Press play: Piano site helps kids learn at their own pace

A learning website developed by local parents Mike and Mary Anderson teaches kids to play piano and love music. Says Mary, “We wanted to design a lifestyle that modeled making the world better and the importance of spending time together.” Photo: Amy Jackson A learning website developed by local parents Mike and Mary Anderson teaches kids to play piano and love music. Says Mary, “We wanted to design a lifestyle that modeled making the world better and the importance of spending time together.” Photo: Amy Jackson

Three years ago, a friend of music educators Mike and Mary Anderson asked them for a few tips to get her 3-year-old interested in learning to play the piano. Mike, a piano teacher, and Mary, an early childhood general music educator, came up with a few ideas and, when they started talking through them, the friend suggested they record them on video to help her get started.

“It feels cheesy to say this, but that’s when the giant light bulb went off in our brains,” says Mary. “If we could do this for our friend, we could do this for a lot of kiddos.”

They started putting it all together, reaching out to friends and families of their students. But the goal of the original concept (“working together, teaching together and having fun while hopefully having a positive impact on children through music”) morphed a bit last spring, after the couple had their second child.

“We were spending lots of time talking about what we wanted to give our children, how we wanted to live mindfully and with intention, and that we wanted to design a lifestyle that modeled making the world better and the importance of spending time together,” Mary says. They expanded their scope, hoping to reach all children through music—“not just the select few whose parents happen to be searching for music resources online.”

The result is My Piano Starts Here, a web-based learning tool for children wanting to learn how to tickle the ivories.

The couple has made it easy: Parents can subscribe for one, three, six or 12 months and gain access to the entire curriculum—video tutorials, interviews and performances by other kids who are passionate about music, lessons from local musicians on other instruments, a community of parents and children who share an interest in music education and more.

“We believe strongly in a personalized education model, where children have choice and ownership in their learning,” Mary says. “The website is designed to have lots of different options in each category so that children and their parents can choose how they want to interact with the site.” In other words, it’s a complete musical package. For more info, visit mypianostartshere.com.