Another member here that I know has been actively following Steve Pavlina's work for some time, while my keeping up with Steve has been much more casual. This other member told me today about Steve's 30-day trial of learning music, believing that people here might be interested in the piano method that I teach, since it's very much a paradigm shift compared to traditional methods. I'm sensitive to the fact that this is my first post on the forum and that solicitations are frowned upon, so I'm happy to basically just share a bit about the method for informational purposes.
It's called Simply Music, and you can learn something about it at my own website at http://potluckcreativearts.com/lessons/method/
and also at the main Simply Music website at http://www.simplymusic.com/
-- The method was developed originally in Australia and has been taught in several countries for more than a dozen years.
I'll leave the details for those interested in exploring these other pages, but in a nutshell, the method involves developing a natural relationship with the keyboard immediately, getting students playing really quality-sounding music with both hands from the very beginning. You develop a repertoire of dozens and dozens of songs, in various musical styles, all of which you can play from memory. Through the program, you develop as a self-generating musician who has all the tools you need to proceed independently, taking sheet music for any piece you want to learn, knowing how to approach it and break it down, building it back up as you teach it to yourself, and then it becomes part of your repertoire, just like all your other pieces, with no need to refer again to the sheet music. Essentially anyone who has the diligence to stick with the program can achieve these results. It's a stark contrast from traditional methods, where many who try fail, and of those relatively few who succeed, most are forever tied to sheet music, helpless to play a note unless the page is in front of them telling them what to do. Another of the many great things about the method is that it brings improvisation and composition in right from the very beginning, while these things are usually left out of traditional methods altogether or at best brought in only much later on.
I've been a musician basically my whole life, a composer/songwriter since my early teens, and also involved in computer-based music production for the last two decades. Most of what I learned as a musician when I was younger was on my own, in spite of rather than as a result of the piano lessons I took. If Simply Music had been available for me when I was younger, I'm certain that, as much as I'm capable of doing now, I'd be capable of that much more, without various holes in my technique as I now have. And I certainly wish that, as a teacher, I'd known about Simply Music from its start so that I could have been teaching it to my students sooner. The difference my students and their families experience compared to traditional methods is, quite simply, night and day.
Interestingly, the method also resonates with some things mentioned here in this thread.
The traditional coming together as a group when making music is present in the fact that most Simply Music teachers teach most lessons in a group format. Everyone works together around a single keyboard. It's very dynamic. The method thrives in a group environment compared to one-on-one lessons as a result of its involving so much learning by doing. Of course, even one-on-one Simply Music lessons remain a quantum leap beyond other methods.
Someone else here mentioned an interest in improving practice. Since Simply Music's approach succeeds by harnessing an understanding of natural learning processes (which is exactly what traditional methods fail to do and is therefore why traditional methods fail so many people), it has an incredibly smart approach not only to the musical content itself but also to managing the learning process in general. Indeed, the founder of Simply Music is especially keen that students learn not only great pieces but that they learn how to learn great pieces, and that they not only learn how to learn music well but that they understand the process as a way learning in general, applicable throughout their lives. So the practice process itself gets a tremendous amount of well-informed support in this method.
For anyone interested in learning to become a musician, especially anyone who has always wanted to but believes they never could, and certainly people interested in learning to create your own music, I wholeheartedly recommend looking into the method. You can find out if there are teachers near you at the Simply Music website. If not, some Simply Music teachers such as myself offer lessons online. I'd also be happy to provide what information/suggestions/advice I can to those interested in more deeply exploring improvisation, composition, and using computers to create and produce music.