Looking for an online piano course that covers piano technique and repertoire? Regardless of your reasons for considering an online piano course, please accept this review of ProPractice as an invitation. An invitation to an entirely new level of playing that you may not have thought possible before.
Maybe you started piano lessons as a kid, but life got in the way. Or perhaps you’ve been playing piano all your life but need a little extra something to keep your playing fresh.
Either way, “ProPractice” just might be what you’ve been missing.
I initially discovered the course while looking for a way to continue studying classical repertoire without consistent lessons. And I was so impressed with the quality that I became an affiliate for the course shortly after purchasing it.
Whether you’ve heard of the course before or not, stick with me as I break down all the details. And if, by the end of the post, you’re still not sure whether the course is right for you, please don’t hesitate to drop a comment below, and I’ll be happy to answer your questions!
With that, let’s dive into the force behind the course, Dr. Josh Wright.
This post may contain affiliate links, and as affiliates of Amazon and Dr. Josh Wright’s ProPractice course, I may receive a commission at no extra cost if you purchase through a link. Please see my full disclosure for further information. I take no credit for the images appearing on this page. All images courtesy of Eduardo Romero from Pexels, TMGZ2021, & Nomadsoul1 from Getty Images Pro via Canva.
Who is Dr. Josh Wright?
Dr. Wright is an avid teacher and performer. He has earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Michigan and was a prizewinner at the 2015 National Chopin Competition. His accolades include a host of prizes from other acclaimed competitions as well. Check them out here.
He is also a Steinway Artist and was inducted into the Steinway & Sons Teacher Hall of Fame in October 2019.
In other words, his backgrounds both as a performer and a teacher are entirely legit.
But don’t take my word for it. Check him out for yourself:
Dr. Wright has an active YouTube channel with new content added regularly. You can get a feel for his teaching style by checking out the videos below:
- 4 Tips for Fluid Scales
- Top Tips for Practice Efficiency
- 3 Tips to Play Faster, Lighter, and Looser
- Top 5 Hacks if You Can’t Afford Piano Lessons
Review of ProPractice: The Content
ProPractice includes video lessons ranging from effective practice to technique and artistry. The course is divided into early and mid to late beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Each level is further divided into technique and repertoire sections.
The course itself is designed to facilitate learning for students from a wide range of levels. In the early beginner level, video lessons assume the learner knows nothing about reading music. Gradually, learners are guided through various exercises to solidify understanding of the basics.
Meanwhile, learners who have experience can dive into the levels most applicable to their current skill level.
ProPractice additionally covers scales, arpeggios, triads, and 7th chords. This is a handy feature if you’ve never had to play scales before.
One of the best features of the course is his in-depth coverage of how to play specific pieces from the classical repertoire. This was the selling point for me because I love classical piano and have a massive list of pieces I eventually want to master.
Dr. Wright covers repertoire from early beginner through advanced. Here is a tiny sampling of the pieces he gives play-by-play instructions on:
- Bach: Prelude in C Major
- Beethoven: Fur Elise
- Beethoven: Moonlight Sonata (all movements)
- Chopin: Ballade No. 1 in G minor
- Chopin: Nocturne in C-sharp minor
- Debussy: Arabesque No. 1
- Debussy: Clair de lune
- Rachmaninoff: 1st movement of the 2nd Concerto
- Ravel: Jeux d’eau
- Satie: Gymnopedie No. 1
Who should consider this course?
This course is for anyone who aspires to play classical piano. Dr. Wright’s mission is to peel back the curtain on performing classical piano, so anyone who desires to learn can improve their skills. Through ProPractice, you have instant access to tips and tricks from a professional concert pianist.
At its core, classical piano is about the expression of emotion. Through dynamics, phrasing, and the individual articulation of each note, pianists communicate emotions ranging from ecstasy to melancholy.
And it’s the tiniest details that make all the difference in every spellbinding performance.
Through advice ranging from organizing a practice session to how to phrase one of Rachmaninoff’s most hauntingly beautiful melodies, Dr. Wright covers all the secrets to classical piano success.
Depending upon your level and learning style, the course could stand by itself or complement instruction from a piano teacher.
Again, the insight into the interpretation of an unprecedented array of classical piano repertoire is what makes this course shine—once learned, information that can apply to other pieces and outside the classical genre.
Who shouldn’t invest in this course?
It’s difficult to execute a thorough review of ProPractice without this one crucial detail. If you hate classical piano, this course is decidedly not for you.
And if you’re looking for a course on simply the basics of playing the instrument, you would likely benefit from an alternate course unless your end goal is classical.
Although Dr. Wright has recently added a few videos by a different piano teacher on playing jazz, don’t invest in this course if jazz is your passion.
You also won’t learn much about improv. Nor does it cover in-depth information on music theory, harmonizing pop tunes, or playing by ear.
And although there is an argument to be made about the value of learning classical techniques, it may be tough to get through such in-depth teaching if you can’t stand classical. Or if you’re learning for the sole purpose of playing with your church’s worship band.
The course does not offer any direct feedback on your playing from Dr. Wright, so you may want to look elsewhere if that is an important feature.
ProPractice is dedicated to playing classical piano. And if you’re interested in advancing your classical repertoire, this is the course for you.
If you’re looking for help with music theory or memorization, check out this post for resources!
Review of ProPractice: My Story
A review of ProPractice wouldn’t be complete without a personal story, so here is mine.
As mentioned earlier, I decided to invest in ProPractice after following Dr. Wright’s YouTube channel for several months. Although I started lessons around age 7, I never took piano very seriously until college.
I loved to practice, but my version of practice included playing whatever I wanted. This resulted in relatively ineffective practice and slow improvement. And I never set out to major in music. In fact, I was a pre-veterinary medicine major when I started college in the fall of 2003.
Shortly after classes started that fall, something drove me back to music. I called one of the piano faculty on campus, and she asked me to come in and play something for her. To this day, I have no idea what I played, but whatever it was, it was enough to convince her that I could be a music major.
And just like that, piano became my main focus.
Although I ultimately pursued a career in healthcare, I have never lost my love for playing classical piano. But after college, studying with a teacher became difficult due to demands from a full-time job and kids. I knew that I wanted to keep improving my skills but was at a loss as to how exactly to do that without consistent lessons from a teacher.
It was at this point I discovered Dr. Wright. And I’ve been a firm believer in the value of the course ever since. If you’re interested in reading more of my story, make sure to check out the links at the bottom of the post.
How is the course organized?
The content consists of separate videos covering a wide range of topics. Videos are further subdivided into early, mid to late beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Information is further separated into technique and repertoire sections.
Dr. Wright uses multiple angles to film each video so you can both observe his entire body and hands during demonstrations. The video and audio quality are both excellent.
And the course uses the Teachable platform, which means you can also download the app on your phone.
What is the time requirement for the course?
Videos range in length from several minutes to over an hour for a complete interpretation of some pieces. You have the option of picking and choosing which videos you find most relevant.
Or you can start at the very beginning and watch all the videos.
You’ll find value regardless of how you choose to interact with the course.
Are there bonus perks of enrolling?
Absolutely! One of the best perks is access to a members-only Facebook group where you can interact with other people who love playing the piano as much as you do!
Dr. Wright also offers discount codes for music and other products within the course. He additionally offers a trial membership for his other course, VIP MasterClass. The MasterClass offers a weekly video addressing specific subscriber questions and access to all previously recorded videos.
He additionally provides his personal email for questions, and in my experience, he has been very responsive.
Is going through the course as effective as instruction from a piano teacher?
Yes and no. It’s always helpful to get outside feedback on your playing. Unfortunately, getting feedback from Dr. Wright himself is not part of this particular course.
But members do frequently post videos of themselves playing in the Facebook group to get feedback.
Aside from feedback, however, this course does offer something that can be difficult to find from many piano teachers. And that something is step-by-step instruction on playing classical piano from a concert pianist.
There are scores of outstanding piano teachers out there. But most have not had either the educational or performance experience of Dr. Wright. And it’s therefore difficult to find the type of knowledge he has.
Watching videos of pianists on YouTube is one thing. But seeing a thorough demonstration of how you can pull off the angst in the 3rd movement of Beethoven’s moonlight sonata is quite another.
It’s the difference between flat, shaky performances and performances that are vibrant and confident. Even if you’re only playing for an audience of yourself, wouldn’t it be exhilarating to find out for yourself just how far you can take your playing with secrets from the pros?
Review of ProPractice: It’s Your Turn
I genuinely hope you have found this review of ProPractice helpful in determining whether the course is right for you. If you’re still on the fence, I highly recommend following Dr. Wright’s YouTube channel because it gives an accurate picture of his teaching within the course as well.
And if you find value from the YouTube channel, consider investing in his course. It’s difficult to find a pianist with his level of educational and performance experience who is also down-to-earth and an effective teacher.
In a world filled with false promises and fancy ads, Dr. Wright is a refreshing beacon of hope. He doesn’t promise perfection by taking his course. Nor does he guarantee that you will be good enough to become a concert pianist. In fact, his videos often feature the mistakes he makes and how he overcomes them.
He simply gives all his best information in hopes that you can use it to be slightly better than you were yesterday.
And I don’t know about you, but I’ll take “slightly better” over “perfection” any day!
Click here to check out the course for yourself.
As mentioned previously in this review of ProPractice, the course emphasizes classical playing. If classical isn’t your jam, ProPractice may not be your course. There are scores of websites, courses, and apps dedicated to all kinds of piano playing. I encourage you to keep looking until you find that one thing that resonates with you and your goals.
And if you’re looking for more great piano inspiration, make sure you check out the following posts:
- 5 Simple Reasons You Should be Calling Yourself a Pianist
- Easy Brain Hacks to Upgrade Your Piano Playing
- SkillShare for Pianists: 2 Classes Guaranteed to Upgrade Your Piano Playing
- 5 Mindset Secrets to Boosting Your Piano Playing Confidence
- 7 Simple Tips for Adults Who Want to Learn to Play Piano
- How to Find the Right Piano Teacher for You
- How to Learn Piano as an Adult
- 5 Benefits of Learning Piano as an Adult