Reviews and Comments
|National Reviews||Individuals’ Comments||Great Reviews (Extended)
“A remarkable program that will have you producing beautiful sounds in no time. Gimmick-free — just a proven holistic approach based on chords and harmony!”
-TIME LIFE BOOK-OF-THE-MONTH CLUB
“This course presents some interesting techniques and, best of all, no stern teacher with ticking metronome in hand. The idea is to bring the joy of piano-playing back with a “holistic” approach based on chords and harmony and devoid of tedious time spent trying to decipher sheet music. Music lovers may discover they’ve “got it” after all!”
“This innovative, enjoyable program of 10 easy-to-follow chapters is taught by Mark Almond, a self-described quitter and accomplished musician. Learn to play beautiful music easily, without the rigid teaching techniques so many of us remember.”
-WIRELESS (NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO)
“If you ever took piano, quit, and wish you hadn’t, your second chance has arrived. Perhaps you were too young. Perhaps it was that rigid teacher and those boring exercises. Forget it. Learn to play again.
Mark Almond teaches you to play beautiful sounds in just minutes — all through a holistic approach based on chords and harmony that helped the great players of the past learn much faster than students do today. It’s an ideal foundation for all styles, from classical to jazz to pop. It works for all keyboards. And it’s fun.”
-DISCOVERY CHANNEL VIDEO CATALOG
HALF A DOZEN IDEAS FOR SELF-IMPROVEMENTIs this the year you finally learn a foreign language? Learn a musical instrument? Get your face in shape? No matter what your New Year’s resolution, chances are there is a video available to inspire you and keep you motivated.
…The aptly titled “Piano For Quitters” ($29.95 Toll Free 1-888-742-6653) is taught by Mark Almond, who utilizes a “holistic approach” to learning the instrument….
Order Here or Call Toll Free (888)742-6653
Comments from Individuals Who Have Purchased Piano For Quitters
“Mark, you have brought the miracle of a simple path to experiencing the wonder and beauty of the piano to anyone on this earth who yearns to experience the joy of playing. There are no other piano teachings like yours. Before your Piano for Quitters and Piano for Life series, no one else ever distilled the essence of making beautiful evocative piano music that anyone can experience and enjoy in their soul. You cannot put a price on such an extraordinary contribution. It came through you into this world — you have delivered it. You did your job, and this is a much better world for it.”
“Mark, you’re a legend. I’ve just got to the end of Piano for Quitters, and it was a revelation. I can’t quite describe the satisfaction of playing such beautiful chords for the first time. It’s opened a door. I have had a whole heap of fun in playing (and experimenting) with composing my own music. Your introduction about how early piano masters started their career with an understanding of chords is very encouraging.”
Perth, Western Australia
“It is wonderful to be enjoying my practice sessions and to know chord progressions are based on logical, easy to learn connections. Thanks for making those connections and for clearing the fog of confusion so that the sun can shine in!”
“When I received Piano for Quitters, I immediately watched the entire video. You understated the video; it was everything you said and then some!! What is very encouraging to me is your building block approach to playing chords and harmony. I can hardly wait to start Piano for Life. Thank you! Thank you!”
“I really want to thank you for being there to speed me and others along in their piano studies. Has anyone ever told you that a genius is someone who can make the complicated simple? That’s Mark Almond, Piano for Quitters, and Piano for Life. Thank you, Mark!”
St. Rolla, MO
“Piano for Quitters equals the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for me. I have loved music from childhood listening to my mother sing and play the guitar and piano. When I was 21, I took piano lessons for a few months, but I gave up on it. I tried lessons again when I was 45 and that was just as frustrating as before.
Then I began sending for video tapes. The ads claimed they could teach the fast and easy way. I tried a few of those and I learned to play “ 3 Blind Mice” and “Jingle Bells” with one hand! Then I ordered Mark Almond’s “Piano for Quitters” and soon realized Mark had it together. This was the real thing. Finally, I’m on the road leading me to be able to play piano like I’ve desired to do all these years. Thank you, Mark Almond.”
“My seven year old son wanted to learn piano, so I bought a traditional piano course–he ended up in tears. I was praying for a way to teach him which wouldn’t destroy his passion and creativity, or steal his joy of learning. I stumbled on this program in the library. Within days, my son was writing beautiful chord progressions and asking for “music practice” to be added to his daily work chart so he could play the piano before his other jobs were done. Our whole family is now learning to play the piano and loving it! I am a former piano quitter. I managed to survive one year of traditional piano lessons, but with this course, I am learning to play beautiful music along with my children and husband. ”
CLICK HERE to view the
Piano for Life Companion booklet
What’s Being Said about Piano for Life:
“I ordered both Piano For Quitters and Piano For Life. I love what I’ve watched and wish that I had been taught this way. As a piano teacher, I have incorporated your concepts and techniques into my instruction with great success. If there is anything else that you offer which would be helpful to me as a piano teacher, let me know. Thanks!”
“I can’t tell you or thank you enough for your program! I endured eight years or more before any teacher tried to teach me chords and then they didn’t make any sense. In just your second lesson you clearly explained the basis of chords and music. What a relief! I am going through the DVD with four of my children and even the six year old is understanding this! Thank you for all the research and time you put into your program to save so much time and heartache for us and others.”
“You can count on me to sing your praises to my friends about the foundational music program presented in Piano for Life. I am truly grateful to you for sharing your knowledge about music theory. It has opened up a whole new way of looking at music for me. Every music teacher should shout this secret from the housetops and then maybe there would be fewer quitters.”
Lucie Murray, NPP
“The Piano For Life DVDs are the best of all the instructional videos I have seen. They gave me inspiration to try different accompaniments, presented visual cues for learning theory, and included bonafide shortcuts for learning keyboards and piano. My favorite part though, is how Mark Almond has shown that learning to play is best done by making music while you’re learning, not by endless drills, and other non-musical means!! That’s how many great composers learned to play. Brain research has shown that we learn faster when we enjoy it.”
“About three months ago I purchased “Piano For Quitters”, and was so pleased with the clear, concise method of teaching that I ordered “Piano For Life”. The second set is excellent. Each lesson of “Piano For Life” is presented in a way that makes learning to play the piano a pleasure, rather than the chore it was in my youth. Now that I’m retired, I spend from two to three hours each morning with ”Piano For Life” and I thoroughly enjoy every minute of it. My sincere thanks for opening up a most pleasant and rewarding way to enjoy playing the piano.”
Don E. Burger
Dr. Yolanda Ayubi
Dr. Ayubi is a Social Scientist and journalist with three earned Ph.Ds in the fields of Sociology, History, and Urban Studies from the University of Wisconsin. Her postdoctoral work was in Advanced Negotiations at Harvard. Dr. Ayubi’s accomplishments in developing life-changing educational innovations are legendary.
Allow me to congratulate you for the wonderful piano method you have developed. I love the fact that your program is not an insult to our intelligence. Most methods are insulting because all they do is take you through mini-steps in the form of boring drills. Your method is organic, in the same way that children learn languages. Being a researcher, I became frustrated by piano instruction, so I started to research for holistic “lively” methods with “short-cut” elements attached. Since I was a television reporter for a decade, I gravitate toward audio-visual methods. After looking through nearly twenty different piano lesson programs, it only took a few minuets of viewing your material to realize that I would be utilizing the “Piano for Life” program in order to make real progress at the piano. I am very excited about the beautiful music I am playing.
A visual artist whose work is known and loved throughout the world, Schim is also a talented musician and songwriter, having played professionally in several bands.
April 20, 2003
This is Schim Schimmel. I’m the artist who ordered your course last week for overnight delivery. I’m leaving Wed. for Japan for two weeks of art shows, and was so happy to get your course the day after we spoke.
First of all, the videos are professionally done — what a treat when so many teaching videos are obviously “homemade.” Having taught private art classes myself for many years with a system much like your own, I so appreciate your solid yet inspiring method. You have struck the perfect balance between teaching solid music education at the keyboard while at the same time offering very doable music pieces and exercises that are musical and beautiful to play. I can’t wait to get back home and really work these tapes. I’m almost finished with video two of Piano For Life, and will finish video three before I leave. It’s going to be more than a little frustrating not to work with your tapes while I’m gone. Excellent job, Mark. Thank you for contributing your hard-won knowledge to all of us out here, for contributing so wonderfully to this planet with your life’s work. Thank you so much for finally making the keyboard accessible. Will you, in fact, be coming out with future lessons? Put me on your list as a lifetime student.”
Co-founder of InnovationNetwork
Joyce is the author of several books on creativity and innovation, including Mindmapping.
InnovationNetwork is the home base for many of the top business consultants to major companies and corporations throughout the world.
I was recently reminded of the mysterious “right brain” process of pattern making and pattern recognition from an unexpected place. Like many of us, I took piano lessons as a child and, like too many of us, I wound up quitting in frustration and disappointment long before I achieved any proficiency. Although I quit playing, I never quite quit hoping that someday I would sit down at a piano and be able to pound out some ragtime. A couple of years ago, I bought a video called “Piano for Quitters” and over the holidays I finally watched it. If you’ve ever had the experience of seeing an ever-changing kaleidoscope of information suddenly crack open and make sense, you will understand what happened when I watched that video. Those 88 mysterious, seemingly unrelated keys suddenly coalesced into a meaningful and simple pattern of chords. I was dumbfounded, and at the same time elated, as I went to the piano and began to make sounds that pleased me! If you would like to have more information on this amazing video, visit www.pianoforlife.com.
Jaye Barnes Luckett
Jaye Barnes Luckett is a singer, song writer / composer with an impressive list of credits in the motion picture and television industry.
Hello, Mr. Almond & Company…
I first discovered and purchased the “Piano For Life” series a handful of years ago. It immediately made a huge improvement in my own playing and confidence level. At the time, I had just scored my very first feature, and as someone who had quickly dismissed lessons, because of the static methods I had been presented with, I quickly found that there was only so far I could go just sitting there with a keyboard and trying to improve by myself, without a road map, per se. Your videos changed all that, and made such a difference that I swear by them and have recommended the series to countless people.
I have gone on to score and provide original songs for a number of major motion pictures, independent films, and television shows, amassing an audience along the way that spans a wide range of ages, races, countries, backgrounds and incomes. Many of them have strong interest in playing music themselves. I hope that I can work with you to spread the “Almond gospel” to many other people who may not yet know about the “Piano for Life” lesson series.
Jaye Barnes Luckett
Steinweg Studio of Music
I have taught piano students, ages four to eighty-four, for three decades, using a traditional approach and materials. Always there has been the constant struggle of translating music from the page to the heart, and out again to the listener.
I began to use Mark Almond’s DVD course “Piano for Quitters” during just the summer semesters. I watched a light bulb come on as my students grasped the concepts of theory and structure effortlessly. They lost the fear of improvising, exploring chords, and playing melodies. Some discovered a gift for composing, others for picking out familiar tunes and creating their own accompaniments. In their written music, they are quicker to spot chords, patterns, and chord progressions, thus reading music more easily. Their playing has become more fluent. They are motivated, and they find it easier to excel. In other words, they GET it!
When I’ve asked pianists who play far more than is written, “How do you do that?” they’ve always answered, “I don’t know, I just do it.” Mark Almond shows how, simply and clearly, like breaking a long word down into easy two-letter syllables. His program claims to demonstrate the building blocks of all chords and harmony and enable students to understand the simple structure of music itself before learning to master the details – all true! Other methods give students bits and pieces to drill and memorize, much like being handed a jumble of puzzle pieces with no picture to look at. It may be years before they see the full picture (if they last that long). This program provides the whole picture in full color, removing confusion so all of the pieces just fall into place.
Naturally, I’ve added “Piano for Quitters,” to my curriculum for nearly all of my students year-round, followed by the more advanced material in the sequel “Piano for Life.” My guitar students get an important basic understanding of piano and theory too.
I highly recommend this series to music educators, homeschool parents, and every family that cares about music education. My homeschooled son is playing his favorite contemporary worship songs on piano after just a few DVD lessons, with nothing from me except encouragement! That “Aha!” moment every teacher and parent longs for may be just a few DVD lessons away.
Life Empowerment Coach and Co-founder of The Life Empowerment Group
Carmine specializes in coaching creative people of all kinds: artists, musicians, writers, actors and performers.
It’s been said that simplicity is the hallmark of true genius. Mark Almond certainly proves that point with his video tape series, Piano For Quitters and its 3 volume companion set, Piano For Life. He has created a brilliantly simple and elegant method of instruction that gives the piano student a clear understanding of the fundamental ideas of harmony, melody, chord structure and music theory, straight out of the box. The student can begin playing real music right from Lesson One.
This isn’t just a case of someone building a better mouse trap. Mr. Almond’s method of instruction has profound implications that go way beyond simply learning to play piano. It’s a genuine paradigm shift in how we learn, understand, create and experience music itself. Perhaps my personal experience can help illustrate what I mean.
I’ve been playing acoustic finger-style guitar for nearly 40 years. In the past, I’ve made my living as a professional musician, and even though I no longer perform, I still play every day. I have a highly sophisticated ear and a solid understanding of how music works. Early in my career as a musician I discovered that the piano was a handy tool as an aid for composition. Whenever I got stuck, couldn’t find a unique chord or a particular melodic line on the guitar, I could sit down at a keyboard and within a few minutes, using only one or two fingers, I could pick out exactly the sounds I was after. Somewhere along the line, I discovered a deep desire to learn to play piano.
I bought the Thompson books. I tried Suzuki. I tried every method and every teacher within a hundred miles of where I lived. Inevitably, by the third lesson I was ready to burn the piano and whack the teacher with a bamboo stick. For thirty years I tried everything I could think of, including trying to figure it out myself. I wanted to play piano so much it made my soul ache. Eventually, blaming myself and my own lack of comprehension, I fell into numb hopelessness about it. Even though I gave up, there has always remained a small, quiet tendril of longing somewhere deep inside me.
A couple years ago, a friend bought me a copy of Piano For Quitters. I didn’t own a piano at the time, so the tape sat unwatched on a shelf with my old piano books. A few months ago I acquired an 1893 Chickering upright piano. Recently, while pawing through my old music books, I stumbled upon the Piano for Quitters video tape. I popped it into the VCR and for the next hour, sat there astonished. I rewound the tape back to Lesson One and started over. I watched the lesson a third time, got up, went to the piano and started to play. Did you get that? I sat down and started to PLAY!
By Lesson Five, I was able to build rich, fat, hauntingly beautiful chords and equally important, I understood what to do, how to do it and why. After thirty years of frustration, I got it. It wasn’t me, it was the method that was flawed! No wonder half the musicians I know can’t play anything without sheet music in front of them. Given the current state of music instruction, it’s a miracle anyone learns to play anything at all.
As a guitarist, I have always been able to listen to anyone else play guitar and even if I don’t have their particular technical skills, I can still visualize exactly what they are doing. From Django Reinhardt to Preston Reed, from Jimi Hendrix to Michael Hedges, I can close my eyes and feel in my hands what they are doing. I know it in my bones. Two days after my first lesson with Piano For Quitters I was standing at the sink washing dishes, listening to Joe Sample’s CD, Sample This, humming along with one of my favorite tunes and suddenly, I stopped dead still, closed my eyes, and for the first time in my life, I could SEE what he was playing. I KNEW what he was doing, how his hands were moving, and what the chords were. I could feel it in my bones.
I immediately went on the web and ordered the 3 volume Piano For Life series and watched the videos all the way through. As of today, I have worked my way about halfway through them. These tapes are so comprehensive that I could spend the next 10 years watching them once a week and still find new nuggets of insight into chord structure and harmony every time I watch. Are you getting some idea about the value of the gift Mark Almond has given to me? I would pay any price to go back in time to when I was 10 years old and learn music this way from the beginning. My musical life would have been very different.
Ok, so I’m now a beginner on the piano. Yes, at the moment there is a huge gap between what I can hear and understand and what I can actually make my hands do. So what… The important thing is that I know how it works. I know what to do now. Music lives in my heart and soul and the rest is just practice. Because I have a new access to the fundamental ideas in music, it’s simply a matter of binding muscle memory to the passionate will of my own original musical expression. If I can hear it inside, I’ll be able to find it and play it. These videos have given me the tools to build a skill set and an understanding that will last a lifetime. Give me a couple years. I’ll knock your socks off.
I’m going to make a prediction here. As Mark Almond’s body of work spreads throughout the world, as more music teachers begin to incorporate his methodology into their instruction, as more students gain access to their own musical abilities and are able to have fun learning to play piano, we will see a new era of musical creativity. These four videos have created the potential for a musical renaissance the likes of which we haven’t seen in centuries. Sooner or later, everyone will learn music this way. Essentially, what Mr. Almond has done is remove the arcane, mysterious complexity from the way we have learned music in the past. With his simple and direct method, he has given back to us our rightful connection to the real music inside of us. We are all musical beings and this is our birthright, to have complete access to our own internal creative abilities, and the freedom and joy of making music as we hear it.
Tell your friends. Tell your family. Tell your teachers. Think of that special friend in your life who has always wanted to play the piano and buy the tapes as a present. Buy them for yourself simply because you deserve the joy of making music in your own life. Pass it on. Mark Almond has changed everything. This is a really big deal.
But hey, don’t take my word for it, see for yourself. How would you feel if this could happen for you too? What would it mean to your life if you could learn to play music, real music, the way you’ve always dreamed? Tell you what, you go ahead and try “Piano For Quitters” and “Piano For Life” practicing as instructed. If you fail to learn to play piano to your own satisfaction, I’ll refund your money myself.
November 2, 2006
I began piano lessons as a child and after my mother died, the foster home I grew up in would not allow me to take lessons. Later in life, in my 20s, I was a student at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, Illinois and studied with a teacher for over 20 years. However, after 20 years of lessons, I could not memorize and I could not understand basic harmony, i.e., how the melody and the chords made the music. I was able to play Chopin Preludes, Bach Inventions, Beethoven Sonatas, Mozart Fantasies but with great effort and long hours of studying. If I stopped practicing for a week or so, all of my hard work had to be redone.
I never understood what I was playing because I was playing notes, not phrases or patterns. I bought basic theory books, books that showed patterns. I bought books like How to Play the Piano Despite Years of Lessons to supplement the lessons I was taking. I bought various teaching videos. Nothing worked. I told my teacher I just wanted to know how the music was written and why the notes were placed where they were? What was a chord progression, and why do the different chords make a phrase work?
She told me to buy a book about music composition. I did and read it. Another failure. After years of being frustrated and only being able to play by rote, I finally quit my lessons thinking it was just not meant to be, even though my passion for playing the piano could not be discouraged. But over the last three years my desire kept coming back. I would sit at the piano and take out the easy books and try to figure out how to analyze the music so that it made sense. Something inside of me said “It can’t be that hard – even Erroll Gardner could play the piano and couldn’t even read music! Paderewski learned later in his life. Blind people could play the piano – why couldn’t I play the piano and know what I was doing?”
I would not give up. Finally, this summer, I found Mark Almond’s Piano for Quitters and Piano for Life at the Bolingbrook Public Library. In 20 minutes of viewing I knew I had found the piano teacher I have been looking for!
I watched Piano for Quitters and it was like being with a friend who had similar experiences as I had. Suddenly I started to feel enthusiastic. I wanted to make music again! My teacher once told me “music isn’t supposed to be fun – it’s hard work.” I don’t think teachers realize the impact their words have on students of the arts. Watching Mark Almond, I was not only having fun, I was erasing old beliefs that were taking my joy away from my music. I wanted to be that child again who loved to hear her fingers make music. I wanted permission to go as slow as I needed to go. I wanted the lessons repeated as much as I needed them to be repeated. I wanted to experiment and play and know it was alright to hit wrong notes. I wanted to break free of the rigid box I was in and these lessons did that for me. I have begun to “play” again and I no longer “work” at the piano – I am having fun!!
I am planning to find another teacher soon and when I do, I am going to insist that teacher use the Piano for Life method to supplement my “live” lessons. If the teacher won’t do that, then I won’t hire that person.
For me, this program has filled in the “holes” in my understanding of music theory. I am now able to understand what I believed I would never understand – all of the various kinds of chords and how to use them. Mark Almond’s explanations make it basic and simple. I wondered why every teacher made chords seem so hard!
I don’t understand why it took me so long to find these lessons. This program would be a great resource for schools and private teaching studios. Why is this not on PBS television? Mark Almond has given the music community a great gift by creating these lessons. They should be shared with everyone who wants to teach and everyone who wants to learn how to play the piano! Thank you, Mark Almond, for your passion and hard work in creating this wonderful tool for students and teachers!!
Naval Flight Officer
November 16, 2007
A few years ago I retired. My plans were to do those things I had put off doing in the years my wife and I were raising a family and I was pursuing an active and demanding career.
High on the list of things I hoped to accomplish was learning to play the piano. Rather than immediately sign up for lessons however, and now having time, I began researching the field of piano instruction. I asked myself what I had learned from my past experiences that I could bring to learning this new skill. In the past I had been a naval flight officer, a corporate executive in both large and small companies and a business owner.
I wrote myself a memo describing the lessons I had learned and what I had observed from others who had successfully mastered new skills. I was searching for the most effective and efficient way to learn to play the piano.
After reviewing numerous courses, reading many articles and books, taking “exploratory” lessons with several teachers I came across Piano for Life. I was struck with the logic of the course design, the clarity of presentation, and the results I began to experience as I advanced from one lesson to the next.
In this course Mark Almond provides the foundation necessary to learn the “art and science” of playing piano. He turns to the wisdom of the masters such as Chopin, Liszt, Hofmann and others and incorporates their teachings into the course. The elements of melody, harmony and rhythm are weaved together in a logical, clear, and easy to understand way. The end result is a course that provides a solid foundation for anyone wishing to learn the joy of playing the piano.
September 1, 2001
This three-volume sequel to Piano for Quitters aims to impart “all the important pianistic skills” necessary to become a lifelong piano player. Instructor Mark Almond’s holistic approach combines standard concepts in music theory and a few so-called “short cuts” with words of wisdom from some of the great pianists in musical history. All he requests of his home-viewing student before embarking on this program is a complete familiarization with the names of the keys on the piano. Almond asserts that even beginning students can learn to understand the simple harmonic structure of a chord before actually learning to read music, and he demonstrates this conviction by launching into a lesson on the versatility of a standard three-note chord. Subsequent lessons build on this theme while also covering such essential concepts as musical notation, timing, and expressive playing. Almond either talks directly into the camera or is viewed via an overhead camera aimed at the keys of a grand piano or electronic keyboard; he encourages his students to trust what they can’t follow will become clear as the course progresses. While Almond’s approach may be a bit fast for some, the production quality and his emphasis on an intuitive and “musical rather than mechanical” understanding of the piano make this a good choice for most libraries.–Amy Cantu, Ann Arbor Dist. Lib.
Having been schooled (and degreed) in the traditional method of piano instruction, I was curious to see how this program would deliver skills in 4 ½ hours that I studied for 17 years. After viewing this three-volume series, it became obvious that the objective here was to help people “dive in and swim” for personal enjoyment without the bother of learning all the theory and mechanics. But is this necessarily a bad thing? Not at all: most people who take piano lessons do so because they like to fool around with familiar tunes and experiment a little, not to give Ashkenazy a run for his money. Instructor Mark Almond, author of Piano for Quitters, guides viewers through seven 15-minute lessons on each tape (with each lesson’s number displayed in the lower right hand corner of the screen for easy cueing). Volume one offers a brief introduction to harmony, chord structure, hand positions, and technique exercises. Volume two expands the chord repertoire to include symbols (a must for those who like to play from “fake” books that only provide the melody line and chord symbols). Volume three adds some final polishing touches, as well as an introduction to notation, timing, and scales. After completing the course, viewers will be able to improvise a little and play some “by ear,” but as far as picking up the Bach Inventions or Chopin preludes, it is going to take a little more (although I actually wish I had had more of this type of training in my “traditional instruction”; I don’t play it if I don’t have the sheet music.) A solid introduction for the home enthusiast who doesn’t have the time or patience to learn to read notes, this is definitely recommended (just don’t plan on filling out your Julliard application anytime soon.) -L. Stevens
Cynthia Ulrich Tobias, M.Ed.
Best-selling Author and Learning Styles Specialist.
Former police officer and high school teacher, Cynthia
is a nationally known radio personality and one of the
most dynamic public speakers in the country.
October 9, 2001
In the Piano for Life video series, Mark Almond has taken his incredible skill as a pianist and combined it with a truly revolutionary method of teaching even the most reluctant learners to play. You will be amazed at the beautiful music that comes from your fingers from the very beginning. If you thought practicing and playing the piano just wasn’t your style, think again!
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