The Design of Music

Learn to play the piano with freedom and passion. Piano music comes alive when we are able to play with confident rhythm. There are eight free piano lessons featured on this site that demonstrate impressive music that can be played based on a deeper understanding of the basic patterns and relationships that create all music. Only those who play along with these lessons will be able to understand why this approach has become so popular. The very first lesson called Simple Structures shows you how to use both hands while playing full chords enhanced by strong steady rhythms. A fuller picture of where chords come from and how they are used by pianists will emerge with each new lesson. This builds so quickly that even experienced pianists are surprised. We received a heartfelt apology from a concert pianist in Texas who adamantly refused to watch this program for two years even while her students were insisting that she watch it! She now agrees with many other experienced musicians, that this program reveals the heart and soul of music in a very practical way.




Listen to Recordings from Mark Almond’s Concerts:


Insightful Piano Lessons on DVD

There is no end to the exciting variety of music this kind of piano instruction will lead to in the future. While the overall goal of this program is to highlight the most productive kind of practicing in every important area, our specialty is the art of clearly explaining the underlying design of music in a way that makes sense to students of all ages – explanations that include practical and invigorating musical examples all along the way. Many of those helped the most by these insights have been playing the piano for many years. We also give special advice along the way that enables brand new beginners to succeed. Parents can use this breakdown to help start very young children on the right path. As explained more fully throughout this entire site, a deeper understanding of music has many life changing benefits for pianists at all levels of accomplishment. The reviews and comments this program has received are unprecedented. If you are very serious about making dramatic progress, be sure to read the longer extended reviews which highlight some amazing stories. Here is just a single paragraph from Carmine Leo’s story. Carmine had such a deep desire to play the piano that he tried every new piano lesson method that came on to the market for a period of thirty years. He also took private lessons from every piano teacher within driving distance from his home which gives him a very unique perspective on the subject of effective piano lessons. Listen to his conclusion at the end of his story:

“I’m going to make a prediction here. As Mark Almond’s body of work spreads throughout the world, as more music teachers begin to incorporate his methodology into their instruction, as more students gain access to their own musical abilities and are able to have fun learning to play piano, we will see a new era of musical creativity. These videos have created the potential for a musical renaissance the likes of which we haven’t seen in centuries. Sooner or later, everyone will learn music this way. Essentially, what Mr. Almond has done is remove the arcane, mysterious complexity from the way we have learned music in the past. With his simple and direct method, he has given back to us our rightful connection to the real music inside of us. We are all musical beings and this is our birthright, to have complete access to our own internal creative abilities, and the freedom and joy of making music as we hear it.” Read Full Story


About 98% of all piano students quit within the first two years of lessons. Months of workbooks, scales, drills, single finger melodies, plus the resulting boredom and confusion, are the culprits that kill our enthusiasm before we ever learn to make music. The secret to avoiding this kind of discouragement is a full and complete practice program that allows us to immediately play powerful music based on chord progressions – while at the same time we are improving our note reading and physical skills. A clear step by step introduction to transforming piano chords into inspiring music is the key element in being able to enjoy our practicing.

This series begins by developing a solid network of insights into the core structures at the heart of all music. By understanding the two simple building blocks for all of the basic chords, even the first few sessions will teach you to make enjoyable music. Most people are thoroughly shocked when they get to the fourth lesson. Once the entire program is completed, you will have mastered the skills necessary to play the piano with freedom and passion. This practical approach has received glowing endorsements from graduates of some of the most famous music schools in the world. Even though many companies have produced piano lessons on DVD, only one DVD series has been selected to be featured ON DEMAND through nearly all of the television cable and satellite companies in the USA, Canada, and Mexico. Many national book clubs and catalogs have reported this series to be the first and only piano lesson program to sell successfully year after year due to word of mouth sales.

The design of the DVD program is paced primarily for teens and adults, but most children at age 9 or 10 do very well without help from parents or teachers. The kind of practicing that allows this series of lessons to work for all ages is twofold: First, previewing the entire lesson – most lessons are only about 10 minutes in length. Second, watch the lesson again, pausing the program often while you play along with each new idea. Even though it is hard to imagine, the insights developed in these DVD piano lessons are critically important for pianists of all levels – beginning through advanced. If brand new beginners will keep reviewing the names of the 7 different white keys, until they become automatic, they too will be able to play the impressive music demonstrated in this course. The more advanced students, of course, will be able to play the examples more aggressively with a variety of rhythms.

We have had many advanced students, including piano teachers, who have had tremendous success with these clear explanations and easy to follow demonstrations. Breaking down the elements of music until everything makes sense is important for everyone. A closer more direct breakdown of the nature of music is not mathematically possible. The award winning Piano for Quitters, and the sequel Piano for Life, are based on the best explanations from the greatest minds in music history. It is critical to our progress that we clearly understand the most practical breakdown of music that has ever existed. You may be surprised to learn that the secret to learning to play the piano expressively and musically has been around for almost 300 years. For the history read:  The Pathway to Music

For greater clarity and efficiency there are three main skills which are each developed separately during the DVD lessons. For example, the art of playing chord progressions and then the ability to read music notation are treated in the early stages as two separate skills so that both will be developed with more understanding. Efficient development of the physical skills for playing is also in a separate section. As the three most important skills come together, we are developing a complete foundation enabling us to play with a fluency that eludes many pianists.

The Piano for Quitters DVD gives you a foundation for understanding chords and harmony by teaching you to play 10 different chord progressions with numerous variations. Specific skills for both the right hand and the left hand are learned during this process. The Piano for Life 3 disc sequel continues with more advanced demonstrations of the practical use of chords and chord progressions, but also lays the foundations for developing the ”physical skills” in disc two, and improving your note reading in disc three.

The best possible strategy is to simultaneously improve all three of these main areas of study even though they are explained in separate sections of the DVD program. This is a perfect way to divide your practice time. These are the three central pillars for your entire lifetime at the piano ensuring that you will be able to play musically and with full emotional expression. The interplay between these three skills, as they continue to blend and ”make contributions” back and forth to each other, will radically transform the playing of those who tend to play mechanically.

Understanding the essence of music at its heart is important for all pianists and all musicians. Mark Almond’s patient and thorough explanations have received praise from concert pianists, jazz pianists, piano teachers, college professors, and at the same time brand new beginners! Be sure to read the Reviews and Testimonials.

This program features clear step by step instruction you will understand and your ear will appreciate. It is much easier to spend time practicing when we are playing impressive music. With this kind of practice, the discouraging obstacles that normally prevent us from playing musically and fluently will inevitably melt away. The Piano for Quitters DVD was originally designed for all aspiring pianists, not just for “Quitters.” This program is for everybody and contains instructional materials that were developed and perfected over a thirty year period.

The lessons are designed as an ideal foundation for your entire lifetime teaching you a proper balance of all of the important skills. The insights featured are fully compatible with traditional teaching methods. Insightful analysis, along with the practical applications, are far from a gimmick. The overall goal of this program is to restore the proper balance to music instruction that was lost at the end of the 19th century. The “old rules of harmony” were scorned, ridiculed, and abandoned to the point that both music instruction and even composition itself became lopsided and incomplete. Basic tonal relationships are tied directly to the human heart. Traditions that ignore this reality will eventually disappear which is exactly what happened to 20th century “atonal” music. While some of this music is clever and novel from an intellectual standpoint, it never gained acceptance with the general public because the music is imbalanced and emotionally unsatisfying. The mission of Piano for Life, Inc. is not just to proclaim that traditional music instruction after the close of the 19th century lacked balance, but the mission has been to demonstrate what happens when this balance is restored.  Article: Turning Points In The History Of Piano Instruction

An incisive clear understanding of the nature of harmony (basic tonal relationships) leads naturally to the right kind of musical experiences that allow us to absorb the underlying design of music into our subconscious so that we can play from our heart – even when we are reading music! This DVD series provides practical materials for everyone who has a deep desire to improve their playing, or even to learn to play the piano as a brand new beginner. If beginners will pay close attention to lesson two in Piano for Quitters, the entire series will unfold over time.

The Piano for Life sequel does not repeat the material in Piano for Quitters. Both come complete with instruction booklets. No other materials are required. It is not necessary to have a piano teacher, although many piano teachers throughout the nation use this course as a supplement in order to provide insights and material that demonstrate the heart of music theory. A solid understanding of the subject of harmony is the best foundation for all music: classical, pop, blues, jazz, inspirational, gospel, etc.

Schedule Piano For Life Workshops with Mark Almond

To schedule classes in your area, call 888-742-6653.

or e-mail questions to

  • Advanced Applications for Intermediate – Advanced
  • The Art of Interpretation – Historical Perspective
  • Balanced Motivated Practicing
  • Insights in Harmony for Piano Teachers
  • Teaching Children Five and Under
  • Classes for Brand New Beginners


Simple Structures Lesson: