A few months ago, Hoffman Piano Academy asked me to do a review of their online piano lessons. I’ll be honest–I was very hesitant to try them because I am a traditional piano teacher who believes that personal interaction with a student is very important in the musical success of a child. However, after giving the curriculum a preliminary review I decided to give the online lessons a try. And who would I use as my guinea pigs? My very own daughters who were only 2 and 4 at the time.
Normally I do not recommend beginning piano lessons until a child can read on about a second grade reading level, but my eldest daughter had been begging me for weeks to begin teaching her. Since I wasn’t quite ready to begin traditional lessons with her, I thought maybe Hoffman Piano Academy might be a great way to get her feet wet. And how right I was!
By the end of the second lesson, not only was my 4 year old learning to play the piano, but my 2 year old was quickly becoming mesmerized as well. Barely would one lesson end before Peanut would ask, “Can we do another lesson? Pleeeeeeeease!” LOL. My girls were hooked.
Who Would Hoffman Piano Academy Be Good For?
The Hoffman Piano Academy is excellently done–in fact, probably the best online piano curriculum I’ve seen. As such, it’d be great for:
- Elementary-aged children interested in learning to play the piano. It gives them an opportunity to see if they’d really like to take piano lessons in an unhindered environment.
- Homeschool families. They can easily add piano lessons to their daily curriculum thanks to a very budget friendly price.
- Adults wanting to learn for the first time. Some adults don’t want to make a commitment to piano lessons every week but they may be able to devote 10-15 minutes a few times a week to learn piano via Hoffman Academy. While the program is geared primarily to the elementary student, adults could easily learn from Hoffman Academy as well.
- Families who live in the country with no nearby access to a piano teacher. While I still maintain that nothing can replace the personal interaction and feedback of a piano teacher, Hoffman Academy gets pretty close.
- A piano student in their first year of lessons. Even if your child currently takes piano lessons, Hoffman Academy provides a great supplemental material that your child can do at home to support what he/she is learning in the traditional piano lesson setting. The more they hear and interact with music, the sooner they will be able to understand implement what they are learning.
What makes Hoffman Academy Unique?
Hoffman Academy offers several unique features to their online curriculum:
- The videos are all available online for FREE!
- Each unit comes with a slew of supporting resources: theory worksheets, song sheets, music mp3s, a parent’s guide, and more. Currently there are 4 units but a 5th one is soon on its way!
- Students can submit their successful video performances to the online Recital Hall. In other words, they can perform for others worldwide from the comfort of their own home.
- Hoffman’s lessons incorporate a variety of teaching musical elements: sightreading, technique, solfege, rhythm, music theory, ear training, and improvisation.
- Joseph Hoffman writes short tips for both the parent and the student on the Hoffman Academy blog. Some recent topics include Is the Piano the Best First Instrument, Creating a Musical Culture at Home, and Parent’s Role in Piano Practice.
Want to See Hoffman Academy in Action?
Check out this video from lesson one. As you will notice, Joseph Hoffman has an inviting personality and concepts are presented in a way that is very child-friendly. One of my girls’ favorite lessons is the one in which he turns all the keys into little houses for different animals. So fun!
Since completing Hoffman Academy Level 1 we have transitioned to a more traditional piano lesson method for this school year since it’s hard for this music teacher to get out of a rut. That said, having experienced Hoffman Academy first, Peanut is now breezing through several lessons that might have otherwise been a challenge for her. As a result, I plan to repeat Hoffman Academy at least through Level 1 with my youngest before beginning a more traditional setting with her as the results have been well-worth it.