SIKESTON -- Adults who think they missed their chance to learn how to play the piano are in luck.
An upcoming Sikeston Adult and Community Education workshop promises to teach people to play the piano in one session. "Instant Piano for Hopelessly Busy People" will be offered from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday at the Sikeston Career and Technology Center.
"Instant Piano" instructor David Haynes of Chattanooga, Tenn., said the traditional way to play the piano is to read two different sets of letters simultaneously -- one with the right hand and one with the left hand,
"It's very daunting and time consuming. That's why there are so many dropouts," Haynes said.
The "Instant Piano" method does away with all the left hand note reading and teaches people how to play piano by looking at guitar chord symbols.
"It's an instant way to play the piano unlike taking weeks and years to play," Haynes said.
Haynes has a master's degree in music and has taught music for years, including as a music professor in schools. For the past 12 years, Haynes has traveled across the eastern United States, teaching the one-time three-and-a-half-hour course at over 130 colleges and career centers in 20 states.
Haynes said it's not necessary to have any music knowledge before the workshop. Students will learn all the chords they need during the class, he said.
"Students will have dummy keyboards at their seats. They don't make any noise. Students are not put on the spot. It's a very comfortable, ideal way for adults to learn in a group setting."
The method works to play all types of popular music as well as country, gospel, blues, Christmas and TV show theme songs, he said.
However, Haynes pointed out, this method doesn't work for someone who wants to play classical music, such as that by Bach and Beethoven.
"For that, you have to have take the years of lessons," Haynes said.
Haynes said he will also teach students to embellish songs using the secrets and magical shortcuts of professional musicians.
Students will take home a book of songs and professional CD so they can practice after the class, Haynes said.
"It's like me being there to help them, and that's the way it works so well doing the class in one evening," Haynes said.
It was Haynes who first contacted Richard McGill of Sikeston Career and Technology Center about conducting the course here.
"As soon as he approached me about the class I was very excited about it, especially this year. I've really been looking at different and fresher ideas about classes and have open to more ideas. This (class) is kind of a step in that direction," McGill said.
McGill said he talked to the coordinator of Rolla Technical Institute's community education, which has offered the course for three semesters.
"It's been very successful for them. They even had to offer an afternoon and an evening class," McGill said.
Haynes has also taught the course at Southeast Missouri State University and Three Rivers Community College.
Currently about 12 people are enrolled in the course offering at Sikeston, and there's room for more, McGill said.
"I think people think you need to be a kid to learn to play the piano and things do get more difficult as you get older," McGill said.
But with this course that won't be an issue, McGill said.
Haynes said he receives positive feedback from students when the class is over.
"They're actually climbing the walls that they realize that they've learned so much in this one evening. People tell me all the time: 'I learned more in this one evening than in years of piano lessons,'" Haynes said.
Geraldine Way of Sikeston, who enrolled in the upcoming course, hopes to have the same reaction as Haynes' former students.
"I do know how to play the piano but I have some problems with it. I have some trouble with some of the notes on the sheet," Way said.
Way said she has a piano but it's very seldom used.
"I took lessons as a child and got a way from it," Way said. "I'm hoping this will help me get back into it."
The course enrollment fee is $50 and $25 for Haynes' handbook and CD. Students must be a minimum age of 14. To register for the course, contact SCTC at (573) 471-5442.