Weekly Update # 13 - Nov 17th, 2019
Updated: Dec 9, 2019
I'm Moshik, one of the founders of Piano Esperanto and the inventor of PENTA™. Today I’d like to chat with you and tell you more about what caused us to develop this unique language and why are we doing it.
To begin with, I can tell you that for most of my 63 years, I harbored a desire to be able to sit at the piano and play. To be accurate, in my very young years, my late mother encouraged me to study, but after a year, my formal piano learning days were over. Aside from a short self-learning stint during my teens, I was too busy and too distracted to learn, and most of my adult years, I've felt that I'd missed the train. It seemed too hard and too demanding to start studying.
Three years ago, as we moved to our new home, I have decided to buy an electric piano. I had no idea yet whether I will gather the courage to learn, but I wanted to have it. My mother used to say that “a home is not complete without a piano.”
I started playing with baby steps. I still remembered how to read notes and chords, but definitely at a beginner’s level and without any fluency. I started researching YouTube for online courses and tried a few. It was always the same experience – starting with big hype, as the first lessons seem quite trivial, and then, the instructor would show some more elaborate maneuvers, and I would lose him… There was no system, or so it seemed — just a mishmash of exercises, requiring memorization and flexibility that I didn’t have. They were trying their best, but with the lack of good notation, they were limited. I can’t say that I didn’t learn some theory – I did. There was some good theoretical information about scales and chords. But that was not enough to make it into actual playing of songs.
It was at that point that I attempted to play a song I knew well, I believe it was “Fly Me to the Moon,” and to write down the chords and the melody in a rudimentary way which will later develop into the PENTA™ language. Together with this notation, not less important, I’ve designed an unusual method to play the chords, different than the way it is typically taught. If you reached section 3 of the PENTA Primer course, you are familiar with it by now, and if not, keep reading… This method has made it much easier to play and also beautifully facilitated the addition of all the spiced chords: Seven, diminished, augmented, and all the rest.
Song has followed a song, and soon I had a notebook full of them, written by hand, with a lot of scribbling, and yet, music did come out! When I had more than one hundred songs, I was sitting with my wife one evening, and it dawned on us: We can make this into a system that many people can learn and enjoy! It was time to consult with someone much more professional. I first called Yanna, a young and talented piano player and teacher who I have known and followed since a young age. Yanna came to take a look and immediately gave me the thumbs-up! With her many years of teaching, she saw the benefits immediately. She experienced first hand the challenges that new students face and how many of them give up. She agreed to join forces and to make this innovative system a success. I also consulted Shlomo, my long-time Hitech partner, who is an avid musician that plays the French Horn in an orchestra. Coming from a deep theoretical background, he found it hard to believe how concise and terse the language is, yet it catches beautiful musical nuances. Once understanding it, he was sold and has joined as well.
The next months were spent in perfecting the language and adding a lot of notational signs that would make it well defined so one can play a song, even if he/she never heard it before. We have developed learning materials, recorded a lot, and of course, have added many hundreds of songs to our library.
Less than five months ago, we went on the air. We have created the online course on Teachable, finalized our website and other internet resources, placed the first songbooks in the online store, and kicked off the campaign. Sure enough, many people have identified the new opportunity to learn, and with our limited spending, we have already registered more than 2000 avid students!
Why are we doing this?
Sure, there is a potential of selling songbooks down the line (although one can enjoy learning and can script his/her own songs, like me, for $0), but it is much more than that. As I sit almost daily for at least one hour at the piano, playing to my heart content out of a vast repertoire, totally relaxing in the process, I feel that everyone should be so lucky. I want others to enjoy it as much as I do, and I think to myself: If they only knew that it is feasible! A few months of dedication, and they will have a gift for life! We already have some talented students who have proven that it is possible, and it can be repeated by millions who wish they did…
I hope that this will give a slight push to those of you who want to try but still lack the courage to dive in. You will not be sorry you did!
Have a great week, fellow pianists!