Controversy About My Piano Teaching Approach
Hi, Tim Gross here, creator of this whole shebang…
About 5 years ago I uploaded a YouTube video explaining my approach to learning piano. In about 15 minutes, I gave a quick explanation of the “number system” approach I use to play music, how to play any Major/minor scale, any Major/minor chord, and the most common chord progression in popular music that allows you to play hundreds of songs by only knowing 3 chords.
It was my attempt to cut through all the fluff and unnecessary details, and give as much helpful training I could in the shortest amount of time. After I created the video I came up with the idea of calling it “Instant Piano Genius” because it so quickly gave a framework for how to play chords, scales, and songs just by remembering a few rules, without all the typical memorization and trouble.
Happily, to date it’s been watched well over 3 million times. (I know, right? Crazy!)
There are literally thousands of positive YouTube comments on it, but every once in awhile somebody comes along that really, really hates it! (Oooh, controversy, grab some popcorn!)
The things some people take exception with can be broken down into the following categories:
1) They hate that I say I’ll show them “shortcuts to help you play better, faster.”
Apparently, these people don’t seem to think there are any better or worse approaches to learn piano, that there aren’t good and bad piano teachers, or ways to focus more on the most important things and to not spend much time on the least important things.
No offense, but that’s just ridiculous.
I’d say that 90% of the time, I play piano using about 10% of what I know. So what I try to do is to focus on that 10%, since it provides about 90% of the benefit. It doesn’t mean it’s not a reasonable idea to learn the other 90%, but don’t you want to start off focusing and practicing whatever will get you the best result the fastest?
2) They say the name “Instant Piano Genius” sounds hypey, like it’s over promising something.
OK, I can see their point. When I created that first YouTube video, I thought “Instant Piano Genius” was a fun name for it, and what the first video showed really did live up to that name. At that point I didn’t have any serious intention of creating a piano training course, I just did it for fun and to try to be helpful.
If I’d planned from the beginning to create a piano training course, maybe I’d have called it “The Very Serious Piano Training Course”, or something equally somber or boring. But I didn’t. 🙂 Since then the name has been shortened to PianoGenius.com
3) They whine about me calling the note above the seventh note of the scale “8”.
(Try to picture me rolling my eyes.) To play a Major or minor scale, there are eight notes. (In the key of C-Major, they are all white notes, starting with the C note. As you count up the notes C(1), D(2), E(3), F(4), G(5), A(6), B(7), when you finish up on the C note that’s right above the B(7) note, I call it an “8” (because it’s the 8th and final note of the 8-note scale), it’s also a “1” because it’s a “C” note, just an octave higher.
Long story short, a couple of people have insisted that there’s no such thing as an “8” note, that it’s a “1”, and since they think I’m “wrong” about that supposed fact, I must be wrong about everything else I say too. Look, there are more advanced chords called “9” chords and “11” chords that use the notes above the “8” note, so if you can refer to the “9” note (which is the same as a “2” note, you can certainly call the note that’s an octave above the “1” note an “8” note.
4) They get really picky about what things are called.
A) There’s a guy who just lost his mind because he disagreed with my calling the interval from C to D a “whole step” and the interval from C to C# a “half step.” He said that was wrong, that those intervals are called “whole tones” and “half tones”, and that anyone who called them “steps” couldn’t be trusted, heh.
Well it turns out that depending on what area of the world you live in, those are synonyms: “
Whole Step” = “Tone” or “Whole Tone”, and “Half Step” = “Semi-Tone”.
So if I’m saying “half step” and you’re used to calling it a “semi-tone”, just know they’re the same thing. 🙂
[ez_box title=”Why Do They Get So Upset?” color=”grey”]
Side Note: Why are some people so hung up on unimportant details? I think it’s because after they’ve spent hundreds of hours struggling to do something one way, they feel very threatened when they’re told it may not have been the best way, so they lash out.[/ez_box]
5) Another ranter took issue with my statement, “If you don’t learn the Number System, you’re wasting your time.” He said it was the most ridiculous thing he’d ever heard in his life.
I stand by my statement. Some people say they don’t understand what the point of thinking of chords in terms of numbers is, since music charts show you chords, not numbers.
Let me try to explain using this analogy:
If chords and chord progressions were words, then the “number system” behind them would be the alphabet. If you were learning how to read words, I guess you wouldn’t really have to learn the alphabet, you could just memorize each word individually, and remember that “hat” is the thing you put on your head, while “cat” is the furry pet that purrs when you pet it…
But if you learned to read that way, you’d never realize that the “at” sound was created by the letters “a” and “t”, so when you later saw the word “fat” for the first time, you’d have no idea how to sound it out if you hadn’t learned the sound the “f” letter made, and the sound the “at” letters make next to each other.
In a similar way, if you knew the chords to “Twist & Shout” in the key of C were C, F, G, unless you knew the underlying “number system” that told you those were the 1, 4, 5 chords, you’d have no idea in the world how to play the song in the key of E.
Once you’re comfortable with the Number System, you effortlessly notice the relationship between chords you’re playing, so what you’re playing automatically makes sense instead of just being random notes and chords you have to try to memorize in order to remember how to play.
5) I believe that practicing scales isn’t a very good use of your time.
There, I said it. Every traditional piano student is required to spend hours practicing scales. The funny thing is, you don’t actually play scales in songs, so why are they considered so important? Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good idea to train your fingers to do certain things, but it’s a better use of your time to train them to do things you’ll actually play in real life.
6) I don’t believe being able to read sheet music/notation is necessarily important for a lot of people.
Unless you want to be able to play classical music note for note and are willing to spend dozens and dozens of hours on each song learning them to be able to do that, it’s probably not a good use of your time to try to be able to read sheet music.
The “dream” people have is to be able to sight read music, meaning they want to be good enough to look at sheet music they’ve never seen before and play it perfectly up to speed the first time through. You want to know a secret? By my estimation, less than 1% of people who learn to play the piano ever get good enough to do that. Much less than 1%.
I took classical lessons for 7 years and never got close to being able to do that, and since then I’ve worked out a better, faster, more enjoyable way to play music using basic chord charts (not reading individual notes), understanding the Number System, and training my ear to hear what sounds right and to know what’s coming next. I don’t really read music anymore at all.
I don’t care about official names/labels, or details that seem unimportant and that don’t help me play the piano better or enjoy myself more. I’ve never heard any pro musicians I’ve worked with haggle about terminology or argue “book learnin’ details”, they just want to get the job done.
If you agree with that approach, you should spend a little time checking on what else is here. I can tell you that the people who like it, love it.To get immediate access to 600+ more piano videos, click here to become an All Access member.
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151 thoughts on “Controversy”
I definitely love your style of teaching using numbers n yr many free demo practices of easy songs using 145 etc . But due to age I needed more time to digest it . But I really enjoy it because I could go back anytime refresh it . Only exercises can be challenging especially with two hands and not knowing how to get the timing right. Don’t worry about others critics . Your styles using numbers had help people like me with no knowledge to play piano in easy ways had been a dream come thru for me. Thank you . More demo on songs using 145 or 135 with the sheets will b best .
I’ve never been very musical. I think maybe that’s something you’re born with? When I saw your approach using numbers and the way the piano keys were grouped in a 12 tone arrangement, I thought this is basically math so I may be able to do something with it. Anyway, at 73 my brain needs a challenge, and the piano is a that. I don’t think I would have even tried if it hadn’t been for your unique approach. It’s going slow, but I see a little more progress each day. Who knows if I can get my fingers to work right, the musicality may come along as a pleasant surprise. Controversy means you’re making an impact so keep up the good work!
I think you are doing very good I just don’t have a lot of time but ill keep learning with your method tank you
I have learned more in a couple of one hour sessions watching your videos than I have in eighteen months of farting about on my own and watching a free intro lesson that came with my keyboard. There will always be the Doubting Thomas brigade, these types will pooh pooh any other way bar their own. I have to see something laid out in front of me to learn. I left school with nothing and was a Chief petty officer marine engineer by the time I was 25 years old. I also had my own engineering business. So in my eyes, if you can teach me to bang out a recognisable tune in two hours, then you are a Genius! Keep up the good work!! Thank-you!!
2 me music is a collection of nice, loud n soft sounds arranged and made together n on a beat. Ur methods suites me very well…. U don’t need 2 b an engineer 2 drive a car or ride a bike …. just like that …. thx mate luv ur method
Look Tim….. You are a genius!C’mon this came from your heart and it is dominating.You just teach the way you understand.Sometimes..when you succeed you become a threat….so… don’t mind their craps Thumbs up man…you are a blessing!
Hi Tim, I was looking around for a simplistic approach to learning to play the keyboard, and found your sight..just what the docter ordered, thanks!
I’m a vocalist/guitarist, so its actually for my youngest daughter..and after 2 weeks she’s already playing basic 3 chord songs along with my guitar playing..and I can see she’s surprised at herself…
I’m also learning to play a bit myself..its fun, and I can see that the way you play sounds good, looks good and proffessional..so it must be good..
Will definitely get into your full programming after we master the basics..
Were under ‘lockdown’ here in South Africa so I can’t work to make bucks yet…also need to get a proper tablet..as I’m using my phone…
Anyway, thanks a mill, and Jesus told me to tell you He loves you and enjoys your playing…
Love it so far even it took me longer than needed because of my age .Fortunately I get to review it over n over just to get it writ. Looking forward to the free 30 days free trial and sign up as members .
Hi Tim Gross, your numbering system has been the best so far in my learning how to play piano. To be frank you are straight forward in your teaching. When i bought my first piano “Yamaha E363”, I met a couple of traditional piano teachers and while I had no time to waste on their traditional way of teaching I was so faith up because I really needed to know how to play piano as fast as possible. All they keep telling me is “you must first learn how to play scales with your right and lesft hand bla bla bla bla bla… OMG it was so frustrating to me. Then I had to go on YouTube and look for a faster way of learning piano. Luckily for my I came across you video about the numbering system with the title of the video “Instant Piano Genius”. I was so motivated with your explanation and is from there I followed your website and today in less than a month am already at the level of module 2 @ PianoGenius.com. Every lesson I watch, I understand them so perfect as I follow the information you provide on screen and listen to what you say. Thank you so much Tim. I don’t regret ever becoming a member of PianoGenius.com. God bless you for simplifying piano lessons for us other than being traditional students learning what shall be of no use to us in life.
I’m Priestly Tanko from “Southern Cameroons” (Ambazonia)
The numbering system attracted me to pianogenius.com. Step by step videos with a speed control button allows me to practice without stress. Piano learning at pianogenius.com is fun and improving a daily basis.
It’s hard to deal with people who see the cup half full. If you don’t like the the course find one that you like, there are a lot on the internet.
I’m learning a lot from it and will recommend to anyone. I would even describe it as the “Piano Course For Dummies”
Your teaching seems easy to learn and enjoying. I have started practising piano from the day one I registered for this website Thanks Tim
I think everybody is entitled to voice their opinion about your program. Just like I am entitled to ignore then and do it your way.
I love everything I adopt from your training sir. Keep us going and keep it higher
Tim. wow I had lessons, and just hated doing the scales..I would look out the window and yearn to go outside at 6 yrs old and the worst part! my mom could play by ear totally and yodel and sing! She also was double jointed… I wanted to play and sing like her so bad..I felt so bad she was paying for lessons, and she was a single mom who worked so much and in the early fifty’s she had a horriable time and if you were divorced with a small child who was on deaths door constantly, she still managed to take wonderful care of me…I loved her and wanted to learn Piano and tried so hard…The other problem was the teacher was way to friendly to me..He scared be with his touching me places that had nothing to do with teaching..It was awful and being a redhead like my mom, I just finally told by mom after I kicked the guy for his advnces… I tried later to learn, but it was so difficult to learn, the trying to read notes and Chords were just miserable to fiqure out…!!! I finally learned a very bad version of the Tennessee Waltz…..I just did not learn the reading keys, while looking at music and finding the keys on Piano!!!! very frustrating to say the least….The desire has never lost me. I wrote keys on the music sheets but that made it worse…Had no ideas on how to play chords or read them and count in between….What was a sharp and a flat ect and so forth…..I then joined a Church Choir and they told me I was a Soprano, two weeks later at nine years old a horriable dentist pulled my teeth with his woodworking tools…When I got a great dentist and got Partial made I could not sing at all. So still loved Music but just thought the Piano Guy who played at the bar in Lake City Colorado was wonderful as it was a resort for Rich people and he was going to teach me. I would sit for hours listening to him play, put then I still did not learn as he would get drunk and the good kid I was, I spent most of the time cleaning up his puke! My mom said no way and so there were no more times I could watch to learn and he was a wonderful Player truly… I never ever thought anyone could teach me…then in my late sixties the college where my daughter worked had a class called Learn To Play in an day.. It was an eye opting wonderful thing…T opened Piano up to me and you can imagine how excited I was and wow great!. problem is you have to still learn to read and play quick.. It was though great but still had to learn Chords, read notes, learn timing ect….Gee it just takes so much time and if all you want is to layer songs it will take forever to learn well one song…Then I saw this guy on TV and he just sparked the new wish to play and quickly… It is a great program, but then I saw you on YouTube and am just still in shock on how good this is looking… I then remembered Pete Sears and he explained the chords could be learned by a formula!!! What!!! All these years and there was a Formula!!!..????? My heart was in love…Then While I was looking for the Information again to write it down, I spotted your site and truly thought ok another guy making promises and in it for the money!!! Ok what is this scam. then tired of writing down each chord and all the info until 4am, I looked on your site and introduction, well what a shock.. you are for real and this is still a shock at how great this could be… And I have to say if you as great as you are wow, could you also come up with a program to teach Singing, and other classes!!!! this is pure miracle in my thinking.. Your critics are just not picking on others and they are so wrong about you as Pete Sears said yes that is how you should learn in his leaning videos… way to drawn out for me as I jus5 want to play and not have to copy and write each chord but his is great, however your# is spectacular and so needed….As soon as I can pay a Medical Procedues off I am going to sign up…Plus a dear friend came down with a horriable Auto Immune illness and have to make sure they can afford their medicine. As far as Critics…If you are happy and teaching people they are not important…. It hurts sure, but each person should be sure they know they can do better before they put you down… I actually would like to teach Homeless people how to learn and to have a better life especially for thier kids even though I am old and on Social Security and Have had hard knocks..Just do not give up and do not reject any teachings as the open minded person can learn and learn new skills. do not doubt your self EVER!!!! take care and this is long but want to inspire those who do not have anyone telling them they can!! bless you.
Wow, thanks for sharing your story Sharon!
I learned playing the piano when I was 12 years old, but it is only now that I learned it the easy way. You’re really a genius.
That’s great to hear, Beng!
Great! Thanks for sharing.
There has been controversy even when Adam and Eve were created. Yes, even in the garden of Eden.
I have 2 instruments to learn in my life, piano and guitar. I literally prayed for a lesson that would make learning the piano easy to learn. All the videos I saw on YouTube made piano lessons look like a mystery until I stumbled into your 1st lesson. That was when I knew that i finally gonna see my dream come true.
Please keep it up. 10milliion YouTube views have said it all. Your students are not complaining.
I love the way u teach. I think the people that don’t like it is because it’s too easy. And if u learn the way u teach and not the way they do it cuts them out of a lot of money because your teaching is so fast and easy to learn. Thanks for the lessons. Keep them comming
You are a true Genius Tim. Your numbering system in learning to play piano is a brilliant way of softening the hard meat for a toddler to be able to swallow! When you get harsh comments from critics especially those whose teachers forced them to swallow big chunks of meat the hard way, then know that your secret annoys them! And when critics come your way it means your have been noticed!! Would you rather do something no one notices? Of course not!
In your free videos I have already learnt what a teacher tried so hard in so many lessons and I couldn’t remember much most of the time! With your number system everything got stuck in place in my mind. I am soon enrolling for permanent membership on your site to become a master pianist.
Let the whole world say negative words to maximum but I will never agree with them. I have learnt a lot from Piano Genius
The best way to learn anything is simply by hard work and discipline. The problem comes when there simply is no enjoyment in that process.
So what is wrong with using patterns to learn something. I think your method is just amazing! Looking at myself, I had only ever learnt to play, When the Saints go Marching In, on my Grandad’s old keyboard, and then never pursued learning simply because all the books and study expected to learn to read music. So I gave up.
Step forward to just a couple of weeks ago, and I decided that I want to learn the piano properly. So I picked up a book that belongs to my wife, and it very quickly becomes difficult and boring.
As a matter of chance I found your video on the numbering system, which gave a very quick reward to understanding the patterns in piano playing. I think it’s brilliant, and lets face it, is learning guitar tablature any less of a shortcut, I think not!
The interesting thing is that I don’t find practicing scales boring or tedious :-).
Anyway thank you for showing me the way.
Great to hear, thanks for your feedback Graham! 🙂
I love your approach. Ignore the critics. If only all the jargons in the world were broken down your style. . .
I havent tried yet. Still waiting to buy my keyboard.
Tim: A leader which is you,,,,,has created a valuable product ,,,,,which despite what some others say,,,,, will benefit them also.
People who make things difficult to learn do not wish to share their knowledge.
Hi Tim, Do not worry about those comments. There many choices in life that we as people can make. In a polite way tell those who are not happy wit your style of teaching to try other teachers. If they are satisfied, they can stay, if not, welcome them back with open arms. I am slowly learning. Be encouraged and do what you know is right.
Dear Tim. I am a sixty year old. A guitarist, since very young, coming from a musical family. I always wanted to play piano/ keyboard but never really made time to get into started with real lessons. After my brother, who is a good guitarist and singer, heard about my desire, he kindly introduced me to your tutoring videos. I got real excited. With your numbering style, you have helped to make my dreams come true. I have bought myself a new keyboard and by just practising and applying your instructions, my husband is impressed by the sound that is coming through! Im actually playing and singing some songs that i love…. with major and minor chords included!! I’ve still got a lot too learn, but right now I thoroughly enjoy myself. I hope to be able to help the younger ones and others who desire to play as well. Thank you for being such an inspiration by sharing your gift and skills. It it absolutely enriching and much appreciated . I Desire to go deeper and learn much more. God bless you.
What a great story Eileen, thanks for sharing! 🙂
For the average person wanting to learn basic piano playing just for self entertainment, this number system is great. Don’t have to spend hours playing scales and driving others crazy listening to it. If someone wants to become a professional such as Vladimir Horowitz, then do so. Get some finger stretchers and punish yourself. But for the average person just wanting to learn basic piano, this number system is fantastic. In just a few days I have learned to play Amazing Grace, albeit with one hand. At age 69 I don’t aspire to be a professional pianist playing in Carnegie Hall. Just learn enough to entertain myself and to help my wife learn the same. Ignore the critics. They are jealous that someone can learn to play simple tunes on piano in a short time period without having to read music or scales.
Couple of words that says it all ” Millions of views”
If you drop out of course before 30 days are you billed $19.95 after 30 days or is the cost the initial $5
Whether you continue to be a member is completely up to you, David. There’s currently a trial month registration that lets you see if you like it, if you cancel and don’t want to keep going that’s totally fine. I’ve had some members stay on for a month, some members have stayed on for over 4 years. No tricks or funny stuff, that’s for sure. 🙂
Hi ur are so good on teaching please comeback ive learn from ur post in a short time its very interesting dont mind them those green eyed monsters im willing to spend my pennies to u because i know i will learn a lot from u
This is the only way to play in a band setting. Otherwise you can’t create music on the fly. IMO people that have an issue with it don’t play with anyone else. It doesn’t take long until you get stuck not being able to play if you read only. Because the rest of the band has left you. You have explained the number system the easiest i have ever heard and I immediately soaked it in and now play anything at anytime. Now to work on harder concepts. Ignore the haters.
Indeed you’re a piano genius! 🙂 your short but interesting lessons have made me learn the piano faster. And i think that’s all a pianist needs. Reading books to perfect your piano skills is not very important getting the job done is. some piano lessons are really boring because the teachers talk too much. you’ve made it simple and that’s just the way it should be. thank you for helping me solve my worst piano problems.
it realy been an interesting show, i like it
this is so because they just don’t understand the secret behind your style and system.
I agree, Its definitly about getting it done.
I dont think i needed to spend all that time with the scale so i put more time with the chords like your way Thanks
I have been a classical guitarist for many years, and have learned that simple music played well, makes more people happy than classical music played badly. Having moved to the piano because of a shoulder injury (cant hold guitar properly) I find that your course fits the bill perfectly, and I’m enjoying it immensely.
There’s a link on the 10 videos page to try out a membership to get a whole lot more and see if you like it.
If anyone can see an 11 year old (my son) who has never touched a piano in his life. And to see that in just 5 minutes this child is creating sounds on the piano that have common sense to the ear. And to see him change both hands to different chords and see in his face the joy produced by what he is learning with your classes. Tim I’m not talking about what I think of your teaching system, I’m talking about results. And to be clearer, if anyone has doubts, my son was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. (Cerebral palsy). For those who believe, everything is possible.
That’s wonderful!! Thanks for sharing. 🙂
Hello Tim, Your technique is excellent and it only shows how good you are. I am learning the notes, keys, and the cords. So for me it is still premature to benefit fully from your skillful techniques. I do look forward to utilise the same in near future. Ghaus
I support your work
When i used your method i was actually and purely starting to learn a piano. Am praying it now, my friends and my wife are all surprised, including myself.
The method is beautiful, it takes you to what you want to do, and that turns to be an eye opener to a great discovery, I can call your method a key, it opens you up, then you begin to go deaper yourself .
Yeah it’s good and good when I will get enough money and visa card I have a dream to learn piano by numbering system
Keep up the good work Tim…..
I enjoy your method I have my problems and that’s me yours in music Brian main
sir u are a genius, forget the haters, u are doing a great job more grace to ur elbow!
I can now understand how to play the piano, was that not the point?, all I have to do now is practice so for that I thank you very very much, and plz send me some music notes
If you please yourself then you are sure to please at least someone. Forget all the other nonsense, these people are only jealous they did not think of it first , in your case you are pleasing a multitude of people carry on with the good work and ignore the negative criticism.
Its like when a young child learns to talk, he n doesn’t know the syntax of the language yet but still can comunicate with you. His next step is go to school for learning the syntax for speaking the language.
Just to do your thing Tim. Dont mind those pipz. The most important thing is that you are helping millions of people, including me, how to play piano in ways you can.
I agree 100% whole heartedly with your approach Tim. Keep doing what your’e doing. To quote John Lydgate “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”.
Your teaching style is really great I like it
Your system by numbers is an old Chinese system where the 8th note is identified as ‘i’ so the next octave is identified with a dot above the 1-7 notes . I see your style as using a language we are familiar with , numerical language to learn a musical instrument when we cannot understand all the complex dots and lines in music score which literally gives me a headache and does not mean anything to me. It puts me off playing the piano when all I want is to learn a simple language to express myself on the piano… Good for you to have the courage to speak out on behalf of all of us who are labelled ‘ musically dyslexic’, you just taught us in a musical language we could understand . And that is beautiful.
I like your approach to playing the piano. By reviewing a couple of your videos, I now know how a piano is designed and the simple relationship between cords. This in turn makes it very easy for me to understand what I am trying to accomplish in order to be able to play the piano. Now that I have this knowledge, I just need to build the dexterity in my hands and fingers in order to be able to play the many songs that I would like to be able to perform.
I agree with you Sir Tim, and i thank you for encouraging me always though i’m not give a response your always sending me a link…to tell u frankly sir it is hard for me to know how to play a piano but because of you i’m going focus on it..thank you sir TIM…God bless
Don’t pay attention to negative people.
When you discover and share the piano genius system.You hit the right note,thanks for sharing.
Actually number system was fantastic I leanered basics much easier than traditional methods
My mom started me traditional when I was 6 years old. I quit, much to her disappointment, at age 13. By then I was just getting into true classical music. I was one of those guys that had no use for theory. After all, “if the notes were there in front of you, why go through all the hassle of figuring it out” was my mindset. However, between age 13 and college I was good enough I was playing at church all the time. One negative experience during high school was that I had been invited to play with a band (I had bought a used Farfisa organ), but even though I was better than the person already playing in the band, in terms of technique, dexterity, etc. I went to one practice and was never invited back. I couldn’t plan the simplest of songs without music in front of me.
Fast forward to now. I am currently 61 years old. Yes an older person can learn new tricks. It all started at Christmas 2003 (age 48) when I was asked to accompany the singers in a church Christmas program. My wife plays violin and my son and daughter were learning violin and cello, so I decided to write some parts for them. I got a cassette of the songs and spent hours and hours listening and hand notating the notes for them to play. That was the beginning learning to play be ear. I started seeing what chords are (guitar chords were on the music) and patterns in the music. In 2005 I bought a Roland Fantom X8, and started playing around with it. In 2008 I started playing in a band and redeemed my earlier high school fiasco. Now, close to 300 gigs later, I would rather play by ear and by using the numbering system, than any other way.
Before I close, I had a funny experience in church just today. I substituted for the regular organist. One of the hymns was one I’m sure I have played hundreds of times. It shouldn’t have been a problem, caus I was just playing the “notes”, but I had it my mind the song was written in C, when it was actually written in D. I started playing the notes, but without any sharps. It took about 4-5 measures for me to figure out the problem. The chorister gave me a really funny look!
Anyways, Tim, your courses are phenomenal! I have had tons of “ah hah” moments while watching your videos. I am a much better musician because of what I am learning here. Thank you and keep up the great work!
Thanks for telling your story, Ron. I was in a similar situation after taking classical piano lessons for 7 years or so; Without notes on paper to read in front of me I couldn’t play anything, which was frustrating! Figuring out how to “bridge that gap” and be able to play music on the fly and to be versatile and understand things quickly is the basis for all the piano training I do. 🙂
Don’t waste your time thinking on what negative people are saying about your teaching styles! If its working, don’t break it. Atleast you’re thinking outside of the box, and I am learning a whole lot and enjoy applying what I’ve learned from you. If it can be applied in the real world of music, its working! Thanks!
I think a combination of your method and the traditional approach is best. I would still like to see a more advanced lesson to see where this is going. Thanks!
With over 35 hours of video training, there are a lot of Intermediate and Advanced Modules, you can see the list here to see what all is covered, and there’s a full “Crash Course on Reading Sheet Music” there as well, which shows how I use sheet music to quickly grab the information I want without getting bogged down in what I don’t want.
There are many ways to skin a cat. I have found your programme very ‘doable’ for me. I play music by ear, Guitar, Banjo, & Mandoline. To a good enough standard that I can and do play gigs in many venues. You system has got me off to a flying start with the piano. I do not have the patience or the inclination to labour trying to read music fluently. However a little theory is useful to be able to explore new sequences and techniques. You method for me is inspirational as long as I put in the time to practice. Keep going, stay well and Thanks
dear sir(Tim gross)
as i took ew a 1 of the best online piano tutor. whatever you hav started by the name piano genious go continuous with your full effort as everyone know people dont like others success . as here seems many people are gettng jealeous for your succes…so just keep your head towards your goal bt not on the narrow minded people. As i am going through your piano lessons..jst i want to let you know that your way of teaching is just simple and awsome. Its really helpfull for the begineer…just think for your followers and go towards your goal. best wishes from me.
Played traditional for close to 20 years. Tedious and it got to the point of madness. I stopped after I left for the Navy. Now I view your site and wish it had been there at the beginning. Coming from a true classical and traditionalist, the piano genius (Tim) has the much much better approach.
Tim,you said it well in your side notes.
I believe your system would work
Hi piano genius, I have no knowledge about music and piano but one thing I happen to know now after I got in touch with you music phylosophy is that you are the best and relevant for our time.don’t worry for complaints, it’s just time for change.
I agree with you 1000%. I had piano lessons as a young child and to no avail. I later took lessons and once again it was scales even after I made ir perfectly clear I just wanted to have play some songs I enjoyed listening to all my life. But to no avail another 5 years wasted until I found your web site and after careful consideration I jumped on board and what a revelation. I have learned more in the few months with your techniques than I could have ever imagined. I am now playing songs I enjoy and learning to do more with this information. I always felt I could play the piano and now I know, it’s all about the teacher and techniques. You are the best and continue what you are doing. For the complainers they don’t want to get. You got it, I get it and It works.
I’ve come back to your course after trying traditional stuff. My dilemma was reading the notes and some of the online teachers, although they have exuberant and heartfelt voices were part of the package that I found difficult to follow. And there were still others that spent so much time playing the piece and not getting into the meat. I can read music only to a point as below and above staff notes I would have to slow down to a snails pace to figure out what the note was. It takes a lot of the joy out of playing. This is the first course that I taken where the chord inversions made sense to me because you taught very early on how close these inversions could actually be. Thank you. I look forward to learning more. You’re a very busy man and I for one you have decided to pass on your knowledge. Thanks again.
That’s great to hear, Fiona. I agree that trying to play something note for note does take the joy out of playing. It takes massive effort to achieve relatively little, while the alternative ways I focus on are, in my opinion, more enjoyable and less frustrating. 🙂
After almost 4 years of working through your website and tutorials, age 43 at the time, no real music experience, learning piano. (by the way that’s almost unheard of because don’t you have to be age 5 for optimum results traditionally?) I can sit down at any piano and just play. People have said I can play fluidly without hesitation and make it sound nice, and have fun doing it. Life is short, shortcuts to learning are great, more fun to me. Result: you learn something, that’s what it’s all about. If people want to be hung up, let them bang their heads against a brick wall while the rest of us have FUN!
hi T.G…dont bother what they says..they did good work..but you done a great technic and owesome..keep it up..brillian idea..
your explanation is clear and straight to the point..I have improved my skills tremendously since I accessed your site
Your method of teaching piano flies in the face of the traditionalists. Don’t forget; keyboard (organ, piano, harpsichord, etc) has become an art, much like painting and sculpture. Those who had trouble were definitely not worthy of the art. My mother would have been outraged to see me doing something like this. But I really appreciate it. I didn’t learn a darn thing from playing scales. I’ve only started, but I’ve been able to learn chords already without looking at a sheet of music. I’m learning a little more slowly, but hey; better late than never.
Thanks for not being afraid to upset the apple cart of the traditionalists.
ps: When I was a teenager I really wanted to do what you do for a living. I’m 51 and am starting over. Hey, you just never know. Better late than never.
Thank you for sharing your talents for those of us who’d like to learn.
You are a great teacher and i don’t agree with the fact that you are teaching piano the wrong way! You are doing your job absolutely right! The controversies listed above just arise because not everyone is taught the keyboard (piano) the same way! Every teacher has their own way of teaching. So don’t worry about all these stuff. Keep it up Tim Sir, you
Everyone have right to their own opinion, but as for me, all i can say is……God bless you real good cos i’ve learned a lot more than i used to know and i know that many has too. So, don’ be bothered by critics but continue to do your thing.
This is very nice
and not everyone is willing to share like this ..
do not care about what they say .
You are my hero and my teacher
Your numbering system and method of teaching piano is perfect! Don’t change a thing!!!
Finding the patterns in anything Simplicity is always best. Folks who’d rather do things the harder way, can’t be trusted. Lol.
There’s a reason why “pattern recognition” is big area of study. Patterns are our friends.
I have ben in the music game for over 25 years (as a drummer I hasten to add) and have come across many people who value their own opinion over everyone elses. Personally, as an old guy who wanted to learn piano/keyboards without many years of lessons, and one who has heard fellow band members talk of numbers instead of notes/chords for years, I find your teaching method and strategy brilliant. It is exactly the language of gigging and recording musicians. You will never have purists agree with you .. but then again, just ask them how many gigs and recordings they have under their belt .. in a lot of cases, that should silence your critics.
Keep up the good work .. I love your videos and have learned a lot from them … just need to work on the claw hand shape (drummers are not natural contortionists lol!).
Please keep up the good work for we who appreciate your efforts.
It.s good,learned very quick
This system makes sense. It will quickly get a novice playing the piano. This system makes perfect sense. Give it a shot, you wont be disappointed.
You have a great way of teaching someone to play the piano easily and fast. Thanks
Your system simplifies playing and it is so easy when you have to transpose
FREEDOM OF SPEECH IS OFTEN IGNORANTLY ABUSE!TAKE IT FROM ME THIS SYSTEM WORKS.
To be honest I didn,t read all the article above but I remember taking your 10 free lessons and yes they helped me in my quest to learn to play the piano.
Back in the day – the 80s, to be precise – there was a guy named Bob Ross. Some of you may know of him. He was an artist whose ½ hour shows saw him take a blank canvas and turn it into a thing of beauty. Seemingly effortlessly. I tried it, and it turns out that if you follow his techniques and his instruction, you too can create something darn impressive! However, he gets slated by a vocal contingent within the ‘arts community’, who paint him as a fraud or a charlatan, when he is far from either. He came across as a peaceful, kind-hearted man, who wanted to spread his love of painting to those who chose to watch and learn.
Tim, I view you and Bob as the same – talented guys, looking to share their expertise in the fields in which they excel.
As a novice, looking at a blank canvas with no direction is VERY daunting. Equally, sitting at a piano with no clue as to what to do will lead to disheartenment and eventual abandonment.
Keep doing what you’re doing Tim! Ignore the haters and naysayers. They are merely precious, egotistical idiots who view sanctity over widespread appeal. We all love you!!
Your video was helpful
I feel like that makes complete sense to me, got no prior experience before your tutorials and I think your way of teaching is awesome. Keep it up please!
76 year old learning on the *number system* from you and enjoying the experience. Keep it up!!!
Imagine if people insisted on learning to read before starting to talk. Your method helped me tremendously. Thank you.
Tim your system is wonderful. I don’t care what u call anything as long as it makes it quicker & easier to play & understand, which is does so just ignore the nay Sayers & continue 2 keep on teaching 2 those of us who want 2 learn your way.
Thanks 4 continuing doing this & @ a reasonable price 2.
You are doing a great Job , Tim. Don’t give a damn to what haters have to say …. you know its a very famous Hindi Film Dialogue ‘Something ppl will always say (good or bad).. ‘coz thats what they can do easliy’.. I went through your videos and believe me my friends who are trained in Keyboard were astonished to notice when I could play all the Major and Minor chords infront of them after sending hardly 30 mins on your video. They said you have really devised a lovely technique.That really helped me and I very glad that your techniques are becoming popular … why waste time in learning something which can be learnt easily and faster.. Keep Doing the good work dear.. God Bless
Thanks and Regards,
please continue with your good works.its not helpful to those criticising your method, period .
I have started learning your lessons 8 days. I think once you practice it will be simple and easier to learn piano. Great Keep it up.!!!!
There is absolutely nothing wrong with your methodology. There are lot of good piano players who are note readers but cannot play by ear. Howevever I would like to train myself as an ear player.
Well said, Anson! It is said that most musicians are selfish and don’t want others to know because they are afraid of competition. Keep up the good work, Tim.
I agree with the method of your teaching. it is useful.
Personally I benefited so much from the very first time I watched your fingering on the piano. Nothing wrong with the skills you are impacting on people on piano because they sound smart and play most of the songs corectly
My take on your method of teaching is those that have learned and can teach a more simplified method as to where those that really want to learn piano can have a definite advantage at faster progress makes since. There have been to many that look at it as a way to make money off students without ever giving them any short cut methods of learning quicker and when an individual such as yourself show shorter and faster methods of learning an instrument, they become targets of ridicule and insult. I like when someone brings a new and refreshing methods with no holes barred attitude to instruction because they don’t loose anything but help people to learn something that might not be possible due to cost and the lack of finances. I consider those that take a chance in giving someone an ability to pick up an instrument and learn to play it faster an innovator of progress for the students they are preparing. So I would challenge anyone that thinks your way is nonsense, to take and put one of their students against one that you have trained in a similar amount of time so people can see the difference from the amount of time you have prepared someone and a teacher that uses their students as a cash flow through life without it benefiting the student and becoming boring and they lose interest. You have then proved your point and their nonsense is broken.
Keep on, keepin on with many proven techniques helping your students prevail in their quests at excellence in learns piano. Thanks for allowing me to post my convictions on your method of instruction.
They say tomato..you say tamato….really…prefer your way.
I can now understand how to play the piano, was that not the point?, all I have to do now is practice so for that I thank you very very much.
I tried your method and it was very helpful to me. When I went for my next session, my instructor was very impressed. He thought I did hours on top of hours of practice, but I didn’t. Your method helped me a lot and I understood it more easily. Continue with your method please. I do enjoy the way you teach. Thank you. Normally I don’t leave replies, but I have to on this one.I’m learning more from you.
Your system helped me to restart Piano learning and made it interesting for me. Great work!
I purchased this system about a year ago. I inherited a huge Conn 650 3 keyboard organ with pipe speakers and 6 Leslie speakers. I always LOVED the organ but have no real talent to speak of and when I was 10 lasted 3 weeks with piano lessons. I could play Chopsticks. Thats about it. I purchased this system and before I got it my wife said what are we going to do with that damn albatross you now have in our 200 sq. foot living room with it taking up about 60sq. feet. Within an hour I was playing music. Actually playing organ hymns “right out of the box”. My wife was amazed, I was amazed even more. Granted I am only using about 5% of the organ features but I can play songs I LOVE and sound like I know what Im doing. I used to have a Magnus Chord Organ when I was a kid and this music is similar to that system in that it lets you actually play music right way. That company is long gone. This system by numbers lets you play just by numbers but you can also see the actual music so you can learn is much or as little about the notes and music as you choose. Music is about loving it and loving making wonderful sound and this system just lets you do it plain and simple. I LOVE IT. Nothing better and the only way to utilize an instrument like the one I have and really love it and appreciate what it can do.
That’s a great story! Thanks for sharing. 🙂
I want to thank you for all the free videos. I’ve benefited and now able to play slow or average speed 4/4 progression on major chords. I am a self taught guitarist without sight reading background, now serving as keyboard player /guitarist in one of our church missions outreach children ministry. Still finding it difficult to master fast songs. Being a homemaker, time and cost is taken into consideration. I will try my best. Thanks again.
Your method of teaching is interesting and easy and encouraging for a beginner with no knowledge of notes and sheet reading and keyboard skills to get up and to learn a piano. Thank you.
The comments from those people is the same as how you say tomato. It depends on how you learn and what terminology you were taught. There is NOTHING wrong with your method. Your method works for those who like your approach.
Hi think it’s very important to train the ear as well as learn standard notation. Only came to that understanding recently. Learning classical or jazz or different styles only improves your overall musicality. Playing / performing music using any and all shortcuts makes perfect sense to me. Sometimes you learn the music first and the theory can follow then other times it works better visa versa . I like using numbers as long as the sequences are not too long or it gets confusing. Help with finger placement is my big second as they can get tied in knots or I run out of fingers – also an octave is a very uncomfortable stretch so I tend to leave out notes if I can.
As a coplete Nubie I was able to start playing the piano form just a few short videos that you provided to me. I’m a believer. I just want to play and enjoy the music. Your system works adn it is really fun and easy to learn. Keepp up the great work.
Sounds reasonable to me – a rank beginner
I tottally agree with your system. This is the way that I have learned to play keyboard with so much ease from scratch to wherever I am now. Cool system.
Keep it up.
Its your video that really gave me QN insight into the tricks of playing piano in the Ist palce.. Keep inspiring people… I love your work. Cheerrss
Your number system is called the Nashville system. It make transposing to another key a rather simple thing to do. I was taught half step and whole step. I cringe when I hear a person say semitones. Your system is liberal like a Democrat. People who use the traditional way to play “Dead Peoples Music,” are like Republicans. They are in a bubble, and you can’t change their minds. Keep doing what you are doing. It is a far superior system than what is being taught If a person wants to express themselves with the piano emotionally. People who want to play Dead Peoples music should use the traditional method. I know most of what you are teaching. My problem is with rhythm and flow. Thanks for doing what you do.
I agree with everything you’re saying. Poo poo to the naysayers that are bagging your web site and your system. They can all go to… hell yea, I like your system.
For a grandmother who has taught 2 grandchildren to read before they ever started school i can agree with your theory. It starts with the alphabet I like you compare the number systems importance to music as the alphabet is to reading.
I agree with everything and I support your approach. When learning the numbering system, I saved so much time. I only wished I discovered this back when I was in high school.
However, I would also like to learn to read music notes. I hope you can share a video that can teach individuals on reading music sheets, if there any.
I do like your videos. Different people different approach. I don’t have time or access to attend a proper piano class. An instant short video of how to play a piano really make me happy back then.
Your numbering system is quiet an easy way of learning. Please keep it up! Always remember all people Will never like you after offering the best.
I gave my key board to my grandson who listens to a piece and then goes to the keyboard and plays it almost perfectly. I think I will get myself another key board and sign up.
Do you think an 86 year old can learn to play? Hold on to my info and I will be in touch as soon as I have a key board. Have a great day, Howard Stephens
Just read your dissertation about negative commnts on your playing Piano. I support your method completely, However, I also enjoy the other method also and enjoy TRYING to learn simple “Classicals”. Have been off for some time but will be back soon with a new keyboard.
Wanting to play classical piano (which you must play note for note, of course) is a fine goal and it can be enjoyable if you’re doing it for “fun” and not because you have to. The problem is a lot of aspiring piano players just want to be able to play along to popular music, or play blues or jazz or whatever, and for them learning to read sheet music should be optional. This misunderstanding is where frustration can kick in and make people give up when they didn’t have to… which is sad.
People always feel insecure about the smallest issues. You are correct. One time 20 years ago, I went to SamAsh with a friend and he questioned the rep “why did they change the color of the display on the new workstation.” Of course he owned the older model. The point is we exist in a different time. This is the age of information. An album used to cost a million dollars to make 30 years ago, now all that’s needed is a CPU and a DAW. Within these tools you can program chords and scales within an arp. You can film a movie on your Android phone. These people get sauce because their Juliard prestige is compromised.
I agree with everything you have said, I am in my mid to late 60’s and don’t have 10 years to learn the piano, so your system fits my purpose exactly, I am learning to play accompaniment to non professional singers.
Thanks for shaking up this dinosaur way of piano teaching.
When I was a kid I learned the traditional way. It killed the will out of me so I stopped after 2 years. I needed 3 years to recover and start playing again, just by my self.
Your method shocked me. Now I have 4 kids. When I saw some of your videos I called them in because they had to see this. It is a very direct simple goal oriented way to learn, and kids(like I was) will not wait patiently for results!
I have no musical trading at all,but I have found that your system has given me a really good insight in to chord structure and I have used your system to create a couple of my best work. Checkout my Soundcloud, thehashcollective
Hi! I think saying I had zero piano training before your videos and I’m a no English speaker so I played minor and major chord and I understood you amd better I played to a professional piano teacher I didn’t say the ”right names” I said ”half step” as you teached me. Just look around the world very many people don’t live adventures they simply survive it’s is very boring to me!! about piano I don’t wanna just observe music I feel I can be inside it with your help and I just stopped because dollar payment is too expensive for brazilian right now.
Like the Taylor Swift song says…Shake it off!! Haters gonna hate, hate, hate! I think what you do is great and I wouldn’t worry about what all the “elitists” cry about!!!
I am playing music. Just play the song that I want , not all the songs. Anything can help would be highly appreciated. Life is too short for learning the old way.
I agree with you. I’m 70 and don’t have years to learn shy music. I want to have fun
You are absolutely right… Your techniques are just awesome and easy.
I am not very good but really like your counting system – anything that helps to play the piano can only be beneficial. Thanks.
Anyone who set out to make a difference don’t care about what people say, living a live of impact is a wonderful thing and gift that’s one thing no one can take away from you, I. Love what you are doing so keep doing it, that’s why you are there to make a difference
Your system is awesome. It is like Suzuki for adults. If you can sing you can play. You provide a bridge between singing and the piano.
I agree with you. Your way is more logical, and more fun as well, because it encourages you to think about what you’re doing.
I agree with you Tim. I really like your way of learning.
I think your systems great. People are so miserable with there own life that it makes them fill better about trying to bring someone else down. About the 8th note, their so stupid about that. Keep up with the good work Tim. I’m so glad there someone like you that takes learning to the next level. Thanks Michael
Keep it up you are definitely on the right track. Your method makes it easy for playing and transposing. Thank you very much.
I know from someone who was never trained in music what I have learned from you the joy of the piano. I soon hope I will be able to develop my skills.
There are always different ways to teach any subject. And there are different objectives of eash student. The traditional music theory is tried and true but for me, it was a lot of info I never expected to use, since my goal was to learn enough notes and chords to play for my own enjoyment.your method translates to speed reading for me. I get it!
Never tried your system but makes a lot of sense to me with or without the controversial ones