The Music for Refugees organisation has created and tested a new and unique method to teach people to play the piano and keyboard. And the true test was at the Villawood Detention Centre last Friday! 

This new and innovative Virtual Piano Guide is also for people who have never played an instrument before.

Looking like a keyboard with notes exactly the same size as a piano, it outlines various notes and chords on the scales of C, F and G. And because it is colour-coded, it allows the participant to easily play the three chords as directed in order to conform to a song  –  the initial song is The Lion Sleeps Tonight, and because it uses the most basic of chord structures, it also allows the user to play any song using those three chords.

Most songs would fall into that category giving the new pianist the ability to play songs like Bring it on home to me, You are my sunshine, Bye bye love, Save the last dance for me, Stand by me, Walk right back, and many more.

At his visit to Villawood Detention Centre, Philip Feinstein spent time in three different compounds using the Virtual Piano Guide. “I was impressed by the overall success during the lessons.

The result was about 80% of the detainees playing an actual keyboard after having received instruction via the guide” he said. He explained how on each visit he will have another song for them to learn, using the same three chords. “And on another future session I will also introduce the Am chord (A-minor) to them.”

AMUST readers need just cut out the Virtual Piano Guide and follow the colour coding of the notes. The C-chord has the notes in red (C + E + G), the F-chord has the notes in green  (F + A + C) and the G-chord has the notes in blue (G + B + D).

The song listed has the order of the chords, so all that is needed is for the player to practice on the guide and then put their new knowledge into place by playing the song on an actual piano or keyboard. It will need them to sing along, but that can be in private and good fun.

Once again the Music for Refugees program is showing how playing music can reduce stress.