YouTube Phenom Launches First Interactive Piano Course on Versal

With over 22 million views of his videos on YouTube, Andrew Furmanczyk is fulfilling his dream of teaching the world how to play piano – free. Today, Andrew launches his first interactive Versal course, Matching Piano Keys to Music. It’s a fantastic way to master the basics of playing the piano and learn through interactive gadgets.

Embedded Piano CourseI first discovered Andrew almost a year ago. One night I found myself sitting at home staring at a digital piano that had somehow ended up in my living room. I wanted to learn how to play, but between work, the gym and sleep, I really didn’t have the time to commit to a local piano tutor.

A quick search on YouTube surfaced a video called How to Play Piano. With over 9 million views (at the time), I figured I’d give it a try.

I was hooked, and soon made it through the first five lessons. Andrew was approachable, funny, and very talented at teaching me the basics, even though I was more than 2,000 miles away. But every now and then I hit a snag. Because there was no way to interact with his lessons or get any feedback, I couldn’t always figure out what I was doing wrong.

A few months later, when we were nearing the launch of Versal, I reached out to Andrew to see if he might have an interest in creating a more interactive style of course. He instantly understood the challenges I’d experienced. He talked about how powerful video is for showing students the ropes, but also how hands on experience and feedback – especially with music – is essential. And very hard to do over the Internet.

Andrew was very interested in exploring new interactive ways of teaching, especially if he could use many of the videos he’s already created. So we invited him to work with us and explore ways to create a new and engaging experience for his students.

While Versal’s course creator has many interactive gadgets for anyone to use, we decided that Andrew’s course also deserved something special. And since we’re testing our third-party developer SDK (to launch in the first half of this year), it was the perfect opportunity to pair Andrew with a developer and see what unfolded.

Soon we paired Andrew with Cyril Silverman, a Javascript developer from Seattle. The two created a very fun interactive piano – a gadget where students can play along directly in the course and get instant feedback on their success.

“Versal’s vision is powerful, and I’m really excited to be a part it,” said Andrew. “The interactive gadgets were all customizable, which made it easy for me to take my videos and add context to create a complete course. YouTube is an amazing platform for video, and I believe Versal will become the de facto platform for amazing courses.”

Everyone here at Versal is not only excited to see Andrew’s course go live today, but we’re inspired by his story. Formerly a concert pianist, Andrew suffered from heart problems and related tendonitis, and was eventually forced to give up performing. But instead of giving up his love of music, Andrew was determined to put his talents to good use, and find new ways to offer anyone a chance to learn how to play piano.

It’s a mission we’re honored to support. As for me, my piano has been gathering a little dust since Versal keeps me so busy, but I did have a chance to preview Andrew’s new course over the weekend, and I’m back at the keyboard. Who knew learning could be this fun?

So go check it out