think, because we bonded and developed a relationship with each other – and they showed progress. But there were nagging thoughts that wouldn’t leave me alone – am I doing this right? Are they on the right path? Will they be able to hit a grade 8 or 9 level in high school? Am I genuinely, truly helping them on their piano journey?

I kept teaching and started to get really involved in the RCM curriculum. I would encourage my students to take exams, and I began exploring Classical music in more depth (my piano path was largely pop-based as a kid). I started to get a sense of how music schools (RCM, ABRSM) structured their curriculums, and so I began working with it more.

Our lessons started to have more purpose and structure, which eased some of my anxiety. These kid’s parents were entrusting the musical education of their children to me, after all. I wanted – needed – to do my absolute best for them.

But other problems started cropping up. My students groaned their way through music theory, and don’t even get me started on history. We spent most of our lessons playing through pieces, and so the many other elements of a music education – sight reading, ear training, listening to music, theory and history – got totally neglected. Or worse – shoved to the side, kept as a totally separate thing from regular piano lessons.

I love history and music theory. I wanted my students to be enthusiastic about them too! I wanted their piano education to be more about playing notes from a page. I wanted it to be about the music.

So I started designing my own curriculum, making a plan for each standard year of piano lessons. The kinds of things we’d learn at a grade 1 level, grade 2 level and so on.

In this curriculum, I’d make note of concepts I’d like to teach, and find pieces of music that demonstrated those concepts. As an example – if I wanted to teach cadences, I’d teach grade 1 students Mozart’s Minuet in F major since it has many types of cadences. That way, they could learn the music but also get a theory lesson embedded within it. We’d also learn a little about Mozart, so they’d get some history, too.

This started working well. Instead of things like history, theory and composition being totally separate from piano lessons and their music, it was all connected. I felt their education was becoming more balanced and rich.

I kept refining this approach over the years. As my YouTube channel started to grow, I began receiving frequent emails (at least weekly!) from an enthusiastic adult student who didn’t have a sense of what they should be learning. Was there a course I could recommend? A path that they could travel?

I’d always recommend method books, followed by going through the grade levels, but this wasn’t very useful advice. It told them the “what”, without telling them the “why”. It didn’t give them an understanding of where they were at in their journey, or where they were going.

Inspired by these frequent emails, I began turning the curriculum I developed, as well as the best of my insight as a teacher for 10+ years, into a structured course. Before releasing the course, though, I wanted to share this content via private lessons to see how it landed with adult students in the real world.

I wanted to give adult piano learners the ability to take charge of their own journey. I wanted to share everything important to learn at each level of piano, key books and collections, planning/structuring suggestions, and much more. I wanted to finally, satisfyingly, be able to answer my most frequent email question – “I’m stuck and I don’t know what to learn.”

Working exclusively with adults and getting a sense of their struggles (and successes!) has been a wonderful experience – fun and interesting and difficult all at once. In releasing this course, I wanted to find a way to not only share my “Design Your Own Piano Path” lessons, but also give you options for large group sessions, small group sessions, and private coaching sessions (among other things).

So let’s talk about the nuts and bolts of the “Design Your Own Piano Path” course!

How the “Design Your Own Piano Path” course works

This course has 27 lessons divided into six modules. You can go through the material at whatever pace you like. For my coaching students, we go through one lesson per week, so the program takes six months. A self-directed student could go through this course in as little as six weeks – it just depends on your goals, motivation, and time available.

Here are the six different modules:

Module 1: Getting Started and Creating a Practice Plan

Module 2: Finding Your Level and Tracking Progress

Module 3: Expectations and Music Exploration

Module 4: Categories of Piano Music

Module 5: The Four Skill Levels

Module 6: Creating a Lifetime Plan

This course is unique – I haven’t seen anything like it out there, which is another reason I wanted to create it. It was the kind of resource I wish I’d had when I first started teaching other students and teaching myself. Instead of giving you a set curriculum, it allows you to chart your own course. Most piano courses are methods – they give you music and you follow along. With this course, you take charge of your own musical destiny and make sense of the wide spectrum of repertoire, from Baroque to modern music.

What do the lessons include?

There are three tiers in this course. The base tier is for self-learners who want to study at their own pace without any private or group sessions.

Here’s what’s included in the base tier:

  • 27 lessons in 6 modules
  • Complete downloadable e-book of all lessons
  • Audio recordings and PDF downloads of lesson content
  • 8 course videos in addition to the written and audio content
  • exclusive 3-part video series: “Common Piano Mistakes Adults Make”
  • Access to a searchable repertoire database
  • Worksheets and useful lists to accompany the lessons

27 lessons in 6 modules

Later in this video/post, we’ll go into depth on what each of those 27 lessons entail. They include PDF reading assignments (and audio recordings of these), assignments and exercises, and useful resources.

Complete downloadable e-book of all lessons

Since this course was originally conceived as a book, you’ll be able to download the e-book version of this course (with options to get the book on Kindle or print copy).

Audio recordings and PDF downloads of lesson content

Most lessons include a reading assignment (some much more substantial than others) and an audio recording of the reading assignment for those who prefer to listen. The audio and PDF files are all downloadable.

8 course videos in addition to the written and audio content

There’s a video corresponding with each module (plus a couple orientation videos to get you started!), which will help you make sense of the lessons and material, and give you an overview of the key points in each module.

Exclusive 3-part video series: “Common Piano Mistakes Adults Make”

I wanted to add to the course content by sharing a video series with you based on my experience teaching adults. I see certain problems crop up again and again, so I wanted to provide you with this information even for those who aren’t receiving private feedback.

Access to a searchable repertoire database

My favorite resource in the entire course is a searchable repertoire database, which includes thousands of pieces in a diverse range of genres, each with a grade. I’ve been using this nearly every day for years. You’ll never run out of ideas on what to play on the piano with this database!

Worksheets and useful lists to accompany the lessons

Many lessons involve a specific assignment, whether it’s a task to complete or a worksheet to fill out. Some lessons (mainly the ones in Module 4 and Module 5) are heavy on the reading, with no assignments. Other lessons have big assignments but light reading.

You’ll be able to download some key resources I’ve created, such as the core repertoire lists and syllabus spreadsheet, both of which you’ll be able to get value from for many years.

I’ve created over 400 videos on PianoTV. When relevant, I’ll give you some “suggested videos” for the lessons in order to broaden your studies.

What does the course cost?

Tier 1: The self-study tier

For those of you who want to go through the course on your own, the lifetime cost is $97 for the baseline tier. Considering the material in this course is meant to assist you for many years, I find it to be a very fair price point.

Tier 2: The group tier (only available this week!)

In addition to the entire course content detailed above, those who join tier 2 will enjoy:

  • 8 live Q&A sessions in March & April
  • Access to a private Facebook mastermind group
  • Bonus training webinar with live Q&A (How to Assess the Level of a Piece)
  • 4 exclusive course videos released in March and April

This tier contains tons of extra content (at least 10 hours worth!), and gives you the opportunity to connect with others and ask me questions to help you with the course. It’s priced at $147.

If you’re interested in this tier, act fast, since it’s only available for one week!

8 live Q&A sessions in March & April

On weekends in March and April, I’ll be going live to answer your questions about the course. You can ask questions live during the event or send me a message prior to the live event. I can’t promise I’ll answer every question, but I’ll do my best!

For those willing to share short clips of their piano practice, I’d also like to demonstrate concepts and “teach” live on air. You can share video recordings with me before the webinar, and depending on the volume of these recordings, I’ll try to include and discuss them live.

Access to a private Facebook mastermind group

Groups are everything! If you’d like to give and receive feedback with your peers, this is a place to do so. Share your practice videos, questions and ideas with others and enjoy camaraderie and support.

Bonus training webinar with live Q&A (How to Assess the Level of a Piece)

We’ll be scheduling an additional, exclusive live webinar, “How to Assess the Level of a Piece”. In this presentation I’ll give you my best tips for looking at a piece of sheet music and determining how difficult it is (something quite challenging to do!), and answer your questions live.

4 exclusive course videos released in March and April

Participants in Tier 3 (the exclusive tier) will be able to make specific requests for four additional videos, which you’ll be able to view as a Tier 2 member. The content of these videos will relate to the course, though what they’ll specifically end up being is TBD by Tier 3!

Tier 3: The exclusive tier (only available this week!)

The top tier is a more personal, customized experience, and is priced at $197. In addition to the course content, and everything involved in tier 2 (live Q&A sessions, a bonus webinar and an exclusive Facebook mastermind group), you’ll receive:

  • 1 private correspondence coaching session with me
  • Access to exclusive course mastermind group (3-5 members per group)
  • 2 live coaching sessions with me + their mastermind group
  • Help decide the content of four additional course videos
  • A free copy of the Piano Path book (paperback, shipped to you!)

1 private correspondence coaching session with me

Since September, I’ve been offering private correspondence lessons to adult students. They submit practice videos, and I take notes and film video feedback. This is a great alternative to private lessons, since I find it to be more concise, detailed and you can reference it over and over again. You’ll have one of these sessions with me, equivalent to a 30-minute private lesson.

Access to exclusive course mastermind group (3-5 members per group)

My team will go through all the applicants and match them up into groups of 3-5 people based on their current level. These groups will be created on Facebook Messenger, but you’re more than welcome to move the group to any platform you desire.

I’ve had first-hand experience working with small groups and I know how powerful they can be. When I was younger, I used to take piano lessons with 2-3 other people. Being in a group motivated me to show up week after week, form relationships with people who had similar interests, and it kept me practicing at least a little bit.

More recently, I’ve been working with a small group on a course created by Steve Pavlina called “Stature” – it’s a character-development course, and I find it highly motivating to go through and discuss the content with like-minded friends. It gets me out of my bubble and encourages me to think about the information in new ways.

I also spearhead a writer’s mastermind group each week and being able to have face-to-face chats with everyone is invaluable. It fills me with positive energy and helps me stay focused on my goals. It’s so rewarding to connect with other people who are crushing it!

2 live coaching sessions with me and your mastermind group

To get the ball rolling with your small group, we’ll have two 30-minute coaching sessions involving everyone. We’ll talk about your journeys, get some people at the piano for feedback, and I’ll help you make the most of your accountability mastermind group and provide ideas on structuring your future meetings.

Help decide the content of four additional course videos

Participants in Tier 3 (the exclusive tier) will be able to make specific requests for four additional videos for the course. The content of these videos will relate to the course, though what they’ll specifically end up being is decided by you and what questions and insight you have.

A paperback copy of the Piano Path book shipped directly to you!

Participants in the top tier will also receive a free copy of the Piano Path e-book, shipped anywhere in the world that Amazon is able to ship.

Tier 2 and 3 are only available this week!

The baseline tier, Tier 1, will be available to you indefinitely. However, Tiers 2 and 3 will only be around for a week (February 22 to February 28, 2020), so if it’s something you’re interested in, I encourage you to act quickly!

Design Your Own Piano Path: Modules in detail

Because I believe in transparency, here’s a look what you’ll find in each course module.

Module 1: Getting Started and Creating a Practice Plan

1.1 The Progress Report – The most important habit for you to start

1.2 Your Book List -For your reference

1.3 Learning Lists -Assess your last six months to year of piano practice

1.4 Finding Imbalances -Find the tendencies that hold you back at the piano

1.5 Create a Practice Plan -Make an informed 1-month plan, even at this early stage. It’s all about action!

Module 2: Finding Your Level and Tracking Progress

2.1 What’s Your Level? – One of the most important discussions of this course

2.2 Using a Syllabus – The resource I use nearly every day

2.3 Your Repertoire List – Put together your own performance repertoire

2.4 Your Playlist – Keep track of everything you learn this year

Module 3: Expectations and Music Exploration

3.1 The Project Piece – How to balance learning a challenging piece

3.2 The Commitment and the Long Haul – How long it takes to progress in piano

3.3 Core Repertoire Lists – the three essential lists of this course

3.4 Listening to Music – A critical component of any music study

Module 4: Categories of Piano Music

The following module is an in-depth discussion on the different types of music and studies you’ll come across, and my favorite collections in each category.

4.1 Method Books

4.2 Baroque Music

4.3 Classical Music

4.4 Romantic Music

4.5 Modern Music

4.6 Technique and Etudes

Module 5: The Four Skill Levels

Piano learners can be broadly divided into four categories of learning – we’ll discuss each, and the key points I try to include in lessons at each level. This is my teaching guide that I’ve been using for years in my studio!

5.1 Preparatory Level

5.2 Beginner Level

5.3 Intermediate Level

5.4 Advanced Level

Module 6: Creating a Lifetime Plan

6.1 The Three Stages of a Piece – A deep dive into “beginning, developing, and polishing” a piece

6.2 Piano Mission Statement – What’s the purpose of practicing piano?

6.3 Creating a Roadmap – Dream big – where do you want to be in five years?

6.4 Turning Your Roadmap into a Plan – Take everything from this course and turn it into a plan

Can I use the “Design Your Own Piano Path” course with a teacher?

Of course! As a piano teacher, I love it when my students are informed about the journey. A piano teacher helps with the week-to-week stuff – choosing what to learn, how to play your pieces more effectively, and so on. This course involves a broader perspective. As such, the two mesh very well together.

Who is this course right for?

Anyone who’s interested in aligning their practice with musical schools (ABRSM, RCM and so on), and who enjoys a balanced palette of music from all eras (including classical!). If you have 0% interest in learning music that was written before 1950, this probably isn’t the course for you. There are plenty of great jazz and blues teachers out there who I encourage you to check out instead!

If you’d eventually like to be able to play a Beethoven sonata or a Bach fugue, this will be up your alley. That said, we do discuss modern music in this course as well!

A traditional music path involves plenty of sight reading. Being able to interpret a Bach fugue by ear is a skill that a very rare few possess. The only way 99.9% of us will ever be able to play a high-level piece like that is by building our technique and developing strong sheet music reading skills.For those of you solely interested in learning piano by ear, this isn’t the course for you!

What will this course help you to achieve?

  • Understand what playing level you’re at
  • Understand how much time is generally needed to progress levels
  • Pick level-appropriate pieces to practice
  • Choose music to learn in a broad range of genres and eras (baroque, classical, romantic, modern)
  • How to balance your practice load
  • How to have purposeful practice sessions, with a sense of direction
  • Shed a light on the piano path ahead
  • Discover key works and collections in various eras and skill levels
  • Track your weekly progress and discover patterns
  • Learn how long it takes you to learn a typical piece, which will help you make more accurate time assessments
  • How to study music not just by playing it, but by listening to it
  • Specific topics to study at each skill level
  • Confidence in creating your own path with a clear sense of where you’re headed


Join the course today to receive special bonuses and opportunities only available for the next week (February 22-28)! It’ll be a ton of fun, and I can’t wait to share this experience with you.