Piano Lessons in the Panopticon

Interested in learning a new skill? Nowadays, you can find instructional videos for just about anything on YouTube. For Elias Muhanna, a professor of Literature at Brown University, YouTube is how he learned jazz piano, for the most part. Mr. Muhanna has spent hundreds of hours watching the videos of Peter Martin, a virtuosic pianist from St. Louis who is well-known in jazz circles. Though Muhanna started taking classes since the age of 7, he states that his skill level had truly surged only after finding Martin’s videos. Some may find this odd, as learning the piano from instructional videos lacks the interactive feedback and connection made with an in-person teacher, while others could argue that watching videos allows a student to closely watch a pianist’s technique and allow them to replay footage over and over again. Click to read more about Muhanna’s experience with online piano classes and how the internet is changing the educational landscape.