piano Connect the Dots Music

Piano Lessons and Guitar Lessons

Thousand Oaks/Westlake Village

guitar method of learning
method of learning

Traditional music lessons are like having to learn the mechanics and physics of bike riding before enjoying riding a bike.  On the other hand, methods that promise immediate results put you on the bike with training wheels and don’t teach you how to ride without them.  And not many teachers can teach the really fun stuff—tricks, jumps, or racing.






Here’s what I do:  I start students riding immediately, so they can work on the coordination.  And then we start raising the training wheels so that students can continue the joy of riding while they’re learning how to do it without training wheels.   Then we can integrate the tricks, jumps, etc.  This is where the lifelong enjoyment of music happens.  Students who only learn to read notes usually become the adults who say they used to be able to play an instrument, but can’t anymore.   

Learn more.  Have more fun.

Connect the Dots Music is the most effective approach to learning to play music.  Through instruction, examples, practicing songs, and games, students learn music visually, aurally, and kinesthetically.  Students learn to play instruments more quickly, develop a better understanding, and retain what they’ve learned.  Plus, they learn to read classics, play all styles, and write their own music!

Compare Methods:
What’s Different?
The Bike Analogy
method of learning

I can’t believe Jenna can play these songs.  And she is excited about piano lessons. You are an amazing teacher.  Thank you!

-Beth F.  

1. Traditional lessons: The majority of all music programs are traditional, reading-based programs.  Usually, instructors use lesson books such as Alfred, Bastien, etc.  

Pros: Students learn to read music and often develop good technique.

Cons:  One-dimensional.  Students only learn how to read notes and their ability to play is limited to music they can read. The method used to learn to read is slow.  Students often only learn classical music.

2. Suzuki: Focuses initially on rote memorization of every piece.  Note-reading is left to the discretion of the teacher.   Parents of young students are expected to supervise practice every day and take notes at every lesson so they can coach the student effectively. Emphasizes group lessons. http://suzukiassociation.org/teachers/twinkl er/

Pros: Builds good memorization skills and teaches playing by ear.

Cons:  Musical pieces are limited to classical genre.  Students have compromised reading skills and rote memorization is often compared to “cramming” or, for example, preparing quickly for an exam.

3. Simply Music: The Australian-based method where the curriculum unfolds over 6-10 years.  Emphasizes playing before reading. http://www.simplymusic.com/

Pros: Emphasizes playing songs, not exercises.  Enjoyable, as students start playing songs quickly.  Builds good memorization skills.  Broad styles of songs.

Cons:  Students who came to me after several years of Simply Music lessons were not able to recognize notes on the piano or read music (shapes and patterns are used, not musical notation).  Concepts and techniques that I consider important had not been  taught.  Memorized songs are watered-down versions and once forgotten, there is nothing to show for years of lessons.

4. Others: There are others, such as Solfege, which is good for ear training but too narrow for all applications, and Kodaly, Orff, or Dalcroze that don’t have a set curriculum, just guiding principles.


I have been teaching piano lessons and guitar lessons for over 20 years.  I’m a highly referred piano teacher and guitar teacher serving the Conejo Valley areas of Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village, Agoura, and Newbury Park, and Camarilllo.  I also offer music lessons with a combination of piano, guitar, or voice instruction.  Please contact Connect the Dots Music at info@connectthedotsmusic.com.  

Review and compare piano lessons in Thousand Oaks / Westlake Village

☆ Recommended Music Lessons in California

Find Kevin on Google Maps Find Kevin on YouTube Find Kevin on Yelp


View Kevin Callister's profile on LinkedIn
Music Teacher

At Connect the Dots Music, you’ll learn concepts and develop skills that will make playing other instruments like violin, cello, flute, trumpet, clarinet, and saxophone, easier.


Learn other instruments
Play, read, and write music. All levels & styles.