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Keep Calm and Play the Piano

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A Source of Inspiration

My mother, Helen Moore, was a successful entrepreneur at a time when women did not start businesses. That she was a woman in a world dominated by men never deterred her from her mission to succeed. In fact, I’m not sure her gender ever entered her thought process. She was, and continues to be, an inspiration to me and my stewardship over iPlayerHD. (She left us in January of this year – I’ll write about her soon). So, whenever I meet a successful woman who has beaten the odds in the world of business, I am compelled to know more. In this case, I am also compelled to write about her.

Meet Eliza Steeple. Mother of five children, each of whom was home schooled by her while she taught countless people how to play the piano. As if that’s not enough to fill anyone’s plate, she also taught countless teachers how to teach piano. In addition, she raised horses, was actively involved in church and served in community positions. Along the way, she lost a precious child to cancer and because of that and her history of being physically abused as a child, she deepened her passion to reach out and help people transform their lives through playing piano. If you guessed Eliza’s been a busy lady, you’d be right.

Eliza is the person behind Learn Piano Online, a site where her students purchase a subscription to learn how to play the piano independently online.  The concepts behind her video lessons are simple – students learn by doing, first, learning how to play a piece of music by reading and then watching a video of Eliza’s hands as they play the same piece.  This method allows the student to improve and refine their skills by comparing their movements to the movements of Eliza. An interesting concept that has been quite successful for her students. And for Eliza.

In the Beginning, there was Faith.

At the young age of just eighteen, Eliza began teaching piano lessons to members of her church in San Diego where she was born and raised. At that time, it was her teacher who taught her how to teach. Little did she know that one day she would also teach others how to teach piano.

Along the way, she married, had those five children, continued teaching piano and moved to Connecticut where she opened a studio where more than 5,000 students were taught piano by her and her staff of instructors. That included teaching many pre-school teachers without piano skills how to teach very young children how to play those keys.

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It was in 1997, when the internet was still in its formative years, that Eliza began her online presence using just images and text. There was no audio or video because the internet did not have the bandwidth at that time. Compared to today, she was using stone tools and smoke signals to communicate with her audience. Seriously. Those days did exist. But they were short lived.

Early Adopters Rule the World

Her early students were enticed by the money and time  they could save using an online tool to learn the piano. No trips to the store to buy music. No trips to the piano teacher’s home for lessons.  While there was little affect at the time on the livelihoods of independent piano teachers, certainly the writing was clearly on the wall. Things were changing. Adapt or be eaten. That’s the internet we know today of course. There is so much we can learn on the web cheaply and with very easy access. Eliza was on the frontier of these changes. So were her students, all of whom we could call early adopters.

But I’ve written enough. Eliza can tell her story so much better….

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