A radical, common-sense and empowering approach to learning piano

Acquire powerful fluent musicianship skills: play by ear, improvise, see a new piece of sheet music and hear it playing in your mind without complex music theory or aural training, just deep enquiry and playful, expressive practice.

What kind of course is this?

This course is for adults. Prior musical experience is not important and you don’t need any special gifts to learn how to play the piano fluently – it is essentially a natural skill. Some people may learn quickly whilst others need longer but everyone starts at the beginning applying careful study and many hours of rigorous practice with clear focus and playful expressiveness.

A very curious attitude is necessary in order to discover how the non-linear structure of rhythm and tonality works. Whilst this is not difficult cognitively, it will probably challenge your preconceptions about playing the piano. Music is taught conventionally as an executive skill or using academic theory rather than as a “language” that we can all use to express ourselves fluently. It’s important that you grasp what real fluency is and discover how it is possible through practising with moment-by-moment focus on a simple model of how music works. Show-and-play videos that are popular today or traditional music theory – chords, scales etc. – do not train fluency. So this course is radically different from existing ones but it follows a traditional study and practice structure, with reading materials and beautifully designed diagrams to instruct your improvisation and sight-reading reading practice. The videos provide some examples of the practice done properly at every level but you must be prepared to do hundreds of hours of practice, with unwavering focus on the model, applying it with deep understanding, trust, vigilance, courage, creativity and independence.

Musical fluency can only be experienced directly: understanding the the principles and elements of the model is essential but will remain theoretical without playful, focused practice. To master new skills, we must accept mistakes and focus on the process not the outcomes, trusting that with practice we can find and maintain the focus and coordination necessary for effortless fluent expression on the keys. The course provides coaching materials to help you find the ideal zone for effective practice. People with prior experience of music must rid themselves of preconceptions. This is child-level learning – simple but not easy! Just as you were motivated to learn to talk, read and write, this course requires you to have a genuine desire to express yourself spontaneously and authentically whilst focusing on the elements that make this possible. And because music is more intensely expressive than speaking, you must also be prepared to challenge your inhibitions and let go.

If this approach sounds interesting and appealing to you, please read the information on this website to find out more. Then, if you still have any questions, you can contact Phil Best – the course creator.

A course for people who are deeply curious about how music works and eager to express themselves with clarity and freedom

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How you learn to Play Piano Fluently

Musical fluency is the ability to play any music that you can imagine instantly and spontaneously. It’s the same idea exactly as fluency (and literacy) in language. It is not merely playing in a natural, flowing, expressive style, without stopping or making mistakes. It is the ability to express yourself using elements of rhythm and tonality that are as deeply familiar to you as words in your native language.

Fluent musicians can summon and recognise these elements of musical language spontaneously and instantly, without prior planning, rehearsal or theoretical thinking. They can express themselves effortlessly because they have a total grasp of rhythmic and tonal “vocabulary” and structure that carry deep meaning or intention. A passive musician is merely executing them. Think about how there is a crucial difference between fluent musical expression and even the most beautiful execution! I could recite a poem in a language that I don’t know by learning it phonetically but this is not fluency…

To acquire fluency in the language of music, you need 2 things:

  • a simple, comprehensive model of rhythmic and tonal principles and elements – this course clearly explains everything in beautifully designed materials that use clear terminology and diagrams
  • the passion and humility to play at the level of a child – the course sets out coaching principles clearly and concisely, with lots of support videos to help you focus and let go as you practise independently

Simple, musical-common-sense concepts are set out clearly and concisely in the downloadable PDF documents with accompanying videos that demonstrate the kind of practice you need to do. Then it is up to you to play, experiment and express yourself freely, with joy. Improvising forms the basis of your practice and the thrill of discovery and self-expression is a moment-by-moment reward. Success is playing with clear focus and expressive freedom and precision in every moment.

Learn to play the piano with clear focus, in a state of flow! Grasp musical structure & patterns & play effortlessly from your body & soul to set your musical creativity free!

Curiosity and child-like play

There is very little theoretical or executive learning involved: no endless lists of chords or complex rules to follow and no drills or repetitive rehearsal and muscle-memory-based practice. Although the materials are structured according to a scheme of work that progresses logically, there are no linear steps for you to follow with blind obedience. Common passive learning approaches do not generate musical fluency! You must study carefully to grasp the basic elements and structural principles at each level, then use them, practising in a playful and focused way, so that you acquire a firm grasp of musical language.

The first steps are the most important and challenging – the kind of basic learning we do as young children when we learn things like shapes and colours and gain the foundations of language, literacy and numeracy. It can be tricky for adults to find the necessary discipline and humility; so the course provides coaching principles to help you with this process and also with the important task of getting into the state of flow – the right zone of highly focused, playful and expressive practice. Can you play like a child with wonder and fearless expression? Can you let go of all prior learning and approach this course with a clean slate, like a curious child? If so, fluency in the language of music can be yours!

Growth mindset

Allowing growth to happen organically from a place of trust and strength goes against our usual conditioning. Most of us are conditioned to have a fixed or perfectionist mindset where we believe that if something can be improved, it must be inadequate or wrong. A growth mindset sees everything as work in progress. If we can adopt a playful growth mindset, constantly developing our skills is much easier.

The course itself keeps growing and changing even after so many years of expert development. This is because the practice materials are nurtured within a growth mindset and this radical approach can help students find the same experimental attitude in their practice. Adults often struggle to develop new skills simply because they focus too much on getting the right results and feelings of insecurity and failure block their willingness to have a go. Sadly, as a result, many people simply refuse to engage fully in learning. But this course will help you let go of results, trust your inner musician and develop an unwavering focus on the model so that you can experiment playfully and unlock your musical potential.