Tuesday, June 2, 2015

A TOS Review: Jazz Edge

So we've had a drummer in the house for a few years now. When Connor was 10, it's all he could talk about. He begged me for months and months, so for Christmas that year, we relented. We bought him a great electric drum set that he could bang on to his heart's content. We had a few different guys in mind to give Connor lessons, but unfortunately, they all fell through. We found a self-teaching DVD program and got it for him, but he was very overwhelmed by it. We started looking at private lessons through a couple music studios in Springfield, but didn't feel like taking out a second mortgage for our child to learn an instrument. We put him in a homeschool band/orchestra program, but they only taught snare - and that was after at least a year on bells! Needless to say, we were very frustrated and had pretty much given up. That beautiful, not cheap, drumset sat in his room with only the occasional inexperienced playing occurring. Then, to my excitement, the Review Crew was offered a chance to review JazzEdge's online drum lessons. DrumsWithWillie seemed like an answer to a long-ago prayer!

JazzEdge  Review

JazzEdge creator Willie Myette is a Berkeley College graduate who has used his expertise to form clear, concise, and fun lessons for those interested in the piano or drums. The drum instructor Mike Marble teaches to all levels, and the lessons are all streamed right from your computer. It's almost as good as having him right by your side - in ways, it's even better because you can take him anywhere with you on any mobile device! He takes pupils through the basics in the first level, and he moves them through his six step learning cycle that teaches them to mastery. He lays a great foundation with his tested musical standards, all while making it engaging and exciting. His six step cycle is as follows:

  1. Technique
  2. Rhythm
  3. Ear Training
  4. Reading Music
  5. Song
  6. Improvisation

Being that he's never had any formal instruction, I had Connor start with the Core Drums lessons. It took him through a lot of basic instruction regarding the six step cycle. Then he moved on to the Level 1 lessons. He is now through those and working through Level 2 lessons. One good thing I have seen about it is that the computer doesn't block you out once you complete a lesson. I know Connor has gone back to work on something to make sure that he is doing it correctly. It's a great thing to have that availability before moving on to something more difficult, or just a quick refresher when you need it.

Here are all the things Connor has to say about DrumsWithWillie.

"It is really cool! It's a great tool because not only is someone instructing you on HOW to play the drums, you get to watch Mike actually do the thing he is teaching on that day. For visual learners like me, it is so good because I can back the video up and watch him again and again until I get it.

He tells you how to READ drum music. It's so different than regular sheet music.. Every piece on your drum set has its own line of music. When you can read drum music, you can learn more about rhythms. I have learned that keeping the rhythm is really important. He taught me how to listen to how I am playing and to stop to get back on track to keep the rhythm. 

I never knew how important it was to know how to hold your drumsticks properly. Different sizes of drumsticks make a difference in how you play. I don't have the right size right now, so I am doing the best I can. 

My favorite part is learning grooves. I have learned at least 4 different grooves so far. Different types of songs use different grooves. They are a lot of fun to play, and it really is encouraging to me to hear something I play sound really good."

DrumsWithWillie has been so good for Connor. As I said earlier, it is something that he has been interested in for a long time. But when he didn't have any success, he had given up. I have seen this program give Connor confidence in learning the drums, and I am happy to see him excited about it again.

You can connect with JazzEdge through the following Social Media outlets:

JazzEdge also has other programs for those interested in learning piano. You can read more about what my fellow reviewers thought about all the products here:

JazzEdge Review

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