I’ve always struggled with sight-reading. There, I said it!
I spent nine years learning to read and play piano from sheet music but I still found reading to be a slow process to learn a song from scratch. I was so bad at reading and playing straight off the page that I used to simply memorise the pieces I played for my teacher and look at the pages as if I was reading, though I wasn’t at all.
Yep, I was that student.
I would turn up to my piano lessons and perform my pieces exactly as I had the week before with no progress, because I hadn’t practised them at all. But I was no slouch! While I wasn’t practising my formal repertoire, I was delving deep into the world of learning the songs I wanted to play and learning them by ear!
Nine years of piano lessons and reluctant piano exams (it’s a wonder I passed them all!) meant nine years of pretending to be practising for said exams but actually honing by ear-playing skills! I became quite good at it!
Little did I know that learning my favourite songs in secret was what sustained my passion throughout my adolescence right through to obtaining my Bachelor degree in music and working the past decade in music publishing as an editor of piano resources!
Caleb was so excited to learn piano and was a complete beginner. I began his learning with the recommended diet of traditional method books, learning what a crotchet was and little illustrations that tried to convince him that ‘theory was fun’ but I could see him struggling with the slow pace–he just wanted to play the songs that he heard on the radio!
So I thought about my own journey: how all I had wanted to do was play my favourite songs too and it hit me… he didn’t need to know this boring stuff before he could play a song!
The new sparkle in his eye told me Caleb’s passion for piano music was being sustained, just like mine had been throughout my life.
Kia ora! I'm a lifelong pianist and piano-music enthusiast from New Zealand! After my music degree, I cut my teeth as a developer and presenter of the highly successful Rocket Piano method (teaching 90,000 students worldwide), then spent 7 years as music editor for Europe's largest print music publisher.
While working in the industry I noticed a lack of accessible, easily-digestible piano resources online. So in 2016, after moving home for the sunny beaches of NZ, I began creating online courses with the primary goal of making the piano quick, simple & fun to learn: Piano Picnic was born!
Three years later and I've taught over a thousand students how to make progress on the piano without becoming bored with the whole thing! My specialty is coaching piano in a way that feels like a friend is at the piano with you, motivating you toward real progress!
Let’s do an experiment right now!
Imagine you are sitting at a piano: maybe it’s your piano at home, maybe it’s a black, glossy grand piano in a hotel foyer, maybe it’s the old classic upright at the local hall… you’re sitting there in silence… you think of the song you want to play firmly in your mind… you glance at the music stand to see nothing there and grin… you taught yourself this song so you understand it inside and out–it comes immediately to memory where you need to start… you gracefully bring your hands to their position… and play your song, the song you love most in the world.
The notes sing out confidently across the room to whoever’s listening, or maybe it’s just you, alone and enjoying the sound created by your fingertips dancing over the keys. It’s your own rendition, you’ve put your heart and soul into learning and arranging this song just how you like it. A masterpiece.
“This theory format, alongside the practical application of playing the piano is a really fun way to go about it. I’ve spent years wanting to learn the piano and finding bizarre videos on YouTube some of which are over half an hour and really scary. Love love love how you have included songs you can play with different progression. The whole thing feels very comprehensive.”
- Benjamin Morley, 29, New Zealand, no piano experience.
“A practical-based approach to learning theory that isn’t intimidating and allows time to practice little by little not huge chunks at a time (which is one thing I’ve always struggled with taking proper piano lessons.) I wish there was an equivalent for singing! If playing music by ear scares you, try this course; it’s not scary.”
- John Heaney, 18, USA, 1 year experience.
“The videos make the course more enjoyable because you feel you have an actual teacher rather than winging it on your own. The quizzes are not intimidating at all and are very enjoyable to take.
The song that is used is lovely and worth wanting to play for yourself. When you finish the course… you do feel you have the basics for playing songs by ear.”
- Barbara Haring, 70, USA, 4+ years piano experience.
“I liked that it was straight to the point. Very little fluff. It explains exactly the things you need to practice in order to develop the skills you need to learn songs by ear, and it does so as concisely as possible.”
- Bronson Zgeb, 30, Canada, no piano experience.
Join our membership program for a small monthly fee to access ALL courses (including this one + 6 more!), workshops & a 1-hour live coaching every month for just...
$27 per month!
(Cancel any time)
Learn to play your favourite songs on the piano just by listening and applying our process.
This method will enable you to sit at the piano without requiring sheet music, books or tutorials; to recall and play beautiful songs you’ve taught yourself and inspire your family and friends with your natural ability.
Once you click ‘ENROL’ you will be taken to the purchase page. Here you will be asked to enter your email address (so we can keep in contact) and credit card or paypal details.
Once payment is received you will be taken to the ‘Thank you for being an awesome human’ page where you get to enjoy feelings of smugness.
Now here is where the magic happens: you’ll receive an email with details to instantly access your new Songs By Ear course! Once inside the course you’ll see instructions for going through it and access to supplementary materials that you can download instantly and get started!
Over the course of the next week you’ll receive a few emails from me checking in to see how you are finding things and whether you have any questions about the new exciting piano course!
You are of course welcome to come over to the support group at any time and discuss the course or just general pianistic musings, we’re all obsessed here!
Begin to enjoy the life of someone with a world of songs opening up at their fingertips!
You are on the verge of teaching yourself to play all the songs you love and save yourself from:
- boring theory & learning to read sheet music,
- trawling useless YouTube tutorials,
- spending thousands of dollars and many years of going to private lessons…
If you’ve gotten to this part of the page –thank you for your time but you are wasting valuable time reading this extra-long description of what you could be learning instead of– STARTING RIGHT NOW BY HITTING THAT ‘ENROL’ BUTTON!
You'll receive access instantly so you can start right away!