Frequently Asked Questions
Questions repeatedly asked via email/Answered by Michael Anderson

  • Will Piano Magic help me to play other instruments?
  • Can you help me learn to play and use my hands independently?
  • Can I really learn to play by ear?
  • Is your course for children, too, or only for adults?
  • Is your course ok for me, a complete beginner?
  • Is everything done online?
  • How many lessons are inside PMMO?
  • What songs will I learn to play?
  • What style of music can I learn to play with your course?
  • Does your method apply to different key signatures?
  • How will I know if I'm playing correctly?
  • Will I be able to play any pop, disco, top ten charts songs by ear?
  • Will I be able to play Michael Jackson, Abba, Elton John or Billy Joel songs?
  • Do online lessons follow a schedule?
  • Can I use different computers for PMMO?
  • Should my computer and keyboard be close together?
  • How much time each day do you recommend for practice?
  • How long to an "advanced" level of playing by ear?
  • Do you teach the Circle of Fifths?
  • Can you send me sample lessons to try?
  • How can I be sure if my computer is compatible with your site?
  • What kind of instrument do I need? Piano or Keyboard? Suggestions?
  • Are there other materials I'm expected to purchase?
  • Do I need to purchase other materials from you?
  • How do I buy your book?
  • Old computer OK?
  • 61 vs 76 or 88 keys for a beginner?
  • Do you offer PianoMagic on CDROM or DVD?
  • Is it possible to pay the membership fee in 3 installments?
  • Do I have to pay for a year in advance?
  • Do you accept international members?
  • Is it OK to link to your web site?
  • What genre of music will I learn in PianoMagic?
  • Do you teach jazz?
  • You should care more and make it FREE.
  • Do you teach voice leading?

    Q: Will Piano Magic help me to play other instruments?
    Your teaching methods sound great and the text in the example lessons makes sense. I am a guitar player of over 10 years and have occasionally sat down at the keyboard with various courses to try and learn, but none of those courses could keep my attention. What I'd like to ask, and I didn't see the answer in the FAQ's, is this- Do you think that Piano Magic and learning to "think like music thinks" would help someone to not only learn piano, but to be better at playing by ear on any other instrument? Have you had any students notice this after using your methods?

    A: Piano Magic is devoted to understanding the expected and predictable movement of one chord to the next. Chords are chords, and move the same regardless of whether they are performed by a pianist, guitarist, organist, choir, band or orchestra. The BIG PICTURE is CHORDS.

    If you understand the expected and predictable movement of one chord to the next, that understanding applies anywhere three or more tones are played simultaneously.

    As for guitar, the following was posted by a PMMO member who IS a guitarist.

    "I've played on a worship team for numerous years. It's me on guitar, and a pianist.

    The pianist HAS to use written music in order to play any song, even the ones that are just I-IV-V and are probably the majority of songs which we play. She is so used to it, she doesn't even see the point of improvisation or vering off the structure of the written piece.

    Up until joining PM there were a few songs I could play by memory, most I have to use a lead sheet.

    About a month ago I noticed something...I could actually HEAR the progression and know where to go without the lead sheet!!!! As a guitarist I'm mostly playing chords and a little lead. More and more I'm able to put the lead sheet away and JUST PLAY. It is like getting out from under the rock of repression, and diving into the pool of expression. I'm learning to be FREE!

    Learn to play by ear, put the lead sheets away. Is it hard to get use too? (A little), but you will be SO very happy being able to hear the music in your heart and just play expressing the REAL YOU!"

    There are many similar posts within the PMMO Forums. The logical answer to your question is "YES...learning to 'think like music thinks' helps any musician to play any instrument 'by ear'."

    Even so, our focus is specifically on PIANO or KEYBOARD. Yet, what you already know from guitar will certainly be a huge benefit to comprehending how to most easily play piano or keyboard.

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    Q: Can you help me learn to play and use my hands independently?
    Hello Michael,

    After contacting 30 or so on-line teachers and producers of piano/keyboard playing on home video, etc, this will probably be my last question on the subject.

    Very short background: I've got nearly 40 years (since I was 11) of playing guitar and am fairly grounded in basic music theory but mostly "playing by ear". Maybe that's not accurate--I learn and memorize a song and do a pretty good job of it----on the guitar.

    The piano is fairly new to me and I feel like I am going back to square one again. Here's my biggest problem. I can't seem to play with both hands when they are doing independent patterns.

    After asking dozens of people who play or teach (mostly on the internet) there has not been one--NOT ONE--person that can give me any practice example or method to accomplish the feat. I get answers like "well, that's the Holy Grail of piano playing" but am not offered any advise. I have also checked out lots of books on basic piano playing and again--nothing.

    Here's the funny part of all of this. I can, on the piano, play a few chord progressions--I like some of the jazzier voiced chords-- and it sounds really good and like I know what I am doing. Have me play Jingle Bells or Silent Night with anything other than a closed position chord in the left hand (like a slow arpeggiated chord) and I can't do it. I can play just fine banging down a chord but if the left hand requires a slow 3 or 4 note pattern at the same time the right hand is playing the melody--I'm lost. I'm not sure if it is from all those years of playing guitar and used to a certain left/right hand coordination movement--I don't know.

    Your piano program. Is there anything on the subject of being able to play with both hands as described above? After a couple of years of no help on this subject I am ready to call it quits with the piano and just go back to the guitar--which I am a little bored of.

    Oh, well. Thanks for any input and sorry for the long-winded question.

    Take care,


    A: Hi RT,

    Hands work TOGETHER, on the SAME chord, at the SAME time, and move on the SAME beat...ALWAYS!

    If you want hands to play together as if they are connected, you must consciously realize that connection, and coordinate both hands to move on the same 'beat' through any tune you play.

    If you have the ability to play left hand alone, or right hand alone, but neither together, you have not identified the common 'beat' they share. Until YOU consciously 'connect' with the 'beat', hands will not coordinate. When you learned to walk, you did it by using BOTH FEET TOGETHER FROM THE BEGINNING...not practicing walking with the Left leg, then switching to practice walking with the Right leg.

    If you have experience strumming guitar, I HOPE you CAN identify whether a tune has the feel of a '3 beat' or '4 beat' pattern. If you CAN, then your note tells me you're attempting to play beyond your ability to KNOW what the heck you're doing on a keyboard. You'll have to show your hands how to coordinate step by step, until they begin to identify the repetitive, predictable and never ending rhythm that connects their movements.

    Hands do NOT work 'independently' for the person who understands how music 'thinks'.

    If you're opposed to beginning 'at the beginning', there won't be much anyone can do to assist you, regardless of the method.

    On the other hand, if you begin 'at the beginning', you'll play simple BLOCK CHORDS in the Left hand and a ONE FINGER MELODY in the Right hand...with ZERO MOVEMENTS other than melody and chord changes. Once you can coordinate those very, very simple movements, you'll automatically have more BRAIN SPACE to comprehend the underlying 'beat'. Only after you can MENTALLY 'HEAR' the beat, should you attempt any additional 'decorative' movements. WHY? Because ALL musical decoration must coordinate beat by beat, and 'FIT' within space allowed. The purpose of musical 'decoration' enhances not only melody, but it helps establish 'the beat'. If the movements you want to use do not 'fit' the space provided by the underlying rhythm of the tune...they won't work.

    In PianoMagic, we always...ALWAYS work with what we we can GROW!

    Step ONE is to make a LONG LIST of ALL the tunes you CAN hum, whistle or sing, because these are the tunes you'll be learning to play. If you don't know the tune, you cannot play it.

    Step TWO is to go through that list and determine if the tune has the feel of 3 or 4 beats per 'beat group'. Although any tune can be played with either 3 or 4 beats per group, identify the most common 'beat' according to YOUR OWN MEMORY of the tune. (Don't look it up in a book!)

    If you're the type of person who pushes beyond their ability to comprehend, in order to get to the good stuff ASAP, you'll find disappointment and frustration. But, if you can do steps ONE and TWO successfully, you'll be able to do all the rest, and it will be long as you play within your ability to grow step-by-step. These are the folks who find great success and enjoyment through playing PianoMagically.

    There are many methods available you can choose from, so choose the one that captures your imagination and spirit of enjoyment, cuz THAT is where you're most likely to find success!

    I wish you the best of luck. If you decide to join us online within PMMO, we will look forward to working with you.

    Take care,


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    Q: Can I really learn to play by ear?
    I have tried to teach myself keyboarding and have picked up a very small
    amount by myself. I could do the right hand so so, but the left hand is a dud and I can't figure it out.

    I got very frustrated and stopped. I also tried a music teacher and gave that up. Yep I tried the tape route too!!

    It seems I can only go so far and then I end up in 'lala' land. Can I really learn to play by ear?

    A: Of course you can...if you'll go slow enough to understand and follow my instructions, ask questions as they arise every step of the way, and always conserve extra brain space so you'll have time to 'think like music' while playing!

    It sounds unbelievable to the folks who don't do it, but the answer to your question is " CAN learn to play with great EASE and great ENJOYMENT!"

    WILL YOU BE ONE OF THOSE WHO LEARN TO PLAY? I dunno. How good are you at following instructions???

    Regardless of the method you choose, it will have to be FUN for you to gain a noticeable and life changing benefit. Learning how to 'THINK LIKE THE MUSIC' you already enjoy will put a smile on your face and a sparkle in your eye!

    Piano Magic exists to teach people to 'THINK LIKE MUSIC'! Once you understand the 'thinking process', you'll know the logical, repetitive and predictable movements required to spontaneously play your way through a tune! This is how you speak a sentence, and it's how I want you to play a familiar tune!

    I suspect a majority of my members were (and ARE) skeptical in the beginning, but most seem to do quite well in spite of their doubts. Those who participate with me in the Forums and send recorded examples of their playing do very well! These people were once on the outside of PMMO, just as you are now. As skeptical as they were in the beginning, they entered PMMO hoping to 'see the light'.........and DID!

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    Q: Is your course for children, too, or only for adults?
    I'm considering your program for my child, age 9, but I read that you think that may be too young for him to take your course. What do you think? Is your course for children, too, or only adults?

    A: Our youngest member in PMMO is age 12. He's doing very well, but will do better after his brain develops a bit more. Generally, the PianoMagic method is NOT as effective for folks below age 15.

    Somewhere between age 12 and 15, the brain begins to more easily comprehend complex thinking. Until that change occurs, PMMO might be a struggle for him. This is why I consider Piano Magic to be a course for 'Adults' age 16 and older.

    Still, quite a few members do homeschooling, learn the method online, and teach it to their own children as part of their regular studies.

    How's YOUR interest? Would you like to learn Piano Magic along with your child? The most productive approach for your 9 year old might be for YOU to take the course WITH him and follow the FUN wherever it leads you! It's definitely something to consider.

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    Q: Is your course ok for me, a complete beginner?
    I really never played piano before in my life, I don't know what a chord is and I barely know that the notes are Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Si Do. Is your course ok for me, a complete beginner?

    A: If you can hum, whistle or sing your favorite tunes, PianoMagic would be a perfect beginning for you! Regardless of previous experience, PianoMagic assumes you know nothing about playing piano, or playing by ear.

    It is a common for PianoMagic students with ZERO previous experience, to excel and understand the principles of playing by ear more quickly than students who already have previous experience. WHY? Simple...people WITH previous experience tend to do everything BUT follow instructions and begin with Lesson One.
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    Q: Is everything done online?
    I am thinking of purchasing your Piano Magic Lessons. I just need to know what the exact lay-out is for members, does it include CD's or is it all done online?

    A: Yes, everything is done online, there are no additional materials to purchase, and everyone benefits by being able to read and follow our interactions. If a lesson is created specifically for YOU, everyone has instant access to that lesson as soon as it becomes available.
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    Q: How many lessons are inside PMMO?
    I just visited your piano magic site. There were 5 free lessons which were very well presented and enjoyable, but how many lessons are there on the other side of the door?

    I don't expect the world for the little money you ask, but still I'd like to know before signing up.

    A: How many lessons are inside PMMO? If you want an honest answer...I don't know. I just create lessons according to the needs and interests of my members. How many have I created? I haven't counted. The info continues to evolve, thanks to the participation of members who ask questions.

    PMMO is NOT a pre-packaged course with a specified number of canned lessons, but at the time of writing this response, you will find 40 pre-formatted lessons, similar to the 5 sample lessons in the public pages. Although many more than 40 lessons are found within PMMO, they are created straight out of discussions occurring within the PMMO Interactive Forums. As a general guess, I expect there are somewhere between a hundred and two hundred lessons (or more) within the PMMO Forums, and they evolve regularly.

    I'm on this web site almost everyday, working to answer questions and lead students into Advanced Application of basic ideas. Sometimes I augment specific discussions with Audio instruction and demonstration (which is very useful to the blind students in PMMO); other times I post video presentations to allow members to 'Look Over My Shoulder' so they can actually SEE how these techniques work.

    If you like text, the Forums contain over 50,000 posts covering more than a thousand topics, totaling in excess of 200,000 printed pages thus far, and still growing! The majority of posts are ME interacting with members one on one...but in a very public manner.

    Every question ever asked within PMMO is posted on the site, complete with my responses, offered in the form of text, audio and video. Although it's a one on one experience, PMMO is similar to a 24 hour per day 'Global Group Class', and everyone who will participate has the opportunity to share their insight, support...and questions!

    How many lessons are within PMMO? As few as necessary to get music moving through your hands, and as many as possible to motivate and inspire you!

    In PMMO, I'll teach what you need to know, to pull tunes out of your head, through your fingers and into the atmosphere for ears to enjoy! I will provide targeted info which you can use to begin playing immediately. For that to occur, you don't need hundreds of lessons. In fact, for a great beginning you only need the Basic 27...but if you want to perform and sound great, you should participate WITH me in the Interactive PMMO Forums. THAT is where the 'good stuff' is both created and found!

    If you follow my simple instructions, learn to 'think like music' while playing, always follow the FUN and participate with me, you'll do very well! Yet, if you only look at pre-formatted lessons, you'll miss about 90% of PianoMagic techniques, and all artistic development! Not good...I expect better than that!

    In PMMO, I offer a LOT of info and personal attention for a very meager fee, but you'll have to USE the site, and participate with me, to gain the greatest benefit.

    How many lessons are inside PMMO? More and more!
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    Q: What songs will I learn to play?
    What songs will I learn to play in your course?

    A: You'll learn to play songs you already know, can recognize by tune, and can hum, whistle or sing.

    To know exactly which tunes you'll be playing, make a list of ALL the songs you already know (and recognize) from beginning to end. Even include songs where you know less than 100% of the tune. After you learn 'how music thinks', you'll probably be able to predict your way through the parts you don't know very well...and you'll learn how to improvise a melody through those sections, to 'fill-in' the gaps! :-)

    As you learn more tunes, always continue adding them to this list, whether you CAN PLAY them or not. It won't happen overnight, but within a year or two, you should be able to understand how chords move through most of the songs on your list. If you understand how chords move through a song, you CAN PLAY that song!

    WHY make a list? So you'll be able to quickly remember which tunes you know and recognize...and want to play. As you begin the lessons in PMMO, you'll use this list to identify and play your first 15 to 25 familiar tunes. Then you'll begin to 'decorate' with Left hand patterns and Right hand 'extras'.

    What songs will you learn to play? To answer that question, tell me what songs you already know!

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    Q: What style of music can I learn to play with your course?
    What style of music can I learn to play with your course?

    A: As for TUNES, if you can HUM, WHISTLE or SING them, you will be able to PLAY them.

    As for STYLE, you'll learn to add your own artistic flair to whatever music you enjoy and want to play. Whether it's rock, folk, standards, ballads, gospel, boogie, blues or hymns, if you know the tune and can comprehend 'the beat', you'll learn to play whatever style you find most enjoyable.

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    Q: Does your method apply to different key signatures?
    Does your method apply to different key signatures?

    A: Yes, of course!

    Piano Magic lessons discuss every tune in terms of the 'Key of C', but the principles of music are exactly the same for any other 'Key'. All scales sound alike except for pitch, the intervals between scale tones are the same in every 'Key', and the principles of how chords move from one to the next is exactly the same from one 'Key' to any other.

    If your brain can comprehend how to play a tune in any specific 'Key', it can just as easily comprehend identical intervals within any other 'Key'. You probably won't transpose overnight, but it's quite easy once your 'thinking' is clear.
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    Q: How will I know if I'm playing correctly?
    How will I be able to know if I am play correctly with no one to judge me? I am asking this because I never played piano in my life. I have no experience at all.

    A: When it comes to playing non-traditional music, the ONLY ears that matter are your own. Ultimately, if you listen to your own music and like what you hear, it won't matter what anyone else thinks.

    If you become a member of PMMO, you can record your playing as a MIDI file and submit it to me for discussion within the PMMO Forums. If you cannot record MIDI files, you can record your playing on a cassette and mail it to me, or post a WAV, MP3, WMA or RMA file somewhere for me to download and hear. You also have the option to call me, or send your phone number so I can call you.

    There are numerous ways we can be in touch so you can have the guidance needed to excel, the confidence to know what's working well, and the knowledge to know what techniques need extra attention.

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    Q: Will I be able to play any pop, disco, top ten charts songs by ear?
    Will I be able to play any pop, disco, top ten charts songs by ear?

    A: ONLY if you know the tunes well enough to hum, whistle or sing them. Logically, if you don't know the tune, you will not be able to play it. People who play by ear play tunes they already know or create.

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    Q: Will I be able to play Michael Jackson, Abba, Elton John or Billy Joel songs?
    I can hum and sing Michael Jackson songs so I will be able to play his songs?

    A: The music you play is up to you. If you know the tune, and can comprehend the logical progression of chords through the song, I know of no reason you couldn't play any tune. I'm not concerned with what music you choose to play. My only job is to show you how music 'thinks'. Then it's your turn to become the music by 'thinking like music'.

    What songs will YOU play? Songs you already know. Make a list of tunes you already know and can hum, whistle or sing from beginning to end: THOSE are the tunes you'll be working with for the next year.
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    Q: Do online lessons follow a schedule?
    Are your internet lessons in real time, like I have to be on the net at a certain time, or can I do each lesson according to my own pace? Will we follow a schedule by being online at a certain time each day (or week)?

    A: NO, lessons are not in "real time", and YES, you work completely at your own pace...but I DO expect you to stay in touch with me through the PMMO Interactive Forums. WHY? To let me know how you're doing, what music you're playing, how your 'thinking' is progressing and to let me hear you play occasionally.

    If you have the ability to record your sessions, you can email them to me and we'll discuss them in the Forums. If your work shows you're developing a musical flow and using Piano Magic Thinkin' to play, I'll be able to take you as far as you're willing to go in creating beautiful and fun arrangements of your favorite tunes.

    What's more, through the Interactive Forums, members have the opportunity to speak with you and support you in developing your own performing style! They are the most positive and supportive group of folks on the planet...and more valuable to ME than words can describe.

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    Q: Can I use different computers for PMMO?
    Do I have to use the same computor every time I want to login, or can I use different ones depending on where I am, because I go to school out of town, and I am home on weekends?

    A: Whether you're a student, a business person or a world traveler, you can access PMMO from any capable computer, anywhere in the world, 24 hours per day!

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    Q: Should my computer and keyboard be close together?
    Is it necessary for my computer to be close to my keyboard to get the most out of your course? Should my computer and keyboard be close together?

    A: The answer is 'No'. Having the computer close to your instrument is NOT required...but might be more FUN for YOU if they were closer together.

    Even in my 'live classes', students first learn to 'think' the principles of music while they are AWAY from the keyboard.

    As in driving, there are certain principles you should know, as well as potential problems you CAN learn to avoid BEFORE getting behind the wheel of a car!

    AFTER you familiarize yourself with the written rules, you'll be more confident and comfortable behind the wheel of a car, and you'll have more BRAIN SPACE to focus upon driving well.

    Likewise, in studying piano you'll gain a greater benefit by first learning the principles of clear 'thinking' BEFORE moving to a keyboard, which will give you more BRAIN SPACE to focus upon playing well.

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    Q: How much time each day do you recommend for practice?
    How much time each day do you recommend for practice?

    A: The amount of time you spend completely depends on how much FUN you are experiencing. If you only enjoy 5 minutes a day, then do 5 minutes. If you would enjoy an hour, then do an hour.

    The point is, many people allow themselves to get frustrated if they fall off their schedule. Considering that "frustration" is the number ONE reason folks drop out of piano lessons, protect yourself against it from the beginning. Playing piano (or keyboard) is wonderful FUN, and you should set your own schedule according to the amount of playing time you can enjoy.

    The problem for Piano Magic members who understand and use the method, is there aren't enough hours in a day to play. It's THAT MUCH FUN!

    I will always tell you to follow the FUN, and PMMO is filled with simple, great sounding techniques that make playing rewarding, fulfilling and satisfying!

    My motto is this: IF IT ISN'T FUN, IT WON'T BE DONE!

    Keep it FUN...and keep it SIMPLE, and you'll be FINE!

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    Q: How long to an "advanced" level of playing by ear?
    Usually how much time is required to reach an "advanced" level where virtually any music you hear - including pop music and music currently on radios, etc can be played by ear?

    I know each student has probably his own learning curve, but I suppose there is an average amount of time (assuming daily training, even small). How long will it take for me to reach an "advanced" level of playing by ear?

    A: How much time it will take before you 'go public' depends on many factors. If you've never played before, the amount of time it takes will probably be determined by how well you follow instructions, and whether or not you participate with me in the PMMO Forums. Those who participate often have their first public performance within three to six months (some less...some more).

    The key to being able to play hundreds of songs with ease is to understand the basic structure of a tune...which is either similar or identical from one song to the next. The worst thing you can do for yourself is to push beyond the basics too quickly, and use up all your available BRAIN SPACE!

    Whether you study PianoMagic, or pursue any other method, if you can conserve BRAIN SPACE, you'll have the ability to do more than just play tones and push keys. With extra BRAIN SPACE, you'll also be able to observe, experience and express an emotional musical spirit that communicates heart to heart.

    If you want your tunes to sound like MUSICAL MAGIC, they must have a spirit of 'heart'.

    In order to have that spirit of 'heart', you must conserve enough BRAIN SPACE to notice 'it'. The first step is to become aware of 'it'...then to creatively manipulate 'it'. How do we learn to do this? THAT is what 'advanced members' study within PMMO!

    How long will it take to get to an "advanced" level of playing by ear? Each person is different, but it could be as quick as 3 months, might take 3 years...and some won't 'get it' at all.

    WHO are the people most likely to fail? Folks with previous experience. WHY? Because they give themselves too much credit for already KNOWING the basics as presented in Lessons 1 - 12. They tend to SKIP over, or GLANCE through those lessons, without ever understanding or recognizing the thinking process behind them. Unfortunately, unless they learn to THINK like the music, they will not learn to play SOLO PIANO by ear.

    If you'll follow my instructions step by careful step, ask questions as you have them and maintain your song lists, you'll do well.

    How slow are you willing to go in order to learn to play as quickly as possible?

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    Q: Do you teach the Circle of Fifths?
    Do you teach the Circle of Fifths?

    A: Yes, the Circle of 5THs is a very important part of understanding how chords are 'expected' to move through a song, and it's required for thoroughly understanding how to treat 'accidental' chords as they occur in familiar tunes.

    Many discussions are currently active in the PMMO Interactive Forums covering the Circle of 5THS...but THAT isn't where you begin. Instead, you first learn the Basics of how music 'thinks', and learn the required chords and progressions from which all music predictably and repetitively flows.
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    Q: Can you send me sample lessons to try?
    I need to understand a little more about how your system works. Please send me some example lessons to look over and try out. I'm very keen to get started and I'd love to be playing popular songs in six months or so! Can you send me sample lessons to try?

    A: Sample lessons are already available on Please take time to read the info already appearing within the public pages and TAKE THE TOUR through the samples lessons already provided.
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    Q: How can I be sure if my computer is compatible with your site?
    How can I be sure if my computer is compatible with your site? I can do it, but I am just worried about the little things, like if i pay for it and everything, then a computer problem occurs. Basically i am just nervous about doing this over the internet.

    A: The purchase pages for PMMO Membership are already optimized to test your PC for compatibility. If you can reach the purchase page, your PC will be fine within PMMO.

    If however, you cannot reach the purchase page, you will know exactly what the problem is at every step along the way.

    If your PC Software is old, you may need to upgrade some programs, but it's all FREE directly from the web sites of the manufacturers (CLICK HERE for the SOFTWARE UPDATE LINKS).

    As for being "nervous about doing this over the internet", you'll get over it as you realize how much can be accomplished through this medium!

    If you're afraid your computer is about ready to 'kick the bucket', I would probably suggest for you to delay becoming a member of PMMO, until you get a more reliable computer that you can trust!

    I'll be here, and I'm ready when you're ready!

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    Q: What kind of instrument do I need? Piano or Keyboard? Suggestions?
    What kind of instrument do I need? Piano or Keyboard? Suggestions?

    I am looking at digital pianos, as well as others I have seen on the internet. I'm over 60, but think I would enjoy something portable. I realize that you probably won't tell me what to buy, but I would certainly appreciate any suggestions that you might have.

    A: The most important consideration in purchasing an instrument is to find one that sounds good to your ear and feels good to play!

    If you want portability, the lightest weight instruments will have a soft touch on the keys (much like an organ). The 'touch' on higher priced portable instruments will feel more like a traditional piano, but they will weigh more, take up more room and often will require external speakers.

    At the very minimum, get a keyboard that will accept a SUSTAIN PEDAL (jack on the back) and comes with at least 32 Voice Polyphony (means that 32 tones can be held by the sustain pedal at one time, before it begins to drop tones).

    When it comes to Polyphony, HIGHER is ALWAYS BETTER!

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    Q: Are there other materials I'm expected to purchase?
    I have reviewed your site, I liked what I saw but have question about hidden fees. It states in your info that there may be ""other"" fees for material and such. Could you please explain this a bit better for me?

    With the standard membership, will there be other materials that I am expected to purchase?

    A: I believe the exact sentence you're referring to is found on the page entitled "TERMS OF USE". That sentence reads as follows:
    "In addition, also has the right to charge additional fees for products or services that may be offered within this web site, including the members only area."

    There are NO HIDDEN FEES of any sort regarding PMMO membership. The sentence above lets you know I may offer additional products or services for sale that would not be included with your membership fee; such as CD recordings of my music, DVD or VHS instructional videos, other books, related gifts, etc.

    PMMO Membership entitles you to everything associated with PMMO. All text can be printed, all audio and video files can be downloaded, and all Forum discussions are always active. In addition, all future video and audio recordings posted in response to member questions will also be available for you to download if you so choose.

    In other words, you get access to EVERYTHING I currently offer within PMMO, as well as EVERYTHING that will be offered in support of PMMO members. You have access to everything, including ME, for ONE year!

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    Q: Do I need to purchase other materials from you?
    Do I need to purchase other materials from you, or is everything really online?

    A: Thus far, EVERYTHING related to Piano Magic is included online, and there are NO additional fees for any additional materials I create or post within the Members Area. There may come a day where that's not the case, but it's not here, yet! And this is WHY the member area works so well for us.

    If you become a member today, over the next year you'll find many additional lessons presented within the PMMO Forums. Some lessons appear as text only, and others as audio or video presentations (members love the videos). All audio or video can be downloaded to your PC as soon as it goes online.

    The only foreseeable additional fees you may encounter are if you elect to renew your membership at the end of 12 months. If so, you'll be extremely pleased with a healthy renewal discount offered to returning members!

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    Q: How do I buy your book?
    I am not in or close to a location where i can recieve lessons and I am interesed in purchasing a book. I could not find any information on the website on how to just purchase the book. How do I buy your book?

    A: I no longer offer the Piano Magic book (except to students attending my live workshops).

    Although it's a great book to get one quickly understanding the Basics of 'how music thinks', a student will very rarely reach their artistic potential through a book alone...whether or not it is my book. If you cannot participate with us over the internet, then I'm afraid I have nothing more to offer you at this time.

    It's possible that I'll eventually have time to organize another and better book to offer sometime in the future, but I don't expect to begin such a project anytime soon. I'm not opposed to it...I just don't have the time for it right now.

    I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to enquire, and I apologize for not offering what you presently are seeking.

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    Q: Old computer OK?
    I am concerned that my computer may not be up to the task because of the vidio and audio requirements. I will have to acquire a keyboard before I start, but will not be able to afford a new computer as well.

    How do other students with older computers get along?

    A: Before you are allowed to purchase membership in PMMO, your computer must pass a series of audio and video tests. If your computer is too old, or if your software is too old, you will never gain access to the purchase page. Yet, if you CAN reach the purchase page, your computer will be fine within PMMO.

    If this gives you any idea, I created the Members Area using a 'dial-up' internet connection, because in the beginning, most folks had 'dial-up' service. Even now, about 50% of members are 'dial-up', so I continue to check and maintain the site using an old 486 PC running Windows 98. We can't get much slower than that, but the members area still works fine!

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    Q: 61 vs 76 or 88 keys for a beginner?
    What do you think of a 61 vs 76 or 88 keys for a beginner ? Does 61-keys rapidly become limiting?

    I have limited space and just need something to begin with. As a teacher and professional, would you let a "serious" beginner buy a PSR292 ? Is it too much of a toy or is it enough to start with (for 6-12 months) ? I'm really afraid that 61 keys won't be enough right from the start. Sound is not the most important for me at this point. I just want to learn the basics and I'll go for a better sound later.

    A: The MINIMUM REQUIREMENT for learning how to play keyboard in such a way that it transfers to a full size piano, is to get a keyboard that has a SUSTAIN JACK on the back, to receive a SUSTAIN PEDAL. If you have the pedal, a keyboard instantly transforms from a 'toy' to a 'performing instrument'.

    Sixty-one keys is completely sufficient to begin, but you'll soon want more! If you're buying NEW, at the very minimum get a keyboard with a Sustain Pedal Jack. The pedal may or may not be included with the purchase, but they are fairly inexpensive...and priceless (about $12.00 USD)!

    Get a keyboard that pleases YOUR EARS! If you like the sound, it will help you to enjoy the experience of playing! Yet, even a cheap keyboard can be hooked directly into a home stereo system, or separate high quality speakers, and sound very, very good! It won't play the same as a concert grand piano, but most instruments will sound quite good through bigger speakers.

    BTW - you WILL outgrow 61 keys very quickly, but a small keyboard IS easy to carry and great to take on vacation. If you decide to buy a larger keyboard, I would encourage you to go with 88 keys, instead of 76. WHY? If you learn PianoMagic, you'll need them...because you'll WANT them!

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    Q: Do you offer PianoMagic on CDROM or DVD?
    Do you offer a standalone version of your lessons on CDROM or DVD? One which could be played on a computer or player WITHOUT access to the web? If not, do you have any plans of putting together a standalone version anytime soon?

    A: No. Piano Magic is available as the online workshop found in this web site, and as a live workshop, sponsored by colleges and universities across the Southeastern USA.

    I'm sure it would be a great idea to have a variety of physical products to sell, but I'm just too busy to develop such physical products at this time. Instead, I build this web site day by day...adding text, audio and video demonstrations as needed to give a clear understanding of whatever topic is under discussion.

    Piano Magic is NOT a 'canned course' where you can pop a DVD in a player and take a lesson. Piano Magic IS an interactive experience with me and PMMO Members, where you can login to the site and take a lesson anytime you feel like it, 24 hours per day. If you have a question, you will get an answer, along with guidance for the next steps along YOUR musical path, based on YOUR interests.

    Physical products may again become available in the future, but at this moment, Piano Magic Members Only is my only offering.

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    Q: Is it possible to pay the membership fee in 3 installments?
    Is it possible to pay the membership fee in 3 installments?

    A: No, Piano Magic is NOT a 'product''s a 'service' and we do not accept partial payment.

    Instead, your credit card automatically gives you the option to make whatever payments you choose, in as many or as few 'installments' as you prefer.
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    Q: Do I have to pay for a year in advance?
    Do I have to pay for a full year? Can I pay by the month?

    A: Membership in Piano Magic Members Only allows access to everything within PMMO, including me (Michael Anderson), for a term of ONE YEAR, payable in advance.
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    Q: Do you accept international members?
    Do you accept members from countries other than the USA? I'm in the UK.

    A: Certainly! At the time of writing this response, PMMO members come from 81 countries around the globe, and are found in every time zone, including about 50 members from United Kingdom.

    In fact, last September I traveled to Europe and met several members from Spain, Italy and Greece. PLUS, several UK members met me in London (9/11/2005) for a full day of Piano Magic FUN.

    CLICK HERE for the student page, and look in the margin on the right side of the page, to watch videos of our 'Piano Magic Maniacs' meeting in London, hear members play for me, and most important, hear them describe what they are learning through PMMO.)

    Next time I visit the UK, I hope it will be at a time you can also attend! :-)

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    Q: Is it OK to link to your web site?
    Is it possible, or do you mind for me to place a link to your web site, on my web site?

    A: YES it's possible...NO I do NOT mind...and I sincerely am honored you would want to do such a thang! ;-)

    The URL to use is...

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    Q: What genre of music will I learn in PianoMagic?
    What genre of music will I learn in PianoMagic?

    A: PianoMagic will teach you to play SOLO PIANO BY EAR. YOU will choose the genre AND the specific tunes you want to work with. The choice is YOURS. The tunes you'll be playing (or improvising in jazz) will be tunes YOU already know, and can hum, whistle or sing.

    To find out which tunes YOU will be playing, make a list of ALL the tunes you already KNOW, and can hum, whistle or sing from beginning to end. Make it a LONG list...the longer, the better!

    You'll begin by learning to identify tunes you CAN PLAY while following basic instructions. If you have a list of 100 or more tunes you already know, we probably will find several tunes that are PERFECT to begin.

    As you understand the info and conserve brain space, you'll be prepared to advance into NEW info. Along with that NEW info, you'll be able to identify even more tunes from your list...that you CAN PLAY. If you enjoy the learning process early on, you'll steadily add almost every song to your CAN PLAY list, but you'll do it step-by-logical-step!

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    Q: Do you teach jazz?
    Do you teach jazz?

    A: PianoMagic will teach you to play SOLO PIANO, and jazz is only one aspect of it.

    If your main interest is Jazz; if you already know scales and chord theory; if playing SOLO PIANO does NOT appeal to you, then Piano Magic is NOT...NOT the place you should be spending your money!

    Instead, have a look at Scot Ranney's web site at If that doesn't give you what you seek, do a search for "learn jazz piano" and you'll get links to more than ELEVEN MILLION web sites to check out!
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    Q: You should care more and make it FREE.
    I just wanted to state a few complaints. Not at you or your teaching as i'm sure you are a fantastic teacher, but just at the style of your website.

    It starts with simple lessons for piano beginners, page after page of tips for playing the piano, and I was enjoying it. Then you get to another page which says you charge a yearly fee. There I was thinking I found a great, free page, only to find that we had to pay for more.

    I knew that finding someone who actually cared enough about people wanting to learn piano & not charging was too good to be true. You should care more for people and make your course FREE.

    A: I appreciate your note, but you seem to be misreading the word "SAMPLE", as "SIMPLE". If that's not the case, you have misunderstood the meaning of Free "SAMPLE" Lesson, as it appears on every lesson in the public pages of

    Sample - (noun) Example; representative part or a single item from a larger whole or group especially when presented for inspection or shown as evidence of quality.

    Sample Lessons are available for you to SAMPLE...because Piano Magic Members Only is NOT Free.

    As it clearly states within the public pages, you probably won't find what you're looking for...for FREE, unless you teach yourself to play, as I did.

    Should you consider paying for membership in a course where you already find the FREE SAMPLE LESSONS to be valuable? As the creator of Piano Magic, I surely HOPE so! But the decision whether or not to invest in yourself is yours alone.

    Whether you learn to play through, or another excellent method, I wish you great success and all the best!

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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    Q: Do you teach voice leading?
    Do you teach playing voice leading? I really like to sing and do not really want to read notes.

    A: If your primary interest is to play accompaniment (harmony and rhythm) while SINGING the melody, I would not recommend PianoMagic.

    Instead, I suggest for you to investigate every OTHER 'play by ear' course I have found on the internet. WHY? Because most 'play by ear' courses teach 'chord accompaniment' - separate from melody. In such courses, 'lead sheets' or 'fake books' are used to provide the chord changes you'll be using. As a result, you won't be required to hear chord changes 'in advance', or understand WHY specific chords are used in the tunes you perform. In that setting, you'll be able to focus your entire attention on making the smallest required movement to effect a chord change, from one chord to the next.

    "The smallest required movement" from one chord to the next = the study of chord inversions = the basis of 'voice leading' (a.k.a. 'part writing')

    By contrast, the emphasis of PianoMagic is to present and teach a desirable, entertaining, beautiful and FULL sounding style for playing SOLO PIANO (melody, harmony AND rhythm - all at once). To 'do it', you first learn to MOVE YOUR HANDS over the entire keyboard, but at the same time, limit yourself to the minimum number of required chords...not the minimum movement between chord changes.

    Although an understanding of 'voice leading' and 'chord inversions' is a by-product of the PianoMagic method, consciously applying 'voice leading' and 'chord inversions' too soon will delay (and often prevent) your success at playing 'by ear'.

    You don't have to learn how to read music to successfully play accompaniment from a 'lead sheet', but to accompany 'by ear', you DO need to learn how to play melody, because melody tells you WHEN and WHERE chords must change.

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