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 aimed at adults. Musical experience is not important and you don’t need any special gifts to learn how to play the piano fluently – it is an essentially natural skill. Some people learn quickly whilst others need longer but everyone must start at the beginning, study carefully, then spend many hours practising rigorously with focus and playfulness.

You don’t need special intelligence to grasp these ideas – just deep enquiry. Success depends on having a very curious, open mind and being prepared to think in non-linear ways, challenging common preconceptions that make music into an executive skill rather than an expressive one. It’s important that you fully grasp what musical fluency is. You cannot become fluent from show-and-play videos that are popular today or from learning traditional music theory – chords, scales etc. Yet the course structure itself is, in many ways, a traditional study and practice one – you need to read, watch the videos and open your mind to grasp the model at every level, then apply that learning by practising with courage in a creative and independent way.

A very practical approach is needed. Clear understanding is essential but meaningless on its own: you must practise courageously, playfully, welcoming initial failure, trusting that you will succeed. Any prior experience of music must be set aside: the early part of the course is child-level learning – simple but not easy! Just as you were motivated to learn to talk, read and write, you must have a genuine desire to express yourself spontaneously and authentically and to grasp the elements that make this possible. But as music is far more intensely expressive than speaking, you also need to challenge musical inhibitions.

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

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.

True fluency is the ability to summon or grasp elements of musical language spontaneously, without prior planning or rehearsal. It is the ability to express yourself using the “vocabulary” and structure of rhythm and tonality. A fluent musician expresses these elements meaningfully rather than merely executing them. Think about how there is a crucial difference between fluent musical expression and even the most beautiful execution!

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 explains the required coaching principles clearly and concisely, with lots of support videos to help you to focus and let go in order to 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 independent play, and fluent expression. 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 people tend 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 childlike, 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 if you can find the courage to let go of results, trust your inner musician, the learning materials in this course and be prepared to experiment and play like a confident child, you will unlock your musical potential.